Understanding the cards, Part I-the Atua
Te Kete O Te Ao Mārama come in two boxes, Set One (Essentials), and Set Two (Deeper Learnings). There are reasons for this. One way to envisage this is to imagine that they reflect how the Earth is structured.
At the centre is the inner core
Further out is the outer core.
The next layer is the mantle, and finally,
There is the surface of the Earth, the part which faces towards IO.
We are, in many ways like the Earth.
Set One divides into two sections.
Part One is the Atua.
They contain wisdom from IO Matua Kore, the ancient Māori spiritual tradition. They chart Hineahuone’s journey from immortal goddess to fully human, emerging as Hinenuitepo. The journey begins when she confronts Whiro, the atua (god) of Fear and Death, and completes when she passes Rehua, the Goddess of Unconditional Love. In the process of facing each of them, she grows and develops until she is wholly human. AND THEREIN LIES the message.
We are here, in this life, to undergo soul development. That is, after all, why we came. And, as much as we may see it otherwise, major personal growth generally comes in times of struggle. And from times of struggle. At the end of our journey, our body (on loan only for one lifetime) returns to Papatuanuku, our mind returns to the Collective Consciousness, and only our soul journeys on, with whatever taonga (treasures) it has gathered in the walk it has led across a lifetime.
Whiro is the first card in Te Kete O Te Ao Mārama, the first atua Hineahuone must pass. Fear and/of Death. This is what tends to keep us in slavery, be it to our own desires, or to another.
Then there is Rūaumoko. When we meet this atua, it is usually because something has happened in our lives to shake things up, be it a death of a loved one, redundancy, illness or some other personal earthquake. When this happens, a crisis is upon us. How will we cope?
Tūmatauenga, the God of emotions and war (war is an aspect of emotion) is next. Anger is natural here, for it is a part of a grieving process we are undergoing, the loss of an old and perhaps comfortable life, and rather than hide our emotions and run from them, we should instead go towards them, for then we can resolve and understand our feelings.
Following Tū is Tāwhirimātea, the god of the winds. Now Change is blowing through our lives, and we know things will never be the same again. Like a yacht under sail, we are being carried on a journey to a new place and shore, one we had never envisaged. The lesson here is to surrender to you soul’s will, so what is needed can take place. For deeper understanding, you can read more here.
Then as time passes (and it will be different for each of us, sometimes lasting months or years), we will meet the Twins, Uira and Whaitiri, Lightning and Thunder, or the flash of enlightenment and the slow rumble of understanding, when we finally “get it”. Now we are beginning to understand what is going on. Perhaps ewe have a sudden “aha” moment, when we understand where we are. And why we are.
Now we are ready for Tāne Mahuta, The Lord of the Forest, and the God of Creativity. Now we are beginning to think about the way ahead, and to make some creative choices, to begin building again. We might well ask: what do I really want? What do I really want to be? Why am I here? These are all questions to ask in the presence of Tāne Mahuta.
We are over the hump. Now we have less painful atua to face (although each of them can and will prove a challenge).
Haumietiketike asks us to consider our destiny and why we are here. It may be that the path before us is one we might never have envisaged, and it might be a path which scares us, because we are not sure whether it is the right one, or whether it will work out. Here is the challenge, for Haumie asks us to take a bold leap of faith and move forward into an uncertain future. One way to quell the jitters is to ask yourself? What is the worst thing than can happen? A good and wise friend once gave me a piece of good advice. Put a stake in the sand, Tony, and if it doesn’t work, then move it and start again. It is interesting to note how many of the world’s top entrepreneurs and most successful businessmen live by this motto. So…what are you waiting for?
Tangaroa is the God of The Sea. The ocean sustains all life on the planet in one way or another, and thus he represents abundance. When he appears, he is asking you to remember and celebrate the abundance in your life. Breathing is a good place to start. Celebrate the fact that you can breathe, and focus on that. Now move outwards and catalogue all the ways in which you have abundance. For a deeper understanding, you can read more here.
After Tangaroa comes Rongo-ma-Tāne. And Rongo’s province is Life Path, the deep reason why you are really here, what you have come to achieve in your life journey. By now, after all the journeying you have done, you will probably have a greater sense of what this might be. It can be something quite specific and simple, or a greater mission. Ask yourself what you would like to take with you at a soul level, when it comes time for you to pass. What will your legacy be?
You have reached Rehua, the Goddess of Peace. Now you can rest and be in balance, while still being present in the world. Now you are experiencing a state of integration and ease with yourself. Now you know who you are.
If only it was that way.
However, it is not.
Here is why. The Path is not a linear one, like a highway joining Points A and B. There is no destination, only ever the Journey. At some point old stuff will recur, or stuff you were not aware of, because you weren’t ready to confront it, learn from it, and continue growing. Now you are.
And you will find yourself back at Whiro. The journey begins again. This time, however, you have the benefit of experience, and your passage past each of the atua will be easier, and happen more quickly.
You are flowering once more.
Enjoy and celebrate the wonder of your own journey.