First Tarot Reading

I received the Oceanic Tarot by Jayne Wallace as a Christmas present from one of my sons. It’s a beautiful deck that appeals to my love of water and swimming, and it provides simple, positive explanations for each of the cards. This morning I did my first reading with it.

In fact, it was the first reading I’ve ever done. Even though the tarot has always fascinated me, I’ve only used individual cards as writing prompts, and I’ve never taken the time to learn the symbolism or history behind them.

My interpretation of this three-card reading, which pertains to past, present, and future, is the following:

I need to let go of the guilt I feel about taking a semester off from teaching English. Devoting time to healing from depression, regaining my energy, spending time with family and friends, and completing my current poetry project are more than worthy endeavors–following this path is lifesaving, at least for now.

Time for reflecting on my relationship with my father and also with all the people I met on the Camino will help me finish the poems I’ve been writing for the last three and a half years.

Time for practicing yoga, reading about Ayurveda, balancing my doshas.

Time for writing in community with fellow poets online–

Thank you to Dave Bonta and Kelli Agodon for continuous motivation and opportunities for building online friendships.

Free Association on Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy

Happy, sad, happy, joy, content, bliss, blissful, happiness, peace, fulfillment, content, calm, floating, warm ocean, warm seas, dogs, cuddles, hugs, nice, niceness, hot coffee, sunny days, long walks, bright scarves, a painting, a drawing, a poem, sitting still, breathing quietly, enjoying the breath, colors, purple, red, yellow, green, indigo, plum, cyan, chestnut, roan, horses, palominos, Appaloosas, black stallions, a brindled mare, long manes, feathered tails, horses galloping across sand dunes at sunrise, Red’s mouth and gummy lips, Duffy’s domed forehead, talking to Jacob about philosophy, talking to Aiden about art, listening to S. talk about politics, playing solitaire, writing in my journal, reading memoirs, reading biographies of other writers, visiting writers’ homes, finding legends that pique my imagination, getting lost in a good book, remembering the beach in Mexico.



Within the tradition of yogic meditation there is the concept of sankalpa. At the beginning of an extended period of meditation, known as Yoga Nidra, or sleep of the yogis, the practitioner visualizes, feels, intuits, or silently states a certain aspect of life he or she wants to see manifested. The translation of sankalpa (from Sanskrit) is the English word intention. The idea is that if we internalize our positive intentions while in a state of deep relaxation, we will be more likely to act on those intentions in our daily thoughts and actions.

An intention is different from a resolution in that there is no way to fail or not meet one’s expectations. Each day we work on creating the life we want to live, rather than waiting for New Year’s Day. If we choose a particular sankalpa, we keep it in our minds until we see the results we have been visualizing. But it’s always possible to change because of intervening events in our lives.

It’s interesting how events unfold. Last year I kept saying to myself, “I have a published collection of poems.” I said it to myself before falling asleep at night, and I repeated the affirmation at the beginning of my Yoga Nidra meditation, visualizing a book spinning around in space with the word Poems embossed in silver on the cover.

And in 2008 I did publish a collection of poems, although it wasn’t made of poems I wrote. Jo Hemmant and I produced ouroboros review, which is most definitely a book of poems. Our intentions don’t always come about the way we originally dream of them, but it’s important to look back and see the results of our thoughts and actions, and to recognize the power of the imagination. It’s also a good idea to be very specific when trying to get a message across to the unconscious mind!

My sankalpa now is to write strong poems that move others, and to share them in print, on the web, and in person, through readings and workshops. I say it in the present tense, as if it were already true.