Ancestral Lineage Tarot Spread

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This is a spread I did on the last New Moon, coinciding with Samhain and also Day of the Dead. I considered this to be an auspicious time to honour my ancestors, but also to ask the cards for a message, or information, on my ancestral lineage.

There are many different ways of doing such a spread, and equally different ways of asking questions – these variables are up to each practitioner to choose and alter as they see fit. You might also want to think what the word “ancestor” means to you. When I did this spread, I wasn’t just thinking about family relatives I’ve known that have passed away – I was also thinking about those that I never met, such as great great grand-parents, and their parents before that, and their parents before that, and on and on along the karmic thread. Their names I’ll never know, yet collectively they hold a rich body of knowledge and wisdom that I wish to both honour and learn from.

Here is the 10 card spread below:

Cards 1, 2 and 3: What is my ancestral lineage?
Cards 4, 5 and 6: What gifts do my ancestors offer?
Cards 7, 8 and 9: What lessons do they need me to learn?
Card 10: What do they help me to develop and become in this lifetime?

dscn2114Naturally one may adapt this any way they see fit. When I asked the first question, What is my ancestral lineage, my intent was solely to distil the core essence of the main life lessons or karmic energy handed down over the bloodline. Here is what I received, using the Haindl Tarot:

 

 

Cards 1, 2 and 3: What is my ancestral lineage?

Strength – The Emperor – The Tower

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Whoa, 3 majors, no big deal (deep breaths). The keywords here are strength, power, and breakthrough. Haindl’s version of the Strength card in particular is powerful and arresting: the woman in this card has strength over the snake, symbolic of one’s kundalini energy but also shamanic, transformative power. More than just having strength over it, to me she raises it as if to honour this power, and use it in a ritual.

Then there is the Emperor, speaking of authority. Both the woman in Strength, and the Emperor are naked: they are part of nature, not dominating it.

The Tower, the last card, is the only one in the trio showing a man-made structure falling apart. The Tower is freedom and illumination at the same time, breaking the rules and gaining insights, experiencing a release from that which imprisons us in our own, man-made world. So far, so good.

Cards 4, 5 and 6: What gifts do my ancestors offer?

2 of Cups (Love) – Isis (Princess of Swords) – 2 of Swords (Peace)

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This was a lovely and supportive 3 card spread. I literally felt my ancestors say, we are here for you, with you. Call upon us when you need to feel loved, when you need peace. Number 2 showing up twice, symmetrically on either side of Isis, speaks of relationship: one – to – one.  

Isis (the equivalent of Knight of Swords in the more traditional RWS deck) is associated with, among other things, the after-life, and in one way, this card stands for my ancestors, but in another way, it also stands for the gift of such knowledge offered by them, alongside that of wisdom and prophecy. 

Cards 7, 8 and 9: What lessons do they need me to learn?

7 of Cups (Illusions of Success) – The Devil – 9 of Wands (Power)

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Sheesh, they don’t mince their words, do they?! This was basically a warning to not take my power and misuse it, but also to not get caught up in the ego-driven quest for power and self-importance, particularly when working in the world of magic. Because it is so, so magnetic, and utterly irresistible at times, and it a world where, should one misuse their power, they can get lost and lose themselves eternally in the fog. 

But equally, and paradoxically, it is also about knowing my own power, and my fears, and channelling that in a healthy way. Having the ability to separate what is real from what is not can be a challenge when working in the realm of magic, for, as someone noted, the universe speaks in a symbolic language, but not everything that happens is symbolic. Knowing the difference between the two is what separates the shaman from the insane.

Finally let me just say that having the Devil turn out in this line, made me smile just a little. For as I’ve written before, I am currently in a Devil year (ending in December), and as such I’ve been slowly learning a bit about this much misunderstood energy, for lack of a better word.

Card 10: What do they help me to develop and become in this lifetime?

Queen of Stones (Spider Woman)
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Finally, here I am 🙂 I had a mixed reaction when I saw this card. Mainly, I was elated, for I felt it an honour to have such a strong shamanic woman as a model to develop and grow into. I also felt a tad intimidated, and the usual doubts crept up. On the whole though, out of all the mature (Queen) cards, I find her exceptionally magnetic, intensely powerful, and equally formidable. This is the equivalent of the Queen of Pentacles in the traditional RWS deck, and is thus contains a very pragmatic, down-to-earth energy. This is someone rooted in the real world, yet aware of the other dimensions symbolised in the labyrinth.

dscn2116It would be an understatement to say that this spread left me a little speechless, albeit in a good way.  There are many more layers in this spread than what I’ve written about in this short post, I feel. I am still processing it, I guess 🙂

I’d love to read if anyone else tries this and something similar, and what their experiences are. Many blessings and wishing everyone a magical week ahead,
Monica

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A tarot spread on Geomancy

The Haindl Tarot
The Haindl Tarot

I decided to get a book on Geomancy thinking, erroneously, that it was about earth energy and lay lines and the like. As it turns out, Geomancy isn’t quite that, and as I started reading John Michael Greer’s The Art and Practice of Geomancy, it became apparent I have bitten off more than I can chew. Keep in mind, what with Moon in Gemini, intense study isn’t my cup of tea. Not that I’m not capable of it, I just need something like this broken down into little morsels, rather than one big gulp. Truth be told, Moon in Gemini expects to just inhale a book and absorb it all via osmosis.

Feeling a bit dejected by the fact I have to, you know, think (it is Sunday after all, folks), and caught by surprise that Geomancy isn’t something I’ll master in an afternoon, I drew the above cards with the following questions:

1. In a nutshell, what is Geomancy all about?
9 of Cups – Fortune

2. Advice for me on practicing Geomancy 
7 of Swords – Uselessness

3. What will be the outcome of studying and practicing Geomancy?
Ace of Swords in the South

4. What do I need to know about Geomancy?
Ace of Stones in the West

The advice card is excellent. On one hand, it mirrored how I felt about the whole thing. On the other hand, 7 of Swords (generally speaking) is a card where one tries to understand and learn. The Druidcraft version of this card shows this brilliantly:

Druidcraft Tarot
Druidcraft Tarot

Knowing this, and seeing the last 2 cards, gave me some hope. I shall have to put a bit more effort and set aside some study time for it. As for the first card – well I just had to laugh, and that’s all I’ll say for now.

“To the diviners of earlier times, the entire world was a dance of meanings that could be read by the perceptive eye and interpreted by the attentive mind. When birds flew past from a particular direction, when stars and planets assumed certain arrangements, or when the chance patterns of a geomantic divination gave rise to a specific set of figures and their interactions, some part of the great dance of the cosmos was brought into clearer view. All these events formed pages in what scholars and magicians of the Renaissance called the Book of Nature – a book that geomancers, among many others, studied with great care and learned how to read.” J M Greer, The Art and Practice of Geomancy

Wishing everyone a blessed week ahead.

Monica

Tarot reading : Study Paths in 2014

I shall start by saying that a Sagittarius Sun and Gemini Moon combination makes for a wide, wide selection of interests and pursuits. This, in turn, adds much variety and interest in my life, as well as making, at times, a superficial attempt at learning the many and varied topics that sail through my brain, often out of nowhere. Nonetheless, this combination guarantees one thing: learning and studying will never stop.

I am now at a point where I definitely feel the overwhelming need for decent, formal study, and have narrowed down my paths to the following four:

  • Herbal Medicine
  • Astrology
  • Yoga Therapy
  • Energy Healing

I note that all four are what I’d call “practical” paths. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love some art history, mysticism, women’s spirituality and more. I think that I cover these fairly well through books, blogs, and the like. What I am interested in, as a formal study, are the four paths listed above. I did not add Tarot, as there are no courses that interest me online, at least not enough to dedicate a good chunk of time towards them; and besides, I’m actually thinking about teaching Tarot myself, but that’s another story… Trouble is, time and money are limited, which brings me to today’s tarot spread: which study path shall I follow in 2014? The Haindl Tarot offered the following, with 3 cards for each of these:

I love that the last card under the deck is The Fool: an excellent undercurrent for new adventures in study.
I love that the last card under the deck is The Fool: an excellent undercurrent for new adventures in study.

Herbal medicine: Krishna (Prince of Wands), The Empress, Chief Seattle (Prince of Stones)
Astrology: The Sun, Ace of Wands, The Star
Yoga therapy: Spider Woman (Queen of Stones), 2 of Cups, 4 of Wands
Energy healing: 10 of Swords, The Wheel of Fortune, 3 of Swords

Herbal Medicine  Prince of Wands - The Empress - Prince of Stones
Herbal Medicine
Prince of Wands – The Empress – Prince of Stones

Herbal Medicine is a definite yes: two pages, court cards that imply study of any kind, on either side of the Empress. As it is, I’ve started making my own herbal salves, but I want to learn a lot more. I’ve been offered the opportunity to join a local whole foods cafe and offer my salves for sale. This brings about a thousand questions, not least those relating to licensing and regulations.

Astrology The Sun - Ace of Wands - The Star
Astrology
The Sun – Ace of Wands – The Star

If Herbal Medicine was a definite yes, Astrology is even more so. Lovely to see a luminary in the spread, and such a good omen too: The Sun. I’ve already researched providers, and I’m interested in the Kepler College online courses.

Yoga therapy Queen of Stones - 2 of Cups - 4 of Wands
Yoga therapy
Queen of Stones – 2 of Cups – 4 of Wands

Geez, I can’t do everything!!! I got the impression that I may do a short course, maybe a weekend away or something like that. Mainly because this spread didn’t have any major arcana cards, but nonetheless it is a great trio. I think with yoga, I am ready to start teaching it formally, I just need to find a suitable studio or venue. The 2 of Cups made me think of some one-to-one learning, which would be nice, but again, I don’t see this as being a long course of study, rather some study to inform my teaching or something like it.

Energy healing 10 of Swords - The Wheel of Fortune - 3 of Swords
Energy healing
10 of Swords – The Wheel of Fortune – 3 of Swords

Finally, this is a definite no. The 10 or Swords (Ruin) and 3 of Swords (Mourning) tell me to not even go there. I guess it’s not the right time. So for me, the focus in 2014 will be astrology and herbal medicine, as study paths.

Note that I have my north node conjunct Mars conjunct Jupiter in Virgo: I need to be on a path where I show people practical how-to: how to align a yoga posture, how to heal lower back pain, how to make a tincture, how to work with a transit, etc etc. It’s not so much about talking about an issue, like counselling or psychology – which has huge merit, but it’s not exactly the fit for me as an exclusive vocational path.

If you have a similar conundrum about what study path to follow, drawing 3 cards on each of your paths of interest can be really helpful. I think deep inside, we know what this is anyway, but having the cards confirm it is really helpful: no more procrastinating and wondering left or right.

I wish you all a wonderful week ahead. Many blessings,
Monica

 

 

 

Am I a healer

Arrgh, what a loaded question. Not even sure if it’s the right question to ask, but there you go. I did. Now and then I get questions like this swirling through my mind, and then I have to shuffle the cards. I suppose the intent behind the question was related to whether “healing” is a path for me to pursue (outside of working on my own personal healing). I actually think that legally here in Australia one cannot make any claims related to “healing” of any sort, but I may be wrong. Either way, here is the answer:

Healing spread
Haindl Tarot

Ace of Swords, Alchemy, and Ace of Wands. To me, that’s a yes. Happy to hear your views, dear readers. Being the neurotic that I am, this naturally raised a whole lot of other questions, such as what modality? Tarot and astrology are right up there, but so is yoga, flower essences, energy work, shamanic work, folk herbalism, prayer, natural magic… There’s a whole world, a wonderful world, out there, of people living by their conscious intent to contribute vocationally towards all of these fields, and more. So much more. I’m at a standstill, and I must remind myself that’s what the Hanged Man year is all about. Just let it be, the answers will come. They always do.

Blessings,

Monica

Happiness and contentment spread

Haindl Tarot
Haindl Tarot

It must be the mid-year funk – there are no public holidays for a while, the New Year break is a long way away, and an irritable energy hangs in the air. God only knows we’ve had nothing but sunny skies for a while now, hot days and warm evenings, the garden looks great and peace is upon us. Nevermind all that, sometimes the tension of trying to direct one’s life on the path true to one’s heart permeates through the calmness and deep fears raise their ugly heads. I’ve even stepped away from the blog, from checking other blogs, and leaned on Leunig for some support.

Leunig

Michael Leunig
Michael Leunig

M Leunig M Leunig lifeache

And then, I picked up my trusty Haindl and asked for advice on what I need to do in order to be happy and content. I guess I just wanted to see what the cards had to say, versus reading a book on buddhism or doing a yoga practice…

So, the cards I drew said to me: adopt a more carefree attitude and don’t take yourself too seriously (The Fool), keep an optimistic and positive frame of mind (The Sun – and maybe some more sun and vitamin D wouldn’t hurt). Then Osiris was rather interesting. Here are some of the quotes from Rachel Pollock’s book on this deck that resonated with me:

As a ruler, Osiris taught agriculture to humanity… In readings Osiris symbolizes someone gentle yet persuasive. He is highly intelligent and may be an initiate into esoteric mysteries, or at least someone with a strong interest in esoteric matters. ” I guess I have a love for organic gardening (in a way, agriculture) and the “occult”, so the advice on what to do is to follow these, though I think specifically my studies in tarot and astrology which have languished over the last few months. I shall keep this in mind.

Many blessings,
Monica

The Hanged Man : Year Card

Gaian Tarot by Joanna Powell Colbert
Gaian Tarot by Joanna Powell Colbert

“It is time to face the truth that our ego’s notion of being in control is mostly an illusion. The more we become attuned to Mother Nature, the clearer it becomes that we need times of stopping, even reversal, in order to access a greater Wisdom. Although it may be inconvenient or even uncomfortable, allow this flow to move through you. Still your inner noise and surrender to what is.” Gaian Tarot: Healing the Earth, Healing Ourselves by Joanna Powell Colbert

For over a month now, I have entered the Hanged Man year. After the whirlwind tumble across the world during the 2011 Wheel of Fortune year, and the balancing/readjustment of the Justice year during 2012, I am ready to suspend myself, hopefully with some level of serenity, and just let go. The woman above also reminds me that perhaps this would be an excellent year to pursue my yoga interests with dedication, although my gut feeling overall is, once again, to let go of any expectations and surrender to the ether.

For anyone who has not researched their yearly card, it is done simply by adding your birth day, birth month and current year, and reducing this to a Major Arcana number. I’ve found it to be fascinating – for example, during my Wheel of Fortune year (from December 2010 to December 2011) I travelled overseas to Romania for three months, and after coming back to New Zealand, I moved to Australia to find work in the environmental sector. During the Justice Year, from December 2011 to December 2012, I was offered and accepted a position in the Whitsunday region (noting Justice also stands for legal contracts), as well as taking the time to reassess my situation and take responsibility for my own actions, both good and bad.

Tarot of the Spirit
Tarot of the Spirit

I confess I’ve always had a somewhat puzzling curiosity about The Hanged Man. He is both attached and not attached: he is tied to a tree, yet is in a trance, in meditation, away from the mundane and the material physicality of the world. I’ve often heard people talk about sacrifice when this card would come up – yet that’s never been an immediate view for me. Possibly because sacrifice, in my mind, brings about images of martyrdom that I so loathe, typically in the form of the woman (or man) who is self-sacrificing (for family, or partner, or whatever) and then projects the misery of such life onto her/his view of the world. It’s awfully tragic, and never sat well with me.

What I do love about this card though, is the ability to develop a spiritual connection, a faith, or have some sort of mystical experience, that is often imbued in the imagery.

Haindl Tarot
Haindl Tarot

Even in the Haindl tarot, where the Hanged Man is shown as Odin, and sacrifice is at the core of the myth, I understand and accept such sacrifice in the wider context of spiritual awakening and revelation:

“The meanings for the Hanged Man emphasize the idea of attachment. We become so certain of the basic realities in our lives that nothing can shake us. This may mean an attachment to nature, or to a moral principle, or some important purpose in life. It can also indicate a deep spiritual awareness.

The image of the tree suggests an attachment to something greater than day-to-day problems. If a person feels blown about by outside influences, then Meditation with the Hanged Man can often have an anchoring effect. Imagine your body literally on a tree, one whose roots sink deep into the Earth and whose branches reach into the stars. However weak you may feel as an individual, attachment to this tree makes you unshakeable. To help you visualise this, you may try standing on one leg, with the arms out. The point of this imagery is to gain a sense of yourself as part of something greater. This does not mean sacrificing your individuality. The Hanged Man remains himself. In my own experience I have found the Hanged Man a great help during times when I have felt myself weak or overly influenced by people or situations. If the Hanged Man comes up in a reading, it tells you to seek such an attachment, or that such a feeling already exists, giving you confidence and peace.” Rachel Pollack – The Haindl Tarot

Gilded Tarot
Gilded Tarot

All of the above makes perfect sense to me. This is indeed the year to bring together all the streams of spirituality that I feel are a core part of who I am, and, without being too limiting, define, openly, what I stand for. I guess this has been going on for a while now, actually since 2006, yet it is only now that I am starting to assimilate the vast amount of experiences I accumulated over the past six years.

Part of my vision for this year, has been a conscious task of having a dedicated spiritual practice, which is rather simple yet profound: acknowledging the New and Full Moons in ritual, being aware of Moon phases when I plant my seeds, learning about herbs and their medicinal and magical properties, and so on. A Full Moon ritual, for example, might simply be a yoga session followed by a herbal bath with herbs that are governed by the Full Moon sign. It’s nothing too complex or laborious, but it is intentional, it is nourishing, and it is important to me as the air I breathe.

Herbal Tarot
Herbal Tarot

I openly and consciously seek to connect with Spirit, with the Earth, and with my own voice and my calling. This year will also be a time of letting go. Mary Greer describes it best:

“In a Hanged Man Year, you will have to release things from your past… Relax and let go. By releasing old patterns and surrendering fixed ideas, new ones can form in accord with new commitments… The Hanged Man is a symbol of mythical isolation in a ritual purification. Thus, the sacrifice of your self-interest in dedication to a cause will bring understanding of the deeper meaning of your acts.” Mary Greer – Who are you in the Tarot

And so, I welcome the Hanged Man and set aside time for stillness and surrender. Would love to know what other people’s experience of such a year has been as well, and whether it mirrored the imagery and myths portrayed in the card.

Many blessings,
Monica

Working with the Australian Bush Flower Essences

Last weekend I went to a local spiritual festival. It was a good event, although not as big as what you would find in a big city, it did have a good range of stalls and readers. I decided to see one of the practitioners, with the intent of getting a Bush Flower Essences prescription. Last year I thought I would start by studying the Bach flower essences, but since the opportunity was there I felt the Australian Bush Flower essences were right for me. I still intend to check up on the Bach flowers, but for now I’ll continue with these.

I was shown a pack of flower cards, and asked to choose three that I liked (based on any criteria of my choosing) and one that I didn’t like. Here are the three that I liked:

http://www.bushflowerhealing.com

They were a little hard to choose. Mainly because the overall energy at the festival can be a little overwhelming at times, and you have to try and focus with a million voices all around you. The Boab in particular rang true – it stands for clearing family and karmic patterns. The funny thing is, I didn’t even check their subtitles when I picked them, I just went by the visual images. The one card I didn’t like that much (I never actually got through the whole deck) was Tall Mulla Mulla. Don’t ask me why.

http://www.bushflowerhealing.com

Fear of confrontation sounds about right. Don’t speak up, don’t make a fuss, get in line, conform, or else. What would other people think of you etc etc. Problem is, this sort of stuff comes up to the surface anyway, usually around that time of the month, and if not dealt with, it just ends up poisoning you and those you love. Because there were times when you should have spoken up, and yet didn’t out of fear. I am yet to fully deal with this, but by getting these flower essences, I guess it’s time.

I decided to do a 6 card spread on actually using these essences. The first 3 cards were about me working with the Australian Bush Flower Essences:

The 7 of Swords is interesting. I have to admit I have a mental residue where I have doubts as to their effectiveness. I think that’s actually about all flower essences, and about healing via alternative methods. Deep down I know they work, but it’s like that little voice that says, oh this is ridiculous. In truth, whether it is flower essences or crystal therapy, if you try to use the mind solely to explain the healing, I think you end up with the Uselessness feeling described in the first card above. I see the 2 of Wands as the interaction between me and the essences, and the 10 of Cups as a great card to show I will enjoy this.

The next 3 cards were on the outcome of taking the essences:

It is interesting they are all earth cards. The 9 of Pentacles and the 4 of Pentacles to me speak of realisation and success, of grounding even. Not so sure about the 7 of Pentacles, mainly because of the “Failure” title associated with it. This made me do a further 3 card spread, where I specifically asked, “How effective are the Australian Bush Flower Essences?”

Above we have a very definitive answer: they are absolutely effective. Alchemy is the Temperance card, the quintessential card of healing in tarot. The Universe is most auspicious – I always see this is as a beneficial card loaded with promise. And there I am in the middle 😉 At least that’s what I thought, and also that for me the healing would be somewhat related to the mind perhaps. We shall see.

Many blessings,

Monica