Now is the time where I share my flat-out shock (laced with a trace of honey-you-knew-it-was-gonna-go-like-this) that the tarot cards — no matter how we’ve come at them, how they’ve been dealt, whether approached numerologically or assigned by Ariel — were coming for me this fortnight, with a very specific mission. Considering I have not touched tarot cards in decades (well, other than finding my mother’s deck, back when we transformed a room to take care of my needs during bedrest a few years back), this whole experience was one I entered with zero expectations.

In addition to having turned my back on the tarot since the ’90s, it would’ve been that same decade in which I last wrote fiction of any kind (even fictionalized reality). I’m not counting scripts. I’m talking prose. Poetry. Songs. Shit I used to write all. the. time. and then just left behind. Interesting parallel in timelines for all of this. And now that I’m in therapy recovering these childhood memories and working out all the ways vodka helped me dull them until four years ago, I’m so incredibly grateful for the kickstart to so many emotions the process of crafting these stories has been.

Because I’m committed to calling myself out on my own bullshit, I’ll mention that the act of using this — a journal entry, a blog post, a NOT piece of fiction created off the cards at all but instead a response to the whole of this experience — is a perfect example of my choice to hyperintellectualize and compartmentalize when I feel too many feelings. To analyze the macro rather than sitting in the micro. To logic the heck out of the process, not sit in the stew.

There’s been a LOT of sitting in the stew with this work. These stories have unhooked some lock on some door I was certain was rusted shut. I have loved the vivid imagery, the details that are coming flooding back, the elements the cards bring with them, the visual glory that *is* this flawless deck (the first I’ve ever connected with in this way), and the process of turning this work in, giving feedback to my fellow travelers, and enjoying the notes my work has gotten as well.

And here is the 10 of Wands, reversed. A final card from Ariel to have me expand what I didn’t see ’til now. A card that signifies the end of a cycle, a need to lay down the burden, a time to let go of what I’m carrying and end the habit of taking on too much. That it’s reversed means there’s the need for body work, perhaps, and of course, that’s been my focus since bedrest. More correctly, the mind-body healing journey… unhooking the hijacking of my body that my brain so cleverly did, when there was no more alcohol to pour onto the pain. A combination of coming to grips with everything repressed and more success than I’d ever dreamed possible in so many areas of my life at once… pure upper limits and a lowered tolerance for the lifetime of never dealing with the pain. Such a potent combination. And while I’m hip to my shenanigans, I never dreamed a creative writing class integrating the tarot — a random mention I saw in the comments of a stranger’s blog post on a topic I can’t even recall from months ago — would shift the work I’m doing in therapy to a whole new level.

What a marvelous bonus. What an unexpected gift. What a totally blissful two weeks of connecting with myself and with y’all in this way. I showed up here agendaless and I’m leaving here so very pleased with what this experience taught me it wanted to be. Thank you, Ariel, and classmates all. And thank you to the creative writer in my soul, for showing up to meet these cards and this keyboard and this world I’ll now use this new moon to commit to spend more time in… as it’s quite the healing place. Who knew! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Luminous Void Tarot spread for Bonnie Gillespie's seventh assignment, Writing for the Tarot with Ariel Gore
Click to enbiggen.

No Longer Awareless — by Bonnie Gillespie, 14 November 2020
assignment 7 for Ariel Gore’s Writing with the Tarot
tarot deck from The Luminous Void

Tarot Spread 7
Final assignment – expand & incorporate what you didn’t see until now
10 of Wands, reversed (10 = completion of the cycle; wands = fire, enthusiasm, inspirational; 10 of Wands = carrying more than your share, time to lay down the burden and let go of the tendency to take on too much; reversed = blocked energy, in need of body work)

Welp… when I saw this assignment I was so sure I’d want to revisit a character I’d been playing with during this course. Nope. I just wanted to go straight into commentary mode, and I didn’t resist that urge.

For what it’s worth, this course has been incredibly good for me. I’m looking forward to doing more exploration using these tools… and staying open to what this work is here to continue leading me to and through.

Class over. 🙂 I’m glad I saw it through!

Bonnie Gillespie autographed the internet


Enoughness is an inside job… and sometimes you need a guide to find your way there. Let Bonnie Gillespie get you started.

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