Make Tea Not War

artist: wcqaguxa, Delft, Netherlands

Some of my clients are people who have written stories and want to make them better; those people hire me to be their editor.

Some have never told a story and want to learn how to tell one; those people hire me for storytelling workshops.  

And some people are seeking guidance through circumstances that feel confusing, meaningless, or chaotic; those people hire me to read their cards.

Whether they are stuck in a dilemma,  overwhelmed by too many choices, or simply overwhelmed, they hire me not because I am magical or have advanced supernatural gifts, but because I can read the stories rising to the surface from a seemingly random array of images.

The process of reading cards is not very different from developmental editing. But where, as an editor, I read the text of an underdeveloped manuscript and discern an overarching idea, as a tarot card reader I translate an arrangement of unrelated symbols to discern a story providing insight and inspiration.

Recently I did a reading for a woman who was enduring one of those awkward transitions when you’ve completed one chapter of your life but haven’t started a new one. She didn’t really have a question for me; it was more like she had that nagging feeling you get when, on the surface nothing is wrong, but deep down it feels like you’ve lost the thread.

Though relatively young, my client was a military veteran who had been retired for a few years. The way she put it, she had “experienced enough conflict to last a lifetime.” As I began asking questions and gazing at her cards, she brought up something that kept crossing her mind. The coastal Washington town where she lives is cool, rainy, and dark, and lately she’d been imagining a tea house. Decorated with colorful walls and happy lights, her tea house would be a community sanctuary providing warmth, energy, and Vitamin D, even on the most miserable days. 

Memories of Uncle Iroh came to mind. 

“Have you ever watched Avatar, The Last Airbender?,” I asked, “Do you know Uncle Iroh?”

Uncle Iroh was a retired general who, banished in old age, gave up fighting in favor of roaming the countryside and dispelling Zen-like wisdom. Once the fiercest and most powerful of warriors, the character of Iroh was known for loving nothing more than a good cup of tea.

Iroh is a powerful archetype, I told her. No one knows the price of conflict more than a warrior, and no one knows more about the value of peace. She is such a person, I told her. She can live this story.

My client had heard of Uncle Iroh but she hadn’t seen her experiences in his; she’d never made the connection.  And yet, once she did, she was able to see herself and her circumstances in a new way. Her dream of this peaceful teahouse, which had been striking her as trivial, now carried more meaning. Instead of being an indulgent detour, it presented itself as a worthy destination.

Whether my client will take all the steps necessary to open a tea house is yet to be determined. I may find out or I may never know. But what is already clear is that, where a woman had been floundering, the compass of a new story had given her a new perspective and a new path to walk.

Contact me to schedule a reading.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: