In the Travel Tarot series I share stories and pictures from my life out on the road, reading tarot, tour managing for Kristen Ford, and seeing the USA out the window of our converted camper van named Lady. I take quite a few photos each day, and many of them end up on my Instagram account with a hashtag for a corresponding tarot card that reminds me of the image, mood, or theme of the photo. Sometimes the connections between life and tarot are obvious, and other times an explanation brings us deeper into the meaning of the card, the energies of our lives, and the connection between these energies and our daily existence. This series offers that deeper exploration of a photo, a tarot card, and how that relates to my day to day life on the road.
THE HIGH PRIESTESS:
In May of 2015, Kristen and I were driving Lady Van up the northern California coast. It was a cool, windy day on the beach, so we decided to head inland to explore the Redwood National Park outside of Crescent City, CA. The Lady Bird Johnson Grove, named after the First Lady of the USA from 1963-69, was recommended to us as a wonderful place to walk in the park. It was named after Lady Bird because she was super into nature and she presided over the inauguration of the Redwood National Park in 1969. As we walked through the redwood grove I had to reach out and touch these trees, get my hands on them. I eagerly tried to reabsorb the knowledge of these powerful living creatures.
The coastal redwoods are extraordinary. These are the tallest trees on earth. They are hundreds of years old. They are gorgeous. They are thought to be the oldest living organisms on earth, some of them living to be 1,800 years old. The ancientness of these trees is palpable. When you are walking through a redwood grove, you feel like you are walking backwards through time into an ancient past. You can feel the long forgotten wisdom of these skyscraping trees vibrating in the air. It is a wondrous feeling.
It is incredibly peaceful in the redwood grove. There are no traffic sounds. There is calm. There is stillness. There is a sense of being. It feels easy to quiet the mind in the redwood forest. Imagine what the earth was like 1,800 years go in 215 C.E. These massive trees were just seedlings, shooting forth from the earth, starting a 400 foot climb towards the sky. What do our lives look like them? Just a blip in the span of years that a redwood surveys the scene. The redwoods carry the subtle directive to go way back into the farthest reaches of time, back to the beginning of the earth, back to the question of what we are and why we exist.
There is more than what meets the eye, or any of our five sense, in the redwood grove. We can see, touch, taste, smell, and hear the trees blowing in the breeze. This is how we perceive reality. But what about what we can’t observe? What is that sense that reaches someplace more, that indicates that our perceptions of reality are limited? You can delve into your intuition more gently and easily in the redwood forest. The trees point the way to your subconscious, they beckon you to listen, to open to the shadow side of reality that we tend to ignore and deny as we busy ourselves getting shit done every day.
Using the sixth sense opens us up to greater awareness. Things are not only what they appear. There is more. There are layers beneath the surface. There is space, so much space between all of the molecules that make up our reality. Awareness of layers and space brings understanding, it brings us together. We can be more compassionate towards each other when we break ourselves down and apart into the tiniest pieces possible and understand that those things are all the same and equal. This interconnection is accessible to us all in the redwood grove when we stop, listen, and open.
Allowing the dark, passive, feminine, shadow side of life to emerge, educate, and expand us is possible in these woods. This is the counterpart, the balance to the bright, active, masculine, conscious aspects of ourselves. We each contain both sides. This is a world of duality, in which we can not comprehend anything except through the experience of its opposite. We must know the dark to live in the light. We must be still in order to figure out how to act. The redwood grove is a wonderful place to stop a moment, rest, and think about these things.
I recommend that you get out into nature and give a big old tree hug to any fine specimen you meet. A tree doesn’t have to be an ancient redwood in order for you to feel the calm, peaceful, deep vibration of its soul. Practice connecting to your inner High Priestess by contemplating, communing, or connecting with your favorite tree. I’m obviously a pretty huge fan of willow trees. When I see them I like to stop and greet them, ask after their health and happiness, and take a moment to send good vibes into their environment. This respect and appreciation of nature tells the earth that we love being here and want to care for all of it’s creatures and creations. It also expands our reality. Can the tree feel my vibes? I think so.
THE HIGH PRIESTESS reversed:
Out of touch
Denial of Shadow
Denial of Feminine
Busy or rushing
It’s easy to get caught up in our modern world, the day-to-day grind of our everyday existence. Often, we are so caught up that we can’t pause for stillness. Even in the redwood grove we are thinking and doing: “Here, take this brochure and read about the history of the trees and the park. Oh, you forgot to spend time tuning into the vibrational frequency of the trees themselves? You forgot to listen to your calm inner center? You forgot about being? Well, it wasn’t on the brochure! That’s not what we emphasize. That’s not what matters in our society.” It’s time to question society, to ask yourself if the same things matter to you as to society.
I’m not implying that you can’t read the informational brochure for the Redwood Forest. I mean, where do you think I got all this handy knowledge about redwoods? What I am suggesting is that you take a moment to remind yourself, as frequently as possible because you will forget it every second, that there is more to life than what meets the eye. There is more to life that what you can perceive. There is a purpose here. Do you know what it is? Are you working towards your soul purpose?
Take some time out from rushing, doing, hurrying, getting things done, action, noise, distractions, tv, social media, facts. Take a moment for being instead. Ask yourself if you are disconnected, out of touch, switched off from your soul purpose. If so, how can you reconnect and realign yourself with that divinity you know in your heart? Maybe it’s time to go to the redwood grove. Maybe the redwood grove is a metaphor for a place inside of you that you can reach at any time from any location. Look within. Your calm inner center. Go there.