One of my favorite exercises picked up in a tarot class is doing automatic writing. For someone like myself, where the writing comes pretty easily, it’s a pretty fascinating process. It’s amazing what you pick up intuitively. I always come across stuff I didn’t know I knew, or maybe I did know it but forgot it, or sometimes it’s coming from a whole other place entirely. You sit down for 15 minutes, and just write. No editing. No correcting. Complete stream of consciousness, focused around whatever you’re trying to acheive or whoever you’re trying to talk to. Although you could do it in a number of different ways for any number of reasons, it fits in with Tarot perfectly. I’ve done a similar writing exercise from Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way called “In 30 Minutes” where you sit down for 30 minutes, and write whatever comes to mind. An old blogfriend turned me on to it, and it’s something I’ve come back to time and time again. Again, no corrections. No deletions. No exceptions. Just write. Creatively, it can help bust through a lot of the walls we put up for ourselves, or climb over some of our stumbling blocks. I’ve found that automatic writing using the tarot as a jumping off point essentially does the same thing, but with an extra shake or two of Psychic Seasoning Salt. It’s all about the flavor in the gravy, baby. Awwwwwww-yeah!
It’s pretty simple, and honestly, before now I hadn’t thought to put the two together. The words come from the same place, they just have different ends. Focus, I think might be the difference. With Automatic Writing, especially with tarot you pick a card… any card… and… Go! You’ll eventually get to the point where you will not be the one doing the talking, and it’s a strange thing when you realize it. Writing the old fashioned way… Pen to Paper works best for some. You’re less apt to use the backspace or spellcheck. For me, typing helps the flow. I am faster, and my hand doesn’t cramp up. I write with hard, bold strokes that obviously belie my staggering genius! Huzzah! I keed… I keed… 55 wpm of Awesome is just as fine and dandy. I’ve done AW while asking the kind of question I might ask in a tarot reading, without a spread, focusing on who from the Major Arcana might be best to aid me in my quest. “So… Hierophant. I’m really struggling to get my office organized. Any advice?”. I could ask the Magician, but he’d get too creative with it. I’d end up building shelves or something. I could ask the Star Maiden, but while I am sure I would glean some deepr perspective on why I am not organized, and perhaps find more positive ways to reflect on it and empower myself to fight against it… it wouldn’t really help my immediate need to do something about the mass of USB cords under my desk. If my tooth is bothering me, I’m not going to go to a gastroinerologist. With “In 30 Minutes”, if I was writing to write, I’m sure something might crop up with this if it was really bothering me. With that, the purpose of the exercise is not to have a purpose. You’re just writing.
For anyone who enjoys writing, and wants to get to know the cards in a more intuitive way or wants to delve deeper into understanding the personalities of the Majors or Courts, you can’t beat it with a large stick. I will probably post some of these at some point. I have one I did a while back with that damn Hierophant. I don’t like being a 5! It just didn’t sound right. Of course it didn’t… as is the grand irony of being a single 5. You know when it’s right. It’s an innate sense we have. And if it’s not right, it will destroy us until we find out how to make it so. I’ve made my peace with it, and work with it. I don’t have to like it, but I know that the Automatic Writing helped. I like working that way, both creatively and conceptually. For me, 30 minutes is a good time frame to go through the process.
It needs a clever little name though… Hmmmppphh… Write On. Works for me. I can dig it… Can you dig it? Shovel or no shovel? It also has a little nod and a wink to my favorite Joanna Newsome song. I know she sounds like a rabid cat in heat who is being gutted alive by a sadistic fuzzy bunny wabbit wearing a jaunty little top hat, but… her harp playing is the shit. Recognize! Word to your harpsichord playin’ mutha! If your mother happens to play the harpsichord.
It has a label. Right on!
Single-5, yo. I need labels and categories. Can I get a witness? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?
I may do one today. I’m feeling a bit watery today. What does it all mean? I don’t know! I want to know!