I love photography. In a former life, I was a photographer for an anarchist newspaper. Which meant taking pics during riots and protests. Oh, and running from cops. Those days are long behind me but photography has never left my blood. One of my intentions is to begin getting more serious with my camera in the future.
My time is scarce at the moment but I find myself often taking pics with my iPhone (aren’t phone cameras just the greatest invention ever?) while walking about in my daily life. These photo walks are a way for me to practice mindfulness as I capture what’s around me. I find it highly meditative. Some days, I pick a tarot card and then go looking for it. Recently I pulled the Tower. I asked myself: “what am I ready to release?” The picture above was the first Tower I encountered. I was at a stoplight when I saw it looming above me. It made me started thinking about the frequency I was sending out to the world. Is what I’m putting out helpful or not? Hmmm….
The next day, I continued my photo walk, searching for the Tower. Instead, I found a few other tarot inspired shots such as this cloudy Sun:
I also stumbled upon this sweet memo:
A stack of logs conjured up images of the Ten of Wands:
This gorgeous shot reminded me of the Two of Wands:
And then suddenly I spied it – The Tower. A nest precariously balanced high up in a tree. For now, it seemed stable enough but a breeze in the air was a reminder that even the most sturdy-looking structure could be torn down in the right circumstances. Ah, how fragile we all are! This made me think of impermanance – and how ultimately, everything must go at some point or another. In other words: release attachment to all. PROFOUND.
Meet Danielle Cohen. She’s not only my photographer but she’s also my friend. Danielle and I talked about The Tower on the morning I pulled this – and these are the pictures she captured on her photo walk.
I asked Danielle a few questions about intuition, photography, and oracles. Here are her fabulous answers (see why I love this woman?):
What role does intuition play in your photography?
Danielle: This is such a great question and the answer has so many layers. Simply put my intuition is present with me every step of the way, from choosing to work with a particular subject to the type of light, environment, and equipment I might opt for. But maybe my intuition is most profoundly at work when I’m in “the flow” of a particular session or project and following the impulses I feel within me. Things get really magical because I allow for my intuition to have a say in it all.
How has photography deepened your connection to the divine?
Danielle: I have a threefold answer to this lovely question.
First – when I pick up my camera I always bless it and ask that I will be effective in my ability to translate the divine beauty I see in my subject through my photographs.
Second – when I view the world through my lens time slows down a bit, I see less because so much is left out of the viewfinder and this deepens my seeing of what I am looking at – my subject. Inside of these connecting moments, I always feel a heightened awareness of the sacred beauty in front of me. These moments of divine/human communion are one of the things that keep me coming back to photography again and again.
Third – When I see my photos, I tend to find myself humbled and reminded of my human-ness, in that I am each time made aware that I will never be able to fully capture anyone’s remarkable beauty in its totality. I don’t find this discouraging though, I actually find myself inspired to continue to try and translate the exquisite nature of my subjects through my photographs.
Care to share some tips on how people can use photographs as oracles?
Danielle: First – have fun with it! Using photographs as oracles can be powerful and meaningful and it can also be a lot of fun. In addition, it can get you loosened up and making photos, you wouldn’t usually make.
Here’s one fun way to approach it….
Pull a card from your favorite tarot or oracle deck and let that card be your photo prompt.
You and I just did this and we pulled the “Tower” card, from that card we interpreted “what needs to go?” as our prompt.
I grabbed my camera, walked out my front door and walked down the street saying to myself “what needs to go?” and shooting whatever I felt drawn to. I didn’t try to find something that made sense or matched the question I just let myself play.
It always feels a tiny bit uncomfortable, like I’m not going to find the meaning, or get it “right”. This is actually a good sign I and lets me know I’m really in the mystery and not controlling the process.
My next step is to pull the photos off my camera and edit the ones that I feel most drawn to. As I do this, I (always) find myself surprised that the messages are indeed there for me.
So, in this case, the overarching answers that came through my photographs in response to my question of “what needs to go” were-
Doubt – there is in fact, magic afoot.
The need for an either or – the both and is where it’s at, let go of the need to have a finite answer.
Clutter and excuses – do the work you’re here to do don’t create clutter and unnecessary distractions as a form of what Steven Pressfield calls “resistance.”
A few more tips for using photography as an oracle::
1. Keep it super simple – a five-minute photo walk right outside your front door (or inside your home for that matter) has all you need. The divine really is everywhere.
2. Trust your impulses – let yourself be guided and see what happens. This is an excellent exercise for building and nurturing a relationship with your inner guidance.
3. If it helps, give yourself a parameter. Choose a question, card or word to be your prompt. Set a limit on time or how many steps you will take before you have to make a photo.
4. If you hit a roadblock and don’t “see” the message, make a note of the photos you took and the intention you held and put it away for an hour, a day, or even longer. Revisit it from time to time and see what shows up.
5. When interpreting your photos, you can look for archetypes, words, stories, symbols, colors, emotions or an overarching theme. There is no wrong way to do this, be brave and believe in your interpretation.
*Bonus idea… Once you’ve done this a bit on your own, it can be SO fun to partner with someone else and share what messages you see for each other.
That’s Danielle above. She’s seriously one of the best human beings I know.
Would you like to learn more about tarot and photo walks? Curious as to how I view the world through the eye of a Tarot card? Or how Danielle views photos as oracles? If so, join us on Saturday, March 10th in Los Angeles, California for this fabulous day-long tarot and photography workshop: Through the Tarot Lens. There are still a few seats open.
Wanna win something cool? Check out The Ultimate Tarot Toolkit Instagram contest. I’ve partnered up with Angelo Nasios and Luna Prosperity for this fun giveaway. The winner will be drawn on Monday – there is still time to enter.
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What I’m Grateful For:
Eyes that can see
Soundtrack for 2/3/18:
Still Alive by Spook School <-I LOVE LOVE LOVE this song!
© Theresa Reed | The Tarot Lady 2018
images from personal collection and Danielle Cohen