Firstly, I think I need to reconsider my blog’s title, given that coffee is the primary beverage of choice around here these days. A cup of tea is rarely seen, though the summer heat is partly to blame for this too.
So, a delectable cup of flat white by my side, I did a quick 3 card spread. This is a spread I do when I’m not sure about what I really want – which might not make sense, but sometimes, it is not clear; perhaps because of conflicting desires, or perhaps because there are too many choices; perhaps you are not sure what should take precedence. Anyhow, it happens.
Personally, this came about because I wanted to perform a magic ritual, yet had difficulty wording, expressing exactly what it was I wanted to create. So, out came the Halloween Tarot, and this is what I got:
I am a huge fan of this deck – it is so well executed and keeps things light hearted. I’ve used it often, though obviously closer to Halloween time might be a more suitable timing – however, it really works so well all the time that I keep using it throughout the year anyway.
So, in an instant, the answer is pretty clear really. The first card is all about family happiness and contentment. A card of good times, a card of emotional fulfilment – in our increasingly turbulent world, to have this is a real blessing. Something to acknowledge, and certainly not take for granted.
The third card, The Hermit, cracked me up: I just want oodles of time to myself so I can “tinker” in my tarot room – study, shuffle cards, design rituals, perform rituals, explore astrology charts and generally envelop myself in the craft of natural magic. There’s even a green frog in this card – got this too (though she sits on the outside of my window and croaks away at the most inappropriate times, like when I’m lighting the incense all ceremonial and focused)….
And the middle card? There I am, happy that my heart’s desires are, really, already present in my world. Well, I could do with a bit more personal time, but honestly, this is a card of wishes coming true. It’s a card that pretty much said to me, What more could you want?!
Over the next few blog posts I shall start writing about my journey through natural magic and what I am learning so far.
The other night I had an odd dream. Now, a lot of dreams are odd and strange and sometimes there is no meaning behind them – you’re just wondering through a surreal landscape and everything is bizarre to say the least.
Othertimes, however, the dream has a meaning. You may be dreaming of a traumatic experience as a means to process what has happened, or it could just be haunting you until you resolve the situation – say by acceptance, or forgiveness, healing work, etc. Or it could be that the dream has a symbolic nature, a message from your subconscious, and you need to figure out what it’s really all about.
In cases where your dream is symbolic in nature, and you want to find out more about it, or you can’t even figure out where to start, tarot can be of great help.
Quite simply, you can draw just one card and ask any one of the following:
– What is this dream about?
– What is the meaning of this dream?
– What aspect of myself shows up in this dream?
etc etc. Really, it’s up to you – and also if you don’t think one card is enough, then draw 3 cards for your question, or alternatively, create a custom spread as I did further below.
So back to my odd dream. It goes something like this:
I am walking down the street, and someone starts shooting at me from an upper story window. I don’t recall anyone else being in my dream, other than me and the shooter. However, I cannot see who the shooter is. When I look up, I can see the window, it is open, it is dark inside the room, and I know someone is there, shooting at me. I dodge the bullets, and that’s as far as I got.
To find out a little bit more about this dream, I did a simple four card spread as follows:
Who was the shooter?
Why was he/she shooting at me?
What was this dream about?
What is the overall meaning of this dream?
This is the answer I received using the Sharman-Caselli deck:
1) Who was the shooter?
Queen of Pentacles – someone with the qualities of this card, which has the element of Earth – thus someone fairly grounded, pragmatic, business savvy, financially secure; this does not necessarily mean a woman, for it could be a man with the qualities described above. It definitely indicates someone I know. Could this be me (as in, self-sabotage) – I don’t think so, as I relate with the Queen of Wands as an archetype.
2) Why was he/she shooting at me?
Knight of Swords – clearly, this is a card of attack. This is the most volatile of all the Knights in tarot, and there’s no stopping him. This person was definitely angry at me and wanted me out.
3) What was this dream about?
The Tower – whoa, ok so this is one card that depicts fairly well what it would feel like to have such an experience – the whole scene is unsettling, sudden and abrupt. Here we have two people falling out of their man-made tower – so it’s about the disintegration of a relationship/friendship, about breaking apart (at least, that’s how it feels to me).
4) What is the overall meaning of this dream?
5 of Swords – traditionally known as the card of ‘defeat’. I feel in this instance it is more than just that. It’s about someone having the upper hand, the vantage point (the shooter) and using this to try and undermine me. It is also a card where one person has won, but they have done so at any cost, often sacrificing their integrity in the process. This is a card of conflict, where the outcome is less than favourable – for all involved, even though one person looks like they are the winner, in reality it is a shallow victory that does not bring any satisfaction or rewards long-term.
The last card under the deck was the 8 of Swords, which supports the
energy of the dream in which I had something happen to me, over which I had no control, and the only thing I could do is to run and seek shelter. The 8 of Swords appears in readings where things are happening to you that you cannot really control, and often you are limited (bound) by circumstances beyond your control.
Ouch. The Devil has started to make an appearance, and I am not ready. I am not prepared for this, but he’s here, for the Devil is my birthday year card* for approximately the next 12 months.
*The birthday year card is obtained by adding up your birth day, month and the current year of your birthday, and reducing this down to a number between 0 and 21, corresponding to the Major Arcana. So if your birthday is say, 17 November 1950, your current birthday year card would be 1+7+1+1+2+0+1+5 = 18 = The Moon. This would apply from 17 November 2015 through to 16 November 2016, however I have read, and also found from personal experience, that the energy of this card can be felt a couple of months beforehand.
Along with Death, this is (unfortunately) one misunderstood and feared card – and I have to admit, despite all that I know about the Devil, I am yet to fully explore and be comfortable with this energy. So I decided to do a series of posts on this card, partly to share my experiences, partly for fun (which the Devil certainly likes), and partly to expand my own knowledge on this card.
To start with, I have done Rachel Pollack’s Devil Reading from her wonderful and substantial book, Tarot Wisdom.
Using the MAAT tarot, I shuffled, cut, and proceeded:
This Queen has a softer, gentler energy to her. She is actually a favourite of mine in this deck, largely due to the warm background and the overall calm energy I get from this card. This is the first time that I have noticed she appears to be holding onto her stomach the way pregnant women often do – and I regret not getting the book that accompanies this deck to check whether this is the case.
To be honest, when I saw this, my first gut reaction was that this is a part of myself that I have lost – in particular, before I became a mother. There is nothing wrong with this, of course, and while I am still, essentially me, at the same time, I am no longer who I was a year ago, or even 5 months ago.
2. What blocks me from returning? Ace of Swords
The Ace of Swords: a new state of mind, a new beginning. There is something so finite and decisive about this Ace – the immovable, inflexible steel; the sharp edges. In any case, the blockage appears mental ( swords) rather than physical or emotional.
Even if I tried, I could not go back to the person I was before – mind-wise, body-wise, emotionally-wise.
3. What illusory chains hold me? The Sun
This is one of the most striking and alternative depictions of the Sun card that I have seen – the
moment of creation, both on a purely biological level, and yet simultaneously, on a magical level. Sure, science can explain it all ad infinitum, but really, trying to grasp the magnificence of the miracle taking place is at times beyond my human brain.
When I saw this card, I thought of both unity and separation. Now this, as I will write about later, is one of the core aspects of the Devil meaning, and this card reminds me that I can get caught up in such illusions as much as anyone else, and it takes sustained effort (via meditation, yoga, gardening, nature walks and anything that connects me to the greater whole) to not allow such illusions to permeate my life fully.
There is still another answer in this card – that of competition. The idea that we are all against each other and life is nothing but struggle is something that was imprinted on me from childhood. It is a false idea stemming from deeply rooted fears, unfortunately far too prevalent these days. Thankfully, I have learned this is not the case, but having this card come up reminds me of the insidious nature of such fears, and the possibility that they are still present within me. As the question states though, they are illusory, and there is no need to give them any weight or time. Competition surely has its place in this world, in a way that is healthy, rather than destructive and manipulative.
4. What reality holds me? Strength
Nice. In this deck, I see this card not just about personal strength, but also
about the ability to weave magic into my life. For magic – creating, playing, drawing down this energy – is as real to me as the sky, the stars, the earth.
I see that the creator has assigned this card the Full Moon Cycle of Gemini – interestingly, I was born on a Full Moon in Gemini, so there you go.
5. How can I free myself? The Fool
I love how Tarot can be so literal sometimes. For the Fool, first and
foremost, is about freedom – the freedom to pursue one’s goals, instincts, intuitions and visions. It is also about not taking oneself too seriously, of course.
There is something else going on with this card, too: the man here looks to be involved in some form of shamanic work or ritual. Naturally, this is a path that I am drawn to and there is no denying it.
…also, can I say, love those horns on his head he he😉
6. What will happen? Princess of Coins
Oh my, how I love her. I love her bare feet. I love that wise smile. I love her white hair, the rich, fertile gardens surrounding her, the fruits of her labour, the simple, earthy energy of it all.
What’s that she’s holding in her hand? An apple half, showing the 5 point formation that apple seeds form inside – the shape of the pentagram. Now as I’ll explore in further posts, the pentagram was attributed to the Devil…
How interesting. This woman here has some secrets to tell, I think. I also think that those secrets are not really secrets at all – they are the timeless wisdom of being connected to the earth and nature, and the health and well-being that comes from doing so.
What I also find fascinating is that the Queen of Cups, which is a mature energy in a Tarot deck, is portrayed by a younger looking woman (and recall from above, this is what I have lost), while the Princess of Coins above, which is a younger energy in the traditional Tarot, is painted as an older and wiser woman in this deck. Fascinating.
I feel like this spread has so many answers and riddles in equal parts, and will be digesting this one for a while.
Here is a simple spread for anyone contemplating a course or a degree or vocational undertaking.
Of course, one doesn’t need Tarot to let them know whether doing a degree in the Arts, or an apprenticeship in woodworking, is the right path for them – most people have some inkling, or desire, of their chosen interests – proving the freedom to choose is there, naturally.
Still, it is good to get the Tarot opinion, I feel. Especially given the plethora of courses nowadays, from astrology, to herbal medicine, baking, glass work, psychology and so on.
I haven’t done a spread for myself since I won’t be embarking on a study anytime soon, but hope this is of interest to other Tarot enthusiasts out there (if you click on the picture you’ll see a larger size). Enjoy!
As I mentioned previously, I am now teaching an introductory course in Tarot. I am running this over 8 weeks, with 2 hours per week. There are 5 students and myself, which makes for a close, intimate experience, and lots of practice time as well.
I wrote this spread up to help myself understand my new role as “teacher” and get some general guidance with this new path. Overall, I am pretty comfortable with teaching Tarot and speaking in front of others – but this is only in this context, i.e. that of Tarot. I guess this is mainly because I revere and love the subject (this is most important!), I understand it fairly well (but there’s nothing like trying to teach it to make me learn even more!), I’ve had excellent, surreal and atrocious experiences and a whole range in-between with reading cards, and I also know most of my students as we are friends outside of class.
Nonetheless, it is good to have some insight and guidance into my new teaching path, so I penned 5 questions, and shuffled a personal favourite – the Fey Tarot.
1. What do I need to know about being a teacher? Queen of Swords: the card leans towards the rationing/ thinking/ objective and also highly discriminating – these are the predominant qualities I do and/or should use, which makes sense, though she looks rather intense – it’s those penetrating eyes, I think. This Queen is a great role model for a teacher in general, because the element of air (swords) rules all forms of communication, which is what teaching is all about.
2. What do I do well as a teacher? 2 of Chalices: I interact well on a personal level with students – the 2 of Cups is about having a personal, deep bond with someone as well. It’s about exchange and connection on a one-to-one level, which I hope I do. With 5 students, I try and give everyone the opportunity to engage and communicate.
3. What do I need to improve upon? The Tower: I need to not be afraid of stepping outside conventional boundaries, and infuse my teaching with my own personal style. I think as a new-ish teacher I tend to err on the side of safety and limit myself to conventional approaches to teaching. Note that the fay in the card, while flying (aiming) high, is still within the confines of a brick tower, although the foundations are slowly coming apart brick by brick… I like that.
4. Advice for me on being a teacher The Wisest:this corresponds to the Hierophant in traditional deck, which is a fantastic card to get as advice, for the Hierophant is the teacher of mysteries, occult etc. Also, see how the fey in this card is reading/ studying – this implies that, apart from teaching being a natural path for me (well, I am a Sagittarius after all!), I should always keep on learning and studying. This is something I naturally plan on doing, since I love being the eternal student, but it’s nice to get it as a guidance anyway.
5. What does the future hold for my Tarot teaching work? 8 of Chalices: I wasn’t too sure about this one. I think it signals a new direction possibly, though I note how the fey keeps her eyes on that splendid chalice: I will always teach, I know that much. Where, how and when, are just details to be filled in
If you want to try this as a spread, keep in mind there are lots of other questions you can add – for example, “What is my teaching style?” etc.
Next time, I will do a Student’s Tarot Spread, although, since we are all students in life, I’ll keep it a bit more generic.
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:
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:
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 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.
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.
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.
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,
Friends, I am placing the blog on holiday for a while, since I’m heading off for one too We’re loading the bus up, and heading to the northern shores of Queensland, in search of sun, chilling, good food, awesome beaches, the most amazing rainforest sights (the Daintree) and a bit of tarot reading at the lovely Mission Beach festival not far from Cairns
Tough life, I know. We’ll be away for two weeks, which is never enough, but a welcome break, nonetheless. I’ll be back mid-October or so. Until then, I’ve dug the post below from the archives (it’s very lazy of me, but I have to pack and plan and am running out of time!) To redeem for my lack of fresh ideas, I must say the post below really struck a chord with me at the time. And I realise I haven’t blogged about any other spreads I dreamt of while reading Women who run with the wolves, which is something I’ll be thinking of while on holiday and hopefully will share when I return.
Many blessings, Monica
This is a very simple spread, with only 2 cards. It came to me while reading Women Who Run With the Wolves, by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. I have many, many spreads from this seminal book. This one is from the story about losing and finding one’s soulskin.
It is a spread on a noble quest, the soul search. What is it you seek in life, what is it you want? What does your gut response tell you? Don’t kid yourself, for the ego and the soul want different things, and so, how do you know what you want? Shuffle your deck, and pick two cards. The first card answers the question What does my soul want? The second card answers the question What does my ego want? Take the time to focus before doing this spread, turn off all external noise, find a quiet space, and focus. This is what I got.
1. What does my soul want? The High Priestess.
Mystery, intuition, the subconscious, behind the veil, the unknown. She who knows but doesn’t tell. What a powerful woman, a woman initiated. My soul wants to seek, my soul yearns to contemplate a full moon, my soul wants life to be a mystery, my soul will take nothing but the sacred. My soul asks for a woman true to herself, she doesn’t have to justify herself to no one else. My soul wants to understand, to study, to learn, to be dedicated to the inner work, to know and to not know.
2. What does my ego want? 3 of Swords.
My ego wants pain. Ego loves pain, and sorrow, and martyrdom. The same story that energetically sucks you into a black vortex of “poor me”. Ego wants a threesome, a love triangle, or maybe just a deep, deep release of pain. Janina Renee notes “this card could denote someone whose view of reality has been distorted by depression, indicating a need to change perceptions”. Ego wants heartbreak.