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The Whorled

Rachel Satterfield

How I Found Myself In the Whorled

In the summer of 2016 I traveled to my home state of Alaska to study flower essences with Steve Johnson. The training was on some other level- it was on ALL the levels. I experienced total inclusion of who I was in that moment, what my past experiences and future dreams were. I learned to listen. Glacier, tide, plant, human, animal, rock, sky- listen.

I was blown away by the practicality of flower essence medicine. It’s available at any moment simply by sitting and listening to the life all around and we don’t have to engage any other “more” magical plants than the ones right in front of us- the potted plant on your desk, the rosemary in the grocery store parking lot, the bright pink flower that you don’t know the name of yet.

That same summer I also went to the rodeo. My friend, J, of 15+ yr, had been wanting me to experience her home town rodeo for a long time. I drank the dollar beers, bought crystal jelly beads, admired quilts and crafts, cheered for the barrel racers, met Monk’s Hood on a walk around a lake, ate rabbit that J shot and felt pretty cool in general hanging out in town with J, herself a former rodeo queen and barrel racing champ.

I asked J how I should select a name for my new flower essence practice and her suggestion was to choose a name that could also be indicated visually, a built in logo. As we circled around semiosis, I picked up my field guide to Alaskan wildflowers and thumbed to the glossary. A page jumped out at me. It contained several simple line drawings of leaf arrangements, in the center was the author’s depiction of a whorl: an arrangement of leaves in a circle around the stem radiating from a node. I felt, immediately, certain that ‘the whorl’ would be the world that my practices would come to inhabit.

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‘Whorled’ is a spectacular homophone of ‘world’. The whorl is weaving, dancing, growing, concentric and eccentric movement, opposing currents meeting in the water and in the wind, our unique fingerprint and the sacred spiral of manifestation and liberation.

While integrating the whorl I made a strong connection between my practice and the World (or sometimes Universe) card in tarot. Simply put, the World or Universe card represents success in unifying all experiences.

I am card curious and I know many other tarot readers are as well. So I am looking forward to sharing posts on World/Universe cards from different tarot decks from my personal collection as part of an ongoing blog post series called “In the Cards”.

For now I’ll leave you with what Rachel Pollack has to say in her book “Tarot Wisdom” about the World/Whorled.

The number for the World is 21…. and 21 reduces to 3 (2+1=3). Card three, the Empress,, showed us Nature as the Great Mother. the words “mother” and “matter” both come from the Latin mater. In the World, we ourselves become a union of spirit and matter, Above and Below.

Put another way- with the Empress, we looked at the perception that the world, with all its billions of creatures, its rivers and mountains, sun and stars, was originally a goddess who in some ways was broken apart to form reality. This is not simply a story to explain the variety and complexity of nature. It comes from an unconscious awareness of unity. In the World, we might describe that original being as restored, but in fact the restoration occurs within us, when we can make what was unconscious fully conscious.

In the Cards

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