Howardism Musings from my Awakening Dementia
My collected thoughts flamed by hubris
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Jung, a Tarot Deck and a Pile of Clouds

I have an interesting story that I forgot to mention in 1996 when it first happened. I had just moved to the Pacific Northwest and was renting an apartment perched high on a hill which had a magnificent view. The first thing I did when I moved in was get this comfy papasan chair to place on my deck so that I could just sit and gaze at my domain.

One day, I had returned home from a trip to Powell's Bookstore where I had picked up a copy of The Raven Steals the Light, a collection of Haida††The Haida are native Americans who live up in British Columbia mythology, and was enjoying these stories while sitting on my deck.

All of a sudden, a large raven flew up to my deck and perched himself on the railing, cocked his head to get a better look at me and what I was reading. He seemed to nod his approval, and then flew off barking to his friends on how his legacy continues.

To me, the best part of strange events like this is hearing the many and varied explanations others give me, for everyone has experienced odd coincidences, and almost everyone can supply a meaning-- well, except for those crotchety old cynics that dismiss them as mere coincidences.

But we know better, right?


The weekend before the Raven Experience, I had just finished a book of thoughts of Carl Jung who called such events synchronicity, for to him, such coordinated events that were synchronous could not be merely chance.

"The connection between cause and effect turns out to be only statistically valid and only relatively true. … I define synchronicity as a psychically conditioned relativity of time and space."

--Carl Jung

But simply giving them a name doesn't determine the meaning or purpose, and it certainly doesn't explain why. Are such things messages from Above? Or below? Or are they just important milestones on our countdown to death?

Synchronicity goes along with my perspective on the Tarot. Many people, some with only a little time playing with these cards, claim that its not random. It is and it isn't … at the same time. Humans, with all their neurons and egos, just can't understand-- or can't accept-- chaos. Given a Rorschach inkblot test (or just a bunch of clouds), people will see pictures.

Others, for fun and or profit, will see the remains of their tea leaves in the bottom of their cup and see more than pictures… they may see the future. I know, I know, no one has ever been able to demonstrate that their prognostication goes above mere guesswork, but foretelling the future cheapens the noble art of searching for meaning.

Tea leaves on the bottom of a cup, images painted on cards, or the patterns of the intestines of a goat are all mirrors of the viewer's interior world. The meanings you find, are the meanings you read into it. But this isn't bad! Far from it, this is truly amazing and a wonderful gift. One that I wish more people would practice.

The most incomprehensible thing to a person is his or her own mind. So why not pick up a deck of cards, or have a picnic on a hill and look at the clouds, but feel free to start analyzing yourself by the meanings that you read into things.

Oh, and what do I make of the raven perched on my railing? I will only tell you, nevermore.

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