When the financial occurred in my husband’s corporation, he had it off to the accountant. I on the other hand found myself in the studio of my life coach and strategist Pierre Belanger. For me I have been a professional strategist for over 30 years. I knew the reality that was facing us and the scenarios we would have to consider. I had professionally mastered many other corporate turnarounds in the past, which had always included counseling the pivotal leadership that would have to dig in and take action they never would’ve thought possible. I therefore knew the depth and breadth of what I was facing, but this wasn’t going to be enough for me to hold myself and check as I stood by my business partner as we work through the unthinkable. As a mother of five, I had to uncover the survival strategy that would stop the bleeding and then to figure out how we would rise out of the ashes. In the language of the Tarot, I come face to face with the tower when the four elements air, earth, fire and water, not only work against you but they destroy the defining nature of the life that has to find you to that moment in time. I realized for many of my audience this might sound like a strange unconventional, I didn’t know maybe a “woohoo” way of coming to groups with my situation, and yet Pierre was the only person from whom I wanted to seek counsel. As a mater life strategist, I knew he would give me insights I was afraid and shocked to see and therefore act on. Pierre taught me and many of my leadership workshop participants a perspective on these 22 major patterns of behavior that make human experience known as the “22 Major Arcana.” Joined by 56 minor cards, they bring to life the dynamics that are at play, and therefore the opportunity to see decisions for what they are truly offering us at this very moment in time. There is no sugarcoating; no illusions of what might have been different, only the raw reality that now requires a new pattern of behavior. Armed with this wisdom I was able to live this meaning with a plan and a confidence that I had the power to turn the tower into a phoenix, in other words a strategy that would help me navigate the next several months awake to what I needed to pay attention to, rather than to becoming paralyzed by fear and desperation. Now, let me be clear, Pierre is not a fortune teller nor a future predictor. He is a man whose life has taken him into the noetic sciences, somewhere to my guest late last year Marilyn Schiltz, Ph.D. This is a field of applied research that brings objective scientific tools and techniques together with subject of Inner Knowing, so that we can really start to understand the full range of human experience. Pierre is a student who is a leader in integrating knowledge from desperate fields of consciousness, mysticism and science. He is indeed a man that is very clear about rationality. So, he’s the guy I know will always be able to give me the information that will trigger my innate wisdom like no other. So I ask you, those of you who are women, who are facing leadership challenges and therefore challenges in your own life, let yourself relax and listen into my conversation with Pierre, as he shares with us his unique and experience way of working with a medium that has not only survived centuries, but one that has more relevance today than in any other time to the complexities that each of us are having to navigate. Here’s Pierre.
Lesley: So my friend and guide mentor, Pierre Belanger, who’s with me today, I think that my audience is going to be a little bit intrigued by the nature of the work that you do in the counsel that you provide. So, why don’t you describe to me the people who seek you out and why they seek you out?
Pierre: Oh gee. Well, you know, I’ve been doing this for a very, very, very long time. And by osmosis people have eliminate themselves naturally like fortune telling, like people that are looking for boyfriend or a girlfriend. In time, they eliminate themselves just like if you live joyfully you eliminate jerks. If you live in prosperity, you eliminate people that think from poverty, however you define poverty. I’m not talking about money or whatever it is living in prosperity but you start attracting those types of people. Sob ultimately how I have always wanted to work was to provide… I guess I don’t even want to call it guidance, a perspective that you may not have thought of.
Lesley: But that I am aware of at some level or…
Pierre: Well everybody is aware of everything at some level.
Lesley: Yes. So it’s in play.
Pierre: But we’re not awake.
Lesley: Right. And so let’s just take that further. I seek you out because I know that there are dynamics in play. I’ve done the best I can to figure out what they may be and how they may be playing out, but there’s something really quite wonderful. Sometimes it’s not wonderful because it’s not the news you want, but quite insightful to have another interpretation done about these dynamics that you have a feel for but don’t really count what figuring on them.
Pierre: Yeah. And also, what happened is that you’re looking at your situation or someone else’s situation through the eyes of your imprinting, social, familial, even genetic. And what’s really interesting, very smart about tarot is that it doesn’t have a social imprinting. If you’re working with a deck that is neutral, what I call none, it doesn’t have a particular point of view other than there’s yin and yang in the world which is a traditional deck.
Lesley: So tell me about that deck that you tend to use on a constant basis, and you say the tarot doesn’t have a point of view. What does it have?
Pierre: It has 22 archetypes and you can operate from this particular archetypal model or deck particular archetype of model, and that’s the Major Arcanas as there are two decks.
Lesley: Just in case some of my audience doesn’t understand the notion of archetype, how would you describe an archetype?
Pierre: Well Google Young.
Lesley: Google Young okay. But it’s a character frame of reference; it’s an energetic frame of reference.
Pierre: Well, an archetype of the mother, right, the father, provider & protector. So, it’s a huge idea in which the reader—which is me—can perceive what aspects of the archetype are now at work, because I also have minor arcanas or we call the small cards with 56 of them and they provide catalysts to where we’re going to go.
Lesley: So, you see these archetypes as they’ve come out in the reading, and then you start to interpret what elements or dimensions of them are important for this person to know at this time, based on the interplay that they’re having with the other minor arcana cards.
Pierre: And the interplay they’re having between them and then the position of the card, right? So it’s like playing chess on three or four levels. And that’s where, I guess, the talent of the reader comes into play, or the experience of the reader comes into play, or the understanding or the intention what you want to do because I don’t want to predict a future. I want to talk about probable futures and can we find one that is optimal.
Lesley: Which I, as the client will be able to process and make choices in relation to that, so that I can make decisions that are conscious about where I go next.
Lesley: If I’m challenging my own imprinting, if I’m capable of challenging the current place I’m in.
Pierre: And if you are able to because when I’m doing the reading, you’re projecting your circumstances on that now, okay? And there will be some dynamics that we’re talking about that in fact will be much more active three months down the road, four months down the road, six months down the road because I usually work a year, unless you ask me different but that maybe active further on. And if you’re attentive, you will be like some of my clients that tell me, “Oh, I thought this was that. And you know what, in September, this happened and I got it. That’s what you were talking about, not what I thought you were talking about in October.”
Lesley: So, that’s why overtime you start to understand more and more about what this pathway of options really are.
Pierre: Yeah the client. I forget about it.
Lesley: Because that’s just a moment in time. Alright, so, I think it would be really interesting to explain to my audience what this notion of the circle of the master Major Arcana are. So It’s because it’s actually a development process that the human being goes through.
Pierre: Yeah and we really do it.
Lesley: Over and over.
Pierre: Well, there are certain aspects that certain people redo like your relationship with the tower is one that you’ve redone a couple of times and you don’t particularly like it. But in the sequence, if I look at the tower what’s the next card, the next card is a star. What is this star? The star is “I’m forced” because that’s what the tower does. I’m forced to go back to essence of who I am, what I am. I’ve been stripped and I have to go back to who I am, what I am. No choice. I guess you can only have a choice and repeat, and not go to essence of who you are or what you are and go to expediency.
Lesley: Which would be?
Pierre: “Well I’m going to take cocaine and it’s going to fix it.”
Lesley: By the way, I’m never told from that option.
Pierre: “I’m going to buy a new car. I’m going to get a new boyfriend. I’m going to get a dog and that’s going to fix it.” And I say, “Wait a minute, is essence of who you are and what you are, are you someone that always wanted a candle?” You say, “No I’m not” “Well why you buying a dog?” I’m being silly.
Lesley: No, no, because I think when we’re stretched we have different realities.
Pierre: “I’ll go shopping. I’ll buy new car.” And I say, “Are you really into retake?” And you say, “Yes I am.” “Well then open a store. Go back to essence of who you are and what you are.” In my case would be open a book store because I like books. And that’s part of essence of who I am, what I am if in fact I’ve put myself in the position where earth, air, water, fire have said “You’re in the wrong place.”
Lesley: Yeah. It certainly is a stop sign with a lot of energy around that stop. I mean, you do have choices about what you do next, I appreciate that fully. But when I see it, I go, “Oh my God, I thought I’d come through that one.”
Pierre: And so the sequence to some extent is devil, tower, star, and that’s the order that they are in –15, 16, 17. And the devil is simply, I mean, in our modern times I call it expediency. “I want this to happen now. Fast, quick, thank you very much.” “I want to be a writer but I don’t want to write a book that’s 250 pages and do the research.” Well I say, “Tweet.” And then what happens is that in fact, in time, you go into a tower. You’ll go into where earth, air, water, fire which usually supposed to work with us if you’re inflow doesn’t. So I have to tell people, “Well, the fire burns your house down rather than warming it. The water floods you rather than quenching your thirst. The wind literally blows the roof down and activates even more fire. And then the earth shakes just a little bit to make it more complicating.” So that’s the power.
Lesley: And so, the choices that we have to not kept to that point, is it in destiny that we’re going to get to that point or is there something else?
Pierre: You don’t have to go there. All you have to do is temperance which has the cards that precedes those. And in temperance we’re saying “Slow down, slow down, slow it down.” You’re doing all the right things but you want results today. Well, maybe it will, maybe it won’t but stop bitching. Stop looking for expediency. Stop looking to cheat.
Lesley: Um hmm. Or get the quick fix.
Pierre: Whatever it is. I mean, this is in sort of 18 century lower, this is the alchemist mixing elements. And we’re saying, “Well you’ve mixed all the right elements.” And you say, “Well where is the goal? Where is the beef and not here yet?” “So what do I have to do?” “Keep on doing what you’re doing. Be true to yourself. Be genuine. Be who you are what you are. Skip this and go to essence of who you are, what you are.”
Lesley: So I don’t have to go through those other stages.
Pierre: No you don’t, absolutely not.
Lesley: But if I’m imprinted and not challenging my imprint, that’s how we keep repeating patterns.
Pierre: Absolutely. And if you’re not awake, you don’t realize you’re doing it. You’d say, “How did that happen?” I said, “Well it is three times now.”
Lesley: You got the point.
Pierre: You know it’s three times; you always turn left when that happens. And every time we won’t end it yet when are you going to turn right?
Lesley: Good question. So take us back to the very beginning of the tarot in terms of where we all begin in our realm.
Pierre: Well we all begin as magicians, so it’s the first start of the taro. And then we’re introduced to our right first intuition. And then we’re introduced to the mother and then we’re introduced to the father. Those are all cards as you see here 1, 2, 3. And then we’re introduced to left brain…
Lesley: After we’ve been introduced to our mother, our father.
Pierre: Well yeah absolutely. Our mother, our father start teaching us, “This is what a boy is. This is what a girl is. This is what’s language is. So that’s all, left brain.” So, we address the world from a magician’s perspective which means it’s all potential on the table. Earth, air, water, fire on the table, you come in with some genetic learning if you want to be someone that believes in reincarnation, you’d come in with whatever and you are empowered. You will empower yourself to find what you’re about. But your first relationship to the world is not logic.
Pierre: Yeah. It’s right brain.
Lesley: And as we proceed through that…
Pierre: Then the mother— the empress, then the father— the emperor, and then left brain. …whatever you want to call it, academic learning and price that a lot in most societies. And because it’s a Major Arcana, you can look at it as academic. You can look at it as God’s law as interpreted by man. How does the pope interpret the bible? How does Islam interpret their Qur’an? So, these are the guys that do this and they’re usually guys. That’s why they show up male in the picture. Now it can also be depending on the reading, is that academically you need to go get more solidity academically or you’re going towards a doctorate’s degree.
Lesley: But our intuition is displayed by the high priestess. So, these are considered the yin and the yang in some respect or no?
Pierre: Not really. Yeah.
Lesley: They’re just different archetypes.
Pierre: They’re different archetypes and also the feminine is much more intuitive than the masculine.
Lesley: Because of time just take us around the rest of the cycle.
Pierre: Okay. And then you hit the lovers. Now people will say, “This is really, really early, isn’t it? This is about identity.” So, in the lovers, I made a commitment to the jinn of future. So, I can be five and start playing with musical instruments, and I’m making commitments to a vision of future as me as a musician. That may change as I go along. New best friend, I’m seven. “I really like this…” I’m looking for identity and commitment towards that identity. It’s true also in the case of when you get older, you need someone, and you say, “I’m terribly in love.” That’s okay. How many goals do you share that are in line with your identity? Are you being faithful to essence of who you are, what you are, because if you’re not you’re running into trouble. But in here this is simply about identity. The lovers are not about able to find somebody who wants to fall in love. If you don’t know who you are, you’re not going to find somebody that works. If you don’t know who you are, you are also not going to be able to say, “Professionally this is what I am” and you’re really comfortable with it and have an opinion or stance on something. And in order to discover if my commitment to vision of future really works, I have to go out in the world and that’s this charity.
Lesley: And just because we’ve got about a minute left, help me so then if we could start to go out into the world…
Pierre: We go out into the world; we discover what we’re made of. So that’s the card of strength. Then we stop and we say, “Okay, what’s the big picture that’s part of the hermit?” And then the wheel of fortune, we go back into the world. And then the world says, “Uh oh, there are certain laws that you have to follow. You want to open a girl’s school in Afghanistan? It ain’t going to work.” So, depending on where you are, these laws change. Then you find a way to be able to work with the laws that are there or in spite of the laws that are there, all of them. This is where genius starts happening, and that’s the hanged man. It’s the capacity to see things that other people don’t see because you accept to be flipped.
Lesley: You expect it.
Pierre: No, you accept it.
Lesley: Okay, you don’t expect it but accept it when you are flipped.
Pierre: Yeah. I’ve always wanted to go to the amazon. I get off the plain and I say, “Oh gee, this is a lot more human than I thought it was and there are crocodiles. Nobody told me about this and the hotel has bugs, what’s going on? I know longer accepting to be flipped. If I do accept to be taken out of all of my comfort zone and I open my eyes to the experience, I will have an epiphany.
Lesley: Oh that’s going to be my ability to be in the hanged man position.
Pierre: With your acceptance.
Lesley: Acceptance of it, yeah.
Pierre: Because you are in uncharted territory for you. And what happens when we have big hanged man is we die.
Lesley: Oh say that again.
Pierre: When we have a huge hanged man, we die.
Lesley: That’s flipping into a completely different…
Pierre: You go to India to preach. You’re a nun. You go to India to preach to these people how to live as a catholic. And in the course of the five years that you were there, you are exposed to form of Buddhism that is much closer to how you feel about your relationship with spirituality. You’ve been flipped what you do.
Lesley: Make a choice.
Pierre: Well you can either die. To all of your upbringing as a catholic nun and become a Buddhist, or you can say, “I can’t do that.”
Lesley: But your comment about death is not the physical death.
Pierre: We’ll it’s like a physical death.
Lesley: Because of saying goodbye to everything that you’ve known, in the way you’ve known it.
Pierre: Your father passes away, you are now an orphan. You’ve been flipped. Now, what do you choose to do because they go forward and backward? Yeah, I mean, what do you do?
Lesley: Because the card after this is temperance.
Pierre: Where in fact you give yourself the time to absorb the experience of dying.
Lesley: From shifting to one reality to a completely different one.
Pierre: Or a perception of reality. And that is where the hanged man at its highest. You can be an architect then you go to South America and you’d comeback, and you say, “Gee, they do stuff with brick here and cement. Why the hell aren’t we doing this in Canada?” And it flips your perception. And you go back to Canada and you start working with brick and cement that is totally different. You’ve died to what they taught you, and you are now constructing in a totally different mode.
Lesley: So my last question to you is, do we skip any of these in our lifetime choice or maybe I’ll skip the hanged man and I won’t flip into some other? Or is this progress of us as a human experience predictable in some way that will hit each one of these phases at some point?
Pierre: You can be as controlling a person as the top controlling. And you know what, there’s a point where you will have to go through some of these cards. Well, you will have to go through all of them where you will have moments of epiphany. I have a wonderful client. I knew he was going to be a lawyer. He became a lawyer. I mean he’s controlling all of that stuff. Even made a choice between a partner that was a lively, crazy, joyful and a partner that was stable chose stability. So he goes through that and he hits 52, and he’s controlled everything. And his right person has cancer dies. His partner in the law firm sees this. He himself is not healthy, he’s in his 50s. He says, “You know I’m retiring now.” And suddenly he has to deal with the fact that he’s in the hanged man and he’s not going to control everything. Now he’s a very smart guy and he realized, “You know, okay let’s look at this,” trying to get control of that. And then he goes through some of these cards to say, “If I want some measure of control back while understanding that I don’t have total control, how do I managed this and become a much wiser person?”
Lesley: But he has to let go of some of that control.
Pierre: Well he didn’t have any choice, didn’t he?
Lesley: Exactly. So that’s how it happens, right? I mean it’s just out of what we think, it’s not. It’s in play. And as you say in the hanged man, it’s how you accept it.
Pierre: It’s how you choose to say, “I will open my eyes to this resident panic.” I mean it really hits my first guide to the galaxy is first thing, don’t panic. Rule number 1, don’t panic. You are now on the spaceship so deal with it. And in that, you get an experience that changes at its highest level. Because I mean these archetypes, you have a very high level of consciousness and you can have them at a very basic level of consciousness which simply in the hanged man. It’s simply, you’ve eaten porridge all of your life and now you put maple syrup in it. And you say, “Oh my God.”
Lesley: This is all new experience.
Pierre: You’ve never tasted maple syrup, and you say, “Oh my God, I literally at a basic, basic level. I flipped it.” Because you said, “What are you putting in my park?”
Lesley: There are so much more that we could talk about, and I think we are going to do that at another time and place. But all I really wanted to achieve in this conversation is for people to understand the absolute, I don’t know. I call it sort of the magic mastery, and yet it’s not so much that the cards. They don’t have the story, it’s how they are interpreted that tells the story.
Pierre: Well they do have. I mean, the story is in the cards. I mean it’s in them. An obtuse story is a story of being human.
Lesley: And we’re going to end on that, amazing. Thank you.
Intention with this program is always the same, to provide a variety of insights, lenses and perspectives. A lot of it has to do around the patterns that we as women, as individuals in leadership sessions have developed to bring us to this point in our experience. And yet the question is, what would happen if we change that pattern and not to one that will undermine us but to one that will lead us further to enlightment? I am not suggesting by any means that anyone listening to this program has to accept or believe some of the things that I talk about, but I do respect that you listen and see what see nugget of value there could be for you. You know, I personally have come from a place of thinking that the tarot was a carnival game to understanding it to be one of the most mystic yet totally practical guides I have ever used in making really tough decisions. As Pierre tells us when something unexpected happens to us, first, don’t panic and then become awake to another source of insight that leash decisions and actions that If we are lucky will bring us to another stage of enlightment, awareness, awakeness for what’s around us for however along you can keep that channel open. To find out more about Pierre Belanger, you can find him on LinkedIn as Pierre P-I-E-R-R-E Belanger B-E-L-A-N-G-E-R, same name on Facebook. He does Skype sessions all over the world with people who are seeking to have this type of help in addressing stuff that may seem a little bit daunting at times. And, if generally speaking you want to have a clue to what other things are at play in your life, you know where to find me Lesleysouthwicktrask.com and Womenwholead.co, on Facebook Women Who Lead Radio Show. Don’t forget, this is your show and I am your host Lesley Southwick Trask. See you next time.