tarot of the week--six of cups

Nostalgia ain't what is used to be. --Old Smart Ass saying.

Or maybe it was something I came up with...feels like I heard it somewhere before, and I am missing those days. We are back in the Tarot saddle this week with the Six of Cups. By all rights, it is a cute, endearing card for most people. And it is for Tarot readers too. To refresh your memory on Cups and Sixes as groups. Cups deal with emotions. They are the water element of the Tarot, and often cover topics around how we feel, emote, relate to other people. The Sixes are about balance, as all even cards are to one extent or the other, but the sixes are about restoring balancing after upheaval. 

What we see in the Six of Cups is two children, one male and one female, standing in what looks like a village square. He has six cups each filled with flowers and he is handing one to a little girl. The interpretations of this card are so wildly varied that I often get whiplash reading them, so let's just begin with the clear cut interpretation, then delve a little deeper. When we talk about restoring balance after an upheaval, often this card comes to represent returning to a place of childlike enthusiasm after facing hard times. At work, we may relate to this experience of being bogged down with daily busy work, chores, responsibilities, and forgetting our excitement at being a teacher, or lawyer, for example, with all the ideals we once had going into our chosen profession. This card reminds us or validates for us, that we are remembering our ideals, the place we once held sacred for us. 

Childhood's harmony, puppy love and happiness are all here in spades. I often pull this card in questions about marriage when couples are re-falling in love, or rediscovering that part of their partner that made them fall deeply in love to begin with. It can come on special days like anniversaries or birthdays. Love and family are strong in this card, so I often go there with general readings, than work or hobbies. This can also be about returning to the home or family, or country of origin. Sometimes when we return home to care for an elderly or ailing parent, or another sibling. So much of this card is about finding that joy of childhood again, and it is often a joyous, positive card to get. 

HOWEVER, some Tarot readers see something completely different in the Six of Cups. Beth Owl's Daughter points out the seemingly off kilter perspective of this card. The children seem like tiny adults, and the cups are larger in proportion to the surroundings and children than other cups. So, what to make of that? For me, I think it is so perceptive and interesting this take. Because nostalgia and memory are such fickle friends. They remember things larger, more exaggerated, better even. The Good Old Days are often that good when we really break it down, but they are part of the larger greener grass syndrome some of us face. Particularly watery signs get stuck in a place that romanticizes the past. There is no mistake that this Six harkens to the Major arcana Six of the Lovers. Is this a little version of the Lovers? Or is it a perversion of the Lovers? Remembering a happy time that was just a wee bit off, like a dream, or a fantasy of happy days.

All this is also predicated on the assumption that you had a happy past. Many people have traumatic childhoods filled with scenes of flower giving and perfect Sunday school outfits hiding bruises and fighting. The Six of Cups is mysterious indeed, and we have to be curious when we pull this for a client. What of your childhood? Was it distorted? Was there a facade of normalcy, but something sinister underneath? What about the early days of your relationship? Perhaps you had foreshadowing of current issues.

Reversed, this card asks  you to let go of the past and the romanticization of the early days. It can indicate a rigidity in one's beliefs and an unwillingness to move forward. Also, some of the latter points I brought up often arise in the reversed  presentation of this card.

Let me know what you think in the comments. I'm excited to be readying for my Introduction to Tarot class this evening at Alta View Wellness Center in Harrisburg. We have room for more, so call to get in at 717-221-0133.

tarot of the week--five of cups

The darker the night, the brighter the stars, The deeper the grief, the closer is God! ― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

So, in talking about the Five of Cups, let's talk about Fives in general. Fives in the Tarot have a reputation as being rather, ahem, challenging. We talked about it a few weeks ago with the Five of Wands. They are cards of upheaval, action, and change. Again, it is your view of change that really affects how to look at Fives. As Cups deal with emotions and love, the Five of Cups is about upheaval of our emotions. Our cups are spilled over, as is represented by the fallen cups with red wine flowing into Mother Earth. That red wine looks suspiciously like blood, and right it should, we often feel like we are bleeding and traumatized by loss. There is a black cloaked person, head down, clearly crying. He or she is in traditional mourning clothes, and behind this figure runs a river with a bridge, and into a town. The sky is grey. Behind his view, there are two upright cups. He has lost more than he has, but he still has, the card seems to say.

So, this card is about loss. I pull it when the Seeker is grieving from the loss of a family member, from the loss of a marriage or relationship, from the loss of a job, from the loss of a house. Often the cards around it will give me indication of what this is about--lots of pentacles can mean it is a loss of a job; other key Cups, like the Two, Three, or Ten, can mean the loss of a relationship: Wands can mean the person is facing depression, or loss of energy (or sometimes a creative job, like an acting job); and Swords can mean they are losing a legal battle, or the loss is one of perception, rather than reality. If I pull a clarity card for the Five of Cups, I look for Court Cards, because sometimes the Five of Cups comes as a message from beyond for someone--Kings are father figures, Queens are mother figures, Knights are sibling type relationships, friends, or cousins, and Cups are children. Again, Spirit usually directs me toward this clarity. I had a reading with someone grieving a few months ago, and her reading had two Kings in it. As I was reading, I had a distinct feeling that these were cards of people who passed over, and were father figures, and gave her birthdays they could be--Air signs and Earth signs. Her grandfather was the Air and her father the Earth. She recognized them immediately. So even if you are not a medium, remember that Spirit has a lovely way of connecting our Seekers when they need it most.

For me, grief is a great teacher. I have heard the quote, "Grief doesn't change you. It reveals you." It strips away your reserves, and your facade, and exposes your vulnerability. This is a terribly scary place for those of us who wrap our vulnerability up tight, but we must move into the scary place, rather than away from it. This is the key to spiritual growth, in my opinion. And the key for healing from Grief, which feels wrong for the grieving. They fear if they give into their grief, they will never come back. But it never happens that way, does it? We think if we allowed ourselves to cry, we wouldn't stop. But we stop. We do. Moving into the scary places takes support, love and trust in Spirit. As Readers, we ask our clients to be courageous here, and move into the grief, rather than away from it, to heal. To feel every little feeling that arises and acknowledge those emotions and natural, healthy and right, even when those emotions are dark, scary and petty.

Grief can be the opening for spiritual growth and compassion, if we let it. For grief is a heart-centered experience--it is about love and connection, and the seeming break from that connection. But Spirit connects us, always, across time and space. We see this in dream time when we see our loved ones, or in release rituals where we release anger at our ex-husband and remember the great love once shared. One great gift of grief is that each person in the world can relate and understand those around us who suffer. Grief speaks one language--Love.

We all lose, we are all lost at some point. I wrote about grief and gratitude in November. This is my philosophy of grief. Moving into it, feeling it, embracing it as an expression of Love, rather than Death. I read Tarot books who tell Readers to remind the Seeker to focus on their upright cups rather than their overturned ones. But this is so dismissive to me as a grieving mother and daughter. Grief and gratitude coexist for most of us, as I write in the piece above. I recommend my clients sit with grief, and perhaps try some meditations that help them feel the emotions of grief. Another great practice is tonglen meditation, which basically says, "Since I am feeling grief already, allow me to feel the grief of others, so their grief may be lessened." This meditation is quite opposite of our instincts, but we breathe in suffering, and exhale release. We breathe in pain and fear, and exhale peace. In this way, we are asking to take in more grief, rather than less.  The idea is that we help alleviate suffering through our suffering. I do this practice in my painting work, and I made a wee film about this a few years ago. Maybe it will help you to understand the process.

So, back to the Five of Cups...when I get this card, I ask my client about their grief. I tell them to sit with it, to weep, to treat themselves like an injured person, which they are. I tell them to give themselves a time frame for grieving, and just nurture themselves through the grief. The piece I wrote recently about healing from friendship loss--so much of it can be applied to healing from any loss. Because so much of what my writing has been in the last five years is about grief, I might write a post about grief stones, support and ideas for moving through grief. If you would like more information on grieving support, please let me know in the comments. 

This card in the reversed position is about moving out of the period of grief. Spirit does this to validate and nod to your experience of grieving. It is a profound life changer, even if you are simply grieving the loss of a job. Spirit doesn't differentiate different suffering in the same way we do on earth. There is no ranking of grief or suffering. The experience of suffering is one that is a Noble Truth for a reason, and Spirit often says with the reversed Five of Cups, "Yes, you have grieved. We held you during your grief. We stood beside you. We wept with you. And now," Spirit whispers, "Now, you may go forward from here, not forgetting, but taking with you only the Love that was always there."

Please let me know what you think of this post, or this card. I'd love to hear your insights as Readers or Seekers, or someone simply interested in these spiritual truths.

 

 

tarot of the week-king of cups

I don't want to be at the mercy of my emotions. I want to use them, to enjoy them, and to dominate them.― Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

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The suit of Cups flows, ebbs, and throws us to the sand. For when we deal with Cups, we deal with water. The element of water rules our tears, our moon cycles, our psychic connection, the blood that runs through our heart, so, romance, and of course, our sense of balance.  The wine runneth over. We drown in our tears. The imagery we use for water so succinctly wrap up what the suit is about. Cups are all about our emotions--the good, the bad, and the ugly. How we use them, as Oscar Wilde so eloquently puts it, how we enjoy them, and how we dominate them. No card more righteously dominates the emotions than the King of Cups. 

This King controls his emotions. He has figured out how to dominate his own impulses, his desires, his natural drive to have his heart dominate the conversation. The imagery on this card bears some examination, as the Cups also rule our own spirituality. We often think of this suit as being one of romance, love and emotional turmoil, but it also governs our spirituality and psychic, intuitive and empathic connections. He wears the golden fish around his neck, and a fish jumps out of the water. Fish harken to Christ and give us a vision into this man as a religious man. He is also on choppy water, reminiscent of the Two of Pentacles--balancing rocky seas with aplomb and grace. This King is one of balance and peace, as is always said. 

When you pull this card about another person, remember Cups rules the astrological signs of Pisces, Cancer and Scorpio. This person tends to be romantic. Incredibly passionate with a strong sense of moral justice and extremely ethical. This might not be completely obvious, for the King has learned his emotional lessons well. Unlike the Knight or Page, he doesn't lead with his heart anymore. He knows when to show them, and when to hold them (thank you, Kenny Rogers!) He can be artistic--a painter, poet, musician. And that might be something he doesn't broadcast to the world. He may be a closet guitarist, or a journal writer. He is psychologically astute, so he may be in the field of social work, or psychology. He may be psychic or intuitive. King of Cups are incredibly spiritual people, but that doesn't mean they are religious. In fact, I would say their nature is to see the truth in many things. This King rules the Arts and Sciences, and so he may be a Liberal Arts professor, for example, or someone who teaches. Whatever this King's profession, it tends to be a calling or passion. This is how his emotions get funneled into positive use. Genuine compassion and empathy are the mark of the King of Cups, and his sincerity is obvious. Some say naive, but this King knows better, because he has learned those lessons, and for him, love rules, or rather it trumps cynicism every day.

Before you fall madly in love with this debonair King of Hearts, as he once was in the traditional decks. There are downsides to each card, and person we encounter. We often see the blending of some of the positives and negatives in real live people, right? So, when you are reading for someone and pull the King of Cups, know this person probably has a blending of both the attributes and challenges of the King of Cups. The challenging aspects of the Kings of Cups are that these Kings can sometime try to escape their emotions, specifically because they are overwhelmingly emotional. They feel every piece of life deeply, every careless word, every interaction, every criticism. They can be a bit immature, or emotionally stunted. This comes out with sarcasm, over sensitivity, cynicism or defensiveness. They may put up large barriers to the Spiritual because of this hurt. Emotional turmoil often comes out with patterns of running away or numbing out through booze, drugs, sex, overeating, or any addictive behaviour. It is something you don't often hear discussed in the Tarot, but the suit of Cups has the additional layers of meaning about alcohol and drug abuse. So, when you pull reversed Cups, think about the card in terms of emotional hiding, numbing or burying. If the upright card is the full expression in all its positivity of emotion, the reversed is often the blocking of that emotional expression. The King of Cups reversed can most certainly be alcoholic. Carl Jung noted the intrinsic link between Spirits and the Spiritual. He wrote in a letter to Bill W., founder of Alcoholics Anonymous. "...'alcohol" in Latin is 'spiritus' and you use the same word for the highest religious experience as well as for the most depraving poison. The helpful formula therefore is: spiritus contra spiritum." This later phrase is often translated as, "Spirit against the effects of spirits."  And so Water signs are most in need of this full dive into the spiritual pool, so to speak, when they are emotionally turmoiled.

When you read for yourself, the King of Cups means coming to a place of dominating your emotional nature. You understand your emotional, psychic, intuitive or spiritual self. You feel fully expressed. It can mean to be right where you are. This King knows when he needs a good cry. He does not suppress his emotions, and likewise, if you are being asked to embrace the energy of the King of Cups, you are asked to begin labeling your emotions with the proper words and really fully embracing your emotional self. Love him or hate him, the King of Cups rules the deep waters of your soul and notices the connections between all living things, so allow his energy to seep into your soul too.

Let me know what you think of the King of Cups, or how you have interpreted him. If you disagree, I'd love to hear about that too. If you have questions about the King of Cups, please do not hesitate to post in the comments section. I try to answer all questions that arise.


tarot of the week--four of cups

It is a frightful satire and an epigram on the modern age that the only use it knows for solitude is to make it a punishment, a jail sentence. --Søren Kierkegaard

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So much of how we interpret Tarot is based on what we think of as challenges or as rewards. As a mother of two young children, solitude is a gift, a precious pearl, that I savor and fall into with open arms. While others take a moment of quiet as an opportunity to check their phone, call someone, reach out, connect. Such is the vision of the Four of Cups. Solitude and reflection, at times seen as a punishment and other times as a reward, primarily defines this card. What do we do with our time? How are we reflecting? What are we reflecting?

To begin with the numerological implications, four is about stability, like the legs of a table. The balance is from all sides--emotional, physical, mental, spiritual. For the Four of Cups, this is about retreat for emotional stability. But it is far more complex than what meets the eye. 

For introverts, this card is not in the slightest bit off-putting. Here is a solitary figure in retreat, sitting by a tree with arms crossed. For extroverts, this card is often interpreted as a Kierkegaard says, a kind of punishment, or maybe a self-imposed exile. Not a positive time, per se, but one that lacks gratitude and openness. When the figures arms cross the Heart Chakra, we have a certain level of being emotionally closed. Nothing is entering the heart, nothing is leaving it. Often, this position is interpreted as a kind of brooding, or unappreciative position. Certainly, the fourth cup, the one from a cloud (often the symbol as a gift from God, or Divine inspiration, or a new idea) , is right in front of his face, but he cannot or will not look at the option (the last leg of his proverbial table) that is right in front of him.

This closed position coupled with the downward gaze suggests a self-questioning, self-doubt and a kind of depression. I have heard it interpreted as a kind of apathy and passivity that holds the seeker back from emotional growth.  

But that is not the only way to see this card. we often need to close our hearts, not be so receptive to the feelings of others, to truly assess any given situation, particularly one regarding our own emotional well-being. Do I break up with that girl? That is often a question someone poses to the Tarot. Well, assessing that question would be terribly difficult if you were spending 100% of your time with her telling you she loves you. You need the space, both physical and emotional, to really get to the heart of the matter. 

Perhaps the seeker has worked hard, been putting his or her efforts into her work. Maybe she is worn down, worn out, needing time for solitude and reflection. This is the card of an emotional time-out, and a recognition that hard work and dedication gives us the luxury to take time to reflect on our work.  When I say luxury, there is nothing here to suggest that this is a financial or material suffering. In fact, the sky is clear blue, the background is serene, there is no turbulent water (emotionally chaotic symbol)--this turmoil is internal, rather than external. That is important, because this card reminds us that this crisis is self-imposed. Part of the implication of this card's brooding is that the seeker cannot see how good he truly has it. So, this card can come as a reminder that this is all in your head, and this time out or period of reflection, while necessary, is not anything like a punishment. The reflective means end, of course, in emotional stability, as Cups are the suit of emotional stability.

This solitude is often the exact environment in which creative solutions and glorious inspiration comes. The underlying quandary with this card lies in where you are in your time of solitude. Are you using it for enlightenment, or are you using it to wallow in your sorrows?  Are you searching for inspiration, or are you resigned to your lot? Are you able to make decision based on gratitude? And when your time of reflection is complete, are you able to reach out and grab your last cup? Or will you let the opportunity pass you with inaction? When a client pulls this card in a reading for me, I often tell them that the time of solitude and exile needs to be transformed into a time of reflection and enlightenment. You are on your proverbial mountain meditating. Take the time to be enlightened. Open your heart to your Higher Self. Listen to all the wisdom within you. Then take action with trust and confidence.

If you pull this card in a blockage position, I would work on heart chakra issues as well, using some heart stones to help you open up. Self-love stones like Rhodocrosite, or Rose quartz might be a great addition to your meditations, or even your baths. A great affirmation with this card might be:

I take time to listen to my Higher Self. 

 

Many apologies for the lack of crystal post and newsletter last week. I have been ill and took a much needed time out from my blog. (No surprises why I pulled the Four of Cups today, right?) I'd love to hear what you think of the Four of Cups and anything else coming up for you. 

 

tarot of the week--knight of cups

The minor arcana of the Tarot is set up similarly to a deck of cards--numbered cards one through ten, which correspond traditionally with aspects of numerology in their archetypal meanings. Then what are called the court cards come into play--the page, the knight, the queen and the king. These sixteen court cards come to represent personality types and the people in and around your life. When we talk about personality types, most of us identify those kind of things by psychological tests, like Myers-Briggs, for example. These personalities are ones you know, they surround you constantly. And if I were to describe the personality of any court card, you would more than likely be able to think of someone in your life who has those personality traits. Some people even read the cards with physical features. Pentacles, for example, might represent a dark haired people, or it can represent someone who is grounded, a financially responsible (or irresponsible, depending on the card) person, or even the age (pages are young adults, kings and queens tend to be mature people.) So, the court cards help card readers identify people in the life of the questioner.

 The court cards are often these markers in your reading, helping the reader validate the present situation. People are often looking for tarot readers or psychics to help validate what they are saying is true for them. So, if I say to someone, there is a dark-haired man in your life, he is mature, stable, financially secure, this helps the person know that the cards are accurate. Court cards are great tools for that, because they can be so literal in that way.

But the court cards aren't just about other people, they can help you identify the energy you are bringing to the situation. I read for someone a few weeks ago with three knights in her layout. So, what does that tell me?  That is not necessarily about the one knight, but the symbol of the knight, which we will get into later. It is telling me she is acting in extremes right now, making decisions quickly, being fearless and/or reckless in some aspects of her life, where and how those knights appear in the layout help me help her to identify where that recklessness or fearlessness is playing out. in general, court card gives a true human depth to the reading, if you can be honest about your motivations and accept the warnings and validations of the tarot.

Knights have a specific energy in the Tarot. That energy is one of movement and action. The knight, after all, isn't sitting on a throne, or lounging about the castle, his duty in the kingdom is one of protector, warrior, and messenger. He is in defense of the kingdom, or riding off to battle, or off to rescue the princess. So, the knight energy carries with it extremes of each suit from its best attributes to its worse. Only the reader and questioner can really figure out whether this extreme can be positive or negative in your life. Often, when you read about knights, there are pair of words to describe the knight energy--reckless/fearless. They are pairs of words that have the energy, but different outcomes. 

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The Knight of Cups embodies the extremes of the emotional suit of Cups. Often, but not always, this emotional extreme deals with love. Love is where we are most vulnerable and most emotional in our lives, so when the Knight shows up in our reading, we get to look at this energy. And it bears a sort of emotional honesty that is imperative with the Knights. Often Knights are warnings, recognitions of our own extremes, and an invitation by the Tarot for genuine and honest self-appraisal.

The Knight of Cups is a poet, a lover, a rescuer. This card is often called the Knight in Shining Armor card, because the energy of this knight is one of idealization, either rightly or wrongly. What I mean by that is that we often are idealized or idealizing someone else when this card appears. Placing someone on a pedestal, or being placed on one, a lover who seems too good to be true, or just is that good. We sometimes say this card appears when someone is in love with being in love. Or feels like this new relationship or person in their life was love at first sight.

 And the darker side is this idea of illusion, of people, particularly a romantic partner, being too good to be true. So, reversed, or in challenging positions, we often have to ask if we are seeing things clearly, or are we being swindled? There is another underlying theme of being rescued--either we are waiting for rescue, or waiting to rescue. Either way, it is often a warning in the tarot to check our intentions and our illusions.

This Knight is a sensitive soul, perhaps overly emotional, self-centered, moody, melodramatic or temperamental. On the other side, he injects romance into the situation, ecstasy, drama, beauty, and creativity. Sometimes, the Knight of Cups brings this deeper quest into the reading, the quest for our Higher Purpose, the passion of your soul's path. Can we follow our soul's path as fearlessly and passionately as we pursue a new hot relationships? For spiritually based questions, the Knight of Cups can be about emotional courage. For example, a silent retreat can be hugely recharging, or it can be torture depending on where you are emotionally. Can you be courageous enough to do this type of work? That kind of spiritual process requires Knight of Cups energy. We also pull the Knight of Cups when we are doing intensive emotional work through therapy or other processes, like the Twelve Steps, or self-help work. It requires a beautiful bravado and belief in the ideal you--the one that has always resided in you. The romance and idealization can be strongly tied with falling in love with yourself, who you are meant to be, who the Creator envisioned us all to be.

Whether it is romantic love, or self-love, or courageous energy, the Knight of Cups can be the spark of emotional courage that we need to find that romance, our soul path, or the way to our emotional truth. 

I'd love to hear what you think of the Knight of Cups, or anything on this blog. Remember that I offer tarot readings, either remotely or in person, with the same type of depth I do with my blog posts. You can find my offerings here, or shoot me an email at themoonandstone(at)gmail(dot)com.