I was reading a post by Austin Kleon the other day where he was reviewing the book “The Creative Tarot” by Jessa Crispin. I am always intrigued by new ways to tap into my creative life and the quotes he shared from the book resonated with me. But as I considered checking out the book I felt a twinge of nervousness.
See, I grew up a fundamentalist evangelical. I spent 22 years fully steeped in that world. And when I say I was in it, I mean I was In. It. All the way. I believed everything. Until I didn’t. I spent years leaving, unpacking what I had been taught, rebuilding my faith. But even so there are tapes that remain. They creep in at the strangest times.
Just the thought of buying a book about Tarot and buying a deck to go along with it was enough to make me twinge. It seems so silly; they are just cards, it’s just a book. I remember even when I was still in that world thinking it was ludicrous when they would tell us not to read certain books because it might shake our faith because if our faith was shallow enough that a book could shake it, then that said more about my faith than about the book I was reading. So why was I feeling so strange about this book and these cards? ¨I was telling my friend Karen about how I was feeling and she made the comment that it seemed silly to think that Tarot was somehow unacceptable when some people opened the Bible expecting to be given a sign or led to a particular answer. That wasn’t even something that occurred to me but it made perfect sense.
One of the quotes that Kleon shared that resonated with me was: “We give things meaning by paying attention to them and so moving your attention from one thing to another can absolutely change your future. Exactly who or what is doing the work here whether fate is choosing the card, or your unconscious, or random chance doesn’t matter as much as the act of seeing, sensing and paying attention”
And it’s true; whether it’s the Spirit, or intuition, or the universe we need to learn to trust it. I spent so many years denying my own intuition. I was taught that I couldn’t trust myself. That teaching led me into terrible situations where I ignored my own heart telling me to run away. One of the biggest gifts of leaving fundamentalism has been learning to trust my intuition again. And not only to trust it but to realize that it is very rarely wrong. In fact, when I ignore my intuition I almost always regret it.
But how do you discern between the twinges that are from fundamentalist indoctrination and the twinges that are your intuition telling you to run away? Partly it’s practice; it’s learning to listen. But it’s also about examining the twinge: Why am I feeling this? Are my fears based in reality? What is behind this fear? After years of these questions I can pretty much tell what is from indoctrination and what I need to be listening to.
In this case I decided that if it made me nervous it probably meant that it was something that I should explore. I bought the book and the deck. But then there was a part of me that wanted to keep it a secret. I didn’t want to post a picture of the deck to Instagram in case someone from my past saw it and judged me for it. Again, I decided that if it made me nervous I should probably do it. So I snapped the picture and shared it.
You know what? The world didn’t end. I got a couple of comments from other Christians who told me that they also appreciated the Tarot. I got a couple of comments from other friends who shared how the decks had been meaningful in their lives.
And I shed a bit more of the fear that I carry.
Here’s the thing: there are lots of people who are convinced that because of my very existence I am going to Hell or am not a real Christian. Nothing I do or say is going to convince them otherwise. So why am I still trying to impress them? Why am I still trying to convince them otherwise? Why do I spend energy on approval from them that will never come?
So I’m going to read the book. I’m going to try out the deck. I don’t know what it will do; I don’t necessarily “believe” in Tarot (whatever that even means). But I do believe in intuition. I do believe in the Universe. I do believe that God works through all sorts of things (including my intuition and the universe) to speak to us. I also believe that creativity can be sparked and inspired in all sorts of ways.
Here’s to new explorations. To silencing that inner fundamentalist. To shaking off fear. To finding creativity wherever it is.