Staying on Track With the Tarot

January 9, 2019

So, it's a bit of the way into January--how do you keep yourself on track with your New Year's intentions? And why do we get off track so easily sometimes? 

The main reason we get off track is because we're not being literal or honest enough about who we are and where we're starting or, for that matter, what it is we want. Let's get into a metaphor--Our goal is some wild beast; losing weight, writing a book, becoming famous. The problem is, that's a thing, not a creature, and it's certainly not us, at least to start. What we really need to do is envision the best version of ourselves, some magnificent, glorious, living breathing animal, and then pretend it already exists and all we need to do is find it. It could be in Timbuktu, or Atlantis, or some imaginary world at the moment--it doesn't matter. 

All we need to see are the very real and understandable tracks that lead from us to it, right in front of our faces. But how do we see those tracks, and how do we tell them apart from our own faltering and often circular steps?

It's not that hard. Your best you is just you, having made the right choices.  The best you didn't take a plane, a fast-speed bus, or teleport to its goals. It walked step by step, just like you will, behind it. The problem with the way we set goals is that we don't take into account how to move forward to get to them -- how to take the right steps and avoid the wrong ones. Success is a matter of many, many small choices. Knowing this, how can we help ourselves identify what to do and not do in order to hold ourselves accountable to what we say we want, given that we're creatures of temptation and frequently undermine ourselves? How do we do this in a way that's easy and fun and not just another factor to overwhelm us in our busy lives?

The tarot is great for this. You can use any set of images, but the tarot is perfect because it's ready-made and includes all the possible situations and personae that can come up in a human life. What w'er going to do, essentially, is play a game of "warmer, colder" by using the tarot to help us identify "what to do," and "what not to do." You don't need to be an expert and know all the "official" meanings of the cards--you just need to be able to "get" enough cues from their visuals that they bring things up for you. Essentially, you are using the tarot to call yourself on your own shit.

Here's how it works. Think about your goal, and then ask yourself something specific relating to it, like "How can I help myself exercise more this week?" Then pick two cards--the first is "what to do," and the second is "what not to do." For this example, say I pick the two cards below. I've used a new deck I'm not very familiar with (the Mystic Mondays), so I'm in the position of "making it up" just like you would be.

So here's what I'm thinking. "What To Do" is the King of Pentacles. He looks really spiffy and well-groomed. I think maybe that if I up my attitude to self-care, and maybe get up and dress nicely and put on makeup and brush my hair then I'll be more likely to take better care of myself in the ways that I want. I'll look in the mirror and think "this is the kind of person who has it together, who does yoga and eats right."

The card on the right is the Six of Swords, for "What Not To Do." I look at this and think of a bed of nails (which, incidentally, has nothing to do with the "traditional" meaning of the card). This makes me think "don't chastise yourself for your previous failures." Negative self-talk can really affect us, and often we don't even notice that we're doing it. So I'm going to pay attention to my inner critic and what I'm thinking, and tell myself to shut up when I'm being mean to myself.

Doing this kind of activity frequently can make a huge difference. Instead of thinking of reaching your goals as something you just DO, think of it as a game of warmer and colder with your higher self. And if you need help, I'd love to work with you!