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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Dancing with the Devil : Part 1

 

New Mythic Tarot
New Mythic Tarot

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.

Devil spread
Excerpt from Tarot Wisdom by Rachel Pollack

Using the MAAT tarot, I shuffled, cut, and proceeded:


1
. What have I lost? Queen of Cups

Queen of Cups from the MAAT Tarot by Julie Cuccia-Watts
Queen of Cups from the MAAT Tarot by Julie Cuccia-Watts

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

Ace of Swords MAAT Tarot
Ace of Swords
MAAT Tarot

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

The Sun  MAAT Tarot
The Sun
MAAT Tarot

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

Strength
Strength MAAT Tarot

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

The Fool
The Fool – MAAT Tarot

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

Princess of Pentacles
MAAT Tarot

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.

Until next time,
Monica

 

 

From the archives : Veronika Tarot Spread

I am re-posting below am entry from my archives, a while back. I think the starting quote, one of my favourites, came to mind straight away when I read something a good friend sent me: Women of Power.

Photo of Maria Ela Lewańska from Women of Power by Katarzyna Majak
Photo of Maria Ela Lewańska
from Women of Power by Katarzyna Majak

‘Women of Power’ is a series 29 portraits of Polish witches, healers, enchanters, visionaries and spiritual leaders. According to what Ewelina Jarosz wrote about the project: “The title points to Katarzyna Majak’s intention to develop and socially rehabilitate women identifying themselves with the widely understood spirituality of their ancestors, Mother Goddess, pagan beliefs, and old sources of wisdom, which may still empower and inspire contemporary secularized consciousness by its valuable content and alternative energy”. The website for the project along with more detailed descriptions of some of the women can be found here. I think I’m starting to really enjoy this Hanged Man year. It’s cementing and solidifying my path, bit by bit, ever so slowly yet surely. Every time I have a doubt about my path or purpose (and I’ve had plenty), there’s a reassuring nudge from the universe. 

‘Am I cured?’
‘No. You’re someone who is different, but who wants to be the same as everyone else. And that, in my view, is a serious illness.’
‘Is wanting to be different a serious illness?’
‘It is if you force yourself to be the same as everyone else: it causes neuroses, psychoses and paranoia. It’s a distortion of nature, it goes against God’s laws, for in all the world’s woods and forests, He did not create a single leaf the same as another. But you think it’s mad to be different and that’s why you chose to live in Villette, because everyone is different here, and so you appear to be the same as everyone else. Do you understand?’

from Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho

Another simple two card spread came to mind reading the above. A few people I know do not like Paulo’s writing style, which is a shame, although millions have been touched by his books. Regardless of whether his writing is liked or not, the messages contained within are so relevant – take the above paragraph, in the context of the rise and rise of prescription medicines for depression, anxiety and so on. Anyhow, I kept this one simple. One could ask for advice on how to nourish or support what makes them different and so on. I chose the Vanessa tarot mainly because I received this not long ago from a friend and wanted to try it out, though I feel it is more of a “practical” deck for day-to-day events.

1. How am I different
2. How do I conform

Veronika Tarot Spread using Vanessa Tarot

Well, look at that. I conform in a group, and am different on my own, is perhaps what really stands out. The 3 of cups explains the How – social situations, parties, friendships – how many times hasn’t it happened. Not always a bad thing, of course. As for the Queen of Wands, the words freedom and adventure jump right out of that card. So vibrant and alive, that one. When I was young, about 8 or 9, my friends asked “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Everyone had something to answer: doctor, pilot, architect. My answer: I want to be an adventurer. I kid you not. Everyone had a good laugh on that account – you know, what kind of a job is that, it’s not a proper job blah blah blah. At that time I was reading a children’s version of Jules Verne, and was so engrossed in that world, so mesmerized by it all, I lived it and loved it with pure naivety. And so far, I have to say, life has been a pretty fascinating journey.

Lemniscate mind

Tarot Wisdom by Rachel Pollack

This is another reading taken from Rachel Pollack’s Tarot Wisdom. In the countless hours I spent shuffling with my cards while I was in Romania, I tried some more varied readings and the answers for this one were rather interesting.


1. What is the shape of my mind – 2 of Pentacles

I can’t help thinking about The Magician, and also Strength when I see this – because the first thing that stood out for me was the lemniscate. Aside from the Magician’s trickster quality, and the power of Strength, the card itself points to balance, and to a certain extent flexibility. But it seems it’s all bound up within the shape of the lemniscate. I should point out my Moon is in Gemini (ruled by Mercury, the trickster Magician) – and I do have a weighty Mercury influence in my chart.

 2. How do I communicate my ideas – Ace of Cups

I found this answer to be a bit of a puzzle – because I have difficulty communicating my ideas sometimes. Not always, but it does happen. I think numerologically it’s significant – the Ace being about the impulse or the very first spark before anything happens. The Ace of Cups to me speaks of an emotional weight that is part of my communication – but also an openess and even emotional depth at times.

3. How am I able to hear the ideas of others – 4 of Swords

This is the only sword card in a reading about the mind and communication.The card is about calming the mind, keeping it still and quiet when communicating with others – so in a way it says that I am able to put aside my preoccupations and listen to other people. However, it also indicates that while I am able to hear the ideas of other people, I don’t really get involved or I keep a distance.

4. What do I need to learn – 8 of Pentacles

This, to me, is about fine-tuning my communication skills a little. And also, perhaps engaging in the skill of diplomacy, or learning how to be more diplomatic or careful in how I phrase my thoughts (and Sun in Sagittarius is the least of my worries – I have Mercury, planet of communication, in Scorpio. Enough said.) Actually, English is my second language, so maybe buying a dictionary and learning some more vocabulary wouldn’t hurt either.

5. How will I learn it – Queen of Wands

Practice and be open to learning. I will learn by not being too self-conscious about my communication – this Queen just goes out and doesn’t really hold back and gets involved in living life; it says, really, just be yourself.

I’d encourage you to give this one a try – would love to see what other people get as the shape of their mind 🙂

Many blessings,

Monica

Hierophant Spread

Following on from a previous post in which the Hierophant turned up, I have done another of Rachel Pollack’s spreads on this major arcana card. This is the Hierophant spread, taken from her book Tarot Wisdom – Spiritual Teachings and Deeper Meanings. Thought I’d use the Fantastic Menagerie deck, and it made for an interesting experience.

Hierophant Spread using Fantastic Menagerie Tarot

1. How has tradition affected my life?
Justice: the image on this card really struck me. A woman is judged by 4 intimidating men. Now, I know one cannot say whether the unicorn is male or female, but given the historical context of when these were drawn, the judges were all men, and the clothing of the ‘defendant’ indicates the cat as female.  This picture speaks a thousand words about expectations. What I should do, what I should not do, how dare I do this or that, be responsible and so on. She looks really meek and resigned to het lot in life. Expectations and tradition go hand in hand.

2. What have I learned?
4 of Swords: Relax, chill and enjoy life! Ha ha I had to laugh when seeing this card. Life is beautiful, no? Don’t worry, be happy, and smoke a peace pipe now and then. This card gives that distinct “summer holidays” feeling, carefree and not a worry on one’s mind. In a sense this speaks of not letting traditions/expectations get in the way of enjoying life.

3. How have I broken with tradition?
6 of Wands: Triumphantly, defiantly, and with success. Also, very publicly.

4. What effect has it had on my life?
7 of Pentacles: A bit puzzled as to how to interpret this one. Some key words from the book are “slow building and patience; pause in the work; stepping back to allow for natural work” which are all relevant. Breaking with tradition meant no more rat race and time all to myself to figure out what I what to do.

5. What do I have to teach others?
10 of Pentacles: I love this card – and it’s featured before here. The 10 of Pentacles is about prosperity on the material plane, and achieving security and prosperity, achieving success. It does have hints of family life and duty linked in to it, funnily enough. Yet I take it to be, success in finding and creating your own family, especially in the form of community: who are the people you want to share life with? The ugly duckling takes a long time and some failed attempts before coming to this place. The beetle in the card reminds me of the Hierophant, especially looking like teaching those before him – or is he a marriage celebrant in this picture? This deck will keep me busy for a while, I can tell.

6. How can I fulfill this role?
King of Cups: in Tarot this King is sensitive, emphatic, with an inclination towards art and healing. The book for this deck notes “Something of an artist and a sage, the King of Cups is a character who has learnt to balance emotion and intellect, leadership and attention to others. He represents maturity, spiritual or artistic discipline and social responsibility.” Brrrr, the word responsibility again. And yet, I need to learn to differentiate between responsibility that is heavy-handed down to me, and what I choose to take on in life for my own growth. The qualities of this King are what I need to bring in and nurture in order to fulfill my role.

Sacred Quest

Sacred Quest spread using the Universal Rider Waite Smith

This spread reflects the energy of what I want to do and achieve, and is taken from one of Rachel Pollack’s books. I am getting more aquainted with Temperance, the angel of healing. As a Saggitarius, I am well aware it is “my” card, following its astrological association. Mary Greer writes about this card being a card of healing, and it is also often called Alchemy. So this is my quest, and I am on the path of gaining mental clarity. That sword is immensely powerful, just like the mind. Of course, it is also the card of new beginnings, which are soon to be felt in my life. But I take it to be especially related to the mind, to a state of mind that is clear, cutting through fog and uncertainty. I feel like I am slowly coming out of a long and drawn out Moon phase, parts of which still linger.

I am so happy to see that it leads to the 10 of Pentacles, a card of completion and achievement on the material realm, aided by the 6 of Pentacles, also related to the material plane via giving and receiving of physical resources. This could be money or gifts from people I know. As it stands, I have been very blessed to receive help from my family with the upcoming trip to Romania. It is interesting to see I am hindered by the Knight of Wands – who could this be? Perhaps it is my wild nature and all this travelling I am about to go on. Too many things happening at once, perhaps. And I’ll have to sacrifice my pride (Queen of Wands) which makes sense given a core part of healing relates to the ego – yet I smiled when I received the quitessential “wish” card in the tarot for the outcome. No matter what you want or wish for, getting the 9 of Cups is a blessing and a strong sign you are on your way to achieving it.

If anyone would like to try this spread, the order is:

1. What is your quest
2. What path are you on
3. Where does it lead you
4. What opposes you
5. What aids you
6. What must you sacrifice
7. What you will become

A spread on tarot reading with Legend: The Arthurian Tarot

Aeclectic Tarot Spread

The spread above is from the Aeclectic Tarot Spreads eBook, which I highly recommend. There is a variety of spreads on all sorts of different topics, most with a different point of view and some quirky ones too.

I am using the above spread to get acquainted with the new Legend: the Arthurian Tarot by Anna-Marie Ferguson. I have a soft spot for mythology, romanticism, and for fantasy artwork, and I connected with this deck straight away, like an old friend. So the above spread is perfect for using on new tarot decks, especially ones with a particular theme.

Click on the image to enlarge

1. What I already do well: The Magician – Merlin

This tells me I am good at actively creating my tarot path and manifesting the direction I want to go in. It’s about achieving mastery in knowing and interpreting the cards, and taking charge of my destiny through my dedicated study of tarot and other associated occult studies. I take it as a very positive card – the future of my tarot work is what I make it, and I definitely have the ability to do so.

The LWB states “Skill and wisdom. Imagination and versatility. Creativity and showmanship. The noble use of one’s talents. Ingenuity and the power of influence. Competence and diplomacy. Heightened psychic abilities. Effectively directing one’s own life.

2. What I need to work on: The Hierophant – Taliesin

I need to learn to express myself, to better communicate verbally my inner knowledge of tarot to those seeking tarot readings with me. I do actually find this to be my biggest challenge. I know intuitively what the cards mean when I do a spread, but since I cannot communicate this telepathically with the querent, I must learn to communicate in words what I know. This could also indicate being part of a group or organisation with similar interests, and suggests it is something I should aim on joining, rather than working alone on my own (at present I do meet up with the Aotearoa Tarot Guild on a monthly basis, but once I am settled later on in the year, I will look to get more active in the tarot community in Melbourne). And finally, this card suggests I need to keep working on my education. At just under 4 years of tarot learning and experience, I am a neophyte, really. Which is great, because as a Sagittarian I can tell you, I love to keep on learning 🙂

3. External resources for improving: 9 of Cups – The Healing of the Maimed King

What an apt card, and also an auspicious card. This tells me there are some extremely beneficial external resources for improving, and could well do with my own challenges in communicating as I mentioned above. The ability to speak is something that I am working on – because it is a lot more than being able to just interpret a card. Having a voice is a struggle for those who have had their sense of self violated by others, and healing this is about finding my own authentic voice. The Healing mentioned on the card is what struck me first – this card lets me know healing is not only available to me, but it is possible. The actual picture reminds me of someone working on a person energetically – like in Reiki, or any form of energy healing work.

4. Internal approaches for improving: 8 of Shields – Wayland

Self study and reflection is the inner approach for improving. The 8 of Shields (Pentacles) is the card of the apprentice in tarot. Getting the details right, with a focus on continuing my tarot education. The LWB notes it is about “Employment. Commissions and craftmanship. The positive use of one’s talents. Learning a new skill or trade. Enjoying one’s work and the rewards it brings.” Given the position this card is in – internal approaches – I would say it’s more about the last sentence, enjoying my work and study. Practice makes perfect.

5. Overall advice: Page of Spears – The Hare

A very original way of seeing the Pages in Tarot. Personally, the hare speaks to me of a playful nature, abundance and fertility, and reminds me of the Queen of Pentacles in RWS. I take it as a good omen in the overall advice. LWB interpretations:

An enthusiastic young supporter. The arrival of good news. Stimulating conversation. Intellectual development.”

As a social creature, the totem hare symbolizes play, an awaking cultural sense, and enjoyable interaction with the community.