The Coolest People Are In Your Own Backyard: Interview with Miriam Jacobs

Feeling positve in this often difficult era, finding answers to sometimes perplexing questions—sometimes, we all need a little healing, a little help . . . Miriam Jacobs, of Polarity Wellness, who recently moved from Albany to Emeryville just down the street from our loft is one of those people who are quietly doing marvelous things along those lines.

Originally from New York City, Miriam was a visual artist there. But found she herself increasingly drawn to the healing arts. And so, she trained in Polarity Therapy at the Polarity Wellness Network in New York City and was certified by American Physical Therapy Association.

What is Polarity Therapy you might ask? It’s a holistic health care system, a blend of modern science and complementary medicine, developed by Dr. Randolph Stone (1890 -1981) that balances life energy in the body through the five universal elements: ether, air, fire, water and earth. Polarity Therapy gives practical applications to restore energy patterns in the body through bodywork, exercise, nutrition, and communication skills.

At some point along the way, Miriam became intrigued by the Tarot. She’s been reading tarot cards now for 25 years and has a following of clients who come to her regularly. She also does workshops and events involving Tarot. In order to better combine the elements of Tarot with those of Polarity Therapy, she embarked on the creation of her own deck. This deck, a tremendous labor of love, titled Polarity Wellness Tarot, is now available.

We met here at the loft on a sunny afternoon over a pot of lemon-rose tea. When we had settled in at the table, Miriam took out her cards and asked me to pick one—which turned out to be the High Priestess—meaning, among other rather fabulous things, that in doing this interview we should listen to our intuition. Perfect!

Kathryne: What was your goal in creating this very unique deck?

Miriam: I wanted to make a deck that I could use in my sessions. What happened was that my clients would come in with so many questions. If people are “in their heads,” it’s hard to balance the energy in their bodies. So, I would have them pick a few cards and that would help. Then I realized how effective it would be to make a deck that is cohesive with the concepts of both Tarot and Polarity Wellness. I was also building from a project I had done with a friend called Energy, Art and Tarot, where we found art images that matched tarot cards from world art. Since I have a background in visual arts, and I always did photo related collages, I was able to use these techniques for the images on the cards. Also, I wanted to make the tarot less daunting for beginners, and to inspire people to make a mind-body connection.

K: How is this deck different from other tarot decks?

M:   The Polarity Wellness Deck is a somatic version of the tarot. Its structure is similar to classic tarot decks. The significant difference is that the cards in this deck indicate where in the body to focus attention, how to move energy, and for healers, what type of touch to use. The deck integrates elemental anatomy found in Polarity Therapy, together with self-growth systems inherent in the Tarot such as astrology, numerology, and in the chakras. Knowledge of any of these is not necessary, but it can be helpful in understanding and using the deck. And you can see that on at the top of each card, there are color-coded symbols representing these systems. Also, every card has a Polarity energy man in the lower right hand corner, highlighting areas that indicate where to focus attention. This integration of mind and body is completely unique to this deck.

K: How long did it take to complete the deck?

M: Well, a little over three years. The cards have gone through lots of transitions. So even though I was creating the images digitally, which seemed that it would make it easier, I spent hundreds of hours experimenting and refining. But the initial idea of bridging the two systems came about when I first stared studying Polarity Therapy in 1994.

K: Do you have a particular card, or cards that you have an affinity with?

M: Yes, I do. I love the Wheel of Fortune, which is a Major Arcana card, it symbolizes a change of fortune. It’s a very supportive card—the wheel always turns, there’s always something expansive; if the energy is moving, so is your life. Anything can happen!

But some of the cards can be a little difficult, the seven of swords for example.

K: I always think of seven as a lucky number.

M: Not necessarily in terms of the tarot. But there are positive aspects to all of the cards. That’s where my polarity training comes in, and I’ve been reading the cards for such a long time. I’ve found that there is a “gem” in everything, a lesson involved. The cards may also tell of cautious times, or times when we must back away; that can be very important in your life. The cards can be used alone, or together with body-work, as an informational tool to help us make decisions. Why ask a friend what to do when you can ask the Tarot!

K: What is a good way for people to begin using the Tarot?

M: Well, I would suggest that they get a deck, and that they pull a card at the beginning of each day. And then, when the day is over, read what the card is about, how it relates to what happened during that day . . .

K: One last question—in these days where the world often seems crazy, I think all of us are looking for something positive. Is there a card in the deck that can just make us smile?

M: Yes, the Sun card. It’s happy no matter what. Just completely and totally positive!

Don’t miss the party celebrating the launching of the Polarity Wellness Tarot on November 14th, from 7-9 pm at (what could be a more perfect place) the Cafe Aquarius Astrology Center, 1298 65th St. in Emeryville. Refreshments will be served, you can see a demo of the deck and purchase it at a discount!

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