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Synchronicity & Tarot Reading

Synchronicity & Tarot Reading

Saturday, August 19th, 2006

I have thought long and hard about the idea of synchronicity.

I think there are degrees of synchronicity. Synchronicity is when there is a convergence of events or things in such a way as to seem significant to the observer. The events and things have no apparent causal connection. Some of the most intense experiences of synchronicity invoke profound psychological alteration of viewpoint, may readily be identified as peak experiences.
So a question arises.  When does synchronicity happen?It actually happens all the time.  So when does it happen for us?

We have to know how to pay attention. 

What are we paying attention to?

We need to pay attention to the symbolic level of our living.

This is the level where we daydream and notice things have connections that don’t seem to be caused by anything we know.

Bringing our daydreams into the light of self-aware desire and understanding can be very revealing about our everyday attitudes that affect our moods and the limits of our aspirations.  Many of us have resistances to paying attention to what our mind is saying to us when we’re not directing it in some way.
 People can use tarot cards as a stimulus to paying attention to the symbolic level of life. 

Not only using the cards as a focus of meditation. 

But. for example,just drawing a card and considering its meaning both an image and word can act as a way to sensitize yourself to things that may occur during the day.  In fact this is a suggested experiment with the tarot.  For example, in the morning draw a card.  Look at it and contemplated.  That evening.  Review the day and see if the card had anything to say about your particular experiences that day.  Another variation is draw the card and do not read it until that evening and do the same exercise.  Another variation troll the card in the evening as a reflection of what they has been.  Mark McElroy book on tarot experiments lists these and others in detail.

One of the ways we can notice we are paying attention to the symbolic, is when our life brings us stressors.

Stressors wear down our habitual walls of cause and effect. 

I am me, and you are you, becomes less true when we’re stressed enough.

When the ego is assaulted, through violence, drugs, lack of sleep, intensive activity, the walls of our self become more translucent and less opaque. 

In this translucence we will notice, if we stay calm and pay attention that things stacked up and relate in ways quite unexpected but of the significance.

We will notice details for instance who is wearing flowers in their hair on the bus.

How some people sit and what their posture says to us. 

We will notice the wear on shoes that will tell us about the feet and the people who walk with them.  We will watch a ripple of smile pass across the crowd like a barely visible wave.

We will see in the sky clouds that gurgle into stories about the people eating sandwiches while sitting on the grass in the park.  We will imagine dark secrets flitting across the countenance of the silent withdrawn face on a head held inert upon stooped shoulders of a man sitting alone on a park bench. And his secrets will announce themselves like cannon-thunder herald in the silence of our heart.  And they will seek forgiveness in the butterflies indifferent on the wind.
 In my life I have experienced acute phases of what I call symbol-chasing. 

In the early forms of symbol chasing, one playfully notices how things can mean things that they are not. 

It’s recognizing the asphalt on the highway is really the River Styx flowing into Hades.  

As the associations become more automatic and come unbidden into my attention, I have a choice to pay attention and maybe write poetry or to get back to what I’m doing that doesn’t require much thought or significance. 

If it really comes on hard, like a torrential rainfall of associations, frankly people it is a form madness, a serious breach with reality.  Of course if you know this, it may also be a very intense movie experience but not necessarily the recognition that I am the second coming of Christ.  As a form of madness in which all the hidden thoughts of the whole world seem to tumble into me as everything I see and hear opens up choirs of meaning, significance and change. 

How I want to tell somebody about it! 

How I seem so entirely inarticulate to explain what I’m experiencing. (Well when you’re feeling ecstasy, and I don’t mean the drug, it’s more fun if there’s someone to share with, someone who might understand or at least be in sympathy with the intensity. And sometimes that intensity is contagious.)

Now the tarot can be a stimulus to opening the mind to the grave or playful world full of meaningful connections hidden by my habits of thought.

For those few times when we are too sensitive to the loud world of the inner-experience broadcast upon the sky to be seen everywhere but by only one ear and eye in my heart, the tarot can run interference.

It turns down the volume and diffuses the light so that I can channel what I see so violently into something more readily identified as symbolic.

Perhaps this is another meaning for transitional object.  It does something in the world that belongs to the world but also suggests another world that is not this world but a world more whole and where secrets are told in the babbling of the brook and desires unfold as the sun rises and sets in the cards and through the day into night.
 However, as much as I would encourage people to become more aware of the synchronicities and serendipities in their life, as a way of living a more conscious and joyful life. 

In some ways it is even the very definition that one is practicing awareness or mindfulness in life, by embracing wholly all of life’s vicissitudes, indifferent, good and horrendous, with the equal eye of mindfulness. There is no better definition of courage than this.

One needs to be gentle with the boundaries.  The ego and its walls of constructed habit, even when experience proves them a poor reflection on reality, one needs to be gentle in the reconstruction of the self.  So gentle as if no one is doing anything so that it seems to happen and of itself.  To push the boundaries hard.  To attempt to fly from the mountaintop when one cannot even crawl out of the cradle is to tempt some serious self-damage.

In reading the tarot cards, they can be very frustrating, when we read them as an expression of our anxiety and uncertainty and fear in a situation.  In fact they can seriously mislead us, of course we are misleading ourselves, which is a result of the anxiety and fear, a vicious circle in which no direction can be found outside of its ever contracting self-referential logic.
The best thing to do?  Put the cards down and do something you love, garden, take a walk, read a good book, and contact a friend for some good conversation and company. Or just do some serious physical labor service.  Go to the gym and work out may be a good way to address unwanted out of the body experiences. But not always, the actual exercise, may contribute to a fuller flight later when at rest.
Best thing to do?  Admit to yourself that you feel fear.  Recognize that the fear and anxiety is acting as a block to getting a clear view of what it is one needs to decide.
It may be that the answer is not what she want, then realize that what she want is very important to you, but that the situation that you are bringing it to does not truly address this important want.
Perhaps that will, in time relieve the anxiety.  Some things the just aren’t meant to be, and if we accept what we do have as a reflection of our true desires, we may be better off than insisting upon something that always seems just out of reach.
 If we are not gentle with our ego boundaries and attempt to knock them down by whatever means comes to hand.  Most extremes if persisted in will make the old ego boundaries movable in ways not always anticipatable or readily correctable.  In other words you can go mad.

The experience of psychosis may very much include incalculable correlative occurrences of meaningful incidences cascading in upon oneself from all directions without the ability to slow them down, contained them, understand them.

The emotions that may accompany this surge and tumble may be simultaneously terrifying and ecstatic, profoundly peaceful, gently easy, relaxing and forgiving, while at the same time, spiteful, intrusive, demanding, accusing, gut-wrenching painful paroxysms of despair, dread, terror, anguish and anxiety while experiencing a out of body floating sense of pure peacefulness and timelessness.  Strange sounds mask as language rumble into scintillating chaos that transforms the sounds into bubbles of color and light and fall into airy pits dissolving darkness, hard to fast and feathery.

This paradoxicality of experience is profoundly nerve-racking and if experienced in duration will cause a diminishment of the ability to tell the difference between reality and fantasy, truth from falsehood, love from hate, light from darkness, oneself from another, one’s body from what it touches or is touched by, where one’s self begins and another ends all blends in a blur of indistinguishable movement and stillness. All experience itself will seem an insult to sense and self.  Suicide seems like a valid option when faced with such a fulsome isolation and chaos where there is no seeming way to get one’s bearings to proceed to an orderly universe and self, to establish within and without a meaningful causal nexus.
I doubt that psychosis is exactly what we wish to entertain when we attempt to explain the significant confluence of events into meaningful connections.


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