Five of Textiles

Every piece of fabric has two sides. Even
The simple ones do, though you can’t tell
The difference, and perhaps that is
What makes simple ones so worthy. I love
The complicated ones, with stitchery and
Patterns in the weave. Who can help admiring
the opposite, one side to the other? I am
Likely to wear the poor-looking backside of
A textile to fool the Fools. Let them presume
The poor gypsy wearing rags, frayed on
The edges and near the seams, if there are any.
I limp along through that fake hope of a
Crowd hiding scratchy interiors, towards my
Self, comfortable within, turning inside out.

2013 © Amanda Morris Johnson


Three of Vessels

Yes. This is the wet stamp of true
Triumph for containment. Kisses. An
Optimistic embrace of this generous
Moment when I can simply relax
In my soulful nudity and be who I am,
Right down to my emotional habits and lets 
Intuition guide me towards a state of ecstasy,
Shared with tender smiles and laughter. 
That it dares not cover my embarrassment
Instead stripping me down to susceptible
Joys that I wish would last forever, it’s
Like being in a naturally warm pool out there,
Impervious to weather, but eventually
I will have to climb out. Just not yet.

copyright © 2013 Amanda Morris Johnson

Two of Tools

Sometimes deciding on which tool
To use is half the battle. My struggle
To be correct, to find a solution that
Works for everyone has a surprisingly
Uncomfortable answer: vulnerability. I
Admit the false premise that this belt
Hung around my waist actually has
Something useful for every situation.
It is a step. Sometimes the tools
I have are the worst remedy and
Holding them is a dangerous peace at
Best, and so I lay them down at my own feet
Listening in silence, and at last access
The utility I abandoned: acceptance.

copyright © 2013 Amanda Morris Johnson

Sage of Tools

Finally, there is no avoiding this just and unjust
Confession: While the mighty blade protects and
Provides; it also defeats and destroys. As much a
Guardian as an Enemy, the equity of dreams
And nightmares of enlightenment, it comes to how
I use the edge that counts and that is why
I am wise to use it less than most. Grasping
The power weld with arms requires being adept.
Indifferent to the excruciating details of judgment
I prove life is as I want to live it, to be, because
I am an example of legendary existence.
Fairness is both illusion and true, and I bow,
Knowing there are no accidents, no mistakes.

The Sage of Tools is wise to how dangerous the tool, any tool, is in the wrong hands, and so he or she takes on responsibility for it in a way that no other card does, seeking neutrality even when it is illusive, and mastery of skills and strategy. I imagine this card as a sword master of old Japan, the Samurai class, who worked within specific disciplines. The sword allows for power over others, absolutely, but in this school of thought, power over one’s own passions counted as well. In many schools of initiation this is a peak experience, to master one’s passions and be able to live from a responsive and not a reactive place and finally live as an actor on the stage of life. As a Sage of this suit, we expect proficiency of some sort to occur in our mental work this lifetime. This is a different stage of learning from apprenticeship, advocacy or embodiment of principles of a minor suit. This is a refinement of mental skills taking place here and passing the trials that seem “impossible.” In all honesty, tests simply review what we have just learned and see if we really believe it and get it. An adept has done this and teaches that the main strategy is to stay alert and aware. Often called upon for strategic advice, to answer challenges no one else will touch and to be a surrogate judge in the affairs of others, the Sage of Tools offers a unique and honest approach to any situation that comes up because thinking five moves ahead comes naturally. Finally, the Sage of Tools understands that every rule is meant to be defied at one point or another, and views this aspect cheerfully because it simply means that there has been an evolution in that particular school of thought. When we think of this Sage in comparison to the other three Minor Arcana suits, we can think of the mental abilities, intellect and intelligence to be in dominion over the emotions, the body and the passionate spirit. This may cause some doubts of the feelings, the material world, and the spiritual drive to take precedence.

copyright © 2013 Amanda Morris Johnson

Five of Vessels

The challenge I have in removing regret,
That space that brings nothing but
Pain into my heart, is that it is a hook
In my heart and I am a dear wife who
Abandoned one life’s sleep for another on
The shores of a great, nameless sea. Truly
Determined that my children would have
Tomorrow and my dreams would have a coffin.
I float in a life raft, then, on this sea of
Time that never forgives me completely.
The process of grief unwinds hidden
Ropes that seem useless until I see the
Indifference towards my suffering. They
Say anchors are hope to sail another day.

copyright © 2013 Amanda Morris Johnson

Two of Vessels

Blessed are the mystic waters
Bagged up by glaciers in caverns
That spill over. Crystallization of
Those immortal years show exactly
How we’ve felt about our wet berths
Through time, frozen solid. Yet, there is
Potential for mutable and fluid release.
The liquid of dreams shared can cure the
World of illusions. It isn’t always the way
We expect healing to go. Clarity in a stone
Reflection of ice can be a load to
Handle, melting a drop at a time those  
Judgmental expectations until warmth returns,
and softness floods into a beating heart.

copyright © 2013 Amanda Morris Johnson

Ten of Energy

Light is enough, and so when we arrive
At the end, it is no different from looking at
The sun. Going blind is definitely a possibility
Because the loss of perspective about
What we believe has likely already happened.
Though we may be towing a spiritual line
That we understood before, now we’ve gone
Elsewhere with our passions, climbing into
This immense spotlight, the brightness we
Recognize in others hits our heart like a
Lightning strike that exonerates the difference
We were so sure of and dependent on.
Ultimately, it is going to outshine even that
Discovery and pivot us in habit, to begin anew.

copyright © 2013 Amanda Morris Johnson

Nine of Vessels

Those moments of self-knowing can
Be full of pleasure and indulgence. Now,
When I realize that my most precious
Vessel is this body, for it allows all
Enjoyment between shells and ships,
And if I were to float above it with orders
To leave, then I would understand all
The petty criticisms I endured from my
Own mouth were absurd to the point
Of cruelty. My need to feel points of
Pain have been unnecessary. Love for
My limitations, finally upon this threat of release,
Washes over me in a pool of gratitude. I am
Incarnate in this unique and sensual delight.

copyright © 2013 Amanda Morris Johnson

Eight of Vessels

In solitude, there are days when
The losses so mount that, resolved,
I jump the tracks, daring the procession
To run me down. Even leaping aboard
The empty cattle car, I let it
Carry me into the dark night of my soul.
I climb to the top and see nothing
But darkness leading to an obscure
Horizon guided by a sliver over sombre still
Grasslands, and as I skip from car to
Car, I see the snake slithering
Beneath me and I am calmed.
Onwards then, to the streak of gold
Lying deep within the creases of me.

copyright © 2013 Amanda Morris Johnson

Seven of Vessels

In defense of imaginary worlds, I’ve
Sailed the seven seas and dreamt up
Places insinuated, but never nailed down
To a catalogue of flora and fauna, and I
Might even stomp my feet indignantly
If asked to produce photographic proof
That these places that I rely on in my heart
Of hearts, the what I have faith in for
Inspiration, actually shore up my loftiest
Dreams. Can I exist in a world as mere
Storyteller, an artist with reasoned
Planning? That is not what adventure is
About after all – to choose the real one,
Finally, and go to a promise that is not there.

copyright © 2013 Amanda Morris Johnson