I didn’t mean to buy a deck of tarot cards the day my friend Fimnora Westcaw had me go to Aeclectic Tarot on my computer to see a new deck she’d purchased. But the pictures on the Thelema Tarot deck, reminiscent of Edmund Leighton’s medieval paintings which I’ve always loved, so captured my heart that I actually felt compelled to buy them. The artwork by Renata Lechner was beautiful. I did not dabble in Tarot card readings, and I certainly had no intention of doing so. Nor of using 78 of them for writing prompts. But the very first card in particular, 0 — The Fool, was begging to tell a story.
So I bought them, and using that card as a jumping-off place, I developed my own little ritual for choosing cards from the deck and proceeded to draw three cards at a time. And with each card I added a little bit more to the story. I had no clue where I was going. No clue what the story would say. The only impression I had was gathered from the cathedral architecture and the staff on that first card. The young lady was obviously looking for something, and the word pilgrim came to mind. So off I went.
Imagine my astonishment, then, when the story began to mirror my own spiritual journey. I started writing on May 21st of last year, pouring tons of energy into the story during July 2016 for my first Camp NaNoWriMo experience, but by October, 45 cards later, I was burned out. I didn’t touch them again until March of this year when I knew Camp NaNoWriMo was coming up again, and I hoped to be finished with the story by the end of April.
So with 33 more cards to go I jumped in with both feet. I ended up writing that the Seeker was trying to find the Creator. As it turned out, the journey became symbolic for her trying to find herself. But somewhere in the middle (around October 2016) I had come to the conclusion that you can’t know the Creator unless you first know yourself. I wrote two posts (34 and 35) and neither rang quite true to me. I realized then a part of the overall story was me also trying to define what it was I believed about my faith (Lord knows that’s something I’ve struggled with since I was a child at church camp). I spent a few days last month refining and rewriting those two bits before immersing myself in the story again.
I often wondered why in the world I had undertaken such an experiment. It was taking me forever! Then one day a few months ago when I was cleaning out a dresser drawer I ran across a trinket I’d purchased at a farmer’s market four years ago when all the gal pals had gone to Gardner Village in Salt Lake for the day. I had no idea why I’d purchased it. I’d stuck it in my drawer and never looked at it again until the day I was cleaning. But there it was… And suddenly I knew where my story would end.
And end it has. FINALLY!!! The second half of the story (from part 34 on) truly does parallel my own spiritual journey and includes three people who are very near and dear to my heart and whom I believe God put in my life for three special seasons.
Joseph was a Catholic deacon with whom I worked from 1972 to 1978. He was there for me as I struggled to hold on to any faith at all after six years of trying to get pregnant and then losing a baby. Joe showed me God was not about rules and regulations, but about love. Kim (Iluviel) has blessed my life since 2003. A beautiful free spirit from Australia (who has visited us here twice), it was as if she carried on the work Joe had begun all those years ago and made me stop and realize I was far more to God than just a “sinner.” She continues to be my most beloved “sister.” And finally Teal (the Hermit, better known to you all as Plato from Plato’s Groove). A bonafide Baptist pastor, who has spent the last two plus years convincing me I am already exactly who God wants me to be (it was a dirty job, but someone had to do it!).
I did NOT intend to write any of these folks into this story, it just happened. But not really. It was meant to happen all along. Teal’s comment on the last bit says: “What is cool about what you have accomplished through all this hard work is that this is the new framework within which your experience will be interpreted for years now.” I think he’s right because for the first time in my life I’ve given up struggling to find where I “fit” in the Creator’s World.
For that reason, if for no other, I’m glad I was drawn to these cards and started this journey. It was hard at times, but it was a labor of love by the end. So thank you all for reading from time to time. I am so glad I had you to share the pilgrimage with…