Sunday, September 22, 2013

Fall Equinox- Moving Forward

The fall equinox always feels like renewal to me. I tend to wither in the heat of the summer and September always finds me starting new projects. Big things tend to happen to me in the early fall. Today I have drawn one card from the Aquarian Tarot for a message on what do I need to attend to for the next three months to move forward.

My first reaction to this card, Judgement, was a big HA! Two days ago I had a fairly big disagreement with my mother about being so judgemental. I believe we're all judgemental at our essence level. It's the ability we tap into as we accept some idea and cast away others. But it tends to get out of hand and becomes a powerful negative attribute. It also happens to be one of the things I'm working hardest on to release in my own spiritual work. And skeptics might say Tarot has no relationship to anything.

In this beautiful card, I'm first drawn to the angel sounding a clarion call. The banner hanging from the horn reminds me of battle standards. The sun is peeking up behind the clouds, illumination at the brink of daybreak. All of these symbols are telling me that it is time to let go of the uncertainty that's been clouding my mind. Something big is calling to me, it's time to stop looking behind me, stop the self examination and step up into what is my true self. There is a time to dwell on the past (hopefully learning from it) but it is time to uncloud my mind and heed the call of my inner spirit.

The judgment card shows up very often just as you're on the brink of a major life event. It is heralding the dawn of a new day. If you draw this card and it's message is not crystal clear to you, take it as a tip to sit quietly and listen to your spirit. Ten minutes of meditation daily will help you hear your heart's messages. If you are facing a major decision and pull Judgement, I'd advise slowing down and reviewing all of your options. Get clear about your feelings. Sometimes the best solution is not the one that makes the most logical sense, but only you can decide.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Ace of Cups Reversed

Meet the Ace of Cups, Reversed. The Card of the Day that practically guarantees an emotionally charged, difficult day. Aces are the "Power" cards of the minor arcana. When your card lands upright, an Ace is a wonderful harbinger of potential and positive activity in its realm. Reversed, as mine is today, it's got the power  but it makes for a much more challenging experience.

The suit of Cups is all about emotions, intuition, feelings and all matters of the heart. A reversed card tells of the disappointments, broken promises, hurt feelings, holding emotional emptiness, feeling sad or depressed.  This cup isn't overflowing with joy, its drained.

A reversed Ace of Cups can also be telling you that you've been holding your true feelings in check for too long and you are feeling stressed about it. You might have very good logical reasons for doing so, but you must ask yourself about the emotional toll it's taking.

The Card of Day  reading has an uncanny way of  influencing your day. I like to draw my card in the quiet of the morning and while I don't dwell on it, I try to stay observant for it's energies during the day. Today, this Ace made its self impossible to ignore. As my day started I was feeling energized and optimistic about taking a big bite out of a project I'm working on. Solidly stayed on track for about 3 hours.

Then an email  arrived, payment of an invoice for work I had done was not made on Friday as expected.  Trying not to take my annoyance out on the messenger, I asked why and stated that nonpayment was outside the work agreement. Poor guy said he had no knowledge of any agreement. There goes my equilibrium. This isn't the first time there has been payment issues. I believe he didn't know.  I am in this situation of my own choosing, I could remedy it by simply walking away.  Logically, that's not in my best interest right now. Emotionally, I'm really angry but after venting to a friend who knows all the details, I suck it back up and continue on.

Next up, my daughter drops by for an unexpected visit. I never see here often enough. I was looking forward to putting the pain-in-the-ass problem aside and enjoying her visit. That didn't quite go the way I thought. Her house has been out to get her this past month. Plumbing issues, fix. Dishwasher dies, fix. Another water issue that involved replacing a floor and coping with mold issues. Fix. Dead bolt eating keys, fix.... now, honestly, who ever had a deadbolt break? And then as if all that wasn't enough, a power blip of less than a minute two days ago fried her central air. Apparently that little blip killed a large number of air conditioners in our town and there are no parts to be had until later today.  We live in Texas. It's still 100 outside.  She has three cats and two ferrets, making a hotel impossible. And to make it worse, to fix the AC, a portion of the outside wall of her home will have to be cut away as it was improperly installed in the first place.

You can imagine how perky she was. Poor thing.

The balance of the day consisted of pesky coworkers who seemed to have left their brains at home. Getting distracted and burning cookies. Squabble over completely inane issue with my mother. Chiding myself for making cookies in the first place since I know that they are emotionally triggered self-soothing evil entities.

This is how a reversed Ace of Cups might play out. The details in your life will be different but I'm sure you'll recognize the patterns. For now I continue to wrestle with myself. I have no one but myself to point the finger at for this latest round of broken promises and emotional abuse and I do have this reversed Ace of Cups to thank for this realization. Until today, I had not crystallized the entire mess into coherent thought. It was just a spaghetti mess of feelings in a big deep bowl.  I am swallowing my anger and eating it in lovely buttery cookie form. This really isn't good.  I'm adding a new meaning for the reversed Ace of Cups to my personal tarot lexicon; emotional eating. Sometimes you can't escape the truth in the tarot.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Card of the Day-The Devil

As I was shuffling the cards this morning, my mind was shuffling through everything I want to accomplish today. I'm working on launching a new business, creating a website, deciding on packages of services, laundry, writing an article for a magazine, creating an ebook, vacuuming and cleaning the bathroom, catch up on Who Do You Think You Are, writing a blog post, what's for dinner, completing a lesson in a course I'm taking, reading my new books... in general way too many things to get done in the weekend never mind just today.

I do that alot. I work a full time job, care for an elderly parent, have a family I do like to spend time with and I absolutely have to get as close to 8-9 hours of sleep as possible to even function. It doesn't leave much time for all the other things I want to do for myself. So I'm often feeling like the candle is burning at both ends and I'm in the middle.

I'm shuffling and my card falls to the table. Ok, the universe is talking to me today. My card of the day today is The Devil. So, The Devil.  When I read for others, The Devil is one of the two cards that totally freaks people out; the other is Death. For whatever reason, I seldom draw this card but it doesn't freak me out. It's more like slamming the breaks on to avoid hitting the oncoming truck.  Time to take notice.

I always go with first impressions with tarot. Today that's overcast gloominess, emptiness and bondage to fear, oppression. The Devil represents temptation. Today it's temptation to let myself wander and not stay focused on my goals. I need to prioritize. Then there's also all the bondage. Despite being chained to the Devil, no one looks particularly anguished to me. One woman is even adoring looking up at the Devil. They're even capable of unchaining themselves (notice that their hands are not bound) and yet they choose not to. They've abdicated their personal power willingly.

 It reminds me of a horrific scene in the movie What Dreams May Come where Robin William's character has descended into the depths of deep, dark depression and madness in an attempt to rescue his wife. He must make his way through a seemingly endless landscape of moaning,screaming heads mired in muck. Apparently, free association with this card is going to reveal some pretty deep meaning for me.

This is the day I do not want to have. More than that, it is the life I no longer want to have. The Devil for me today is yet another proverbial hit over the head to get on with MY life. MY plans. Time to unchain my self. It's ironic to me, that this is the metaphor because I know one of my soul missions in this life time is to break the chain of negative, soul crushing emotional abuse that has been rampant in my childhood family dynamic forever. I don't often speak of it but when I do I use the words chain and chained. Go figure.   I've been getting these cosmic smacks to the head all summer. It's time to let go of the fear and believe.

The classic associations with The Devil usually involve being obsessed with material gain, sexuality, deceit, closing one's eyes to the truth of a situation, addiction. I would also add to this list: ignorance, abdication of power, lack of self esteem, avoidance, believing past emotional programming that does not serve one in the present, absence of faith, denial.

 What do you see in the Devil card? How does it play out in your readings? Can you ever see this traditionally negative card as having a positive impact?

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Houses of Tarot

Houses of Tarot?  Wait a minute... Tarot has houses, like at Hogwarts or Game of Thrones?

Well, a manner of speaking it absolutely does! For some people this will be a new perspective as the houses are traditionally referred to as the suits of the Minor Arcana.  The Minor Arcana (translated as the "lesser secrets") is comprised of the Royal Family (King, Queen, Knight, Page) and the numbered cards Ace - Ten.

I like thinking about the suits as great houses. Remembering  Montegue and Capulet, Gryffindor and Slytherin, the Starks, Targaryens and Lannisters helps bring the suits of Tarot to life.Each house has a proud royal family at the head  surrounded by other inhabitants, each with individual qualities yet all members of the same house.

Introducing the Houses of the Minor Arcana

The great houses of Tarot are known as Wands, Cups, Coins and Swords. They may go by other names depending on the specific tarot deck you have but the basic correlations will remain the same. Each suit represents the universal qualities and values that are part of us all.The houses are the foundation of the Minor Arcana and are a good place to being a study of tarot.

Wands represent spirit and the energy of inspiration that comes from the essence of souls. Wands are about activity and action, growth, the quicksilver nature of creativity, adventure, excitement and confidence. They are the essence of life force energy. The natural element of Wands is fire and it's season is Spring. Wands represent masculine energy.

Cups are concerned with matters of the heart and emotional states. The suit of Cups is all about the fluidity of relationships, inner feelings and intuitiveness, kindness, love of beauty and the imagination. Cups are associated with the element of water, femininity and the summer season.

Pentacles are often called Coins so it's not surprising that this suit is concerned with security, finances, logic, material things, the work we do, maturity and health. The element of earth rules Pentacles with all its physical or tangible aspects, including plants and animals. Pentacles also govern the autumn of the year and connect with feminine energy.

Swords represent the mind and mental activities, communications and decisions. They are concerned with thought, reason, logic, truth and ethical concerns. Swords are associated with the element of air, masculine energy and the winter season.

Each of the houses also has an astrological aspect.
  • Wands: the fire signs of Aries, Leo and Sagittarius. 
  • Cups: the water signs; Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces. 
  • Pentacles:the earth signs of Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn.
  • Swords: the air signs of Gemini, Leo and Libra.
If you've been studying tarot, do you stay with the idea of suits? Have you ever considered them to be houses as I do? Maybe you have some other concept? I'd love to hear about it.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

The Royals of Tarot

With all the buzz over the new prince in Great Britain's royal family, it seemed like a good time to introduce the Tarot Royal Family. There are many people depicted in the Tarot; the Major Arcana is populated with archetypes of humanity, the Minor Arcana shows us facets of everyday life for average people and then we have the Court cards, which are the royal families of  the Tarot.

Like most modern families, everyone has their role in the family dynamic. Each suite has a King, Queen, Page and Knight. Some tarot cards will rename the personalities and you'll frequently see the Page as a Princess and the Knight as a Price.  For advanced tarot students, there are subtle differences between Pages and Princesses and Knights and Princes, but that's a discussion for another day.

One role the Court cards play is to represent a living person in a tarot reading. The person asking for the reading is called the questioner or the Querant.  Often the tarot reader will pull the Court cards from the deck before shuffling, selecting one royal personage to represent the Querant. This card then becomes the Significator and the remaining cards are shuffled back into the deck.

The simplest way to choose a Significator is to look first at age. A mature man is a king. A mature woman is the queen, a female child or teen is a page and a male child or teen is a knight. If you look at each of the Court cards, you'll notice that some are light haired, some dark etc. Some readers use those cues to help them select the right card.  Next, look at each of the four possibilities and narrow your selection by astrological sign of the Querant.  Astrologically, Wands relate to the fire signs of Aries, Leo and Sagittarius. Cups are associated with the water signs; Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces. Coins are connected to earth signs of Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn. Swords are governed by the air signs of Gemini, Leo and Libra.

 Using this basic method, there are many other elements that could be considered in making your selection and as your basic tarot knowledge grows, no doubt, you'll refine your selection process.

It's helpful if you really get to know your Court cards. Court cards represent important people in a tarot reading. They can be interpreted literally as people one knows or is asking about or they might represent the influences from outside people, or aspects of the questioner's personality. Think of them as your distant relatives, each with their own personality and individual quirks. Spend some time getting to know them by taking all of the Court cards out of the deck. Arrange them in rows by Houses and study the differences and similarities.  Notice the surroundings, the clothing and expressions on the faces.

Imagine what they might say to each other, King to King or perhaps Queen of Wands to the Knight of Cups. This is one time when eavesdropping is ok! It can be fun to shuffle just the Court cards and randomly draw two. Think of what they might say to each other. Are they friends or enemies?  If you met them on the street what would your interaction be? Do they instantly remind you of someone in your life? Listen with your inner ear and you may be very surprised at what you learn.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Three Card Tarot Spreads

What's on your mind? Three tarot cards can tell you!

I am a big fan of the three card spread. They are quick to lay out; only three cards to evaluate as opposed to seven or more in some of the classic tarot spreads,  they get to the point and deliver only the info you need immediately and they are infinitely flexible lending themselves to generalized readings but, and this is the sweet part, they can also cut to the chase depending on the question you ask and what meaning you assign to the position.

Some ideas for assigning meanings to a Three Card Spread:

  • Past- Present-Future
  • Body-Mind-Spirit
  • You-The Issue-The Other Person
  • What I Can't Change-The Issue-What I Can Change
  • The Issue-The Obstacle-The Outcome
  • Strength-Weakness-Advice
  • Option One-Option Two-Option Three
  • You Today-Your Potential-Action/Area of Attention To Move Forward

As you can see, the possibilities are endless. How would you interpret this reading?

Friday, August 02, 2013

Seeing is Believing

Everything about the imagery on a tarot card is significant, there are no randomly added elements. That said, not all of the images will be equally important in any given reading.

Let's take a close look at the Two of Wands. Remember, your first impression may not match mine...and that is ok. My motto is always go with your own intuition.

Here is a well dressed man standing on a parapet high above the ground. From this vantage point, he has an unobstructed view of the scene below, something that we can not see for ourselves.  In his right hand he holds what looks to be a globe...suggesting that he is very powerful. He is literally holding the world in his hand!
With his left hand he's holding, or at least touching, a staff..but look, there are green leaves sprouting from it. And there is a second staff as well. Whether you see these as staffs, wands, walking sticks or tent stakes the message is that they are not dead objects. How do we know that? The sprigs of new leaves are green and vital. They symbolise growth and potential.

There is more to see in this card. For me, there is a dominant image on a card and that will set the tone of my interpretation for card. You may be surprised as you really start focusing on a card at what pops for you; allow yourself plenty of time to see all that you can. See what you discover for yourself. Listen to your feelings as you examine this card. How is it making you feel? Happy? Determined? Weary? Contemplative?  There's an old saying "the devils in the details" and today I'm going to amend that and say "the secrets are in the details". Or maybe it should be "the answers are in the details".

Today, when I pulled the Two of Wand, my first impression is that it is time to make a decision. The period of weighing pros and cons is over. It's time to claim your personal power and confidently make a move. Leave me a comment with your first impressions; I'd love to know what you've seen in the Two of Wands.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Shuffling The Tarot

All tarot reading begin with a good shuffle. Some might argue that clearing and cleansing the deck by some method would or should always be the first step to any tarot reading. If you've been allowing other people to handle your deck I would agree. My habit is to clear the deck of outside energies at the end of a reading session before I put the cards away. I prefer to not allow any outside influences to surround my decks, even in a resting state. 

 However, if you are reading for yourself with a tarot deck no one else has touched you might want to skip the clearing step. Some readers feel that the information in a reading is enhanced by the culmulative effects of personal energy built up over a period of time. Eventually you may begin to notice what can only be called energy-sludge on your cards. When this occurs, your intuitive understanding of the symbols may become clouded. The cards may begin to feel sluggish as you shuffle. If your readings become significantly difficult to understand, it's time to clear your cards. 

Others feel that starting a reading with a clean slate is the only way to go. There is no right or wrong, so feel free to go with what feels right to you. 

The method of shuffling the cards is also an individual choice. Your first thought about shuffling the Tarot may be to handle them just like playing cards, shuffling with two hands and letting the cards intermingle as they drop to the table.  I don't recommend this style of shuffle. It does mix the cards well but it also tends to damage the cards by bending them in the middle with each shuffle. Tarot decks can be expensive and I don't know about you, but I'd rather spend my money on different decks rather than replacing ones I already own!   Many tarot decks are larger than regular playing cards and this makes them difficult to handle with this type of shuffling.

Another way of mixing the cards is to just let them fall randomly on the table. Then with both hands simply move them all over, scrambling and mixing as you go. Pretend you're six years old and you'll  do it perfectly! The more you move the cards, the better the mix. This method takes a pretty large table and can be slow, requiring several minutes of mixing before you get a sense of completion.  I'm not a fan of this method; my mind tends to wander too much. 

What works best for me is to square up the deck with the back of the cards to me. I hold the cards along the horizontal or long side and I randomly divide the deck between my two hands. Then I begin intermingling the cards by cutting the cards into themselves. I'll do this several times, with varying numbers of cards at a time. I usually close my eyes, focus on the issues at hand or the person that is my client as I mix and cut several times.  You may prefer to hold the cards with the tops or short side and cut in that way, from top to bottom. 

Until recently, I've cut right to left because I am right handed. Lately I've reversed that, moving left to right and I think I will stay with this method. I believe that my shuffling with my non-dominant hand I'm connecting more strongly with my intuition than my logical senses.  If a card falls out as I'm shuffling, I set it aside and will use it as an additional card to clarify a reading. 

Many tarot readers, especially beginners, prefer to not have any reversed or upside down cards in their readings. If you want to ensure all your cards stay upright, go through the deck before you shuffle and orient all the cards in the upright position. Be consistent in the up/down or right/left method as you shuffle. 

If you want to create reversed cards in your deck, simply turn an occasional cut 180 degrees as you shuffle. 

As you've probably guessed, there are many ways to shuffle your cards. You're free to even invent your own! Do what is comfortable for you and leaves you with a well mixed deck.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Star-

The Star is a serene, peaceful card filled with hope and wellbeing. As I look at the imagery, I feel a calmness that evolves into a long, deep sigh of last. Some of my earliest memories are of looking up into the night sky and loving the stars. One of my most vivid visual memories is of seeing the expanse of the Milky Way on an autumn evening in the Wyoming night.  Pondering the stars and the vastness of the universe always made me wonder about my own place in time, past, present and future. All those feelings come flooding back to me when I draw the Star.

Classically, the Star represents hopefulness and, if one has been involved in a difficult period, moving forward into a more beneficial time. The Star is a positive card of giving and receiving, inspiration and illuminating insights.  It suggests a quiet place to find your emotional center and balance your emotions. There is no sense of urgency at all in this card. The woman is unclothed, exposing her true self with no shame. Notice that she has one foot in the water and yet she is firmly still on land. The water represents emotions, feelings, creativity and inspiration.  The land keeps her grounded in the real world, where she knows she must remain engaged and not forget her purpose. She's practical but stills listens to her inner spirit.

 In the distance, there are mountains ; suggesting that this is the calm following great exertion, either by accomplishment or endurance of what has brought her to this oasis. Or we could view the mountains as being still in her future, tasks she must still face, lessons yet to be learned. If we take this point of view, then perhaps her momentary peaceful respite is in fact an act of marshalling her resources before she forges on.

However you interpret the Star, it's important to know that this is a Major Arcana card and it must be respected for it's inherent wisdom and importance. The Star is a positive indication that you are on the right path. There is still much to be done and the Star will help guide you forward. It's a card of believing that dreams can come true. Stay true to yourself, listen to the whisperings of your heart and know that you can fulfill your highest hopes. Trust in your intuition. Trust in yourself.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Seven of Cups

Comparing the same card in two or more different tarot decks can help you gain insights into its meaning in the reading and for you personally. The two 7 of Cups cards I'm sharing today are vastly different in their illustrations, colors and symbols. Neither is better than the other. One is not more right than the other. Both capture the classic concepts of the Sevens, of the suite of Cups and specifically the 7 of Cups. Both are merely different shadings of the message. Which do you prefer?
The traditional Rider Waite view of the 7 of Cups is clearly about choices. They're emotionally loaded choices, take a close look at what each chalice is holding. The man seems bewildered or perhaps we've just caught him in the instant before he reaches out to for one cup over the other. I think he's not at all sure what he's going to too, the fact that the cups all sit on a turbulent gray cloud speaks to me of mental confusion, many sleepless nights worrying about the gravity of the decisions.  He seems to be connecting with the center chalice, notice the vibrant red halo...that could indicate a clear choice that he should make, one that might lead him to his true destiny, but the clouds may be obscuring his view. It may also be be telling us that there is an energetic connection being made here, he's being pulled toward this choice but because whatever is within the chalice is cloaked, he's too worried about the unknown to decide. Either way, there's a clear message of confusion here. 

Our other card is from The Cosmic Tarot by Norbert Losche. This is a
contemporary reinterpretation of the Rider Waite. The images here are familiar, there are chalices and choices but there is a much stronger feeling of distress and confusion here for me. The man appears to have become quite overcome by the weight of what he must decide. We're left to decide for ourselves if he is praying for guidance or is he completely exhausted and collapsed under the pressures of his life. Notice at the top of this card are many softly shaded people, scenes and symbols. These could represent his memories of the past, things he wishes he might do over. They might be nightmares that have left him shattered and unable to move forward.  They might represent emotional torment, pain and betrayal that he's suppressed and now realizes must be dealt with because, clearly as Dr. Phil might say, If you keep doing what you've been doing, you will continue to get the same results and how's that working for you? Apparently not well. 

I think these two cards are especially helpful to understanding the emotional turmoil of the 7 of Cups when studied together. Clearly choices must be made. Trying to do too much or have it all isn't serving anyone's highest good and spreading yourself too thin leaves you with nothing at all but thoughts of what might have been. Woulda Coulda Shoulda.... maybe not such a good way to live. 

The traditional thoughts on the meaning of this card include:wishful thinking, disillusionment, choices to be made, chaos, inner turmoil, not seeing reality clearly, inaction, paralyzation and to that I'd add abdicating your personal power. 

If this is where you find yourself, as many of us often do from time to time, it's time to examine your heart. Listen to the whispers of your soul. It's time to make a choice.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Yoda In My Tarot Deck

 There's been plenty of daily drama lately in my life, both personally and professionally. Some people might find that stimulating. Not me. I find it exhausting and overwhelming. It tends to paralyze me and I become mired in the stickiness of it all. My brain goes numb and I pretty much become a zombie on autopilot.  I've been feeling that way for a long time.  

When I'm really entrenched in the ooze, I reach for my tarot cards. Before today I couldn't have said that, but my laser focused daughter pointed this out to me with all the delicacy she could muster. She was right. This is what I do. Always.  And true to form, that's just what I did yesterday. It's been a very long time since I shuffled a deck. But it's like riding a bicycle and my hands remembered what to do even if my brain wasn't fully tuned in yet.

I shuffled the cards with this question in mind: What is causing me to feel stuck in my life? I suppose I shouldn't have been at all surprised that the first card I've drawn for myself in about five years should be the 8 of Swords.  Eight is "my" number. Check.  Swords is about air and action. It's also about what going on in your head; how you use or don't use your intelligence. Swords are also about making decisions. Uh, yeah, check. 

Take a look at the card. What you see is a forlorn woman, eyes covered, arms bound. She's standing in the mud surrounded by swords. Far behind her is the security of home. We can't tell if she's on her own by circumstance or choice, but it doesn't seem to matter. She's trapped and feeling powerless.  

Indecision, confusion and fear are the main messages to me with the Eight of Swords. It's passive, she stands alone, frightened, overwhelmed and surely she's wondering how the heck she got in this situation. Things weren't suppose to be this way. Cut off from everything, there is nothingness.  Does that mean that maybe she's had a hand in either becoming or staying a prisoner? Has the nothingness implied by the sensory deprivation of being blindfolded and bound actually become a comfortable cocoon for her? 

Because she's so absorbed with her thoughts, she's not even noticing that there is a space between the sword where she might escape. Despite the sadness of the Eight of Swords, it's important to remember that there are always choices. She could struggle against the bindings and free herself. Then she could remove the blindfold and see her options....see the possibility of carefully stepping between the swords that are trapping her. It's not easy, but something could be and must be done. 

So what's the answer to my question? What's behind my malaise?  Tarot doesn't always tell a pretty  story, but it's always telling the lesson you most need to hear. It's a pretty big smack in the head... good lord woman, get out of your head! Stop thinking about limitations. Make a decision. Take an action. Any action is better than inaction. 

It's like Yoda says, "Do or Do not. There is no try."