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Thursday night I taught Enkaku Chiryo Hô, the technique for remote healing, to my Okuden students (Reiki level 2). We learn a variety of traditional and non-traditional methods for treatment, as well as discussing the philosophy behind the practice. Then we do two different healings using two different techniques. I always have each person do a healing for an individual of their choice, then we do a group healing for a bigger community-wide or worldwide situation. As it turned out, the philosophical lesson I learned that night was immediately offered to me the next day as a real-life challenge.

Thursday night I asked what they wanted to do for the group healing and one person suggested the civil war in Syria. I’m embarrassed to say that current events is not a strong suit of mine. Other than knowing that country was in the headlines, I didn’t know any of the details of what was happening there. But of course knowledge isn’t necessary for healing, and as we began our group meditation I let my mind contemplate a country that was torn by war and a government that destroyed its citizens. Not knowing anything about the leadership of the country, I attempted to connect with the government to bring compassion and healing. I felt that this was rebuffed and compassion was overshadowed by zealotry. I then attempted to connect with the militants who were the perpetrators of the violence, and again found no connection on the level of compassion. Finally I moved my awareness to the victims of this divided country and amid the sense of horror and helplessness I felt an openness to compassion. Was it true? Was it possible that the abused could feel compassion for their abusers? And yet I realized it was the only possible solution; these were the only people in the cycle capable of compassion.

One of the precepts of Reiki is “Be compassionate for yourself and others.” The more removed we are from an event and the people involved the easier it is to experience the enlightened abstraction of compassion. To bring that compassion down out of its comfortable spiritual realm and shine its light into the dark and painful shadows of hurt, despair and sorrow can be uncomfortable and sometimes painfully impossible as rage and anguish eclipse it. The word compassion means to suffer with, and true oneness, divine unity, insists that we experience the pain in order to release it.

After hearing yesterday about the tragedies of the killed and wounded schoolchildren in Connecticut and Beijing, I pulled some cards to answer the question, “How can the tarot help us heal?” Three sets of paired cards produced Justice reversed and the King of Cups: compassion for unfair events, or events that upset our emotional balance; the Wheel of Fortune and the Queen of Wands: putting energy into bringing about change; and the Ten of Wands paired with the Seven of Swords: what responsibility do we bear when we feel violated? Tarot helps us heal by always reminding us that the only thing in life we have control over is ourselves and our actions. No one can take away from us our ability to choose how we respond to overwhelming circumstances.

For myself, I recognized the harmonious symmetry of having realized one day the abstract concept that the victim must be compassionate for the perpetrator because it is the only channel for compassion to enter the situation. And the following day I was offered an opportunity closer to home, less abstract, to offer compassion to those who suffer and those who create suffering. So today I ask myself to bring my responsibility one step closer yet and ask who has brought suffering into my life and how can I bring the oneness of the divine to that situation and experience both the pain they feel that causes them to create suffering for others as well as my own feeling of the pain they caused me. I found something deeply personal and surprisingly relevant as I sunk my awareness into my own experiences to find my hurt and the corresponding compassion that would release it.

What suffering in your life demands the divine unity of compassion?


Joy Vernon is a Certified Professional Tarot Reader and Reiki Teacher in Denver, Colorado. Her specialty is the Empyrean Key Transformational Guidance, which combines energetic and esoteric modalities to help her clients break through blocks and align themselves with their higher purpose. For information on upcoming classes or to schedule an appointment, please visit

© 2012 by Joy Vernon. All rights reserved.

Joy Vernon
Joy Vernon

Joy Vernon is widely recognized as an expert tarot teacher and respected community leader. With over twenty-five years’ experience teaching energetic and esoteric modalities, Joy brings expertise and practiced familiarity to her specialty of esoteric tarot, which layers astrological and qabalistic symbolism onto the traditional tarot structure. Under her leadership, the Denver Tarot Meetup grew into one of the largest and most active tarot-specific meetups in the world. Now Joy runs the Greater Seattle Tarot Meetup. Joy works as a tarot reader, astrologer, and teacher in Burien, Washington. To learn more, please visit

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