A dream revisited

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During a workshop at Vortext led by Rahna Reiko Rizzuto, we used the tarot to explore questions in our individual writing projects. As our small group settled into low-slung couches and armchairs in the living room of a cottage named Granny’s, Reiko laid her deck on a small coffee table and made herself comfortable on the floor. The cards are simply a tool to remind us of what we already know, she said.

This has been my own approach to working with the tarot. In the most literal sense, it has helped me recall memories I’d suppressed for years as I’ve continued my dive into not only what I hid but why I hid it.

In this class, I asked for insight on the structure of this work — if not for the content, then the process. After so many restarts, I wanted to know where to begin again, even if it didn’t end up being the final beginning. Where do I focus, I asked, in order to move this work forward?

From Rachel Pollack’s Shining Tribe Tarot, I drew the Nine of Birds.

Numerous details in the card pointed me immediately back to my dream of my daughter as a hostage, which came to me last December. The myth of Persephone. Protection of an emerging woman. Birth and rebirth. I’m still letting the meanings in the card unfold, but a line in the deck’s guidebook stood out like fluorescence under black light: “‘It’s all the same place …. It’s where stories come from. Babies and stories. They’re the same thing. And it’s the land of the dead. It’s all the same place.’” This was the answer I needed to remember.

I knew this when I woke from the dream and I knew it when I saw the card: in this work, my daughter and the story are one and the same.

Nine of Birds (left) and Place of Stones, from the Shining Tribe Tarot

Nine of Birds (left) and Place of Stones, from the Shining Tribe Tarot

I drew one more card to ask who or what to call on to support my writing journey and turned over the Place of Stones: a place of security that allows us to adapt to change.

Its significance was less clear in the moment except for the reflection of my misgivings around writing this story, my fear of speaking its truths. But after writing about my walk through the labyrinth a few days ago, I remembered this card. I had quite literally wandered a maze outlined in stones, meditating on the story’s unanticipated layers keeping me from knowing its heart. I am reminded now that the way into this memoir’s underworld, the history my daughter does not yet know she represents, is also the way back for both of us into the present, the way forward into whatever awaits.

In what ways might the way into your work also be the way out? What recurring images or stories have you noticed in your dreams, and can you connect them to a next step they — and your creative intuition — may be illuminating? Share your thoughts with me by clicking the button below.