The Wild Unknown Tarot Deck Review

Mother of Wands

This deck arrived a while ago, in a box that boldly stated in capital letters, “CONTAINS MAGIC”. While I had seen images of the cards online and thought they were powerful and substantial, I did feel at the time this was a big claim to make.

Little did I know that as I came to work with this deck over the months that followed, I found these cards to indeed hold an enchanting and connecting magical energy. It is difficult for me to place my finger exactly on, and define the timeless pulse that flows through these cards, yet for me personally, the readings I have conducted with this deck have been nothing short of magical. I would go as far as adding “shamanic” to the overall feel of this deck, though I’ll let the card pictures tell a thousand words of their own.

The Hermit

The deck is the creation of artist, writer and seeker Kim Krans. If you like what you see, I would encourage you to check out The Wild Unknown website for the deck and other work available for purchase.

I would describe the imagery and scenes in the cards as minimal, yet the carefully chosen use of colour and symbolism allow for a rich visual interpretation. You have to sit with the cards, and allow time to uncover layers of meaning.

I think the departure from descriptive pictorial scenes in the minor arcana is excellent for those of us who feel the need to exercise the intuitive faculty – no reliance on textbook meanings here! And while the deck does have an accompanying book, I would set this aside when reading the cards first, to allow my own intuition to work and bring forth messages – and only later check what the book has to say (this is, of course, a guiding principle in all tarot work, however I think it is even more important with minimalist decks where the lack of descriptive “action scenes” may tempt one to refer to a book first, rather than, you know, exercise that intuitive muscle).

Swords
The suit of Swords: 7, 8 and daughter (Page)

The deck keeps with the four classic suit names, Swords, Cups, Pentacles and Wands. Throughout the deck you will find all sorts of appearances from the animal or plant kingdom depicted in rather beautiful and perceptive ways. Take for example the 8 of Swords above, showing a butterfly cocoon surrounded by 8 swords. Now this is a classic The Foolcard of bondage, restrictions, inability to be free – and this can be due to the surrounding environment, or in the querent’s own mind. I love the way this card is portrayed in this deck: it shows the attributes of restriction, yet the symbolism makes it clear this is only for a limited time. Eventually the caterpillar, safe in that cocoon, will transform. And what will emerge – often from rather painful life experiences – will be a beautiful butterfly. Who among us knows this to be an all too familiar story in life’s journey? How many times have we felt so utterly hopeless, or in despair, by our circumstances – and yet, as we move through this, as time flows, and we are able to transform, we understand the power of perseverance, of not giving up.

Take a look at the Fool, a card known for foolishness, as the name suggests, but also to listening to our hearts, to taking that leap of faith, regardless of what others say: our little duckling must take that plunge and learn to fly. It’s scary, isn’t it, but learning to fly is both freeing and a necessary skill of survival.

Wands
The suit of Wands: 6, 9 and father (King)

There is a departure in the naming of the court cards, so that instead of Page, Knight, Queen and King we have daughter, son, mother and father. Each suit has its own animal representative in the court cards: Swords – owl, Wands – snake, Cups – swan, and Pentacles – deer.

Pentacles

The guide book accompanying this deck is written by the artist, and offers brief, succinct and insightful descriptions for the cards. I would certainly recommend getting the guide book, for it is always interesting to read the artist’s perception and insights into each card – though as I’ve noted above, allow your own mind and intuition to make a connection and bring forth the messages before reading the book.

Cups

To summarise, personally I do love this deck and have found it brilliant for my own readings. I have found that at times, the masterful use of colour is, by itself, a way to interpret a reading. In some cards it is scarce, in others abundant. When you lay 3 or 4 or 5 cards next to each other, sometimes the colour transition across cards tells a message by itself.

The LoversFinally, I must add a few words on the card stock – let me begin by saying it is excellent quality – at least in the 2016 edition I own (I think there may be later editions but I’m not entirely sure). Dear independent tarot creators and publishers, please please please do not overlook the quality of your cards. I have been disappointed one too many times by cards that are flimsy, or smell like a toxic chemical factory, or are too plasticky, and so on. I understand this may be a personal opinion, however the tarot is a tangible, tactile tool. One must shuffle the cards to use them, and the sensory experience is as important as the art, in my humble opinion.

The Wild Unknown deck does not disappoint in this regard – the cards have a nice solid feel to them, and are a pleasure to shuffle. No plastic coating – at least not that I can tell anyway.

I look forward to deepening my relationship with this deck in the years and decades to come. It is a great guide, and I think it will become even more so as I start to explore and practice natural magic, plant spirit work, and other such delectable pursuits.

Blessings,
Monica

Wild Unknown High Priestess

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Getting to know the Star

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Victorian Romantic Tarot

 

My card for the current year, up until my birthday in December, is the Star. I thought I would take you on a visual journey of the various interpretations of this card, as well as looking a little more in depth at its meaning. It’s a fairly long post, so make yourself a cuppa and enjoy.

*Note: if you hoover over the images below the deck name will pop up.


Card number 17 in the Major Arcana, the Star brings a welcome vision after the much feared Devil (card number 15), and turmoil of the Tower (card number 16). She is usually shown as a naked woman pouring water from two vessels, one onto the land and one onto a river or lake. Above her we see a star, or rather (more commonly) a pattern of stars.

17 Vision Quest
Vision Quest Tarot

Once you reach the Star, you can finally rest, take a breather. The journey is far from over, but for now the trials have subsided. Those who make it to know the Star have often been painfully tested by the Devil, and had their world shattered by the Tower. They may feel thrown in a strange new world that bears little resemblance to what they once knew.

This new world may well be a physical space, such as a new country, or a new home. It may also be a drastic change in circumstances pertaining to family or work. In all cases though, the querent’s mindset will have experienced new perspectives and reckoned with some new insights, pleasant or not.

So by the time this card comes up, they are in need of some reassurance, help, a guiding light. And that is what the Star offers: hope, guidance, healing, rest, a positive energy. It is one of the most helpful of cards to receive, in my opinion.

Of course, one does not need to go through such dramatic life experiences to have this card show up. Sometimes it appears in a reading to give the querent hope, to inspire or uplift them, regardless of their history or challenges. For the person may well be in the dark, as signified by the card: stars only shine at night. They have some way to go before they understand the meaning of all they have been through, until the transformation of life’s experience into a positive outcome.

 

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Universal Rider Waite Smith Tarot

“The water being poured onto land indicates that the energy being freed by the Tower is directed outwards as well as inwards; it links the unconscious with the with the outer reality of the physical world. One way to describe the streams of water is as the archetypes of myth, the images through which the unconscious expresses itself. The unconscious is a whole, without shape or division, but it emerges into awareness through the separate streams of mythology. With the Star we have gone beyond myth to its source as formless energy; as light coming out of darkness. The transformation of darkness into light is the unconscious, the hidden vastness within us, changed into the ecstatic awareness of super-consciousness.” Rachel Pollack, Seventy Eight Degrees of Wisdom

 

17 Noblet
Jean Noblet Tarot

The Star has often been compared with the sign of Aquarius, the water bearer. In his book Reading the Marseille Tarot, Jean-Michel David looks at similarities between historical images of Aquarius and the Star card, noting that Aquarius is a sign associated with the coldest part of the year in the northern hemisphere, a time of bleak survival at the mercy of the elements. He goes on to note,

If the time of Aquarius marks the bitterest cold, it also ends in renewed hope for both humanity (given its religious significance) and for the seasonal alterations already beginning to show forth. Aquarius already sees within its time the beginning of the melting of the coldest snows, and, importantly too, signs of renewed life with various late winter flowers delicately making their way through the cold white blankets, and blades of greed shooting through both ground and what is otherwise bare flora.

One of the earliest images we have of the Star is shown above, in the Jean Noblet Tarot (from Paris, c. 1650). The star pattern above the woman shows one bright star surrounded by 7 smaller ones. Jean-Michel David has also looked at the connections between the Star pattern and known constellations, namely Fomalhaut, Plaeiades, and Sirius. I found it very interesting to read that Fomalhaut, located directly beneath the constellation of Aquarius, is the 17th brightest star in the night sky.

“The Star reveals the channels of energy that flow into your life, bringing inspiration, guidance, and renewed life force. This card generally features a beautiful woman who is portrayed kneeling beside a stream or a pool of water. The lush countryside setting represents fertility and creativity. Her nudity shows her innocence, openness, and essential humanity, and she pours fluid out of two pitchers, nourishing the land and replenishing the water around her…. Among the qualities this card conveys are optimism, enthusiasm, affection, loving kindness, good luck, unexpected opportunities, favours, abundance, health and wholeness, inner peace, freedom and self-expression.” Janina Renee, Tarot for a New Generation

On a personal note, the Star has brought the arrival of my second child, a beautiful daughter, born in April this year. She is indeed a Star, a loving light I feel truly blessed to have in my life.

I think that the Star is also a reminder to myself to seek light and hope in daily life, and not get depressed or feel despair at what is going on in the wider world. The overall trends on a national and global scale are rather grim and personally I feel like our collective civilisation is on a slow, downward move into a new dark age: the relentless desecration of our natural environment, the shredding of the welfare system and social services, cuts to healthcare and so on, lack of investment in key infrastructure while vast sums of money are sucked out for personal gain by corrupt and pernicious leaders across the political spectrum… well, it goes on and on.

The Star is a personal reminder to tend to those tasks that uplift and soothe me and my family, to find inspiration in my home, garden and community, to support those causes that matter to me, even when I feel I am in the dark.

On this note, we have recently resurrected out outdoor fire pit now that winter has arrived, and I am off to enjoy a tea by the fire while gazing at the stars.

Many starry blessings to all,
Monica

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Dark Days Tarot

Full Moon in Gemini Tarot Spread : astrology, tarot, magic and ritual

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Setting up prior to a Full Moon tarot reading

Tonight is a Full Moon in Gemini, which also happens to be my natal Moon. That is to say, I was born on a Full Moon in Gemini.

To mark this occasion, I decided to spend some time creating a custom spread, with a focus on what exactly this lunar placement means for me. This may, of course, be altered to one’s own specific astrological Moon position, sign, etc.

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Setting up means: a sleeping toddler, a de-cluttered table, glass of water, cards, journal, candles and incense

First, it is important to have some understanding of what exactly one’s Moon phase, at the time of birth, means. A Full Moon is a position that requires work on integrating two opposing energies, the Sun and the Moon.

“Two types of people born under the Full Moon may be the enlightened and the emotionally troubled. Those who do not use its influence positively suffer from tumultuous emotions similar to all the negative influences attributed to the Full Moon… Rudhyar observed that Full Moon people can have serious or even destructive emotional conflicts or mental dilemmas, since here the solar and lunar urges are polarised into two opposite expressions or ways of life. In such cases, the person is pulled apart by opposing needs”. Donna Cunningham, Moon Signs

The following is my 13 card spread based on my natal Full Moon in Gemini. If you are born on a Full Moon in Gemini, this spread applies to you; for others, the questions will have to be adapted to your own sign and Moon phase.

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I used the Pagan Otherworlds Tarot. Here are the cards I received and my thoughts on them. In a spread of 13 cards, 8 are majors. No biggie, eh 😉 I discuss each answer in more detail below.

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1-2 What is the significance of being born on a Full Moon?
Page of Cups / Wheel of Fortune

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The keywords that sprung to mind were emotional changes, that is emotional ups and downs, reflecting on some of Donna Cunningham’s thoughts above. The Page of Cups brings a sensitivity and awareness of the emotional realm, while the Wheel of Fortune is quite simply change. It is not static, it turns continuously, bringing a churning of the emotions, feelings, and general inner realms that are mostly hidden from others (and from one self, to some extent).

3-4 What gifts does this placement bring?
Strength / The Emperor

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Well, anyone with a rich, “tumultuous” inner life needs a good dose of Strength to deal with it. This means allowing it to be, not shying away from it, but also learning some tools or skills so it does not overpower or take over the day-to-day life.

The Emperor represents authority. That is, authority over one self most importantly, and the ability to master life’s challenges. This is a “gift” that has taken me many years to develop: setting up boundaries, that no one is allowed to cross. There is a touch of the shaman in this card, which I love.

5-6 What challenges does this placement bring?
The Star / Ace of Cups

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This had me flummoxed for a while. I mean, they’re both such great cards, so having them in a position of “challenges” was rather confusing.

This combination speaks of hope, deep love (inner love as well), a connection with the divine, with the ability to see and receive divine love, which is love that is independent of another human being, love that makes one feel whole and nurtured even if they were not as a child. Love from a higher source or power, if you wish.

It can be a challenge to carry this energy or be aware of it most times, what with the focus on the material world – which is all necessary of course (job, home, finances, relationships, etc).

It is also a challenge for me, when the darkness descends, to feel hope or love, not just for myself but for all of humanity. I am not prone to depression, however I am acutely and deeply sensitive to all the despicable acts of depravity, brutality and senseless violence displayed by so many.

7-8 How do I integrate the Full Moon polarity (opposing needs) in my life?
The Fool / 10 of Swords

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With enthusiasm, openness, inquisitive attitude, and a sense for adventure. The Fool: trust your heart (cliché, I know!). I am still mulling over that 10 of Swords, though.

9-10 What do I need to do in order to support an emotionally healthy Moon in Gemini?
The Tower / Justice

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Sheesh. I first thought to myself, this makes absolutely no sense, having two completely opposite cards for advice – completely missing the point that astrologically, a Full Moon is, of course, Sun opposite Moon!

The Tower is all about letting go: see the woman in the card, free-falling from the stable, yet oppressing tower. Now this can mean letting go by our own choice, but usually with the Tower, it means letting go when the Universe has dealt some sudden shocks, unexpected events, or generally unsavoury life circumstances. Move on.

And Justice is about balance, as indicated by the scales she holds in her right hand. But it is also about exercising a fine mind and mental discrimination, as symbolised by the swords in her left hand. This is, of course, much easier said than done, when talking about the Moon, which governs our instinctive emotions, rather than the rational mind. However, Gemini is a sign that is all about reasoning, intellect, thoughts, and communication, so it makes sense.

11-12 What karmic bonds (ties to the past) does this Moon placement hold (represent) for me?
10 of Wands / The Chariot

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I am carrying some heavy karmic burdens (10 of Wands) and it is my turn to break free from them, or learn to control them, or take charge and learn to use these energies to move forward in life. I think I know what this is about, it’s personal so I’ll leave it at that.

13 What magical power or ability does the Full Moon in Gemini bring for me?
4 of Pentacles

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A nicely stacked set of pentacles: the ability to build and to manifest in the material form.  I admit I initially felt that this card was as far removed from “magic” as you can get, but upon reflection it all made sense (this is why you have to sit with the cards even when you don’t like what you receive at first).

It tells me that despite past challenges, and the challenges and difficulties inherent in my natal Full Moon, I can make something out of this life. The fact that I have come so far over the past decade does not escape me. Sometimes, I have to pinch myself – for despite the upheavals of my past, I have managed to build, and to manifest, what so many would give their right arm for, and more.

Wishing everyone a blessed Full Moon in Gemini tonight. Until next time,
Monica

Dark Days Tarot Review

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Lovers of the Moon, rejoice! Here is a deck that honours the dark phase of the Moon, from which its name derives. A deck of Moon magic, of natural rhythms and lunar cycles, women’s spirituality, and a deep infusion of femininity and power (out of 78 cards, I counted three that show a masculine figure).

A black and white deck it may be, however its energy and artistic creativity are anything but. I have been very pleasantly surprised by this deck, although it is not one I would recommend to a beginner for reasons I’ll explain below.

Dark Days Tarot Fool A first in my collection, this is a square deck that follows Tarot structure by having 22 major and 56 minor arcana.

The major arcana are painted on a white background, whereas the minors have a black background. Moon phases feature heavily throughout most cards, starting with the beautiful, innocent Fool.

Dark Days Tarot High Priestess Hermit

It is hard to describe this deck – one has to see each and every card to realise and relish the beautiful and often highly original renditions seen in many of the cards – but overall, I would say it has a gentle, yet powerful, feminine energy, one that hints at incense, smoke, ritual, magic, and a deep love of the natural rhythms of life, of nature itself.

** I only realised after I scanned the cards that my scanner has a few smudges and lines on the plate, so I should clarify that the minors do not actually show these and the background is a flawless black. Blame it on the toddler…

Dark Days Ace Page Wands

Many minor cards have very original or unusual depictions – see for example the Ace of Wands above, or the 6 of Cups below, and thus will challenge your intuition and bring in new perspectives – this, I feel, is a good thing for the experienced reader, but may prove more challenging for tarot beginners. As a student and acolyte of the Rider Waite Smith (RWS) tradition, I advise beginners to really understand the minors in the RWS deck before exploring more unconventional tarot decks; this, I feel, sets a good foundation of understanding the numerology and element combination in each minor card. That aside, I really do think this is a brilliant deck that has so much to offer a reader – particularly one that follows the path of natural magic and witchcraft.

Dark Days 2 and 6 Cups

Dark Days Tarot 6 and Page Swords

Dark Days Tarot 2 and 8 Pentacles

If there is one thing I’d wish to be different, it would be the Queen and King cards, which again, offer a different artistic interpretation that does not show actual people (below). This, of course, is only my view – and while I do love the way these cards were drawn, I still think that Court cards should be true to their essence of having an actual person depicted, at various stages of maturity.

Dark Days Tarot The DevilThe deck comes in a sturdy box with a guidebook by Emily Mundy, which is great for when you are ready to read about card meanings, and offers good explanations for some of the different or more unusual cards. It also gives four card meanings based on the card position: upright, right, left and reversed. Given that I do not read with reversed cards, this is not really something I’ll use, and personally think it’s adding too much complexity in a reading – but that is just me. I am certainly more than happy to shuffle and lay the cards in one position (upright), and this deck has given exceptional readings this way.

Dark Days Tarot WorldThere is plenty of room in the box for you to add a crystal or reading cloth – I like to keep with the colour theme and chose a selenite to keep the cards company.

Finally, the card stock (I’m rather picky on this subject). Overall, it is good and has a laminate feel which should offer the cards some protection against wear and tear (and tea spills, which I am rather prone to). I do think they are a bit too thin through, and wouldn’t mind to see a thicker card stock in future editions – even one with a more paper feel to it, rather than plastic. Again, this is just me. I understand the need to laminate, yet I personally find decks that offer a nice natural tangible feel to them much more enjoyable to use.

Overall though, this is a stunning independent publication, and I love to see such amazing work grace and enrich the tarot world – a heartfelt thank you to Wren for making this happen and adding beauty and magic to our world.

Blessings,
Monica

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Asking a Tarot question Part 2: Work and business

In Part 1 of this series, I looked at the importance of asking the right question, specifically in the context of relationship tarot readings. I would like to take this further and look at tarot readings for work, career and business.

Before I start though, allow me to share a little personal story.

Tarot of Delphi
Tarot of Delphi

My story starts around 2008, or thereabouts. At the time I felt like I was suffocating in a job I did not enjoy, and was looking at my options outside of my chosen field. There were not many (well, not when you want to retain all the trappings of a comfortable middle class lifestyle, at least). As it happened, a position opened up with a different organisation, which, while more or less the same, was also a senior position with a more environmental focus in a regulatory field (or so I thought!).

At the time I had already ventured into the world of tarot, however my experience and knowledge was limited. Since lack of knowledge and experience do not deter the enthusiastic Sagittarius, off I went and got out my trusty Rider Waite Smith.

I posed the question: Will I get the job?

I received an answer: Yes.

So off I went on my merry way, updated my resume, typed a cover letter, and applied. I was offered an interview, and shortly after was notified, much to my excitement, that I got the position.

So far, so good.

On my first day on the role, I was informed that the person who had been filling in my position until my appointment had gone on leave for a few weeks. There was no formal induction, and the most limited computer training done by other officers who, I felt, were not very friendly towards me, and didn’t offer much beyond basic answers to my questions. I did wonder whether they felt they should have been promoted for the role I was now in. Perhaps that is my perception only, but overall the energy in the office was highly toxic. I don’t know whether other people noticed it or not, but to me, it was very obvious and I could not shake it off. (The guy sitting across from me committed suicide a while later, and while there are lots of factors that contribute to a person taking their own life, it certainly doesn’t help when you spend 8 to 10 hours a day in such a negative atmosphere).

8 of Swords
Worst nightmare: feeling trapped with no way out. Sharman-Caselli Tarot

I realised early on that the “senior” title meant having a very large workload with no prior experience or training, as well as possessing the ability to overlook discrepancies and approve applications that certainly were not meeting stipulated requirements. But worst of all, was the feeling of being left on my own to deal with it all, with no adequate support from other staff, and the realisation that it was not going to get any better.

To make matters even worse, I was tied to a mortgage on a unit I had bought, so it wasn’t like I could just walk out. But I knew I could not stay. So I listed my unit as soon as I could, and miraculously sold it within 2 weeks. At a loss, but no matter. Freedom to Sagittarians is more important than the air we breathe, and losing a 5 figure deposit was a small price to pay, as far as I was concerned.

So, about 3 weeks from the start of my new role, I walked in and handed in my resignation. And I have never looked back.

Now, going back to my original question for the cards: Will I get the job? Clearly, this is not the right question to ask! Yet I come across it so often, and don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I advise clients not to ask it. However, I do suggest first asking other questions that may help them gain a better understanding of their job or work, such as:

  • Is this the right job for me?
  • What opportunities will this role bring?
  • What challenges will this position bring?
  • What do I need to do to make this job work for me?
  • What will my relationship with my boss be like?
  • How will I get along with my co-workers?
  • What will be the outcome of me taking this job?
  • What do I have to offer this role (or offer the organisation)?
  • Will I be able to advance in this role?
  • Are there opportunities for promotion (or leadership)?
  • How stressful will this position be?
  • What do I need to know about applying for this job?
  • Am I capable of doing this job?
  • Is this position in line with my own values and ethics?
  • What compromise(s) will I need to make if I work in this role?

As you can see, there are more important question to ask first, than simply Will I get the job?

Wheel of Fortune
Bohemian Gothic Tarot

The same principles apply if you intend to start a new business or venture. Asking Will I be successful is not as helpful as asking, What do I need to do in order to make this business a success?

After all, it is all up to you.

I hope this gives readers some more insight into what to look for when getting a tarot reading related to career and vocation. It might just save you a lot of heartache and stress at the end of the day – as it would have no doubt helped me avoid a costly exercise, but such is life sometimes.

Until next time,
Monica

 

Asking a Tarot question, Part 1: Relationships

This blog post has been sitting with me for a while, slowly brewing in the background. This is the first of 3 posts in this series, looking at what and how to ask a Tarot question, specifically those exploring the minefield territory that is a relationship. (Part 2 will look at the more pragmatic side of life such as work and business, and in Part 3 I’ll focus on the divinatory, or fortune-telling aspect – more to come later).

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The High Priestess from the Bohemian Gothic Tarot

So here’s a hypothetical scenario:

You meet someone you rather fancy. Perhaps you really, really like them, though you are not quite sure how to proceed, or whether you should in the first instance. Perhaps past experiences have scarred you a little, and doubt and hesitation hold you back. Should you, shouldn’t you…. Or maybe, you are already in a relationship, but not really sure where it is heading.

At some point you decide to see a Tarot reader, and after explaining the scenario, you ask the question: Will this relationship work out? Sometimes, this gets rephrased as, Is he/she the one?

And this is where I have to pause and do a delicate dance around this question. It is not that I avoid the question – and I’ll look into the fortune telling aspect of readings in Part 3 of the series. I understand all too well that sometimes, there is a fated element to a relationship (or work, business, and life in general), and there is no avoiding this.

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2 of Cups – Rider Waite Smith Tarot

However, my experience, as both a reader and a client, is that in most cases, these are not the right questions to ask. For starters, one is placing a tremendous amount of power in the hands of the Tarot reader – and equally, one is disempowering themselves by doing so. The repercussions of this are vast, but essentially can be summed up in one word: responsibility, or lack of should I say.

 

Taking responsibility for your own actions, rather than laying the blame somewhere else (our parents, society, or the Tarot reader), if one of the hallmarks of maturity and empowerment. So, you may wonder, what should one ask instead?

This largely depends on each person and what stage the relationship is at, and also on the ethics of the reader, however here are some suggestions:

  • What does he/she need from me?
  • What does he/she want from me?
  • If you are in an existing relationship, you can go a step further and ask, What does he/she need (or want) from me that I am not offering (or not able to offer)?
  • What do I need from a relationship?
  • What does he/she think of me?
  • What are his/her feelings for me?
  • How do we emotionally relate? Or mentally?
  • How sexually compatible are we?
  • What does he/she hope for in this relationship?
  • What are his/her fears in this relationship?
  • What is our relationship based on?
  • How do we communicate?
  • What are my strengths (weaknesses) in this relationship?
  • How does he/she deal with conflict?
  • What do we need to do in order to overcome this issue/obstacle?
  • What am I not able to see clearly about our relationship?
  • What are his/her intentions for our relationship?
  • What do I need to do in order to make this relationship work?
Two of Cups Haindl Tarot
2 of Cups – Haindl Tarot

The last one in particular is relevant to my earlier point about taking responsibility – for it’s really up to two people whether their relationship will work out or not, rather than the reader. Again, there are always exceptions to the rule, and I certainly do not mean to diminish or ignore the role that certain karmic energies play in our lives. This post, however, is more about the destiny we create when we actively and consciously work on our own issues, rather than lay the blame at the feet of some divine intervention or the Tarot reader.

If you are exploring the more psychological aspects and complexities in a relationship, here’s a good one: What was his relationship like with his mother? (or her relationship with her father?). Or, what am I projecting onto my partner? etc.

Finally, for those who are dealing with infidelity, a good question might be, what can my wife/husband be (or express) with the other person that they are not able to be with me (rather than, what do they see in the other person)

As you can see, the options are endless. In writing the above, I must articulate that I am not a counsellor or psychologist. I am a Tarot reader who shuffles the cards to help clients to the best of my ability, and that ability has largely been coloured by both life experience and experience as a reader.

In Part 2 I’ll be looking at questions pertaining to work, business, career, and the like.

Until next time,
Monica

 

Experiencing The Tower

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Universal Rider Waite Smith

I have entered The Tower year, rather reluctantly. In fact, after last year’s dance with the Devil, I’m not too sure I can handle any more intensity, but here we are. So welcome to my visual journey through The Tower, a card that conjures much fear and anxiety when it turns up, yet the energy that unfolds when we meet the Tower scenario is one we need to experience so we can be free and no longer imprisoned by our own fears or desires.

Let’s start by having a good look at the more undesirable effects of this card.

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Pagan Otherworlds tarot

The historical imagery of the Tower, starting with the earliest Marseille decks (above, from 1650 and 1713, France), shows two people falling from a tower. The structure is usually shown being struck by lightning, or some other intervention that is now outside of their control. Modern renditions of this card more or less stick with this imagery. The underlying atmosphere is one of sudden, unexpected changes.

How scary must it be, to fall from the safety and security of a man-made Tower? To have your rock solid structure, the foundation of your life, crumbling, and there’s nothing you can do about it. You have to let go. For you are in free fall.

 

Our protagonists in the Tower card are facing a situation that, sooner or later, most people are faced with in life. Some go through this experience a few times, until the lessons are finally learned. What might these lessons be?

My experiences, and those of my clients when faced with this card, essentially describe a situation of our own making, yet one that, once created, imprisons us. We are no longer free, when we are living in the Tower. The lovely house that we so eagerly bought, now chains us down with a big mortgage and all the responsibilities that come with maintaining it. The career that we so badly wanted when young, with its allure of power and money, is now one big vortex of long hours, stress, and a lack of free time to pursue that which truly makes our heart sing, rather than that which our ego desires.

And let’s not even start on relationships…


Actually, let’s have a talk about relationships and the Tower – for it comes up rather regularly where a relationship question is asked, and particularly where the two people in the card have found themselves in an oppressive, restricting relationship – and then the Tower situation comes along, and the structure breaks. This could be a sudden realisation – such as that they are, after all free to break up and pursue a different path, or perhaps one discovers an affair, or maybe, simply, they have changed. They have changed to a point where they can no longer deny that they are a different person, and they have different needs and wants, and the other half no longer meets these.

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Bohemian Gothic Tarot

My experience is that people who value the longevity of their relationship, or its financial trappings, above their own core needs, really struggle to break free – for a while. Ultimately, and unexpectedly, a situation, or someone, comes along, and they can no longer deny that which becomes all too obvious. To be fulfilled we need to be honest – not just with others, but be honest with ourselves.

You might think after all of the above, that this is the card of doom. Far from it. It’s only an unpleasant experience because we’ve created this Tower, and for far too long, have refused to acknowledge that we have become trapped and oppressed.

Thus, the experience of the Tower is one that ultimately, for all its pain, sets us free. Some artists have chosen to show the more positive aspects of this card, such as in the Fey Tarot below, where the Tower disintegrates to allow its occupant to fly free. Of course, our little fey has wings and is already able to escape the Tower – again, this conveys the message that ultimately we are free to break away from that which no longer serves us.

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The Fey Tarot
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Sensual Wicca Tarot

Or the sexually charged Eruption card from the Sensual Wicca Tarot, where the energy is concentrated and channelled towards the ultimate act of release, the orgasm. In a healthy relationship, the Tower experience enables two people to let go of control, and enjoy each other without shame, guilt, or the need to manipulate each other.

I should also note that this is the ultimate card for the passionate start of a new relationship – is there a more apt image to show two people falling for each other and falling in love? Particularly when you see it next to the Lovers card, or other positive relationship cards such as Ace of Cups, 2 of Cups etc. I think there is an almost fated quality when this card comes up next to the Lovers card – someone can’t really ignore, or walk away from, what they feel for someone else. It’s a bit like the astrological transit of Pluto over natal Venus, for the astro fans out there: there’s no denying it, no matter how hard one tries. It only grows bigger with time, and fighting what one feels is a futile exercise…

A number of artists have chosen a tree to be the focal image in the Tower card, such as the Wooden Tarot and the Wild Unknown Tarot, below. A tree may have strong roots, but it is no match for the forces of nature outside its control. We may not want to acknowledge it, but us humans are also subject to these forces, despite our best technological pursuits to dominate the natural world around us. It is a humbling, yet necessary, insight to recognise our place in the wider cosmos.

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Nicoletta Ceccoli Tarot

I recall one day when nice and early I drew my morning card, and shock horror, it was the Tower. Immediately I started running through every conceivable scenario of doom that could possibly befall me – until I came across the day’s news of the Christchurch earthquake in New Zealand (I was living in Auckland at that time). Talk about natural forces beyond our control!

In a positive way, the Tower allows us to gain sudden insights and breakthroughs for situations where we could not perceive these before.

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Alchemical Tarot

 

One of the more positive portents of the Tower is the possibility that you’ll be cut loose from a situation that you really aren’t happy with (for example, being laid off from a job that you really hate.) Although this can leave you disoriented and confused, it can open your life to new opportunities. Many Tarot readers feel that when the Tarot card appears, something in your life is not as it should be, and that the disruptions are therefore needed to put you back on your rightful life path.” Janina Renee, Tarot for a New Generation

Well, I’m all for new opportunities and walking the right path, so I shall aim to embrace rather than dread the Tower.

Until next time,

Monica

tower
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