Tuesday, March 30, 2010

In Communication with the Universe

I’m in the process of reading “The Secret Life of Nature” by Peter Tompkins (co-author of “The Secret Life of Plants”), which especially deals with the Fairy World as part of a Universe that is intensely alive and in constant communication with us. Tompkins’ statement that, “The idea that the entire universe communicates with the interior of our bodies and minds has been part of esoteric religious tradition for thousands of years” [213],” also has implications for divination techniques like Tarot and Bibliomancy.

Ancient peoples viewed divination as more than just a self-serving practice based on the desire to know what’s coming down the road so you can take advantage of it. When you get out your pack of Tarot cards or other divinatory tools, you are both saying and signaling, “Hey, I’m ready to pay attention.” This is a respectful act, because it amounts to paying attention to what the Living Universe is trying to tell you, and paying attention is paying respect. There is an exchange of energy here, a metaphysical coinage, an energy offering.

When we take the shamanic view, we approach the larger, Living Universe and all its individual life forms and expressions of life as kin to us. We can look at divination as a way of opening a friendly conversation with our spiritual kinfolk, so there’s nothing dark or boding or fearful about that. Persons with strong family feeling take pleasure in being in touch with extended family members; this is one of the reasons that so many Native Americans begin speeches as well as prayers with a greeting to “all of my relations.”

This can provide creative inspiration for Tarot artists: one could come up with something of an animists’ Tarot deck or Oracle, where you have not just human figures, but illustrations where the human figures are interacting with faery and spirit forms, as well as with other natural entities, and with natural and man-made features of the environment that are in some sense animated. I think I have come across some decks that at least hint at this. Can anyone jog my memory or suggest Tarot decks that illustrate this sense of communication with the larger world, and with the Intelligence of Nature?


  1. Well, I know some decks with some of the features that you describe...

    Following the traditional tarot design:

    The Tarot of Native American

    The Tarot of the Spirit World

    The Tarot of the Secret Forest


    Faeries Oracle (I really love this one)

    The Tarot of Reincarnation

    Because I live in a big city, it's very difficult for me to contact with nature. I try to connect with it through CD's of sounds of nature, and working and meditating with nature items and tarot decks like above. Other suggestions are welcome :-)

  2. Thanks, Javier, I'll have to take a closer look at those decks! Thanks also for providing the links. (Sorry I'm late to respond.)