Let your life surprise you!

To jump-start my writing again, I decided to use an exercise I recall from Barbara DeMarco-Barrett’s wonderful writing book, Pen on Fire. I got the book a few years ago to help me develop a habit of writing, and it went fabulously until I hit a major depressive episode and my life went off the rails. But that’s another story.

The exercise is to use a picture postcard as writing prompt/inspiration. (I’d cite chapter and verse, but I can’t lay my hands on the book at the moment.) Not having a stack of picture postcards handy, I decided my collection of tarot card decks might work just as well.

The last few days I’ve been using the Kitty Kahane tarot, a cartoonish sort of deck with a simple but unusual color scheme. Today I turned up the Wheel of Fortune card, and writing about it led me to some interesting insights.

The Wheel of Fortune card bears certain resemblances to the The World card. Both belong to the Major Arcana, a series of 22 cards that stand for major forces that act in our lives.  The Wheel of Fortune is the eleventh card in this series, and The World is the twenty-second, so it’s not too much of a stretch to imagine they might be related.

From the Kitty Kahane Tarot

In the corners of the card stand the four symbols of the evangelists. The eight spokes of the wheel might be seen to correspond to the four quarters and four cross-quarters of the year. The hand on the right side of the wheel could be either stopping the movement of the wheel or preparing to spin it. The sphinx on top of the wheel represents wisdom; the sword she holds represents choice and decision. The snake can be a symbol of temptation, though it is also a symbol of renewal and healing. (It almost seems to be tickling the demon’s rear end with its tongue, which makes me laugh.) In bearing the wheel, the demon at the bottom might be serving out some kind of punishment.

The visual movement in the image is from the right, through the hand up to the top of the wheel, where wisdom presides, slithering down the left side with the serpent, to the belaboring demon below. The bad news, no doubt, is that this is the normal progression of things: we start out knowing what we’re about, but succumb to temptation and soon find ourselves toiling beneath the weight of our choices and their consequences. The good news is that the wheel keeps turning. Whether the hand on the wheel is our own or that of the Divine, the wheel has the potential to bring us up again to the top, hopefully the wiser for our experience at the bottom.

The booklet that accompanies the deck has this to say about the card: Much that happens to you is beyond your control. Let your life surprise you!

I rather like thinking about it that way.

(Kitty Kahane Tarot by Kitty Kahane, text by Lilo Schwarz, translated by Charles Warcup, AGMueller Urania, 2006.)


4 responses to “Let your life surprise you!

  1. Cindy Pacheco

    In other words, the good news is that the wheel keeps turning, and the bad news is that the wheel keeps turning.


    I like the idea of getting inspiration from a postcard or a tarot card. Maybe someday I’ll use that.

    • Jennifer Barricklow

      Yup! Kind of a half-empty/half-full sort of deal, I guess.

      When I first read that writing exercise, I instantly thought of Grandma Sorenson’s postcard collection, which filled several shoe boxes. I have the sinking feeling they got recycled, and wish I had offered to take them. Ah, well. The wheel turns, and I’ve got tarot cards instead.

  2. Jennifer–
    nice to see a post from you!
    I agree–that’s a good news/bad news card…
    “just keep spinning…”

    • Jennifer Barricklow

      I don’t feel that I’ve been going up and down so much lately as round and round. I really enjoy those kinds of rides, but I’m beginning to feel a little queasy…I think I just need the chance to stagger around for a few minutes on solid ground. Funny how that seems to help, isn’t it?

      Thanks for commenting! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s