Bright and Early


I'm so eager to start linking entries together I can hardly wait to get this one posted!

Actually, that linking business just makes me fall back on the technical stuff that I'm good at. Visions of Perl scripts dance in my head--I was actually dreaming about how to make the entries link up correctly the other night.

Living as I do in the mountains, I treasure the days when I can stay up here all day and don't need to drive back into the valley. But with Diana living in the valley, those days are not too frequent (I did get several over Christmas and New Years). Saturday Diana's kids spend with her ex, so it's our play day. Sunday is the best shot, but not this month. Reiki and Huna practice at Sam's tomorrow. The next Sun., it's off to San Francisco to see The Magic Flute. The Sunday after that, Sam is throwing a party and making her famous Cioppino. The party is at my house, and I'm guessing Sat. will be spent getting ready. The last Sun of Jan., as it is most months, is spent at a wonderful but very strange class on the Tarot. I'm sure you will hear more about this class, since there are 22 Tarot trumps and we only did #4 last week.

Since someday this may be read internationally, perhaps I should expand a bit more on the previous paragraph. Cioppino is a local (San Francisco) fish stew, greatly improved by adding the local soft-shelled crabs that are in season now. Sam makes a special trip to the ocean (Moss Beach) to a particular fish store to get only the freshest stuff. I've been hearing about Sam's Cioppino for years, but have never had it, so I'm really looking forward to this. (For those who are climatologically challenged, Cioppino is excellent to have on what are locally called 'cold winter nights', when the temperature may get all the way down to freezing...)

Reiki and Huna are natural healing techniques. Reiki was developed in Japan, and Huna in Hawaii. A number of my friends, including Diana and Sam, have studied both. Both involve meditation and touch. Huna also involves chanting, which is very powerful. We get together once a month or so to practice on each other and have a gentle, relaxing, and centering afternoon. I usually feel like a cat who's finished off the cream after these afternoons.

The Tarot is probably better known. The first Tarot decks appeared in Italy around 1400. They consist of 22 'trumps', each different, and then 4 suits, each with 14 cards in it. The trumps are Jungian archetypes--each represents as situation or 'energy' of some fundamental human experience. As such, they can be very rewarding to study. Our course is based on a thick book called 'Meditations on the Tarot' by an anonymous French author. He uses the Tarot trumps as a basis for meditations on Christian mysticism from a French Catholic viewpoint. Since I am neither French nor Catholic, I'm often taken aback by both the writing and the course. But I love the cards themselves and their history. The number 22 is said to correspond to the number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet, and scholars have fought wars over the proper order of the Trumps. But the images are powerful and reward meditation-- the wheel of fortune; the hermit, old and alone but showing others the way; the tower, struck by lightning with people falling from it; the devil; the high priestess.

When I was younger, I read a bit of Karl Jung and thought it was somewhere between boring and irrelevant. Since turning 50, I've found his ideas, and the writing of contemporary Jungians like Robert Johnson, to be very powerful in helping me put my life in order.

I think there is positive good in rubbing your mind up against archetypes from time to time. I'm not sure it matters what kind of archetypes. People have used astrology, the Tarot, the i Ching. Each is very similar, in my view--take an archetype, strike it like a tuning fork, and hold it next to your life to see what inside you vibrates in resonance.

The end result of doing this kind of practice for a while is that you know yourself better, you get deeper, and you are more aware of those ways in which you are similar to others on the planet. Since these are three of my biggest goals for personal work, I make a point of rubbing up against archetypes whenever I can.

Now, I'm a big believer in balance. And even if I didn't believe in it, my mind seems to force it on me. So no sooner did I finish writing that deeply ernest last paragraph than my monkey mind started planning the ad campaign! "Take an archetype to lunch this week". "Transforming the planet, one archetype at a time." "Some of my best friends are archetypes." "Remember, carrying a concealed archetype is a felony!" You get the idea...

Actually, I think archetypes would be more popular if they didn't sound so much like artichokes. So at the same time I see the bearded white-haired man standing on the rock, I also see a luscious green spiny thing drenched in butter. Double yum. Take an artichoke to lunch with you this week. Only one of you will get out it alive.

Thank you for reading.

Copyright © 2001 Pete Stevens. All rights reserved.