Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Tarot, food and change

Continuing my theme this week of change and our attitudes to food, I thought I'd draw on the strengths of the tarot to help.  So, adapting a basic three card spread and using the Gaian Tarot, I asked:

1) What will help my relationship with food? 2 of Air

Here we see a woman taking her own pulse, listening with her inner ear to what's going on inside her.  The first thing this suggests to me is that listening to my own appetite, to when I'm hungry and what I need to nourish me, will help me to improve my relationship to food.

However, this is something I have long found very difficult.  Years of not eating between meals, or not eating until it was convenient according to someone else's schedule have habituated me to ignoring my hunger.  As for what I desire and what I need, they have long felt miles apart.

I am hoping that by following the suggestion I gave in my last post of eating small, regular meals with a balance of protein and carbohydrates this will in time change so that I can tune in to myself in the healing way I see this woman doing.

2) What hinders my relationship with food? 10 - the Wheel

When I first saw this I thought, "How can such a positive card be what hinders me?"  Then I thought about the sense in which the Wheel is about the continuing cycles of change in life, and that resonated so strongly with my last few posts on flexibility and change!

In many ways I consider myself very adaptable and open.  However, doing the Eating Disorder course really pointed out to me the ways in which I wasn't even aware of how rigid I was in some areas (especially around food) because those rules had become so much a part of my life that I didn't even think about them.

Hence all these exercises to foster change and flexibility - I've been doing my one a day of the yes-no exercise :-)  Certainly, the butterflies suggest the importance of being open to change: otherwise we cannot grow, transform and fly free.

Another idea which springs to mind is the fact that so many of us no longer eat according to the season.  With air freight items from around the world, we can eat whatever we want to, whenever we like.  However, there is something very grounding, real and respectful of our body's needs in following the seasons.  It is reasonable to eat warmer, heartier meals in the winter and maybe put on a bit of weight, to eat more light meals of fresh fruit and vegetables in the summer and lose weight.  With our ideas that we should be a certain weight, as well as ignoring individual and genetic differences we also ignore seasonal variations that are normal!

3) Guidance on changing my relationship with food? Explorer of Fire

I smiled when I saw this vibrant figure!  She is so full of passion, daring and trust.  She isn't afraid of getting burned, and does what she feels is right even if it isn't easy.  Equivalent to the Knight of Wands in more traditional decks, in the Gaian Tarot she seems less of a fly-by-night and far more grounded.  She is willing to explore, experiment and trust that something will come out of this.  Dancing with fire is not something learned in an afternoon; she is willing to dedicate time and energy to this pursuit.

Another thought that came to mind is that playfulness is a part of this, too.  In trying to change my relationship to food, if I focus on the shoulds and oughts I will simply make myself feel bad.  If, on the other hand, I can hold these ideas lightly and make change a dance, a game,  then I have a far better chance of succeeding in the long run.

This idea of shoulds reminds me of another exercise, which Deanne Jade suggests will trick the subconscious into not resisting healthy options, called the and/and strategy.  The notion behind it is that, if I go into a shop and see an apple and a chocolate bar, my inner parent will say, "You should have the apple!", my inner child will say, "Mmm, chocolate!", and I will probably end up having the chocolate but feeling bad about it.  With the and/and strategy, I would have both the apple and the chocolate.  Do this a few times, and I might go into the shop and actually think, "Mmm, apple!"

So, this Explorer of Fire suggests playing with the idea of change, finding games and tricks to make it easier.  She is open to exploring and trying things, to putting energy into seeking change, because she/I know it is something worth believing in and working towards.

Will anyone else come and play with me, exploring their relationship to food and/or change?

Images from the Gaian Tarot by Joanna Powell-Colbert.


  1. Hola, me ha hecho pensar en lo que estas trabajando, son muy interesantes los ejercicios para cambiar los hábitos, creo que la mayoría de las personas tenemos una programación de nuestra infancia respecto a la comida, esas cosas que se me vienen a la mente que me decía mi madre "no comas estrehoras, ni chucherías, ni antes de cenar..." al final el acto de comer se hace muy rígido. Ultimamente estoy cambiando un poco mis hábitos, comiendo a media tarde Frutos secos o a media mañana... O prestando mas atención a la comida en el trabajo, ahora dedico tiempo y me voy muchos días con mis compañeros... Antes no lo hacia y por la tarde me sentía decaída
    Por cierto, eso se debe al Loco, ;) que esta desordenando un poco mi vida y me cuesta mucho dejarlo entrar... Creo que voy a utlizar el ejercicio de las 10 cosas distintas cada día
    Por cierto, siento tener que escribir en castellano pero es que me siento incapaz de hacerlo en ingles, mi nivel es muy malo:(
    Llevo varios días leyendo tu blog y esta genial, me gusta mucho, lo seguiré mas a partir de ahora

  2. Hola!

    Gracias por escribir, en el idioma que sea. Me alegra mucho que te ha parecido interesante los ejercicios para fomentar el cambio. Y es muy cierto lo que dices de la programación en la niñez! En el curso, también se habló de esto: la profe lo llamaba nuestro "guión sobre la comida". A ver si escribo algo sobre esto, y unas preguntas para explorar tu propio guión ;-)

    Me parece estupendo que intentas mantener tu nivel de animo y de nutrición a traves de frutos secos entre tiempo - hago lo mismo :-D

    Eso del Loco no es siempre fácil, pero seguro que a lo largo te servirá de mucha ayuda. Me encantaría saber que tal te va lo de el sí-no ejercicio.

    Hasta pronto!

  3. Por cierto , soy Laura, te escribí como anonymous porque no consigo que me salga que soy yo, a ver si esta ves funciona ... Esto es parte del loco ;-)

  4. ¡Hola Laura!

    No estaba segura de quien eras, gracias por aclararlo :-) Si que parece que el Loco te está tormentando un poco, pero por lo menos esta vez funcionó.

    Besos y hasta pronto,