The universe is based on patterns of expansion and contraction. It is the big bang to the death of stars. It’s the weather, the life of plants and other non-human beings. It manifests socially in our dynamics with others and in rebellion against structures of power. It is the pulsing, beating wave that is the constant yet unpredictable symphony of being on earth and in this universe.
Within the world of the mind-body, somatic contraction is a very normal response to experiences of stress and pain. However, trauma and coping mechanisms can cause contractions to be stored within the muscles and fascia as bands of tension that manifest as lived patterns, numbing, discomfort and affliction.
When we move towards expansion or somatic opening, we are able to feel more alive and connected to purpose. In The Politics of Trauma, Staci K. Haines explains how the movement between contraction and expansion can be regulated by facilitating moments of trust, resilience, joy and pleasure within the body to change the narrative. This is not an overnight process and can last a lifetime, but can simply begin with awareness and the curiosity to work with the soma with a bodyworker or through practices such as feldenkrais, yoga, mediation or deep stretching.
Summer is at the peak of expansion within the cycle of the year. Life is green, rich and warm; the light shines for the longest it will for the entire year. St John’s Wort, a bright yellow flower picked in the height of summer, is used medicinally to support the nervous system, especially for seasonal depression when the days grow shorter and there is less light. This spread asks the cards for greater understanding and integration of the healing qualities of summer’s expansive nature, so that this medicine can be used all year-round like St John’s Wort. What lessons does the summer have to teach our mind-body in regulating and assisting areas of contraction to move towards opening?
- Theme of Expansion: What is the theme of this summer’s expansion and how can I work with these energies? Where is joy, aliveness, pleasure and presence showing up, even in unexpected places?
- Sharing the Light: How can the energy I’m receiving in this expansion be of service to others? What tools and gifts do I hold that can be shared to support others?
- Exposing Discomfort: What wound is this expansion bringing to the surface and what can it teach? Who or what can be called in for support?
- Summer Medicine: What is the medicine of this cycle’s seasonal expansion? What work do I need to do to integrate or store this for later?
- Expansion to Contraction: What must I release to prepare for contraction as I begin the journey towards autumn?
This tarot spread was originally published in the Ignota Diary 2021. The Ignota Diary 2023 is now available.
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