I'm going to tell you a very personal story. Ready?
When I was about six years old, I was sitting at the dinner table with my family. Someone made a nasty comment about someone we knew, and I thought it was so mean that I made the sign of the cross to ask for immediate forgiveness.
My father, an otherwise extraordinarily loving man, took one look at me and sternly warned, "Don't you get weird on me."
Child development experts will tell you that when we're young, we're conditioned to honor, obey, and bend to our parents' will for one simple reason: we want to survive. Since we're dependent on our parents for food and shelter, it makes no sense to give them cause to abandon you.
Subconsciously understanding this basic truth, I heard my father's message loud and clear and stuffed all outward signs of spirituality deep down.
But now that I'm much older and a whole lot wiser, it's become rather impossible to keep these feelings at bay. This is partly because they've always been there for me, but also because I've become a little confused, and even concerned, about the use of the word "God" in my social circle.
That is, no one really uses it.
At some point in our history, some people decided that the term "God" was too heavily linked to ultra-religious or socially conservative thinking. Growing up Catholic, I was very aware of these connections. It really had very little to do with the concept of God and more about how society had manipulated it for fear-based ends.
So, what have we done? We've substituted the word for other, less political words, such as "the Divine" or "the Universe" or a "Higher Power", etc.
I myself have used these terms a lot. I am no longer a practicing Catholic, but the "Joan of Arc" in me is always a little snarky when I do that. "Just what do you mean, Amanda" she seems to be saying. My quiet response, "well, God, of course!"
So, I've decided this needs to stop. I want to be more explicit about God in my day to day life and my work. No more hiding behind code words. God is God, plain and simple.
And what is God to me?
In my world, God is not male or female, but does have personality and extraordinary power. Indeed, I see God like a benevolent, but detached sun. God sees all, knows all, and loves us all, but God is not going to intervene in our lives unless we ask. Our power of free will keeps us firmly in charge of our decisions.
But that doesn't mean we shouldn't engage God at all. For me, when we ask the Tarot a question, we are interacting with the heavenly realm that God leads. I believe our spiritual guidance, including our angels, ascended masters, guides, and ancestors, exist within an unfathomable field of energy and space from which we are born and eventually rejoin when we die. In my perhaps oversimplified view, God is the ultimate leader of that space.
For a long time, I was scared to ask God for anything. It was like God was the CEO of a company, too intimidating and remote. I felt uncomfortable asking for God's time or attention, fearful that I'd make a bad impression or say the wrong thing.
But I've changed in the last few years. I guess you could say I've become a brown-noser, eager to have that private tete-a-tete with the Big Boss! Now ahead of every Tarot reading, I invite the Big Boss to the table, where I hope for God's input and involvement. For all I know, God thinks it's fun to sit in on these readings, so I make sure that invitation is always open.
Now, does God show up?
It's not easy to tell, of course. God may be the type to sneak in through the back door after the event's started, observing from the shadows of the back row.
Yet there was one time when I did suspect God's presence during a reading. The whole reading went in a very God-centric direction, and it was hard not to feel like we were being pushed from on high. For that one, I think the Big Boss was definitely front and center...at least, I hope!
Tarot is a spiritual activity, so I doubt many of you are surprised. Still, I understand there will be people who are uncomfortable with this. If so, that is ok. There are definitely other, even atheist, readers out there...
...but around here, God is the name of the game. Cheers!