Friday, July 3, 2015

A Time Line

Written during a waning moon in the sign of Aquarius on a day ruled by Venus

Dear Readers,
Today as I chose my card of the day, I found that I had discussed it already so I chose another card, but again, I had already discussed that card as well.  By the time I was finished, 4 cards had appeared and so spake the tarot.  Today I will layout the mini-spread of the day instead of one card.  
Here are the cards in the order they were chosen:

 The Emperor appeared first and I rejected it immediately, knowing I had spoken of it before. The Emperor is not a negative card but it's one I don't really relate to, as I seem to always look at the darker side of this card which speaks to control, sternness, authority, a stern authority figure.

And this is why multiple cards are almost always necessary in order to read the situation correctly. So I kept The Emperor and chose a few other cards to support it and to continue the story.

The Next card is The Devil.  When you compare these two cards, you see that The Emperor is not so bad after all.  The Emperor is instructing me to take control, and not to become attached to the influence/control of others.  This combination also suggests that there is no need to be attached or governed by others and that to do so at this point would be my option, one that would likely greatly limit the vast possibilities in life.

The Sun shows the progression, should I banish The Devil.  This is the dawning of a brand new day , a rebirth, a new start.  The sunflowers indicate success, the child, unbridled enthusiasm, the wild horse, the influence of spirit and of course, the sun lighting the way.

 And finally, the Page of Swords appears with his walking-stick wand ready to embark on a new journey, a solo one, controlled only by his own passion, directed by his dreams, and fueled by his sense of adventure.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Star - A Magical Life

Written during a full moon in Capricorn on a day ruled by Jupiter

Dear Readers, it's another misty start to the day, which makes it easier to wake slowly. The Star is my card for the day, and it's most welcome in my life with its dreams come true message. Even though most sources use this interpretation, I see this as the core of the meaning.  Just as a witch believes in hidden powers that are the true source of the magic, it is still necessary to play a part in the creation of the spells, the perfect mix of the right ingredients to combine energies that will work. As the ingredients are gathered and mixed, the focus and will of the witch is added as well.  Without that, it is simply going through the motions and/or blind faith. The image on the card, with one foot on the land and the other in the water speaks to this process reminding us that it is neither this not that, but the new unique energy created by this and that.  I often see this card as the "If you build it, he will come" card reminding me of the strength of personal power, of determination, will, faith, and focus.

This is The Star card fromThe Original Rider Waite Smith deck which is the one I read with as I love the coloring of this deck.  The immediate feel you get from this card is magical, mystical.  The woman is naked in her rites and she intently and purposely carries out her ritual.  The stars are all aligned in the sky.  Although this is often referred to as the "wish card" this wish is not granted without the involvement of the seeker, although it may indeed feel that way.  Sometimes the only and perhaps the best magic to use in any situation is performed in the mind.  Without the intent focus and the physical work towards the goal, the power will be weak. Perhaps the ritual itself is simply a way to encourage our focus and will.   

When this card appears in a reading it is a good omen.  Things are in the seekers favor and situations should work out in a positive way.  There is an element of magic in this card, so often it appears in regards to almost hopeless situations, and when it does it is there to renew the faith and confidence of the seeker, for without that, success is not likely.

The next image is from the Mythic Tarot.  The Star is illustrated with the image of Pandora and her curious nature, which caused her to open the box that contained all the evils of the world. In this card we receive the cautionary tale of The Star card.  This speaks to the great caution that must be taken when working with the unseen energies of the world.  It causes us to consider the elements of magic, and the responsibilities of the seeker in his/her own life.  Wishing and hoping and obsessing is not enough to bring dreams into reality.  This of course also warns us against using unethical tactics to achieve our dreams.

How did we get here?
Let's take a look at how we got here by putting the star in  sequence with the other Major Arcana cards.
The Tower is the card that comes before The Star.  An important part of the message of this card is symbolized by the sudden, violent nature of the tower's destruction.  It may look like an unexpected event, but surely the pressure must have been building over time, so there must have been signs, warnings that simply were ignored.  In other words, when The Tower appears, the seeker has, in some way, seen it coming but turned a blind eye to it.  Since the next card, The Star suggests divine intervention, it would make sense that anything that is keeping us from getting to the point of The Star, must be eliminated, one way or another.

And after The Star, comes The Moon.  This is a mystical card that prompts our base instincts as well as our powers of knowing that we so often disregard.  The Star Experience is likely to strengthen a belief in the unknown and in our own powers of perception and will.  The moon takes you to another dimension of life, and since we are also practical, logical humans, we must learn to combine the two energies in our lives.  The journey through this time, illustrated with this three card grouping can be a very powerful, life changing one.  And like most of these kinds of experiences, it often begins with a trial.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The One Card vs The Three Card Reading

Written during a waxing moon in the sign of Sagittarius on a day ruled by Mars

Dear Readers, 
It's so interesting that the "card of the day" practice is one that is recommended to new students of tarot.  I love the way this practice becomes a way of life, and makes such practical and natural use of the tarot.  But, often it's also one of the most difficult ways to read the tarot.  It is not easy to read one card, especially if it is not drawn in response to a very specific question.  So many of the symbols of the cards play off, add to, explain other symbols found in other cards.  Unless we have a very specific question, one card will likely lead to another.  And that's ok, and the reason that a better practice is a three card spread.  This spread is still far from complex and as such, is a perfectly good substitute for the daily one card draw.  In my own practice, if the one card of the day is a puzzle, I make it the starting point, and add two additional cards.
If you are new to tarot, I recommend that you add a three card reading to your daily tarot exercises. Learning to weave the symbols from multiple cards together to reveal the story is one of the most important skills of the tarot reader.   You could use the "card of the day" as the first card and then drawn two more cards.  Or you can pull and interpret your card of the day reading at the beginning of the day, take notes, and then at the end of the day add two more.  At this point you can compare what the one card's message was, and what the message of the three card message is, as well as compare the energies at the start of the day with those that were present as the day progressed.  

Here are the three cards I pulled today.

The first card, the one that I would normally call my "card of the day" is the Five of Wands. 
This card represents competition rather than an aggressive battle.  There is something going on that is more like a game that tests skills.  No one gets hurt but someone will ultimately win.  Since this activity was not about winning, we see i's worth in the experience and the sharpening of our skills through healthy competition.    My personal take is this.  I understand this is not aggressive and is just a normal part of life, but I still do not like conflict of any kind, so therefore, I would not be a willing participant in this "game."  So we move to card 2.

The next card is The Four of Cups.  In this card an opportunity arrives in the form of a gentle nudge. This is more to my liking, of course, than the "healthy competition," but I'm still pretty standoffish.  Why? Well, I have my own very neatly lined up cups to look after, so why would I take on another one?  Oh, but that hand in the cloud.  It's a gift. Why wouldn't I take it?  Because I tend to do that.  And regret it  later by the way. And so, we will need to have a look at the third and last card.

Ahhhh, yes.  This is more comfortable.  Taking my time, letting things grow, but tending to them all the same.  Such a very civilized way to go about things, don't you think?  But this card points to my tendency to lack stamina, lose interest, or be unable to see the value of the results of hard work. But wait, what about that one pentacle right in front of him.  Is this the seed, the offshoot of the other healthy prosperous plant?  It could be, but the man is pretty focused on the original planting and doesn't seem to notice the new growth. 

So far, it looks like it's perfectly ok and up to me in regards to which approach I take with a situation.  The end results all look positive, and I can still remain in my "comfortable place."  All good.  But maybe we should take the same cards and look at them in their numbered sequence?  Yes, let's.

In this sequence,  I start out being pretty disinterested, completely satisfied with the ways things are, thank you.  So satisfied that I am overly protective of my way of doing things and completely disinterested in anything the universe has to offer, no matter how lovingly it is offered.

So next we realize that it's going to be the easy way or the hard way. And by not choosing the easy way, I am now experiencing the harder way.  However, again, this card is not usually about pointless struggle.  At least I will learn from the experience, and from the talents of others. 

And yet, I still end up in the exact same place.  Interesting, no?  This speaks to the issue of fate and choices, allowing things to happen naturally or being very involved every step of the way.


But we also have to look at the card missing from the sequence. 

I decided that since each one of the other cards were of a different suit and the missing suit was swords, then the missing card in sequence should be the 6 of swords. Because the missing card is a sword, that suggests that the situation is being influenced by physical actions, emotional feelings, and passion, but what may be missing is logical thinking, planning, and making ideas reality through determination.

In this case, the six of swords suggests that there is the need to apply all the available energies into a project, but without being stubborn and shutting others out, or rejecting opportunities and possibilities. 

Looking at the card, we see unexpected help, moving us from one place to a better one. The warning here, however, is found in the cargo.  All the swords are being taken along with the woman, and likely weighing down the boat.   So this card asks us to allow things to happen, relinquish control, and resist overthinking or worrying and to let life's journey simply unfold.

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Hierophant- The Old Ways

Written during a waxing moon in the sign of Scorpio on a day ruled by the moon.

A hierophant (Ancient Greek:) is a person who brings religious congregants into the presence of that which is deemed holy. The word comes from Ancient Greece, where it was constructed from the combination of ta hiera, "the holy," and phainein, "to show." - wikipedia

Dear Readers, Today I had a rare visitor.  The Hierophant is not a frequent sight in my personal readings or in my life, but when he/she is, it is life changing.  Yes, The Hierophant is The High Priest, a person in charge of sacred rites, but this word is also defined as "advocate."  During my early days with Tarot I was taught that this card represented institutions, particularly learning institutions, but could also represent corporations, government, authority.  As time went by I noticed decks were often using a more spiritual image of The Hierophant, and this made much more sense to me.  
When I chose this card today, I felt it was important.  So much of my past was about finding a spiritual teacher, exploring spirituality, dabbling, learning, growing. There were so many Hierophants in my life and all instrumental in my spiritual growth.  Today, however, the card was not about someone else, it was about taking my turn at being an advocate, passing down the traditions, revealing the secrets.  The image of the Hierophant in the Rider deck is so very formal and ritualistic, and some may be put off by the formality of it, but truthfully, this sacred is formal, traditional, ceremonial, and about carrying on the traditions and practicing the sacred rites, not only to honor spirit, but lest we forget.  I think the important message the hierophant brings is one of education, spiritual teaching, enlightenment and guidance. It is the call to focus and learn the traditional ways, uncover the secrets, and assure that they are never forgotten.

 I imagine that this card prompts some mixed feelings from those who have difficulty with organized religions.  Of course, in readings it could represent just that, but more often than not it is about formal and traditional teachings, usually of a spiritual nature, but it can indicate formal institutions as well.  In today's world, many people are suspicious and afraid of "the man" and some think the world would be better off without organization.  Many believe that we can forgo years of study and practice if we have a "gift." But The Hierophant knows better.  Today we live in a world where anyone can decide to learn and do anything, but once upon a time you were chosen, sometimes even before birth, as the next apprentice, the one that would inherit the secrets and carry on the traditions. Then, unless you were chosen, you did not have the option to learn.  Today we have so many opportunities yet so many people do not take advantage, believing that it is not necessary, or that they already know all they need to know.
So often today we want to skip past the the usually long study and apprentice period and dive right into whatever is our latest attraction.  But does anything valuable come without time and effort? This card reminds us that traditions stand the test of time simply because they are timeless, and others continue to carry them on.  The student will one day become the teacher, the apprentice becomes the expert, the initiate becomes the shaman. 

In the Wildwood deck, this card is called "The Ancestor," which I believe is a more understood title, easier to relate to.  It speaks perfectly to tradition, inheritance, responsibility, and the things in life that are handed down, often out of reach to most. 
The Wild Unknown image below is brilliant in its simplicity, yet suggests that "when the student is ready, the teacher will come."  It prompts us to be aware of opportunities and signs.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Five of Cups- Crying over Spilled Milk

Written during a waxing moon in the sign of Scorpio on a day ruled by the Sun.

Dear Readers,
 I pulled The Five of Cups today and I immediately noticed how familiar this image is, as in everyday life familiar.  The world is full of people crying over things, things that they can't fix, times they can't go back to, people they have lost contact with, opportunities they never had or had and lost.  All the while they have a perfectly decent life, and maybe have had some really great experiences and maybe they even have opportunities available that they are not even recognizing because they are so busy being miserable.  The people who are not miserable seem to have to remind themselves of their good fortune by purposely being "grateful" as if happiness depends on this gratefulness.  Gratitude is thought to be some magical charm that is going to keep the bad stuff away.  Well, I have lived a few years, and I haven't seen a bit of proof of this.  But I have seen people who live satisfied lives without an ulterior motive, walking through each day accepting it as is.  They cry over their sorrows, they laugh when they are having fun, they say goodbye to old friends and introduce themselves to new ones.  They just "get on with it."  That's the message this card delivers.  "Stop your wimpering.  Every day is a new day."
 Ok, that is no-nonsense version of the card, which will inevitably be useful if you intend to read tarot for others.  This card may visit when someone has come to you for a reading because they have been to several readers who haven't told them what they want to hear  - that something of value in the past is going to be theirs again.  Of course, you must be a kind, empathetic person if you are to read the cards for others, but if someone is stuck because they will not move on, you have to at least call them on it. 
Sometimes the best way to do this is the straightforward matter-of - fact way.  For instance, I once read for a woman who was still pining for a man who was no longer in her life.  The cards were hopeful.  There was a man, a good relationship coming into her life represented by the Knight of Cups.  I saw this as a new person, not someone she already knows, but she wanted that card to represent the man she was still pining for (no wonder she wasn't in a new relationship!)  She asked if this was the man she hoped it was, and I simply said "No."  She then tried to make the card fit the person she wanted it to be.  She reasoned that "it could be, right?" and I simply said "No."  She eventually accepted the answer and listened to the reading with an open mind and in a couple of weeks she was dating a new man and they are now married.   To this day she still talks about that reading and how stubborn I was with her.
 The Five of Cups in the Mythic tarot shows a similar yet different scene.  (I know this deck is related to certain Greek/Roman myths but I have never found it useful to consider the myths while reading these cards.)  What I see in this card is another possible reaction to loss.  This is a "flight" card.  The cups are overturned, something is over, lost, finished, but the moon's light is shining in the distance and she is drawn towards the great unknown, the next thing, a new day, the future. It is their way of lessening the pain. Obviously, people who have a habit of moving from one thing to another without taking time in between have their own set of issues, but there is a middle ground.  We should accept endings, disappointments and loss as a part of life and be open to the next chapter, applying patience and acceptance.

The final image is from the Deviant Moon Tarot, and it is very similar to the Rider image, but there is an addition of another person involved in the situation.  The nagging woman here represents what I usually generically refer to as "The Others."  The Others in our lives are the ones that always know what's best for us and what we should and shouldn't do and they will be happy to tell us what they think of everything we are doing and not doing right even if we do not ask them.  The man in this card doesn't want to hear what she's saying because he already knows what she's going to say, and he may even know that she is right, but for right now he is not interested because he's handling the situation in his own way, the only way he can manage it.   So it's good to remember that when this card comes up it doesn't always mean that the seeker should move on, but that eventually he/she will.  Until then coping is the best and sometimes the only thing you can do.  Of course a full reading of the situation will reveal what the best advice would be.  Sometimes the seeker needs a bit of a push towards the future, but sometimes he/she needs some healing time for reflection and solitude.