I’ve had a lot of things on my mind for . . . well, I guess it’s been a couple years now, since I knew I would be in the Masters in Counseling program. Besides the obvious focus of school, I’ve been trying to keep my relationships, my spiritual life, and the practical stuff (housework, yardwork) in focus as well. This has required a balancing act, and sometimes I’ve been successful, sometimes not. I’ve now finished the required classes, but still have to do my thesis. For some reason, I’ve had a block on getting it started, much less done. At first I blamed it on circumstances beyond my control (family related), but then it became obvious it was more than that. This Summer I realized I had a real block about working on it, and could not figure out why. This morning I did a tarot reading about it, and it dawned on me this would be a good chance to explain here how I would like (eventually) to use tarot in working with therapy clients. Knowing the state of therapy in California, it is not something I would consider doing with many clients, and would only offer it if the client had already showed a willingness to work with alternative methods (much like using word association or describing pictures).
Part of the reason I decided to do the reading this morning was that I’m having trouble sleeping. It is as if too many thoughts are swirling in my mind, many of them having to do with the guilt of not getting things done. So I decided to do the reading to sort out these thoughts, and figure out what to do about them. I believe in reincarnation, and previous work led me to believe my Self in another life was involved in this inertia (not getting things done). If I were working on this with a client, I would probably suggest different parts of their Self (archetypes) are involved in what is happening, and deal with it on that level. It still works.
Using the cards, I discovered there are four other lives (or parts of my Self) that are involved in my inertia. No wonder I can’t get to sleep — there is a committee arguing in my head! 🙂 [I don’t mean that literally.] So I created a chart, and asked for information about each of those four lives (or parts of my Self). I asked
What card best describes that life (or part of my Self)?
Why am I dealing with it in my present life (or what part does it play in my life)?
What does that other life (or part of my Self) want from me at this time?
What can I do to help heal that life (or part of my Self)?
Without going into detail, it turned out that one life expected me to be able to handle everything and do it well. With a client I would probably suggest that is their Superego, the part that usually tells us what we should be doing and makes us feel guilty when we don’t. This seemed particularly appropriate to the reading, because when I asked what it wanted from me at this time, I got the Nine of Swords (am using the Hanson-Roberts Tarot). That is a picture of a woman unable to sleep, consumed with worry. Another life (or part of my Self) is concerned with independently learning truth, and sharing it with those who are interested (that was the Hermit). The third life (or part of my Self) is concerned with being a student, and wants to be successful at it. And the fourth life (or part of my Self) is most concerned with relationship.
What those four lives (or parts of my Self) want is not mutually exclusive, but each sees what is happening in its own way. This explained the confusion, but not the inertia. Finally I realized my life now is so confused by all the “helpful” input, I’ve put on the brakes and said, “Nope, I’m not doin’ nothin’!” I asked, “What is the cause of my inertia? How can I blast it away?” (We’re talking a mountain-sized block.) The cause was answered by the Magician — believing I can do all things equally well. There is a set-up for failure if I’ve ever heard one, as I would explain to a client. [Lots of cognitive-behavioral stuff going on here.] And how do I remove it? The King of Swords. He keeps his eye on the goal, makes plans, uses his intellect to accomplish things (getting rid of those cognitive distortions), and doesn’t let his feelings [I don’t feel like doing it!] get in the way.
I tend to use tarot to explore options and get clarity on problems. What I just described could be used in a therapy session, to help a client with the same things. It is simply a matter of using psychological language rather than spiritual, to help them recognize what they probably already know (subconsciously).