This “Gaian Soul Chat” is one in a series of interviews with interesting people I know whose life work is intrinsically involved with Nature, Creativity and Spirituality. And, quite often, the Tarot.
My good friend and Tarot cohort James Wells will be leading a teleseminar discussion on the Gaian Teacher card for the Gaian Tarot Circle on October 19th. It’s sure to be a good one! James always asks the most intriguing questions.
What do you love most about the Tarot?
What I love most about the tarot (I prefer a lower case T because I don’t want the cards to become another “holy book” or “ism”) is its adaptability. It can be used for psychological insight, personal growth, a prompt for journal writing, a springboard for composing poetry, a device for playing games, a set of visual icons for an altar, a way to plan and carry out ceremony, a set of Qabalistic flashcards, an inspiration for recipes (really!), a pictorial storybook, and so much more. It also fits into almost any spiritual, religious, philosophical, or scientific paradigm. It think that it’s so adaptable because, at our core, we are adaptable. Without adaptation, we (or any life form) would die. Without adaptation, the tarot would die.
Chills of “Wow!” shivered through me as I excitedly said, “She’s a tracker. A tracker! We’re getting affirmation that our work is to help people track their own way within the Greater Way.
Tell us a story about one of your experiences with the Gaian Tarot.
There are many! One that stands out involves the mastermind circle of which I am a member. Five of us self-employed agents of change get together once a month to get inspiration for our work. At one gathering, a member said that she was aware that all of our work involved assisting people to track their own way within the Greater Way. I was asked to pull a card from the Gaian Tarot to see what we needed to know before closing the meeting. The Explorer of Earth turned up. Chills of “Wow!” shivered through me as I excitedly said, “She’s a tracker. A tracker! We’re getting affirmation that our work is to help people track their own way within the Greater Way. It’s about really being present to the sounds, textures, and sights in the moment and noticing their guidance.” Appreciative smiles and a chorus of “Mmm!” passed around the circle.
How do you best love to express your creativity?
My creativity comes through in many ways. I enjoy writing poetry and love to cook. I have a degree in music and often sit down at the piano to doodle or break into song. People say that I’m very creative with how I create meaningful ceremonies and help them explore their lives through the tarot. Creativity also comes through in how I approach and navigate my intimate relationships. For me, life is a creative act. We’re our own greatest work of art!
What kind of creative projects are you working on now?
Currently, I’m tweaking my first book, Tarot for Manifestation, that I self-published in 2005, so a publisher can get it back into circulation. An artist friend and I are finishing a co-created tarot deck, the Circle Ways Tarot. It’s black and white, round, and based on concepts I learned from Gail Fairfield and from circle process over the years. I’m also beginning to write a longer book on how to become a competent professional tarot consultant. Since autumn is upon us, I’m also thinking about yummy, nourishing meals that will make use of foods that are abundant at this time of year — squash, apples, and so forth.
What is your relationship with Nature (aka Mama Gaia) like?
There are other days when I use too much water when washing dishes, forget the shopping bag, and get caught up in running a self-created business. It’s a delicate dance…
I love Mama Gaia and feel Her love for me. Like all relationships, it’s work. I’m feeling my way through how to bridge the split between the part of me who cares about the environment and does what I can to contribute to its well-being and the part of me that is a comfort creature who is privileged to enjoy many resources that are derived from the Earth. Most days, I remember to flush the toilet only when necessary, take my shopping bag to the market, and listen to the trees as I walk in the nearby ravines. There are other days when I use too much water when washing dishes, forget the shopping bag, and get caught up in running a self-created business. It’s a delicate dance, and I can only keep reminding myself to be present and choose consciously. I hope that Gaia can be patient with me, although at this point in the relationship between Big Mama and humans, there’s not a lot of time for Her or us to sit and wait.
How does Nature inspire, impact or heal you?
Toronto is blessed with a lot of greenery — tree-lined streets, substantial parks, and many beautiful ravines. My small apartment building is perched on the edge of the Don Valley. Beside my balcony is a vast bank of trees, mostly maples, who keep me company when I sit outside. Their presence, and the presence of the accompanying squirrels, raccoons, butterflies, cardinals, sparrows, et al grounds me, calms me, reminds me of my true centre. My neighbourhood’s streets are replete with gardens, huge trees, and a couple of big parks. To walk here at night before bed clears my mind of any dross that remains from the day. So Nature is a great healer for me and for those who visit me. Any time I can get to the Canadian Shield of Northern Ontario or to my friend Bev’s place among the orchards and vineyards of the Niagara Region, I slow down and “move at the pace of guidance”, as Christina Baldwin says. I can hear Life’s whispers of helpful feedback more clearly. It inspires my work so that I can be a better teacher and practitioner. Bit by bit, Nature is teaching me more about Her rhythms and I think I’m finally beginning to catch on.
How do you define your spirituality or religion?
I’m not sure that it has a name or definition. “Creation-based kindness” might be as close as it gets. This will probably (hopefully!) change as I grow.
How is Tarot part of your spiritual practice (if it is)?
Online forums are not usually my thing, but the Gaian Tarot Circle feels like a real live circle. The respect, humility, authentic sharing, and wisdom of each member is exquisite.
I define spiritual practice as anything that connects me to my own centre and to the Great Centre. To spend time with the tarot slows me down long enough to listen to the knowledge and wisdom that are already present within me and around me. The feedback I receive from my source of wisdom via the cards makes me aware of options available to me; therefore, I can make healthier choices from a place of consciousness. Or, if I select a less obviously helpful option, it’s by choice, not by default. This capacity to choose consciously connects me with my centre. It makes me feel aligned with Life, no matter what the external situation may be.
Please tell us a little bit about what you’re going to share when you teach your teleseminar on the Gaian Tarot Circle, or anything else you’d like to say about your experience with the GTC.
I’ve been happily surprised by the Gaian Tarot Circle. Online forums are not usually my thing, but the GTC feels like a real live circle. The respect, humility, authentic sharing, and wisdom of each member is exquisite. Our calls every month really solidify the relationships as well as the ideas that emerge. The next thing I’ll be offering to the GTC is a session on Trump #5, the Teacher card. I’ll base it on what blossoms on the online forum as well as some ideas from the Four-Fold Way by Angeles Arrien. As ever, I’ll be dreaming up questions so that we can be each other’s teachers.
Thank you James. I am one of your biggest fans! — Joanna
JAMES WELLS is a Toronto-based motivational listener, consultant, teacher, host, and facilitator who is dedicated to merging soul and strategy. From childhood, he has been curious about what makes people and the universe tick. Through tools and processes such as circle methodology, tarot, reiki, and journal writing, James and his clients and students are inspired to remember their creativity, resourcefulness, and wholeness. Whether at home or abroad, whether in personal sessions or in workshop settings, he provides an experience of council mind. In his “me time”, James enjoys reading, writing, music, walking, close friends, and good food. He is the author of Tarot for Manifestation and co-creator of the soon-to-be-released Circle Ways Tarot Deck. Please visit him online at http://jameswells.wordpress.com/