An Evening With James Wanless
Santa Barbara, Jan. 23, 2015
James Wanless gave a talk at the Paradise Found metaphysical store in Santa Barbara last Friday, Jan. 23, 2015. The message of the evening was Balance as represented by the major arcana Justice VIII – the year 2015 numerically reduced to eight. This year is the Chinese Zodiac year of the sheep, goat or ram with peace, harmonious co-existence, calmness, and balance being the primary and fundamental mood of the year. This sounded great to me!
James is the creator of the Voyager Tarot. This collage-style tarot deck was created in 1986 and features a bright montage of photographic images from various cultures. James described his development of this deck as an effort to bring the Tarot into the present and away from the medieval, European bias of the Waite-Smith (WS) style tarot. As a nod to Tarot De Marseille (TDM) predecessors, Justice is placed as VIII and Strength as XI. This deck has been well-received by the tarot community and commercially successful with over 250,000 decks sold to date.
He is also the creator of the Sustain Yourself cards and handbook and author of Sustainable Life: The New Success, Way of the Great Oracle and other works. He describes himself as a “visionary, educator, artist, new thought leader”.
I’ve been fascinated by James and the Voyager Tarot for over a decade. I worked with his cards in the rebirth of my tarot studies many years ago and had a few emails exchanged with him asking for clarification on the use of reversals in his deck. (He doesn’t use them, but would see them as the “unevolved” energy of a card).
Balance sounds great, but James was wise to point out that there is danger in stasis. In esoteric numerology with reference to the numbers one through nine, the eight represents a female “receiving” aspect and coupled with the concept of balance, is content with keeping things the same. Challenge and instability are created in the odd male numbers, but this is how we evolve. So in fact there can be too much of a good thing. I guess that we need balance in balance.
Justice also carries a sword. James challenged us to think of an area of our lives that was out of balance and discuss it with a person you were sitting with. He then gave each of us a card as a solution to this issue and asked that we also discuss this with our partners.
I have had an issue with money. I am a great saver, but it pains me to let go of any substantial amounts of money. This has been a serious imbalance for me. My personal message from my card, the Child of Crystals, was to fully appreciate the wonder of the things that resources help to obtain rather than to focus on the process of accumulation and disbursement. James didn’t leave it at that. We were charged with making a commitment to take “one baby step” in the direction of curing this imbalance. I am buying that IPad! I’ve been putting this off for over a year while my completely filled IPad creeps along.
James message is that the purpose of reading cards is to empower people to make decisions that enhance their lives. He says that “There are no bad cards!” I practice this approach and found it empowering to hear it. However, in my opinion, no one is immune from learning whatever lesson they need to learn in this life or the next no matter how empowered they become. I have room for a bit of Destiny in my worldview.
James is a world traveler and comes to Santa Barbara only around once a year. It was great to meet him in person and be taught by such a profound and learned individual.