Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Looking forward to Sunday with hopeful expectancy

First, a reminder that this upcoming Sunday, September 5th, I will be at the Triple Goddess demonstrating tarot techniques with four different fairy tale decks. Even though it’s Labor Day weekend, people still like to come by, so I will be there too. Second, in my past few entries about the fairy tale decks, I forgot to mention that the artist for the Inner Child deck is Christopher Guilfoil, and for the “Fairytale” deck, Alexandr Ukolov is the illustrator, but the artwork is done by Irena Triskova. (I’m afraid I’m not clear on the distinction there.)

A little while ago, I brought up the topic of the Inner Child in relation to these decks. The Inner Child was a particularly hot topic in, if I recall, the 80s, but now one doesn’t hear about it quite so much. Does the fact that the Inner Child is not so much a part of public discourse mean that we’ve all settled into better relationships with our inner children, or is it that we—at least as a society--have had to shove the Child aside in the need to focus on material survival issues? Or perhaps I have a distorted view on this, as here in Michigan, we’ve been in recession for a lot longer than the rest of the world?

Engaging the Inner Child can be your key to reviving a sense of wonder and delight, yet back when this was a prevailing topic, much of the discourse around the Child was negative in tone, because it focused on aspects of the Child that had been abused or neglected, or aspects of the Child that manifest as complexes. A complex is a condition where one of your subpersonalities takes control, so you behave differently and may start doing and saying things that lead to embarrassment and regret. In this respect, when the Child grabs control, it can be compared to the negative aspects of animal transformation, as discussed earlier, because both are forms of regression to a primitive state which involves a surrender of conscious guidance. It seems that one of the easiest ways to identify the Inner Child within yourself is to think about psychological issues that stir up a lot of old hurt and anger, frustration and deprivation. This can lead us into negative feedback loops if we dwell on it. At the same time, however, the Child can bring revitalization by leading us to forgotten sources of wonder and pleasure. For example, if, as a youngster, your family stifled your curiosity about nature because they didn’t want you to go outside and hurt yourself or get dirty, you could get involved in some naturalist activities as a way of reawakening your curiosity.

Where there is curiosity, there is vitality. Another great thing about curiosity is even when you are locked into a life situation where you can’t bring about any immediate changes, you can still indulge your curiosity. … And while we’re on this topic … this is another opportunity for me to tout the tarot as something to keep curiosity alive. You can always ask the cards questions like, “What is the next bit of good news that I have to look forward to?” or “What is my next lucky break?” A question like, “Who is the next luck-bringing person that I will encounter?” opens a state of hopeful expectancy that connects you with your larger human society, because then, with each person that you encounter, you’ll be wondering, “Is this the person?” “Is that the person?” In her book, “The Tao of Psychology: Synchronicity and the Self,” Jean Shinoda Bolen points out that when a person is in a state of hopeful expectancy, helpful synchronicities are apt to occur, and she notes that this is the state of mind that typifies heroes and heroines in fairy tales. It is what Jung called “the archetype of the miracle,” or the archetype of “magic effect” [Bolen 81,80].

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