I hosted the first Delphic Days gathering – the first of what I hope will be many and I wanted to share some of the insights that the group came to together. For those of you new to the concept, you can read more about Delphic Days here. The fundamental inspiration behind this event is the Oracle at Delphi and the ways in which oracles, divinations, dreams, and intuitive knowings were once upon a time brought directly to bear on civic and political concerns.
Soulful seekers sense that our political, civic conversations are too often one sided and entirely neglectful of the sacred arts. There are clear reasons why this is the case (separation between Church and State being one obvious one) but there is also a sense that these two sides of our lives and our dialogue are too cut off from each other and that need not be the case. Your tarot cards might actually give you more insight into current events than that third article from HuffPo does.
So we came together, readers and diviners, and all read on the same question:
What do we need to know to improve our relationships with all of the other beings on this planet (all genders, races, species, etc)? This question was asked in some manner by 75-80% of the participants and I chose this articulation of the question as the most comprehensive.
Then we had a Socratic style conversation on the insights and questions that our readings raised for each of us. Here are a few remarks and themes we touched on.
Generally speaking, I was intrigued by the fact that several of us on the call got the same cards – including reversed or upright positions, in the same place in our readings. These readings were not pre-planned, in fact, people did not even have to use Tarot to read on the question at all! Nevertheless many of us shared a few of the same cards. Even more interesting was how everyone had a unique interpretation to the meaning of their card that complemented the other interpretations – it was a kind of synchronized reading! That said the remarks below record my own understanding of our conversation and each participant will no doubt have more to add and obviously I do not speak for them.
One of the first questions that came up dealt with the relationship itself. A couple of folks pulled cards that were some version of the World in reverse and understood this to mean that our relationship to the living, breathing, world is, in many ways, upside down. I pulled the four of cups and considered the possibility that we have been unwilling to fully commit to being in a relationship with other beings on the planet, period. From that we discussed the notion that other beings on the planet may not be thrilled about being in a relationship with us, either. The overarching sense is that the relationship is broken so now we searched to find the blessing and the ways of healing.
Ancestors and Guides
Another element that surprised me was the presence of the Ancestors for most of the folks on the call. I had pulled a card specific to my Ancestors (as I always do) but I had not expected anyone else to, silly me! Several of us received a message that our Ancestors have been here, they have seen these changes, and our Beloved Dead are able to help us navigate these choppy waters. We also reflected on the possibility that the Ancestors are willing to function as go-betweens working to restore right relationship between ourselves and other creatures. I would add that while I know this can work generally (ie, the ancestors of humans working to restore balance between humans and the natural world), I think it is more effective when taken individually – my ancestor can help me have a deeper relationship with where I live right here and right now.
We all had a sense, represented for a couple of us by the reversed 2 of Wands, that a big challenge as we seek to enter into right relationship across the board is the sense of a false dichotomy. One individual put it like this: there is a door opening and we are going through – whether we want to or not! Another said that her reading referred her to inflated ego ideas on either side of the issue: the one side being that we can choose to be in a relationship or not and the other side being that this relationship between ourselves and others is already pre-determined.
It reminded me of the central issue in the Bhagavad Gita, where Arjuna really does not want to fight in basically a big family civil war and the Lord Krishna tells him that there is no such thing as abstaining from the choice – choosing not to act is still a choice, one that has real consequences. We agreed that the fact of the matter is that we are already IN this relationship, so the question is: how we live up to our part, how do we become better partners?
Fear and Discernment
Fear was another theme we all saw in our readings. Fear of what others think. Fear of doing/saying the wrong thing. Fear of not knowing what to say or how to act, period. Fear of getting shamed if you do/act/say/think the “wrong” thing. There was also a question about what right relationship with fear looks like – there are ACTUAL things to be afraid of and yet, we don’t want our fear to tyrannize us, to be the determining factor in our actions. How do we meet these fears?
The answers we arrived at all touched on discernment and also unique giftedness. Discernment was represented for several of us by another common card: the King of Swords. Clear insight, reasoned analysis calling on the whole of reason – not just logic, communication that brings us together both in ourselves and with one another. One participant said the King of Swords encouraged her to use discernment to “cut through the bullshit and get on with it”; that pretty much sums it up.
The Farmers Market Model
We met the fears with a powerful vision of the Farmer’s Market Model inspired by the Three of Cups that another participant drew. This was the moment in our conversation when we turned from the challenges and the obstacles into possible solutions. One participant said, “it is important to play from our strengths.” We discussed the possibility than when trauma happens it is not responsible to expect there to be a single appropriate response, nor is it adequate to come up with one-size fits all solutions.
Rather, we want to be like a Farmer’s Market – where we have the opportunity to really encounter the things that actually nourish us and beautify our homes, and we can meet the sources those things come from, we can talk to the people who grow the food we eat, listen to their tales, pay them a fair wage for the work they have done. We could also be the ones at the market with the booths offering our own gifts to those in need of them. And of course at a Farmer’s Market we would never want eight stalls all selling cucumbers – we want each stall and booth to bring some unique and one of a kind to the gathering. So it is with us. Consider and work from a place of individual strength, understand that a relationship is an ecosystem and it needs diversity and many parts to be fully functioning and healthy.
At this point we had done quite a bit of work and so there were some silences, some pregnant pauses where everyone was gathering their thoughts and visions. That is actually a good sign for this kind of conversation – we want to allow for silence spaces too and no one should feel pressured to fill the air with talk.
Keeping our Cups Full
Several of us had cup cards that came up within the readings: Page of Cups, 3 of Cups, and 9 of Cups. We all felt similarly that the cups were an interesting suit to see given the question. One member felt strongly that this was a reminder to play, to have fun, to replenish ourselves and not always be on the frontline, burning ourselves out. We also felt that the King of Swords and Sword cards we had received, followed by the Cups as they were, reminded us that our thoughtful analysis and our communication is in the service of full feeling, and most of all love.
Restoring and renewing our relationships with others is possible. It begins with getting clear about our own roles, our gifts and strengths and taking clear, concrete, practical actions to contribute something whole, healing, and holy. We also all felt that calling the sacred arts back into the conversation was really useful – that if we kept them out we were really only having a one sided relationship – something that we all agreed there has been quite enough of!
Big thanks to everyone who participated and lent their voice. Speaking of fear, I think we make these things much less frightening and at the same time are able to look at them clearly and directly, when we do it together.