Friday, August 21, 2020

The dragon sits on your shoulder and other messages from the Index Card Oracle

One of my favorite games in my workshops is the Index Card Oracle. I get everyone in the circle to write something - a summary of a dream, an incident from memory, a reflection or a favorite quote - one one side of a 3x5 index card, as legibly as possible. We gather the cards into a deck. I then ask everyone to write down an intention for guidance, expressing this as simply and clearly as possible. ("I would like guidance on....") I then go around the circle, offering the deck. Everyone pulls a card at random. The game requires us to pretend that whatever is written on the card is a direct message from the universe in response to the intention for guidance.

The message may be obscure or ambiguous but, hey, that's how oracles stay in business long-term. As a divination deck, our Coincidence Cards can't be beat. We come up with a one-time deck, exclusively for us, that will never be used in this form again.

Of course, some of the messages are "keepers". My journals are stuffed with index cards whose inscriptions remind me of big dreams and coincidence fugues, of wildly funny incidents and of moments of insight and epiphany when we punched a hole in the surface world and saw into a deeper order of reality.

I've been looking over my collection of Coincidence Cards and I'll share some of the messages here, without attempting to recall the specific meanings that each of them assumed in the context of the intentions. Notes from the dreamworld included:

I’m in a wedding procession. As we walk down the aisle of the church and step up to the altar, I realize we have entered a diner.

Circus elephants circle around linked trunk to tail, lovingly, caringly giving each other a way to follow. Each is a leader as much as a follower.  

I’m in a large room where we each have to fly up to the ceiling every 2 or 3 minutes to breathe, as if the room is under water.

I was traveling from one space to another looking for my dad and my dog who have recently died. In what space would they now be? Are they standing in the galaxy? Are they in my dad’s house? Or in a new landscape by the sea?

 I recognized myself as a spider. The spider spits white webbing around the people. I am told, “It is a unifying force”.

The Moon goddess stands in her majesty above the Sea of Tranquility. She is flanked by her armored Moon soldiers and carried on the back of a giant crab moving gently through the sea.

The dragon sits on your shoulder. His fire breath drives back the dark.

Two men are taking me to my execution by beheading. I fight until my mother appears and tells me it will be okay. I submit myself to the execution and I am happy.

A jaguar leaps out of the forest and into the driver’s seat of a pink Firebird convertible. It morphs into a cartoon version of itself, puts on sunglasses, and drives away, waving as it says, “Hasta la vista”.

Standing near the refrigerator. The door opens, it’s packed, there is movement. Oh my, the turkeys are alive and they want to come out. Some of the messages come from observations on the roads of everyday life: My daughter hands me the feather of a blue heron and tells me I will need it this weekend.

A red passion flower lying in the roadway all alone.

A death’s head skull is floating in mid-air. I look for its origin and find that it is the reflection of a pattern on a woman’s purse.

A salmon pink trumpet-like flower opens before my eyes, bursting with joyful life

Some of the cards contain insights harvested from the workshops: 

You do not need to hunt your power. Your power will hunt you. Find a sacred space where your power can find you.

Throw out your net and fish in the River of Dreams.

The child does not need to grow up to be complete.

In playing the Coincidence Card game, we sometimes draw our own card, which is statistically improbable and often very interesting. It suggests, for one thing, that you already have the answer. You don't need to look outside yourself, only to go deeper within. Over the years, I've assembled quite a collection of cards that I wrote myself that spoke back to me in the game. Some of the messages are from dreams: 

A woman is falling to earth from a great height. I spread my falcon wings and swoop down to save her, catching her just before she hits the rocks. We soar straight up into the air before I gently bring her down to a house on a headland overlooking the water. I leave clear instructions for her on living on earth. 

Some are reflections: 

Before lightning strikes, it sends down probes to find its path to earth. In a similar way, we are rehearsed for BIG events by trial events, which may be diversions, dead-ends, first sketches or caricatures of what will come later. Don’t mistake the test drive for the big journey. 

Some are quotes: 

Everything can be taken from a man or woman but one thing, the last of human freedoms: to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. – Viktor Frankl 

On the last day of one of my depth workshops, I wrote on an index card a summary of an essay I had been working on in the early morning. My intention, in consulting the Index Card Oracle that day, was simply for "guidance on the week ahead". I drew a card from the deck. When my turn came to read out my message, I found I had drawn my own card. Here’s what it said: 

In the miasmic conditions of life on this planet, it's easy to forget the mission you came to fulfill. If you are lucky, you'll get a reminder - from a dream or another person with stars in their eyes. 

That, for me, was the right message, for the week ahead and for any week.

Now my ability to get on airplanes and lead on-site workshops has been shut down by the pandemic, I find it very satisfying – and sometimes shocking – to draw a card from the huge deck of cards I have collected in past gatherings. This brings back delicious memories and sometimes gives me starter dough for new writing and a spur to fresh projects. And messages for any day and every night.


For a full description of how to play the Coincidence Card Game, and variant versions including one for creative writing and storymaking, please see my book Sidewalk Oracles: Playing with Signs, Symbols and Synchronicity in Every

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