Conversations with the Universe

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>originally published in
Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Back when I was in my late teens and early twenties I had a practice for obtaining advice from the Universe. I would go to the library, to the poetry section, blank my mind and randomly choose a book. Then I would flip through the pages until “it felt right” and stop to read what it said. Invariably the passage was meaningful though possibly cryptic. Typically it addressed some event or dilemma in my life.


In ancient Greece, people seeking cosmic advice would go to the Temple of Apollo where the priestess, breathing vapours from deep in the rocks, would prophesy. Some people picture advice from the Universe in clouds, tea leaves and crystals. Some find it in a hand of cards or the roll of the dice. All of these can be oracles if the seer leaves daily distractions behind and becomes receptive.


Some years later I explored the Irish alphabet where the letters have the names of trees and represent lunar months of the year.



 Then I found that tarot cards could be tied in to the Hebrew Tree of Life and corresponded to the Hebrew alphabet (aleph, beth) which are numbers as well as letters.



 Around the same time animal cards were being published showing the wisdom of different animals. An excellent site showing animal wisdom is here.


I decided these systems were a sort of algebra, not of quantity but of quality. I began to improvise with my own cards. For example, the tarot card of the Hanged Man shows a man suspended by circumstance (in my deck hanging upside down by one foot). I substituted a spider, waiting, suspended in a web (you need to know that I find spider webs awesome reflections of how everything is connected).


Then I created cards for each room of a house. Before reading for someone, that person would have to describe what each room meant to him or her. Is the kitchen a warm place for family gatherings? For creativity in cooking? Or does it mean the drudgery of chores? Is the garage the place where you maintain your means of moving through the world or is it a place where you store your tools? Or is it cluttered with forgotten stuff? Because a person IS their space, laying out these associations physically can lead to meditations about what is meaningful in that person’s life.


So is it your subconscious that is showing you these meanings or is it the Universe?


Or is there a difference? Is it possible that somewhere deep in your subconscious you merge with the Universe? Is that where the mystical experience of non-duality comes from? Is that perhaps the reference of the Hermetic saying “As Above so Below”? The microcosm is the macrocosm?


Using symbols tends to separate us from actual experience. But the multiplicity of symbol systems show how the One thing has Many names and relationships depending on how they are viewed. To me, that is like an old roll top desk. You know, the ones with all the different drawers and  cubby holes inside.



I figure each person has a desk and each of those desks has its own unique arrangement of drawers and cubby holes. The space, the air in the desk is Life and each person divvies it up into their cubby holes their own way. But when the drawers and cubby holes are taken away, everything in Life is connected. Simultaneous. Non-dual. Always has been. It’s just our cubby holes that make it look divided.


The poet William Blake said it this way:

To see a world in a grain of sand
And a Heaven in a wild flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.

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