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Facing the void with Tarot. Who am I?

At the beginning of May I had the joy of attending my annual shaman healer’s retreat. This is run by my two shaman teachers and is for any of their graduate students who wish to attend.

I look forward to this weekend so much- my life is a whirl wind of responsibilities and obligations, and this is my chance to really be focused on myself and share time with people I love.

As the weekend started I started to feel quite unsettled, disjointed, empty- yet peaceful. I found myself in tears on many occasions, yet the tears flowed and felt healing. I felt utterly at a loss as to work out why I felt so very strange.

As I thought about my life I realised I was completely defined by my various roles. All roles I am delighted to have- but they all seem very strong roles now. Mother, wife & friend. My role within the Stav community (my personally spiritual path), My role as tarot reader. My role as shaman.

In this group I was simply Maddy. Nothing more, nothing less.

I sat with that for a while- without my roles I felt empty. Tears started to flow again- had I done all this work in my life to realise that actually I was simply nothing but my roles? I caught a chat with a couple of friends and tried to explain. They understood immediately- and gently identified “the void” or the peace of “emptiness”. How by emptying myself I was a channel, had potential to be of use, could hold space for others. I was at first confused- that this feeling I had found so utterly unsettling they seemed to see as a good thing?

It may be a shaman weekend- but you may guess I had my tarot pack with me. I decided to do a reading to reflect my roles- and me. I was almost trying to prove my friends wrong. That there was something wrong with me.

I based the reading on the roles that were important to me-

  • Mother, wife & friend.

  • Stav.

  • Tarot reader.

  • Shaman.

I shuffled the cards and laid three cards for each of the roles- creating a mandala if you like of how the world see’s me, how I am defined, and how I choose to express myself to the world. Each of the roles was full of happiness- and as I gently explored each trio of cards I felt very happy about the life I am creating.

Then I lay three cards in the middle to represent me. The essence, the core, the void.

5 of wands- Yes- I am fighting this. I am a fighter by nature (as many have said before now) and I can find distraction in the fight. But this fight, this conflict is also helping me to clear away things that are les important. I am clearing a path of peace by challenging everything.

High priestess- a card I very much identify with. In the Rider-Waite deck there are connections with Persephone (note the pomegranates on the curtain) which translates into Hel in the Norse pantheon I work with. I find a real joy and peace working with Hel- it took me a while to accept her role in my life- but now I find this card deeply calming. That strength in power and peace that I really crave.

3 of cups- is there another card that reflects such true joy, happiness and love?

I loved doing this spread- sitting quietly reflecting on how others see me, and how I see myself. Understanding how this void is potential, peace, surrender and joy all in one (yes- my friends were right).

If you fancy having a go yourself I suggest you contemplate the roles in your life- choose perhaps 3 or 4 at first, and then simply lay 3 cards for each role- ending with three in the centre for your core self.

Perhaps you’ll realise some roles don’t fit you, restrict you, or feel imposed.

Maybe other roles delight you and allow you room to express yourself.

Maybe you don’t like the idea of roles- and would rather explore the different areas in your life, or the different ways you express yourself.

The key is to take your time- play with the idea until it fits you perfectly.

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