It’s hard to know what to say when the energies of a spread for challenging times are not the sort of soothing, “it’s not as bad as it seems” response we’d like to see. That’s the case with this Gateway spread I laid to help us get a handle on what we’re going through, as a global species, in this pandemic. I promise, by the time we get to the end of this reading, there will be a vision worth the challenges of the journey.
The positions I chose are “what we must leave behind”, “the gateway we’re passing through”, “what we must activate to move forward” and “what’s in the background throughout”. The deck is The English Magic Tarot, one of the decks I enjoy using at RenFaires. The deck itself speaks to the need to shut down as much auto pilot as possible, acknowledging that life has a new twist and requires fresh eyes.
We can see lots of rough, challenging change in the Fives of Swords and Coins. King of Cups wants us to be emotionally mature during the transition (anybody else throwing up their hands here?), and VI The Lovers speaks of difficult choices.
If you haven’t already run away to hide under the blankets or eat a giant-sized portion of the ready-at-hand comfort food, let’s look deeper at what we’ve been thrust into.
The contentious, winner-take-all Five of Swords is in the What We Must Leave Behind position. Thank goodness for small favours there. This is the energy that keeps us at each other’s throats, constantly re-fighting old battles until we’ve vanquished our opponent for good and all. Which, of course, never actually happens. In this deck, we also have a reminder of how useless it is to lose our heads over battles we cannot win. The Red Queen’s go-to “Off with his head!!” must leave our repertoire. It’s the fight to return to what used to be that is futile. The very hard news is that we don’t have that option.
The Gateway we’re passing through is the challenge of insufficient resources. Many are feeling the financial and material strain of the Five of Coins. Most are aware of the low energy reserves; those who are dealing directly with the Covid illness, most of all. We’re out of our “I know how to handle this” comfort zone. Everything takes more effort than usual.
There’s a call here to help each other where we’re able, even though we’re all tired and strained. Benefactors may appear, but they may often miss the mark, because their concern is more with their reputation or ego, than with the need surrounding them. We need to make sure we’re not moving toward generosity with that attitude. We’ll need to keep our eyes open to our fellow travelers through the portal, noting what they truly need to get to the other side with us. We are all the walking wounded right now, doing the best we can. Many of us may back through the Gateway, not yet able to turn from the past toward the door that leads to the future. That door is not yet open, and we don’t yet know what’s on the other side.
(Brief pause for perspective. . . . It would be wonderful if this were the sort of reading that was predictive. Although my readings often appear that way, I don’t focus there. I prefer to read the energies around us with an eye to helping us make use of what’s there, keeping us focused on the helpful dynamics and the signs and landmarks that mark our journey. It’s more about recognizing the useful path and being able to stay clear of the dragons and thorns, than it is about being able to say “here’s what’s waiting, now let’s play victim to it, good or bad”.)
Thus far, we’ve talked about tough and necessary change. We must leave behind the malicious energy of futile conflict (yay!). Our journey asks us to give up resources we’re used to drawing on, moving through the Gateway even though we’re tired and don’t really want to go.
What We Must Activate to Move Forward sends us deep into our souls. VI The Lovers is less about finding the meant-to-be relationship and more about recognizing how the choices we make impact our lives. It asks for self-awareness and self-knowledge and self-acceptance. It’s not about cutting off the parts of ourselves we don’t like; it’s about listening as deeply in the soul as we know how and making our choices from there. Easy to say when choices aren’t bound by, oh, keeping a roof overhead or fulfilling responsibilities to family or work. This is not about beating yourself up for not being able to see the way to follow your soul’s lead; it’s about tuning into your soul where you’re able, and not losing sight of what’s there, even when you can’t find a way to follow it yet.
VI The Lovers speaks to letting your inner drive, as well as your practical magic, have a voice in your daily life. It considers options, recognizing that some opposites can coexist while others are irreconcilable. Where does aggressive power and the subtle persuasion of natural cycles find a meeting point, a sharing of minds? If this doesn’t sound easy, the reassurance is that it gets easier the more you learn the habit. This is one of those growth energies where the Universe will be happy to help. Dip your spoon in, and you may find you have a whole meal. Dip your toe in, and you may find yourself caught up in the dance.
The most superficial layer of VI The Lovers is more obvious: how do we make time for those who mean the most to us? Again, there are choices involved. This one, not that. Sometimes the ones eliminated are not the convenient ones. Other times you discover that the choices you’ve made so far have already led you to a meaningful life built with a partner or family and friends. The beauty of this energy is that, the more you integrate the various aspects of you, the more your outer life reflects who you are.
King of Cups is What’s in the Background Throughout. At base, we won’t be able to get through any of this without being disciplined about our emotions. Yes, there are lots. Yes, lots of them are about tough stuff. No, ignoring them will not make us more effective. No, dumping them all over everyone around us will not allow us to do the deeper work that’s required. We’re going to have to be grown-ups about our emotions. Sit with them, feel them. Recognize where they provide clues and impetus into the new lives we’re all discovering. Feel them in the background of everything we’re dealing with. And do the work – all that stuff we’ve just discussed – anyway. When we have our mature emotions online, our creativity kicks in, in unexpected ways, at unexpected times.
This may not be an easy transition for any but the superheroes amoungst us – and even then! Take a minute, though, to focus on what a new world would look like if we were all in touch with the empathy, compassion and emotional tolerance that the King of Cups represents. What would the world be like if we were all able to live a life that represented the deeper aspects of our souls, if we were all able to make contributions to our communities that were meaningful to us? The transition itself is temporary; the challenges of the Fives will pass. The beautiful energies of the King of Cups and VI The Lovers have staying power. We can grow into those potentials if we keep our focus on that vision. This is truly an evolutionary giant step for humanity on planet Earth. We can do this. And we can do it together.
I’ll be presenting 3 highly participatory workshops in March and April, 2 on tarot and 1 on numerology, all at On the Wings of Dreams, in downtown Shepherdstown. You can attend one or more; the first one is the only one with a limit on attendance (and we’ll just create a waiting list and a second date, if need be.)
Tarot . . . It’s Easier Than You Think is a fun way to get acquainted with the basics of Tarot, using The Tarot Game © by Jude Alexander. If you’ve always wanted to learn tarot, this is the time and place to start – or carry on with what you’ve already started. There’s space for only 6 intrepid students to explore tarot basics while building a reading. Since space is limited, advance registration (with payment) is required. To book your space, call 304-876-0244. Thursday, 10th March, 6:30 to 9pm; $30
Tarot Spreads: Mapping the Landscape will get you up to speed for information gathering. Now that you’re familiar with some of the inhabitants and landmarks in the Tarot world, how do you organize your materials so that you have as much information as you’re looking for? We’ll look at how you can build spreads of your own. Come with your tarot deck and an area of your life that needs clarification; you’ll be reading a spread of your own creation. Prerequisite: Tarot . . . It’s Easier Than You Think or other Tarot experience. Thursday, 21st April, 6:30 to 9pm; $30
Numerology: Numbers as Patterns will have you looking differently at the numbers in your life. In the esoteric world of Numerology, numbers aren’t just quantities, they’re qualities. In this introduction to the art and science of Numerology, we’ll look at your personal numbers, as well as some of the numbers that surround you. You’ll leave the class with keys to your own treasure chest of meaning in your life. Thursday, 7th April, 6 to 8pm; $25
Sign up via email, or by phone call to On the Wings of Dreams: 304-876-0244.
I love it when the cards are this literal!
Here we are, at the winter solstice when the sun seems to hang in the sky, not moving from its ever-changing trajectory. And XII The (immobile) Hanged Man shows up.
When we’ve looked at XII The Hanged Man before we’ve seen a slightly different image. All the images so far have had a person hanging upside-down from a tree.
One of the gruesome things humans have done to each other is to hang traitors or other perceived criminals upside down by one leg. Yes, it’s a method of execution. And that is how XII The Hanged Man is perceived in some branches of Tarot.
Prometheus would certainly fit the definition of “traitor”, if we’re looking from the perspective of Zeus, who designed the punishment. Of course, from our point of view, Prometheus is a rebel fighting for a worthy cause.
It’s all about perspective.
And that’s got a lot to do with XII The Hanged Man: taking a pause to view the world from a different perspective. Stopping the current forward momentum to assess and change direction.
Kind of like what the sun is doing right now.
For those of you celebrating Christmas, I wish you a blessed and hope-filled holiday.
Have you noticed times in your readings when particular cards show up over and over? You know, kind of like the kids poking you in the arm, “Hey, Mom”, “Hey, Mom”, “Hey, Mom”.
Well, it’s exactly like that. You’re continuing to resonate with a particular energy and your higher self is letting you know it’s an important thing to be aware of.
Sometimes it’s stuff we don’t really want to pay attention to. But you know that’s exactly when the kids poke at you harder, right? Or go off and get into big trouble that takes even more of your time and attention. And we learn we’d have done better if we’d just interrupted the course we were on to attend to the pokey kids.
XIX The Sun is usually a welcome interruption (especially at this time of year, here in the northern hemisphere). Unless you’re terribly shy and hate being seen out in public. Or unless you’re really comfortable putting on the dog and hate being seen for who you are.
In the William Blake Tarot, we’ve got the sun on the horizon of the river of life. We’re encouraged to jump in the river, to immerse ourselves in life, in our most naked, authentic and vulnerable state. It’s as if we can go with the flow and follow the river right to the blessings of that sun.
It’s the participation in life that is really the reward of XIX The Sun, being out in the glorious world, sharing from our natural inclinations, being received for who we are in spirit.
Shine it on!
As you’ve probably noticed (hello, anyone out there?), this is no longer a “weekly card” feature. It’s a “whenever I can make the time for it” feature.
And hey, no judgements.
Except this one.
I much prefer Aeon to Judgement as a title for the XX Major card (which we’ve seen before).
We’ve got all those geological ages – Pleistocene, Jurassic, Cambrian and all that lot that you remember from Science classes or cinema dates.
We define what our seniors patronizingly called “stages” by the big things that happen.
And XX Judgement – or Aeon – lets us know that we’ve completed one of our own defining eras.
At the end of eras new things evolve. Or, for us, new characteristics and potentials are revealed. From behind the veil.
Most of us have places where the froufrou is hiding our real selves. “Putting on the dog”, we used to call it. XX Aeon describes us when the froufrou is a true expression of ourselves or it’s just g.o.n.e. Gone.
We have a sense of black and white about what’s our “job” and what’s somebody else’s, of what we want to do with our time, of where our mission lies. Rather than dress things up to flesh them out, we’re deciding me/not-me much more in line with our true nature, our true calling.
So dress yourself up, take yourself out for a stroll (minus the dog) and have at your new era.
Another first! Finally, a look at the inspiring 2 of Wands.
At the Ace, we get an inkling of a calling. Now that the 2 shows up, we’re getting a sense of where in the world we’re going to express that inkling.
Our inner enthusiasm, our inner drive, is seeking its outer counterpart.
Notice, in the Shadowscapes image, that our persona, accompanied by a whole tribe of fanciful fur family – the instinctual selves – is very removed from the rest of the world. In the Rider Waite Smith image, it’s the same situation: looking out at the world, holding fast to our Wand – our growing sense of purpose – considering possibilities from a distance.
So, where in your life are you feeling the call to express an inner ambition? Shadowscapes says we don’t have to be realistic at this point – let all of your inner voices have a say.
Now’s the time to look around to see where the possibilities are. Get a sense of how you and the outer world match – or don’t. If there’s tweaking to be done for a good match, do some brainstorming and planning.
Settle in with the match and the meaning that bring you the most enthusiasm. You don’t need to roll with anything yet; just get used to the possibilities.
And keep your big picture eye out for opportunities!
It’s summer re-run time. Mostly this is being re-posted because I love the photo.
What? This doesn’t look like any Tarot card you’ve seen? Me, neither. But I’ll bet it might call to mind a Tarot card or 2 (and feel free to let us know which ones in the comments section).
I love this! I’m a big fan of Tarot humour, even on the dark side.
So let’s take a break from looking at specific cards this week, to look at your approach to Tarot.
Is Tarot a Very Serious Undertaking for you? I like the respectfulness inherent in that. And you can look at possibilities for being respectful while keeping a big, questioning sense of humour. Partly because a lot of life is funny, strange and just plain peculiar. Partly because laughter helps free the mind to make the kinds of intuitive connections you’re making when you read Tarot. And partly just because it’s fun!
I love that our kitty is taking Tarot into unexpected places. Really, poker?! Can’t you just see the faces of the other players when that deck came out? “WTF” probably didn’t begin to cover it.
Find some unexpected places you can bring Tarot. Start with where, when and for what you usually read. Move into some totally outlandish ideas. Make yourself laugh.
What if your deck came with you to the salon and you only did hairstyles that were pictured on the cards you drew? What if your deck came grocery shopping with you and you only bought what it told you to? What if you took a drive with your cards, letting them telling you where to turn? Or if your side of any conversation was based solely on your deck?
Then dial it back to possibilities you could actually live with (although your craziness could lead to some outrageous adventures or, at least, a very weird diet plan!). Your energy level has dropped for no particular reason and you want to know why. You’re bored with yourself and need ideas for sprucing up. You need a new design for your garden. Rock and roll with your own ideas!
Kitty brings up another, sobering aspect to Tarot: actual peoples’ lives were affected by this episode. Okay, responsible Tarot use isn’t likely to kill you. But you are using Tarot to involve yourself more fully in your daily life. And that’s why you were right to have that Very Respectful Approach to Tarot: because real people with real lives are involved.
So find that personal balance between the lightness of humour and the responsibility of any of the intuitive arts. Enjoy the laughter and be humble about the privilege.
Now, excuse me, I’ve got to go laugh hysterically at the next good Tarot joke.
We’re meeting another regal presence from the Court Cards for the first time: the Queen of Cups.
As a person, this is the one who’s first foot forward is the emotional one. S/he’s involved and connected with those around her, directly from the heart. S/he’s the one you can go to for nurturing and comfort, for someone to understand how you’re feeling.
Most people are a mix of energies, and if we’re one of the lucky healthy ones, we can draw on all the Court Card energies when appropriate. So, this week, when you look at who might be influential in your life, you don’t need to find someone who’s all emotion and creativity with no rationality. Just look to the individual who’s most able to get into the emotional flow and stay there with you.
Elementally, we’ve got Queen as water in the watery suit, Cups. This is the level in the Court that’s most at home in the Cups environment. The image from the Mystical Cat Tarot has our Sea Queen in a flowing fountain. The Rider Waite Smith image has the Queen on a shell-topped throne at the edge of the sea, completely focused on her ornate Cup. This is a flowing, mutable, changeable, responsive energy. And it’s not to be underestimated: remember the long-term impact of water as waterfalls or rivers. Yes, the Queen of Cups will carve through stone, if need be.
Looking to your own character, where are you being asked to be emotionally connected this week? Do you have a creative project under way that needs the infusion of humanity that crosses time and space to reach its audience? How can you bring emotional response, especially with a feeling of nurturing, to as many areas of your life as possible this week?
Water your personal garden!
Aah, the big rainbow of 10 of Cups . . . .
We know rainbows from the biblical promise of “never again”. We’ve learnt what we needed from the deluge and don’t need that experience again as a species. Within Tarot, we know it from a reference in XIV Temperance, which we haven’t yet looked at. Iris, the messenger of the gods, brings heaven to earth with her rainbow.
Here, we’ve got the rainbow in the arena of connectedness: our emotions, our relationships, our creativity. We’ve come through a cycle, successfully integrated the emotional experience, successfully built a solid relationship, successfully carried our creation to completion. And now there’s time for celebration and appreciation of the cycle that’s just past.
Importantly, we become someone new at 10 of Cups. In the Rider Waite Smith image, we see gratitude, welcoming the future with open arms, dancing with others (like there’s no one watching). In the Inner Child image, we’ve got the 10th heart (corresponding to cups in this deck) on the forehead of the mermaid, native to this suit. She’s become the healer of the winged heart, able to touch the sky.
Along with preparing to jump off into our new cycle of connection, we’re charged to share what we’ve gained with others, to expand our community, to demonstrate our deepened capacity for connection.
So . . . where will you share this week? And where will you go next?