Past Life Relationship Spread

As a Tarot Reader, I am privy to the most interesting questions. People often come to me in places of confusion about their relationships--marriages, lovers, clandestine affairs, friendships, frenemies, parental/child relationships, co-workers. When we feel strong emotions on either end of the spectrum, we know something important is happening within the relationship. Deep wounds AND deep healing come from relationships.

There is no mistake that the Lovers card of the Major Arcana features Archangel Raphael over the lovers (the Devil's dark card comes from the same imagery as the Lovers), and that in the Minor Arcana, the Two of Cups, has the Caduceus--the two snakes wrapped around the staff of Hermes has represented Medicine and Healing for a long long time. 

At times, healing in relationship confounds us. We don't always understand why someone provokes such strong reactions in us. Why someone's benign comment leads us to anger and another person's same comment sounds comforting. Or why we continue to attract and have the same types of relationships. Or why no matter how much therapy or talking or healing we do, we cannot repair the relationship with our mother, or father. When we get to the end of the line, we often ask questions like "What am I missing here? What is my lesson with this person? Do I have past life karma with this person?" People ask this if they feel deep, immediate love and connection for someone and if they feel the other extreme--revulsion, anger or deep hurt. 

This layout came about after a reading with a friend of mine. She asked me what her past life relationship was with her husband. They had been together for over twenty years. She wondered why she felt so obligated to the marriage and to him. She asked if we could find this out via the Tarot Cards.

Sure. Why not? I had never asked such a question of the Tarot before, but the Celtic Cross is incredibly versatile. As I laid it out, I began changing the meanings of the positions and moving some of the cards around. After I was done, I realize I had naturally created a sacred spiral. I had done another reading like this connecting with someone's passed over loved one (I'll post this layout soon). In crystal gridding, I use a spiral for past life grids, to open to the deep knowledge within, like unscrewing a lid of the jar to view the past life.

We have done this spread many times in Tarot Share, playing with questions for each other to see how this layout works. One night, we did this for everyone at Tarot Share, looking at our past life karma with each other. It was fascinating to find out that when we ask about those people who have created deep love and deep anger/resentment/fear, we often get lots of Major Arcana cards. We see archetypes. We see reversals (lots of reversals). We see a spiritual journey, suffering. Do not be surprised if you see these kinds of things in this layout. It may be disturbing, but it also validates that the strong emotions you feel. Major Arcana always deals with soul journey. When we would read for each other (people who get along and often only interact during Tarot Share), we had all Minor Arcana and not too many reversals. It is not that we didn't share a past life, but that it was easy and light, and often in the context of a village or family environment where our souls and soul work is more removed from each other. 

In the best case, these cards reveal their deep past life meanings to us easily during this layout. It can be hard to discern exactly what is going on in Past Life readings, but try to expand on what you already know of the card. And have fun playing with this layout. Comment here or on one of the social media platforms where I share this layout about how it worked for you. I'd love to hear!

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Tarot of the Week--Nine of Cups

“Formerly, when I would feel a desire to understand someone, or myself, I would take into consideration not actions, in which everything is relative, but wishes. Tell me what you want and I'll tell you who you are.” ― Anton Chekhov

There is no more auspicious card in the Tarot than the Nine of Cups. It is nicknamed the "Wish Fulfillment Card", and it features a rather contented man sitting in a semi-circle of filled cups. He wears a red cap, symbolizing his wealth and material success. His arms cross over his solar plexus. He is done with his work. Life is good for him. He has succeeded. Marcia Masino called this the "Wine, Woman, and Song Card," which I love. We see enjoyment of life's sensuality and finer aspects. This card brings good health, wealth and enjoyment.

Tarot is often not what is seems exactly. It is hard to take these beautiful cards of happiness, contentment and comfort at face value, and indeed, we shouldn't. There is more here than meets the eye. Let's talk about the numerology of Nine. This is the number of attainment. But as the Tarot often challenges us, what is one man's completion is another man's beginning. We complete school, only to move into the business world. And with this Nine, it is no different, except we are talking about the emotional suit of the Cups, and so we must delve deeper into the psyche to understand the Nine of Cups.

For most Tarot readers, the Nine of Cups is a blessing anywhere in a reading. It is a sign of good luck, good fortune. It tells the Seeker that their wishes are coming true, but like the Chinese curse--May you get what you wish for--we must talk about what our wishes are and if they are aligned with our Highest Good. AHA! And there is the rub in the Nine of Cups. It says nothing about whether your wishes are aligned with what is best for all. You may be focusing on winning the heart of Mr. So-and-So, the handsome co-worker, but he may have secrets, abusive pasts, or other skeletons in the closet. The card says, "You are getting what you wish for, now WORK ON WHAT YOU REALLY WISH FOR!" This work calls for the surrounding cards, and for our own inner wisdom. What it calls for is to align with Divine Will.

This quote by Chekhov really sums up for me what the real work of the Nine of Cups is about. "Formerly, when I would feel a desire to understand someone, or myself, I would take into consideration not actions, in which everything is relative, but wishes. Tell me what you want and I'll tell you who you are."  I know this sounds trite and easy to dismiss. We often think these things apply to other people, but it is really difficult and important spiritual work to figure out what exactly you want. Let's take the example of the co-worker. Here's a handsome, knowledgeable co-worker, who is professional and kind to us in the workplace. That's a great starting place--we know he works hard, is kind and we have similar interests. But we actually don't know much about who is he. So, here we may wish for him to be interested in us, or ask us out. Maybe a better wish is to be ready for a partner, a soul mate, someone we are attracted to physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. We often don't voice that, or write the qualities we value in a partner. We often meet people and say, "Close enough. This might be my last chance at love, I better snatch it up." The real work is knowing what exactly you want in the life. This can be as specific as demeanor, values, habits...when I was manifesting my partner, I wrote a list of qualities I wanted, including going to bed early, and waking up early. Hey, I'm a morning person! I was in a long term relationship with someone who slept until noon. That is literally seven hours of my morning wasted. I love getting up and putzing around cafes, or diners, or farmer's markets. By the time I was tired and ready for bed, he was just getting his groove on. So, when this card comes for my clients, I give them homework. What is it that you want? We need to voice that clearly, eloquently, and honestly. No writing things that sound good. If you are a jealous person by nature, than a good partner for you would be someone who values your insecurities, rather than a flirty partner. No harm in asking to not compromise on that. 

Whether you see this as the Law of Attraction or not, I think it is helpful to state and write out what you want. If you don't know, how will the universe know? And how will you recognize it when it gets here? The Nine of Cups begs you to be honest, authentic and do your work. Tarot often lives in this liminal land between support and forcing you to do your spiritual and emotional homework. Take our example--from switching to "I wish for Mr. So-and So" from "I wish to be ready for my partner",  you are signaling Spirit that you are ready for your spiritual work. It means you are ready to do the hard work that has been preventing you from bringing in your soul mate relationship. It doesn't mean that your Twin Flame is coming NOW, but it means you are beginning the work of releasing all the blockages to a healthy, whole relationship. It is important work, unvalued in this society, but Spirit doesn't let us off easily.

So, the Nine of Cups is about your wishes, and your indulgences and ultimately, your emotional wants, and stating them. As the Nine of Cups crosses his solar plexus, this card signals that this work isn't physical, or from your will center. This is turning things over to your Higher Self, your guides, Spirit, God by tapping into your intuition, your emotional being, your Divine Feminine. Isn't that ironic? This card is NOT about your will, even though it is about your wishes. It is being receptive to your own desires, needs, and wants, rather than pushing forward into a space where your ego and superficial desires rule your will. Upper chakra work, really, or maybe it is better put--the work of Nine of Cups is an inside job. It is hard work to tap into your Intuitive side and really allow Spirit to guide your wishes to your Highest Good. My wishes are often very simple these days--Your will, not mine, be done. Because my will gets me into trouble. It is about me having an extra piece of cake, or chasing the wrong handsome partner after the other, or driving fast because I am late, or taking a job that pays a ton of money, but leaves me spent with no time for self-care.

In the Reversed position, the Nine of Cups can signal overindulgence in material things, carnal delights and the sensual pleasures of eating too much, drinking too much, smoking too much, sexing too much...think Gluttony and Greed. Like I said, the Nine of Cups is a blessing anywhere in your reading, so this reversed thing really is a reminder to watch it. Don't overindulge, just enjoy your life, and may you wish for what you already have. 

 

Tarot of the Week-King of Wands

“There are painters who transform the sun to a yellow spot, but there are others who with the help of their art and their intelligence, transform a yellow spot into sun” ― Pablo Picasso

We are residing squarely in the Court Cards these last few Tarots of the Week, so let's just get to it. As always, you might find this post helpful which discusses the role of Court Cards in a reading. Visiting us today is the King of Wands--the red-headed King of Fire. His persona is one of passion, creativity, ambition. The Kings have a certain je ne sai quois, but you know it when you feel it. Or perhaps it is a wisdom, a grasping of their strengths and weakness, a domination over their suit's attributes. And boy, do those Wands benefit from that wisdom and domination.

The Wands are the sign of Fire--passionate, creative, sexual, dynamic. Fire people often have fits of creativity, but also fits of anger, passion, rage, and self-absorption. With the Wands more than any other suit, ego and confidence are vital allies for their work. They direct their ego for their benefit. We often demonize the ego, but when directed into our creativity, it can often be our most prized ally. Wands often delight in the competition as much as the outcome. The Wands are the ones in front of the group--leading, teaching, performing and entertaining. They are the innovators, and creators. The Knight's passion often overwhelms those around him. He is intense, passionate, sexual, angry.

But the King's fire has tempered itself into a small, hot flame in his heart. He holds back from the bonfire that consumes everyone in its vicinity. He knows how to work with his own passion. He has matured, and this is crucial to understanding the way this King works in readings (or any King). He has learned the lessons of his suit. He no longer falls into the bait of his ego wanting to show all he knows, or goading others into a fight, or rushing into an ill-fated relationship. He has lost the insecurity he may have felt, and really believes in his own power and creative possibility. There is a level of mastery to his passion that comes through beautifully. 

Because he has reached some level of achievement, he also redirects his passions to Others. This is key for understanding the King of Wands. If the Knight and Page are ego-driven, the King has learned some of the lesson of the ego. (All Wands are still prone to self-absorption on some level.) He has achieved what he wants. He is satisfied in his ego, and moves outward, ready to help others. New enterprises and experiences still excite this King, so he is always searching for a new passion. You might find these people obsessive over a hobby or pet cause. This King might be leading a humanitarian cause or dedicating time and money to an organization he believes in. But again, this comes after his own success.

In general, this King is charming, dynamic, alluring. He often reeks of success and accomplishment. With all Wands people, he takes life by the horns, so to speak. He feels the sensual pleasures are to be had here, life is to be lived. He is a generous person, and often warm and affectionate, and honest. His honesty can sometimes sting, but you always know where you stand. He tends to be attracted to dynamic, creative people too, so you often know where you stand. This King is a wonderful friend and terrific ally, unless he is reversed, then watch yourself.

The Reversed King of Wands often has not achieved all he believes he deserves. It often brings an underlying resentment with the world. He can be vengeful, violent, often angry, biting. Think of how fire licks up at others, and this is how this King often behaves to people who cross him. He is quite often arrogant. In fact, arrogance might be his most defining characteristic. He is someone who disowns others who do not adhere to his strict ideas of the how his world should run. He can be punishing and severe to those around him. If you pull a reversed King of Wands about yourself, it is important to ask yourself how you are managing your ego. This can be an indication that you are being self-absorbed, arrogant or vindictive. Tarot challenges us to look at the way we are handling our passions and if they are becoming obsessions and if we are making things all about ourselves.

Of course, most people are both some strengths and some weaknesses, and we often have to look at these Court Cards as a combination of both. The Reversed often comes up about another person when we are seeing or interacting with their Shadow attributes rather than their full Highest Selves, and the Upright when we are allied with them. This King of Wands can also indicate a mature man, and by mature, I mean a man over 35 or who has achieved some sort of goal he set for himself. It can also be a woman. Remember the Kings are about wisdom and maturity of the suit's attributes, and that is a genderless idea. King of Wands can be the Astrological suits of Aries, Leo or Sagittarius. Or they can represent red-haired folk, though this is mutable. Let me know what you think below.  

tarot of the week--three of pentacles

“Your purpose in life is to find your purpose and give your whole heart and soul to it” ― Gautama Buddha

There is another quote that pops into mind when I think of the Three of Pentacles--"Choose a job you love, and you never work a day in your life." We walk back into the world of career, family and home with the Three of Pentacles. Pentacles deal with the material--things, work, home, family, career, money. But each Pentacle has its own, shall we say, particular flavor. The Threes are about growth and expansion. And this Three holds amazing promise in it.

We greet the Three of Pentacles with three people--the artisan, the priest and the benefactor. The artisan creates the beautiful pentacle carvings on the walls of the church or monastery, while the monk and benefactor look on. They discuss his work, looking over his plans. This three deals with career in a meaty, substantial way. It brings together the Two's balance and the One's potential into a soul path. And this is what the Three is about. He is an artist, and artisan, but he is not whimsical in the slightest. He is making plans, watching them come to fruition. 

There are never mistakes in the Tarot, and the backdrop of the church and monastery is important. His work, though physical and demanding, is sacred. He is blessed by the priest/monk/abbot, and he is rewarded financially by the benefactor. These three come together for one goal--a sanctuary. This relationship is mutually beneficial to all three of the participants. There is no charity, so to speak. These are people working hard to serve the Divine, the people and each other.

This card certainly harkens to the Empress III in the Major Arcana, ripe with creativity and innovation. Yet it holds its own personality. It is one of beautiful support on your path. It holds new levels of gratification, and the promise of spiritual, creative and financial fulfillment. I often pull this card for people who have figured out and are working their soul purpose. Not simply as a hobby, or volunteer basis, but someone getting paid for work they feel is their soul path. They have all three pillars of career fulfillment--creativity, spiritual growth and financial comfort. This card comes when someone is on their path, or working their path. There also is an implicit understanding that this fulfillment comes with partners--the monk and benefactor. We do not work in a vacuum and part of the fulfillment comes with the human connection element.

There are no "gifts" in this card. The Artisan works and worked damn hard to get to the point that he is trusted with the heart of the Church. He has poured his own heart and soul into his passion and craft. And it shows in every thing he does. As you can see, he doesn't even put down his tools to talk to his benefactor and priest. He continues working. Hard work blesses this artisan. He has worked hard to hone his craft and become confident in his expertise.

There is a strong creative side to the Three of Pentacles. This is the Card of the Artisan after all, but it can really cover any path where you feel creative in some way. I use that word often in this blog. Most often this is associated with the traditional arts--music, painting, writing, sculpture, dance, etc...but I do not mean to imply that when I say creative. I mean, how do you approach your work? How do you approach life? Creativity is a way of being, rather than a traditional artsy fartsy endeavor. Think of how you approach problems on the job. Are you working your creative muscle there?

This card comes when the Seeker becomes an expert, or competent in their chosen field. They are drawing clients and customers, and on the path of financial stability and professional achievement. It can indicate getting a degree or finishing training in some way and moving to the level of artisan, rather than apprentice. It also means that the Seeker is receiving some financial and spiritual fulfillment in their chosen career. They feel that their work is important and helping others. They are in service. This can be a cheerful Starbucks worker who smiles at each customer, to a social worker who helps destitute children. Spirit does not necessarily distinguish between these two types of service. They are equally important.

Reversed, this card can indicate someone is not working up to their potential. Or rather they have all the talent, but none of the hard work and drive to push their potential into a true career. They may be whining about how people won't buy from them, or hire them, but the truth is that they themselves are not working hard enough. It can also indicate that they are still apprentices and needing more direction in their career. The lack here is of workmanship, drive and hard work. These are the driving forces that make the Upright Three of Pentacles successful. This card also may be pulled when the Seeker is feeling unfulfilled in their work, and the streams of income are beginning to dry up. This is Spirit's way of pushing that person to make some major changes in their outlook and career.

As always, I'd love to hear your take on the Three of Pentacles, and any Tarot card I cover here. I am thinking about offering some on-line courses for Tarot in the upcoming months. If you are interested, please let me know by sending me an email at themoonandstone@gmail.com.

tarot of the week--two of pentacles

“Juggling is an illusion. ... In reality, the balls are being independently caught and thrown in rapid succession. ... It is actually task switching.” ― Gary Keller

Okay, Spirit, three Pentacles in three weeks time? We are in the sign of Virgo, which is one of the Earth signs, and life gets very Earthy in September, no? Back to school, work, summer vacations end, abundance reigns. These Pentacles deal with our material issues, and by that I don't always mean our obsession with material things, but rather our earthly concerns--home, career, money, family. Twos concern us with balance. When you look at the numerology of the Tarot's Minor Arcana, you can see that most of the even cards deal with balance of some kind. Twos have that specific quality of yin-yang balance (dark/light, male/female), duality, partnerships, choice. Often, the twos come with romantic partnerships, or business partnerships as their underlying theme. That does not always necessarily hold true, but often this balance is about a relationship.

The Two of Pentacles shows a man juggling two Pentacles, and dancing, perhaps. The Leminscate curves around both Pentacles, suggesting something spiritual about these two pentacles. We don't know where he is standing--either the shore, or on a boat itself, but we see the turbulent sea behind him, and ships being tossed around. One of my favorite Tarot writers and teachers talks about this as one of Pamela Colman's stage cards; wherein, the figure appears to be on stage. Is he an actor, or is this life? Contemplating that differentiation fascinates me, and just brings another level to the card interpretation all together. For me, I have always seen this man on a boat, while other boats are tossing and turning in the background, and presumably the boat that is supposed to be his solid, stable ground is also nauseously bouncing over the waves. But not this man, he is balanced, dancing with the ups and downs, appearing graceful in the process.

This card appears to me when someone faces work-life balance issues--a working mother, a single parent, or a workaholic facing increasing pressure from a partner to dial back work pressures. There is nothing about this figure that suggests struggle, so we must remember that this juggling is done with panache and grace. Despite the turbulent seas, the figure is balanced, and in control. There are two possessions, (and for the sake of argument, let's call his family a possession) he is balancing. Two things of great importance that he is juggling. The quote I chose today is one I feel bears repeating--when we are juggling, we give the illusion of balancing both balls in some magical state, but the truth is, we are taking care of two tasks equally well.

Timing here is key. He catches, he throws, and within that pattern, the infinity symbol, or leminscate, holds them in perfect balance. Let's talk about the leminscate. We see this in a number of cards--the Magician, Strength, the World, and the Two of Pentacles. Beyond its use in mathematics and geometry, the infinity symbol captures that essence of the unimaginably large, the infinite, the cosmos, and further, God, or the Creator, or perhaps that which is too big to contemplate. In this way, the connection of the Leminscate in the Tarot is that connection to the Divine wisdom.

The infinite understanding and endless Love of a Higher Power in implicit in the understanding of God in this way--infinite love, compassion, knowing, kindness, power. When you turn your will over, or rather surrender your power to the Divine will, you ironically tap into that infinite power. It gives you power. In most Tarot cards, the Leminscate sits that the head of the figure on the card--the Magician and the Strength--showing their crown chakra connected to the infinite. In the Two, the Leminscate sits around the body, illuminating the hand nadis, and the heart. I do not think this is an accident, as finding our balance between our career and financial concerns and those of our loved ones, or maybe it is more helpful to think of it as connecting to your Soul Path, opens us to that unconditional Divine love we so desperately seek. It also gives weight to the concerns of the Two of Pentacles, Sure we can balance and juggle, but when we are committed to our Spiritual Path, the juggling becomes part of our spiritual practice. I believe the Leminscate in this case is giving some weight to this work of ours, and reminding us to balance it with our little people, partners, four-legged familiars, and our downtime with our career and the way we make money, we become more abundant, not less. This is incredibly important for our spiritual work--to find a place to rejuvenate and take care of the self.

Marcia Masino takes a different approach to the Leminscate. Her interpretation is that the Infinity symbol represents the fact that change is inevitable and ultimately out of our hands. The more flexible we can be, the better our outlook on life will be. I agree only that flexibility is a deep concern with this card. How are you shifting with the ebbs and flows of your life? How are the demands weighing on you, lifting you? How flexible can you be? Some situation in which this two appears is the Seeker is holding two jobs, starting a new business while keeping a full time other job, is a single parent, or balancing work-life issues, struggling to balance a new relationship with a demanding career. 

In the reversed, the Pentacles are dropped and the Seeker feels like a failure in this pursuit of balance. To right the card, the Seeker is advised to find a way to become more flexible, or to opt out of the balance all together. Choose one or the other. Self-care, doing your best to release all the excess demands that are not serving the Seeker's highest good and goals. These are some practical ways to release and right the Two of Pentacles.

As always, I appreciate your comments and insights into the Tarot. So share them below.

tarot of the week--five of pentacles

"I do not at all understand the mystery of grace--only that it meets us where we are and does not leave us where it found us." --Anne Lamott

I choose my Tarot of the Week randomly, so it is absolutely fascinating to follow last week's Four of Pentacles with the Five this week, because there is an arc in the Pentacles that is fascinating and intricate. Last week's Four of Pentacles showed a rich man hoarding his wealth, closing his heart chakra to others, his earth star chakra to Mother Earth and the connections we feel to all living beings, and the Crown Chakra off to the Divine. The Four of Pentacles is often called the Miser card, and the Five is called the Poverty card, but far more than just poverty is happening in this scene.

e see two people, a man and woman, in rags. Walking through the snow barefoot, sick, injured. They are in a desperate place. And behind them a stained glass window shines with Five Pentacles, forming an anchor. Around the anchor are grapes and leaves, symbols of fertility and abundance. Their plight is desperate and they are clearly destitute, suffering, in need. 

So much can be said about these two. One opinion I have come to with this card is that these two are a couple, and that will come into play in a bit. When I say there is an arc in the Pentacles, what I mean is that the themes build and morph into important lessons around money, possessions, and family. We start with the Ace, which is the divine financial push, the new beginning with money. In the Two, you see the balance of home and career, money and spirituality, come into the equation. The Three deals with working hard, finding investors and following your dream. The Four deals with achieving financial success and becoming possessive, closed off and filled with fear of losing the money. The Five is the fear realized. This is the rock bottom.

What does that mean? I love J.K. Rowling's quite--Rock Bottom is the solid foundation in which I built my life. And this is the opportunity that the Five offers to its recipient.  ives in the Tarot have a reputation as being rather, ahem, challenging. They are cards of upheaval, action, and change. But with everything in the Tarot, the good can hinder and the bad opens the door to real transformation and spiritual growth. It is not epitomized more clearly than in the Five of Pentacles. The illumination in this card, the anchor here, is the church. It will give these people a place to stay, some bread, heal their wounds. But their largest wounds are their spiritual wounds, and this card acknowledges this spiritual loss. 

I don't think it is any mystery why this card comes after the Miser card. Tarot pushes us toward a spiritual life. We serve, love, give, purify, and then realize. Grace in given in each of the Aces. We see it symbolized in this hand coming from the sky, handing us the gifts of that suit. As we travel through the suit, we squander it. Our ego becomes enmeshed in it, around it, because of it. These are the human lessons we are here to learn. Tarot consistently and gently reminds you to refocus on the spiritual. If we lose the spiritual, we lose the gift. 

This card comes when we face sickness, financial worries, addiction, loss, injury and other suffering that befalls us. If we recently lost a job or money stream, this can appear as the fear of poverty. It is a card of Lack. Lack of food. Lack of health. Lack of Job. I said earlier that we have to think of these two as a couple, because the idea of sickness and in health, richer or poorer, are very strong undertones here. This can be something affecting you or your partner, or your children. The most important part of this loss, as I said earlier, is the spiritual loss. So, this card asks you to reprioritize. Find your spiritual center. Where is the place that calms you? What spiritual teacher, what church or spiritual center? What is the prayer, the thought, the meditation? Go to it. Recenter. While your injuries will take time to heal, you can soothe the spiritual pain first.

You may pull this card if you are ready to leave your marriage because of finances or sickness. Or if you have left a marriage and holding onto guilt because of this outdated idea. It is a reminder that this is playing into your subconscious. Tarot doesn't make any judgments about that, it just reminds you of these vows and how they are playing in your life.

Whatever your fears are with the Poverty card, it is important to remember that this card offers so much promise and optimism. Spirit is reminding you of your spiritual center, and the attachments you have to material wealth. Spirit wants to shelter you, care for you, heal you, and if you humble yourself before Spirit, the fear will leave, the feeling of lack will also leave. Reversed, this card is a validation of the hardships and suffering you once faced and congratulating you on finding your spiritual center again.

Let me know what you think in the comments, and happy reading, loves.

 

tarot of the week--four of pentacles

“Getting money is not all a man's business: to cultivate kindness is a valuable part of the business of life.” ― Samuel Johnson

Whenever we delve into the world of Pentacles, we deal with money, home, family, security--the earthly concerns. The Four comes on the heels of the Three of Pentacles, a card of the artisan. Fours are about stability, the kind of balance that doesn't teeter, or get thrown off its legs easily. Think four legs of a table.

Yet the Four of Pentacles shows the misuse of that stability. A king is shown feet on two pentacles, holding one over his heart and one over his crown (both literal and physical). A successful city stands in the background, showing his success. But the sky is decidedly grey, and the king, wrapped in red (the color of material success), shows a frown, and a clinging to his coins.

When I said this Four comes on the heels of the Three, we see this often in the Tarot--a journey through cards. We can often learn a great deal about the card by looking at what comes before and what follows the card. A fellow works hard at his craft, and then achieves. The three shows an artisan who has a benefactor and a priest as his supporter, and so he has this nod from the Divine and from the earthly concerns. In the Four, we see someone decidedly rich and affluent. He has achieved his financial desires, but he clings tightly to his money, so tightly, it is blocking three important chakras: his heart, his crown, or his connection to the Divine, and his earth start, or his connection to the earth.

He has achieved, but this is not what Spirit wants for your abundance. Abundance thinking dictates that we share, invest, donate to achieve more. But this man's thinking limits his achieving more money. He has cut himself off from more abundance, guidance, connection. This is all the man will get, or so he fears, so he holds on tightly. Too tightly to feel much of anything but his cold coins. This card comes when we cling too tightly to something--money, resources, people, food, a lucrative, but soul-sucking job, a relationship or person. This card is often called the Miser card. And right it should, this man is not generous. His posture screams, "MINE!"

One thing to clarify is that this man is NOT the King of Pentacles, who often is defined by his generosity. This is the false King. He is playing king, leader. His need for control has made him King of his own warped domain. But he is a miser, a rich man without the heart to make changes in the world around him. The key words of this card are Possession, Control, and Blocking. The need to possess, the need to control and the active blocking of change.

When someone pulls this card, I ask them what they are afraid to lose, not to what they are clinging too tightly. This comes, most often, by a need to control a situation. Though it looks like money, and that can certainly be part of this Fours aspect, the need for control often comes in other forms, like the need to control another person. These coins can be replaced for anything--a person, a house, a job, co-workers. Tarot's underlying themes arise time after time, particularly the Tarot's belief about control, which is that you ain't got none. So, anytime control comes up as a desire of the ego, Tarot clicks its tongue, "Let me know how that works out for you, 'mkay?" And this is the lesson of this card, when our ego tries to control something or someone, we are blocked from the sunshine of the Spirit. We are blocked from other people. We are blocked from Mother Earth. We are blocked from growth and change and all that we need to flourish as spiritual beings.

Now, there are some definite times that this card arises--when there are estates or money issues within a family, this card sometimes arises as an acknowledgement of the struggle. In this case, the advice of the card is to loosen your grip on the estate, and allow Spirit to guide. The phrase, Would you rather be happy or right? comes to mind.  Other times it comes when someone is jealous or possessive about the Seeker, or the Seeker is those things in a relationship. Look at cards around this card. Are you seeing the Emperor or Chariot? Often this is a male dominance situation, or an abusive possession.  Ten of Pentacles reinforces the estate or will reading. Inner family conflict with these two cards together.

Reversed Four of Pentacles is simply this feeling, but less intense. Perhaps a lessening, or a growing. So you may be noticing yourself getting more possessive, and clinging from fear to something,and it is Spirit's way of warning you, "Careful, love,  you are going to upright this card any day." Or you may have noticed it yourself and are making changes. Spirit often nods or validates our struggles.

What do you think? What does the Four mean to you? Share in our comment section!

tarot of the week--nine of wands

“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.” ― Charles Darwin

I always pick my Tarot of the Week card randomly, and have been often surprised at how often is matches my life, and the energy around the people I know. So many people are talking about this defensiveness bubbling up, or feeling solitary, alone, battling, or a feeling of being protective, or on edge. There is a lot going on in the Nine of Wands, and it is not bad in the slightest. This Nine, I have found in my experience in readings, validates this feeling, and helps give a positive view of the next phase of their lives.

Tarot writers often call the Nine of Wands the Defense card. It is easy to see why. The Nine of Wands stands at the ready, head bandaged, leaning on his staff. He is guarded, weary, clearly tired. Without any Tarot knowledge whatsoever we can discern a few things about this lad from the start. He's been through a battle, but not quite through the war yet. His posture is decidedly defensive, but there is positivity throughout this card. The sky is clear blue, the wands are sprouting saplings, symbolizing new growth. All is created for survival here. As Darwin said, "“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.” The Nine of Wands has adapted to his circumstances by building a wall of Wands, and standing in a position that has been successful before.

We know the Nines are the numerological equivalent of the end of a cycle. We saw it in the Nine of Pentacles, and the Nine of Swords. But Nines never show a proverbial end with champagne, confetti, and a vacation, rather they show us at the penultimate point, or the point before the end. As Tarot writers often say about this card, you may have won the battle, but the war is not quite over. The Wands are the suit of Fire--creativity, work, passion, enterprise and action. Often this card arrives when work or your creative endeavors are feeling like a battle royale. Sometimes this card comes around reputation and family, but I often find it in my readings around the workplace, and workplace politics. This card shows a man bandaged, acknowledging that he has scars and bruises. This conflict hurts him. Remember scars grow on people who survive, not on the dead. It is a strange way to say something that is supposed to be positive, but the Nine of Wands acknowledges how hard won your successes are. It is often said, the war is not about winning, but about surviving. And in this case, there is a victory in still standing. But we also know more battles are coming. This man is a survivor. His defensiveness has helped him. He is ready or prepared. 

So, in the upright, Spirit reminds you that you should be defensive and ready for another battle. That standing up for yourself is an important aspect of this time. You have gone through a cycle of this, and are preparing for another cycle of it, but this time you are more prepared. If you are reading for someone's health, the Nine of Wands can indicate that the person is strengthening and fighting, and they are victorious about some aspect of a serious health crisis. When I read for chakras, I often see this card as a blocked heart chakra. And I often say to the person that this is a good thing. The heart is a gift you give to people. We must think of our vulnerability as a precious gift we only give to those who deserve it. So, to block the chakras to another can be very protective, and important. We must learn to shield our energies when we encounter someone unworthy of its value.

But this is the issues we encounter in the challenge position, or the reversed position. Is the defensiveness now working against you? We have all met defensive people, and it can be more than off-putting. It raises your own defenses. So, the reversed Nine of Wands tells us that our defensiveness is not longer serving our Highest Good. It also appears for those who are so bruised and scarred from the past, that they are unable to put their defenses down and trust another person. Not just the heart is blocked, but the entire chakra system from chakras 1-4 are blocked. The throat is not, however, which can mean that someone is getting into battle with their words, and no connection to their heart. See how dangerous that can be?

Let me know about your experience with the Nine of Wands, and what you think of these Tarot posts. I cannot believe I have been writing here for a year. Can you? Maybe I need a little blog celebration? Weeeeeee!! 

 

tarot of the week--eight of cups

“Your hand opens and closes, opens and closes. If it were always a fist or always stretched open, you would be paralysed. Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding, the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated as birds' wings.” ― Rumi

This week's Tarot card of the week comes from the suit of Cups. Cups hold the water element, which governs feelings and emotions, love or the lack thereof. The heavy emotions of the Cups bleed into many realms, and it is quite simplistic to just say emotions. Cups govern intuition, artistic pursuits (music, painting, poetry, sculpture), psychic abilities, spiritual pursuits, cycles, ebbs and flows (think the tides). The heart rules over the head with Cups, and thus its issues govern this eternal grappling between logic and emotion.

The Eight of Cups has much going on in its symbolism. We see a man crossing water away from eight cups balanced upon each other. He holds a staff and wears red. He travels toward mountains. In the night sky, a full moon and the waning moon watches him leave. He does not look back or show emotion in the slightest, or if he doesn, we cannot see. He travels onward. 

Eights reign the balance, success and power realms of the Tarot. In the Major Arcana, Strength appears as the Eight Card, showing a woman of infinite wisdom petting a lion, or rather the balance between her emotions and intellect. We see a different kind of balance here, but the same tug of war between what we have and what we desire. Our first indication that balance is out of whack is the placement of the cups in the foreground. We have eight, a balanced, even number, but divided five and three, showing a lack of balance. We need some rearranging for symmetry. Other Tarot writers see this as a missing cup; however you see it, it is about not being balanced, not having all you need for fulfillment. It is no mistake that Pamela Colman Smith chose to present the cups with this imbalance. This is precisely what the man is walking away from. His attempt at balance have failed. He has rearranged the Cups, and cannot find what is missing, or how to balance them. It is the best he can do. Red, symbolizing the material, has not been enough to fulfill him. He wants more. Often this more is emotional, creative, and spiritual. The Cups urge us to that place. So, this man might be leaving his family, or his job, but he is opting for more, and more than likely, it is his soul path. He may have been working a 9a-5p desk job, but he can no longer ignore the fact that he was born to be an artist, or musician. Or his wife and he might have a perfectly civilized relationship, but there has never been a spark of love and intimacy. 

The moon cycles tell us something about his life as well. His life was once full, as the moon was once full, but it is not waning, or decreasing. His material life is not fulfilling him any longer. He is ready for find new purpose, new significance to his pursuits. One thing we have to remember that he is searching for balance. Money often has these bad connotations in spiritual circles, but money is an exchange of energy. The pursuit of the Eight of Cups is to find a balance in the exchange of energy. What he is giving no longer matches what he is getting whether that is with work or his relationship, or a friendship no longer serving his Highest Good. I'm using the pronoun He here, but of course, this is a unisex card. It deals with anyone not fulfilled in some way. 

The Eight of Cups is also a moving card, one of two, that can be pulled to indicate the Seeker might be moving house. (The Six of Wands is the other moving card.) We often say, for both those cards, it is the Moving Card or the Moving On Card. This card often comes after a long grappling on whether this move is right and correct for the Seeker, it is not an insistent or impulsive card. it often comes after much soul searching, it is why the man on the card doesn't have to turn around. He knows exactly what he is leaving and why. When one is ready to move on, this card appears. When this card comes for someone in the Seeker's life, it is important to emphasize that this is not about them, but about the soul searching of the other person. This is a card not to take personally. It is about the individual, not what they are leaving, but what they are walking toward. Mountains always suggest stability--both the situational stability and the stability of the Seeker.

When you pull this card in a romantic question, you can probe deeper. Is the Seeker in a rut? Fulfilled? Thinking about leaving? Is the creative energy stifled? Of course in work situations, the same applies. There is promise here of better horizons if one moves on, so if the Seeker is asking the question if this is the time to move on, then the answer is yes. In the Reversed position, this card indicates enjoying family, friends, parties. it can indicate a new relationship after leaving an emotionally unfulfilling one. It tends to be an extroverted type of card in the Reversed (whereas the upright position suggests solitude for self-contemplation and soul-searching.). There is flirting, fun, dating, new loves and lots of social gatherings. It is the period after moving to moving on and enjoying life again.

Hope you enjoyed this interpretation of the Eight of Cups. Please put any questions in the comment section, or any comments about your interpretation of the Eight of Cups. 

 

tarot of the week--nine of pentacles

Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing. ― Theodore Roosevelt

Elegance. Refinement. Restraint. All these qualities appear this week in the Lady of the Nine of Pentacles. But she is far more than her fancy gardens, her estate, and her golden attire. She attained her wealth and good standing.

Let's begin with some of the clues to what is going on in the Nine of Pentacles. Firstly, we know Pentacles rule the roost, so to speak. Pentacles govern career, work, the estate, home and matters of the family. The Nines are cards of completion. We often think of Ten as the end of the Minor Arcana road, but Nines are actually the number of completion (Tens are the number of new beginning after that cycle completion.) So, the Nine is about completion of some kind. We see this in all the Nines, and some Nines are dark, while others are wonderful. The Pentacles and Cups have very abundant completions; whereas the Wands and Swords are about reaching completion because someone is defeated (or in a war of some kind.) This Nine marks abundant attainment. We can see this in the garden m'lady stands in so gracefully. The grapes hang heavy with fruit, but not sloppily. Their cultivation shows much care and hard work. She has trained them on a trellis through thoughtful gardening. The trees stand in the back, also pruned, but stable and steady and mark a symbolic double tower, like the Moon, where she prepares to walk into her next journey. This fertility represents manifestation of her dreams. She has completed a cycle and reaped the fruits of her hard work. 

She stands absolutely gorgeously with a hooded falcon on her arm. It may seem strange that this woman of grace and dignity stands with a predator, trained to hunt and kill, but that is precisely what you are supposed to know about her. She is disciplined and controlled. She has trained her bird and her self in the art of restraint and passion. The Falcon, like other predators featured in the symbolism of the Tarot, shows her Shadow self quite clearly. She works hard, she hunts what she wants. But she doesn't wantonly use this part of her personality. She has trained it, cultivated it much like her grapes. She has earned a fortune and created an estate precisely because she knows when to use her falcon instincts and when to pull back her predatory instincts. Her confidence and self-reliance exudes from every bit of her.

People often remark on her aloneness. This is part of her personality--her independence. This may have defined her attainment, but it does not define her. She is self-reliant, self-assured, and courageous. Others might not see that. Her picture can tell a very different story to an outsider. I've heard many Tarot readers call this woman, a woman of leisure. Or a widow with an inheritance. Or a divorcee with a huge alimony. And perhaps she is now. The Pentacles are below her eyesight now. She doesn't worry about money. She is concerned with the finer things in life now. Concerned, perhaps, isn't the word. Interested is better here. But she is not without money, she has earned this place behind the stone wall. But rest assured, however her money came to her, she worked hard for it.

Birds, particularly this gorgeous one, often represent wisdom, so it would be remiss not to mention her wisdom and self-control again. It makes her intriguing and important. I have seen many interpretations for this card from this card representing stay-at-home mothers or housewives to materialistic, "kept" women to the interpretation I have gave of a self-made woman. I think her abundance, grace and honor keep this card from some of the more insulting or negative interpretations. But she is certainly a woman of fertility and abundance. She wears Gold and Red, both colors of abundance and material wealth.

When I pull this card, I often feel the person is reaping the fruits are their hard work. That hard work cycle is at an end, and they may be entering a new abundant period. Again, this card is just about attainment, achievement and discipline, not necessarily about the next cycle. But it does tell us that these lessons learned in this cycle can be applied to the next cycle easily. I often remind my client to enjoy the fruits are their hard work in some way, and focus on something other than working or money. This is a gift Lady Nine gives us--her hard work affords her this life style. I also think it shows that a new working situation might be upon the person where they are working independently, either as a contractor or business owner. They understand self-sacrifice and are willing to do that for an abundant end. This card is nothing if not a card of measured endeavors. 

Reversed, however, this card is about deprivation, perhaps loss. It can show the opposite of the hardworking, industrial, measured woman, but someone careless with the fertile field they are given to work with. Remember, the field is fertile, but if it is not tended, pruned and worked, it will not produce fruit. This is the message of the reversed Nine of Pentacles. It also shows a lack of wisdom in financial or career moves. A lack of confidence or deferral to someone else might be indicated here. It can also mean that someone's wealth or snobbery is cutting them off from society and the rest of the world. That is the extreme version of that. It can mean that someone is isolating in their home because of fear of their animal or base instincts, or because they feel different than others. This can be indicated for a housewife, or stay-at-home mother who is afraid of her own potential.

Let me know what you think in the comments below, and as always, share your insights with me there too. 

tarot of the week-queen of wands

“You have to be burning with 'an idea, or a problem, or a wrong that you want to right.' If you're not passionate enough from the start, you'll never stick it out.” ― Steve Jobs

As we move through humid Summer here in Pennsylvania, it does not surprise me in the least to pull Queen of Wands. She rules the summer heat and the element of Fire. Court cards in Tarot mirror the Court of the playing cards in some ways--as there is a King and Queen, the Knight (or Jack) is the action and power holder for the element, and the Page is the young messenger of the suit, often representing new beginnings, immature energy, or young people, of course. All the Court Cards represent people in the Seeker's life, or some aspect of the Seeker himself. We often find clues of this around the Court Card in a layout. You can read more about Court Cards in this post. Queens hold a special place in the Court--they are the only women in the Court, so they represent women over the age of 18. (Pages represent all young people, regardless of gender.)

Queen of Wands, as I mentioned above, is the ruler of the Element of Fire. She sits on her throne, holding a sunflower and a staff. A black cat sits at her feet, and lions adorn her throne. She wears gold and her throne is orange. Queen of Wands can be a woman of any fire sign--Aries, Leo or Sagittarius, though she does resonate most with Leo. Her lions give her away. But there is more about this Queen that screams LEO! She sits, legs open, facing you. Her strength and confidence oozing through the card. Leos are traditionally strong, inspiring leaders, and this Queen embodies that leadership. Her face is not unkind, though. She is known for her warmth and kindness. And this is why I loved Steve Jobs's quote--Queen of Wands inspires through her passion, creativity, and belief in her cause.

Fire reigns all creative endeavors--art, poetry, writing, sculpture, pottery, music, acting. Fire also rules the creativity needed to navigate a boring job, or a creative approach to a normal problem. Many of my clients don't resonate with this artistic idea of the Wands, because they are not traditional artists, but they do resonate with doing things at work differently, or taking a creative approach to an ordinary problem. Fire inspires and asserts. And this Queen is no different. Her entire approach is dynamic, sexy, ambitious, courageous and independent. These Queens are often performers, or great in front of an audience. They have a certain fiery charisma that draws other to them. I want to say they are extroverted (most of them think they are to an extent), but the black cat at her feet suggests another aspect of her--observant, quiet and private.

Queens of Wands do not wear their heart on their sleeve, even as they are passionate and dynamic. They protect their vulnerability fiercely, yet they are optimistic and positive women on the outside. These Queens can also be quite career-focused. Again, the posture and stance is important here. She takes charge. Her entire demeanor is more like a King than a traditional Queen. This Queen's independence is important to her, and she will ensure that she does not rely on others without a back-up plan. So, if you are in business with a Queen of Wands, create your own back-up plan. They don't often partner up for long. And they don't respect others who are weak or too vulnerable. They expect you to match their own strength.

So, who is the woman you seeing when you pull a Queen of Wands in a layout?

A woman who is warm, spirited, often ambitious and career driven. She is good at convincing others of her plans, and she can be a wonderful politicker or diplomat. In this way, she gets along with all different types of people. She finds people fascinating in a way. People often agree to her way after she convinces them its their way! She has that uncanny knack for reassuring people and having the utmost confidence in herself as a manifestor. She hones her communication skills through private self-expressive avenues like creative journaling, writing, or artistic endeavors. This is highly private part of her--the reflective, spiritual being that ensures her strength through creative outlets. She lets few in, and is quite protective of that inner circle. She will cut you out of it if you show any disloyalty. This private/public aspect of herself makes her very attractive to others, who want to know more, who want into her private club.  She holds a beautiful air of mystery and intrigue. It can even seem like she has a bit of an entourage, but Queens of Wands enjoy networking and bringing people together, so it is not necessarily for show. She just wants everyone who adores her around her! (And who doesn't?)

The Queen of Wands performs beautifully and lights up on stage. She is creative, resourceful and brave with her work. Often people watch her with envy, because her ease in front of others seems magical. The Queen of Wands oozes sex appeal. She is charismatic, sexual, and highly seductive.  She sometimes uses her seductiveness and charisma as a weapon. She likes healthy competition, and it may be one of the things that other women find difficult about her, particularly in regards to her sexuality. Queen of Wands don't see people as couples or units, they see individuals. This is the aspect they most need for themselves and respect in others--independence. So, they don't always see partnerships as their problem, rather it is the partnered person's problem. Queen of Wands will often set a goal and try to achieve it, including the sexual conquest of others. This shows up most prevalently in the reversed aspect of the Queen of Wands, which I will talk more about below. In relationships, Queen of Wands want to be fired up, so they often like to see every day as a choice to be with their partner, husband or wife. They aren't too keen on obligatory relationships. 

The Queen of Wands I have met often get obsessive about their passions, and make others around them interested too. She has an air of authority, whether she is on the PTA or the Senate. Her confidence can be infectious and she is given leadership roles wherever she lands. But her Sunflower holds the power of the Sun, and links her to that optimism and positive outlook. She is happy and sunny, and often doesn't sweat the small stuff. You don't like her? Ah, well, there are three hundred people in her life who do. She doesn't care. That attitude is part of what makes her so damn attractive!

When you pull a Queen of Wands in a reading about yourself, ask where leadership is called for. Where do you need to infuse some creativity and passion? Where can you embody this Queen energy? How can you boost your confidence? I see the Queen of Wand ruling the solar plexus, so if you want to tap into her energy, focus on the Sun aspects of this dynamic Queen. Solar plexus stones that work beautifully in this way are Sunstone, Citrine, Golden Topaz, Golden Apatite, and Pyrite. My friend Kate recently introduced me to Flat Pyrite Suns, which work beautifully on the Solar Plexus. 

When you pull the Queen of Wands reversed, we are looking at some of the darker aspects of these fiery women. You might have someone in your life who is exploiting some of their Queen of Wands aspects. These are seductive people, who turn their sexuality into their greatest weapon. Their goals reign supreme, often before others. She can be ruthless in her competitiveness. Remember when I said, Queen of Wands don't sweat the small stuff? Well, reversed Queen of Wands are all about the small stuff. They are vengeful, arrogant, self-obsessed, and narcissistic. They can be greedy and selfish and wage small wars against people who stand in their way. They cause small character assassinations through their spread of gossip and storytelling. This is the misuse of creative fire and charisma. And with that passionate obsessiveness they get, if they set you in their scope, they will not stop until you are ruined. 

Much more likely is that you will meet a less severe reversed Queen of Wands. She can be forceful to the point of pushy. Egotistical, she can manipulate and become overly domineering. Taking the leadership role without it being given to her. She's the one dominating the conversation, interrupting others, talking of her own accomplishments. She uses her sexuality to her own ends, and often enters a room with a kind of bravado and attention grabbing need. She is good at twisting the truth to craft arguments to her own end. There isn't that happy feeling to her, but rather a more sinister feeling. One that feels like dark magic. 

In general, Queen of Wands are magical people. Dynamic, creative, fiery, and interesting. They are the scholars on the TED talk, and the leaders of the pack. They adorn beautifully and know how to capture your attention. Match their energy, and you dazzle them. Let me know what you think in the comments.

tarot of the week--knight of pentacles

I've discussed court cards a few times on this blog, and Knights in particular. I'll briefly recap, but if you want to read more about Knights, this post might be helpful. If you are interested in just Court Cards, this post might be helpful

Knights hold the energy of the suit. They move that energy, the action characters that embody the extremes of the suit's power. Knights in the traditional court give their life for service to their cause, so they believe in their cause. In this case, their cause is their suit. They are the court cards that aren't sitting in wait, or ruling from a throne--they are on the battlefield, protectors, or the messengers of the court. He does the hard work of the suit. And embodies the entire spectrum of the suits attributes from best to middling to worst.

The Knight of Pentacles appears as a man on a Black Steed bearing a pentacle. He is not launching into battle like the Knight of Swords. He comes steadily. Pentacles, for a little refresher, hold the energy of the element of Earth. They are concerned with issues of finances, career, home, money, and marriage. Material things. This Knight embodies the stable, practical, dependable, hardworking aspects of the Pentacles at their best. He achieves goals. Knights tend to be men or women between the ages of 35 and 50, or so. There is no real limit. The idea here is that the Knights are older than Pages and younger than King. The differences between King and Knight energy is the maturity level and energetic level, I think. Knights are about movement, so this person is out there in the world getting shit done. The Kings have gotten their proverbial shit done, and are now reaping the benefits.

I told you that the Knights represent the best and worst of their suit's energy, and reversed would tend to be the worst of the suits attributes. Those tend to be unethical (so think the ends justifies the means, it is something all Earth signs can wrestle with as practical, utilitarian people.) This reversed knight can be scheming, shrewd (in both positive and negative ways), greedy, stingy or miserly. Or he can be horrible with money and irresponsible. But the attribute would be manifest in a way that affects his home/career/family. So this irresponsibility might come out by coming into work late, leaving early, stealing company products, embezzlement, rather than blowing off friends for a drink. Does that make sense?

Knights of Pentacles, as all court cards do, tend to represent people in our lives. They can be validations in a reading about who Spirit means. So Pentacles are earth signs--Taurus, Virgo or Capricorns. They tend to be dark-haired, serious, honest, not overly emotional, but thoughtful and considerate. They tend to have dry senses of humor. They are loyal.

If you have any questions, post it below. 

tarot of the week--seven of pentacles

“Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.” ― Alexander Pope

I'm back from a bit of a hiatus, but I hope you have been keeping up with your Tarot reading and exploring. Today's card of the week takes us right into the daily toil of work. Pentacles, ruling home, career and all concerns earthly, shows up in the Seven. A card by all intents and purpose to be a quite dull and boring card. In fact, the guy on the front embodies that feeling of impatience, boredom, disappointment and defeated attitude.

Let's talk a bit about Sevens as a group. The Sevens have no decisive theme in their imagery, like Aces or Twos. They run the gamut--from the Wands man in defensive posture, the Thief in the Swords, the Indecisive Man in the Cups, and then this hardworking man in the Pentacles. Seven numerologically speaking have some strong attributes associated with it: perfection, imagination, awareness, and understanding. It may be hard to see those attributes in this motley group of cards, but the Tarot pushes us in the Sevens to want more, to be more, to strive for more. Tarot really asks us to reevaluate and reassess our current situation, and helps us open our awareness for our soul's growth.

The Pentacles, dealing specifically about our career and home, deals with our hard work. You can see a man sowing and working in his field. His abundant vines are producing Pentacles, but it isn't enough, or what he expected. Those pentacles are cold hard cash, right?! Then, why oh why the grey sky, and despondent and defeated stance? Something is missing here. His hard work may have yielded something, but it may not be what he thought it would be. Perhaps it isn't yielding enough fast enough. Or perhaps the Seeker's perspective has changed after all the hard work.

When a client pulls this card, I know they have been working hard at their marriage, their career, their college degree, their home or some aspect of their life. Perhaps the person has focused on amassing money, but has allowed the rest of his life to fall apart. Or they may have put years into a project that still is not done. Whatever the situation (sometimes you can get some hints from the cards around the seven), the Seeker is not contented. The hard work is still not done.There is an expectation on the Seeker's behalf that when he achieves this goal, he will be happy. But the Seven acknowledges that the happiness is not here. Not yet. The missing link is the contentment and serenity of the Seeker, which seems intrinsically tied to the hard work. But is it? This is the part of the Seven that challenges the Seeker to go deeper. What makes you happy? What do you want your life to look like? How have you changed from the beginning of your hard work? In what ways have your goals changed? 

When I started this piece, I pulled a quote by Alexander Pope about expectation, "Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed." This disappointment might be an expectation. As they say, an expectation is a planned resentment, and this card embodies that resentment and disappointment. That isn't to say that the disappointment is always your fault, but rather the disappointment should be an inspiration to change your life, rather than sit in the mire of self-pity. This is the warning with the card--defeat can lead to inaction and defeat, but the Seven urges us forward. Spirit says that if you are not happy with this hard work and your fruits, find the thing that helps you find contentment. Money is not enough. The Pentacles often have a paradoxical relationship with money. On one hand, they govern the materials. On the other, they are constantly urging you to find spiritual riches rather than materials ones. I interpret this card differently for each reading. For some, I urge them to keep toiling, their goal is almost achieved. (And yes, I validate that they might be reevaluating the commitment they have, but that the fruits are almost there.) This is the kind of interpretation I do for someone in the midst of a dissertation. For someone in the midst of a home renovation, I might ask them to reevaluate if they may want to do this work themselves, or hire someone to finish it. Priorities change. So, this card does really tap into that seven energy by asking the Seeker to use that discouragement after such hard work as the impetus to sit and reevaluate what is important, what you really want, and how to achieve it. Pentacles have practical concerns, and we must remember that they also have practical solutions, so I advise my clients to make pro and con lists, to see their decisions on paper, but then to pray and meditate about it.

In health readings, the Seven of Pentacles can be an indication that internal organs or internal systems are affected. The Seeker is usually aware of this, and this is more of a validation for you. Reversed, the feeling of failure is more pronounced. The situation is advised to be left. It can also indicate mortgage or money issues around the home.  

If you have any questions about this card, or any other Tarot card, please put it in the comments. You can always see the past Tarot cards I have covered in the sidebar to the right. I try to list them by card, suit, minor or major arcana, and also by Tarot of the Week.

tarot of the week--five of wands

You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star. ― Friedrich Nietzsche

Visiting the first Five of the Minor Arcana on this blog, which again, is so surprising to me. People love to give Fives the stink eye. And perhaps with good reason, these words come to mind with Fives--chaos, upheaval, fear, deceit. The Fives appear quite dramatic in their artwork and symbols. Men fighting, people grieving, battle, and poverty.  Fives of the Major Arcana show the Pope + the Devil. The Fives however reflect one concept-- Change. Change can be terribly upsetting and difficult, and on the other hand, it is the harbinger of grace, enlightenment, wisdom, deepening. The Fives follow the beautiful stability of the Four, so one must think of the Fives as upheaval--overturning the Four stable legs of the balance preceding it. What I always remind my Tarot students is that the Tarot is not punishing, and in my humble opinion, neither is the Divine. It is how we perceive our own attachments that causes our suffering, and nothing reflects that better than Fives.

The only thing that does not change in this world is that things change. Last time I talked about a Five with the Hierophant, I suggested you lay out the five of every suit and the fives of the Major Arcana (Some talk about the XIV as another five, while others include the Devil XV) and place all the five cards in a row. (This is a great exercise when you are learning how to read Tarot.) I also mentioned that one numerology article I read, associates Five with freedom, and the process of how we handle our own freedom. As we move from the Four, a number of stability and balance (the balance of four legs, rather than two), you really begin to understand the Five as the movement from stability to action. Does that make sense? We upset our stability for growth, and in that process, we encounter change, which feels like chaos and upset and upheaval.

So, specifically, let's talk about the Five of Wands. Wands is the suit of Fire, and in this way, the Five of Wands is seen within a creative project, new business, enterprise, romance, or other fiery endeavor. Often, but not always, this can be the creativity it takes to engage with your family of origin--how to creatively tamp the fiery feelings they might inspire in you. The figures on this card are each carrying a huge wand, sparring. Five boys, really. If you look closely, you see the sky is clear and blue, indicating that there is no storm, nothing outside oneself to suggest a force beyond your control. And the boys are dressed as the Fool. By that, I mean, they are not soldiers. They are not warriors. They are not even fighting for a team or an end. Each is trying to win against four. (Our struggle against stability, perhaps.) And so, this Five is sparring, rather than fighting. Play fighting, if you will. One of my Tarot students saw this card and said, "I love this card. It is so high energy and exciting." I loved that comment, because it is true. Blue skies. Sparring. Have you ever sparred? Or play fought? It gets out this aggression without injury. It helps you learn how to defend yourself. It teaches you about moving into a real fight.

The Four of Wands is a card with a graduation or celebration. A rite of passage. A balance of creative energy, ambition, follow-through, and completion. The Five looks like chaos after that stability, but it is actually a form of education too. Breaking out into the adult world of war, practicing with one's weapon and one's independence. Each boy stands with legs wide, balanced. No one is bleeding, or hurt. Yet we have to accept that this is not mock fighting to these boys, or a mere game, they are taking this seriously. Because the suit of Wands is a creative, fiery, passionate suit, you also assume the boys feel this way. They are passionate about winning and gaining advantage. Wands often deal with creative projects, new enterprises, passionate, or romantic conquest.

In a Tarot reading, when the Seeker pulls this card, we are looking at a struggle of some kind. Depending on the cards surrounding this one, it can be an internal struggle, like weighing whether or not to quit your job and start a new business. This kind of mental sparring can be very good for your decision-making. It means you are playing Devil's advocate with yourself and trying to look at all sides of an argument. And yet, it may not feel like a good thing to the Seeker. If the Nine of Swords comes up in the reading, for example, the Seeker may be up all night wrestling with this decision or argument in her head. Other cards that may indicate an internal struggle are the Four of Cups or the Four of Swords (cards with solitary figures).

If this card portends marital struggles, you may see the Two of Cups, the Lovers, or the Five of Pentacles. Or any card with the number Two. Balance between two people expresses itself through the Twos, so think of a one-on-one argument coming up that way. A Court Card might narrow down who that is. We also can see this card when there is family disagreements and struggles. Family of Origin issues often express themselves in the chaos of the Five of Wands. Its symbols lend perfectly to that environment, because our family still loves us, we just spar with them, butt heads, and often practice our independence there first. 

This card often comes when conflict arises at work, or with a project. Maybe you are hitting walls with getting your project funded, or you are having tension and disagreements with your office mates. These kinds of arguments tend to be petty, or more personal in nature, rather than an issue where you are struggling for your job. In-fighting or rather fighting within your own team is a good way to put it. Discord in the ranks, so to speak. You can often get some indication of this through the surrounding cards if they are Pentacles, or Court Cards, when Spirit often tries to point or validate who we are struggling with. Again, Court Cards show us people in our life. And it is not that we don't know who we struggle with, it may just be that Spirit is validating. As always, don't discount the obvious on your cards. I once pulled this for someone in a martial arts competition the following weekend. So if nothing is fitting, ask if the Seeker is a boxer, fighter, martial artist, or practicing a sport where they are sparring. Or any team sport like soccer, football, or hockey.

Reversed this card indicates moving out of this kind of disagreement. Peace after fighting, or arguments, or maybe just the precursor to tell you that this phase of arguing is over. I often see this in marital readings where a couple has stopped bickering over a persistent topic. It can also mean that your Seeker would do well to go out and play some sports with other people, like join a softball league, or play tennis. Spirit takes opportunity to give us all kinds of messages. 

I believe this card, and this is just my interpretation, comes before amazing breakthroughs at work and in your creative projects. It is the struggle of the work, often enough. It is the chaos before, as Nietzsche said,  the artist gives birth to a dancing star. Approach chaos and struggle and fighting differently, more like the passionate fight for truth and beauty to reign, and this card becomes our liberator rather than our oppressor.

tarot of the week--eight of pentacles

Is it possible we haven't discussed eights at all on this blog?!? 

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Funnily, this week I had a reading where three of the four Eights were pulled. And basically, in a row (though they are not pulled the row, as you may or may not know). Again, I wonder to no one in particular why I chose to do these cards this way...but Eights we will touch on today as we venture into the Pentacles.

Like all of the Tarot's Even cards, Eights are about balance. The Even cards each deal with a different kind of balance, however. Twos are about Balancing Energy. Fours are about Stability (or a four legged table's balance). Sixes are about Restoring Balance. The eights, however, are about balancing power and success, each dealing with this balance of power in their own way. In this way, when you lay the Eights in front of you, there doesn't seem to be a theme. But if you look at them as Restriction of Power, or the Exertion of Power, you can see the theme of Balance of Power in them all. The Eight of Wands is the card that comes after movement has been blocked (restoring balance of forward motion), Eight of Cups is moving on physically and emotionally to restore balance, Eight of Swords is about restriction of power (feeling powerless), and the Eight of Pentacles is about financial power through hard work. If we look at the Eights in terms of where they fall in the numerology of the Minor Arcana, the Eight proceeds the completion of the Nine. So the Eight raise the last blockages to completion, the final leg of the race, so to speak. It is why the Eight is so disturbing, because Swords deal with perception. The last illusion is that one is trapped, powerless. 

The Eight of Pentacles doesn't have the illusions to restriction of power as the other Eights do. In fact, for a financial or career pull, this card becomes a wonderful ally, reminding you to continue working hard, honing your skills, you are almost there! In this card, we see a man on a bench, carving a pentacle into a coin. Behind him, the village readies for him to begin selling his wares. His role is that of the apprentice. He is working hard to learn his craft, and this learning comes in the form of repetitive creation. This is how we learn after all--doing the same thing over and over. Though the sky in the background of this card is grey, it is not considered a dark or depressed card. This is often called the Card of the Apprentice. Generally, it comes when someone is considering or in school, finishing their degree, working in an apprentice-type job, or as an intern. This is the long road toward financial completion. But this work can be a project (like writing a novel, or working on an art project), or a relationship, like someone in counseling if this is a relationship issue.

The card harkens to the Seven of Pentacles, where a man is depressed, standing in a field, hoeing his pentacles. Wondering when the fruit of his labor will be manifest. This is the man taking back his power and learning a new skill, honing his craft, making something for his future. So, the achievement of power is through work here, and that after all is the theme of Pentacles--finances, home, security, career, hard work. Though he is an apprentice, you do not see his mentor. It is because the card emphasizes personal power through hard work, self-discovery, and education. So, though this card is about apprenticeship, it isn't about searching for a teacher, per se. I want to emphasize that concept, because there are cards that do recommend you find a teacher--the Hermit, for example. The Three of Pentacles is about finding a benefactor (financial partner). This is about honing your skills. Working hard, mastering your craft, so to speak. I pulled this card often in the months before I launched my business. So at that time I did a ton of free readings and crystal healings, figuring out where my strengths lay, how to work with people, etc. That was me honing my craft.

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I want to talk about three Pentacles that people often conflate. I talked about them above a bit, but let's look at them together. The Three, the Seven and the Eight. The Three of Pentacles is the card of the Artisan. This is someone on their soul path, creating art or rather his job is based on his unique skills. It doesn't have to be art, music, or writing, but often is. The benefactor plays a role in his work, after all, he works on commission. So this is often about financial partnership. The monk represents the blessings of a Higher Power, so it is soul work, often. Something the artisan sees as his soul path. This work is technically, spiritually and financially fulfilling. (The three in this card.) The Seven of Pentacles is a card of impatience that fulfillment hasn't come yet. So, it also is about hard work, but almost that frustrating toiling on hard work. I have pulled this when someone is in the last stages of their phD, for example, or in a position in their job where they aren't being promoted. There is a feeling of dissatisfaction, frustration, impatience here. The fruits are growing on the vine, but they are either not enough, or not ripe yet. The Eight is also about hard work, but the Apprentice knows his fruits are of his own creation, and right there. There isn't a sense of frustration here, just hard work and learning. So compared to the Seven--the Eight is a spiritually balanced card, while the Seven is one of imbalance. 

I hope that helps. I often go where my brain (or Spirit) leads me on these blog posts, so maybe I was the only one who confused these cards when I was learning, but I think it is useful to look at the cards of the same suit together, or the same number. I think if I make it through the Tarot, I will begin to do that on this blog, looking at numerology, or the suits together. We can learn a lot about themes that way. I also apologize for not writing last week, or my newsletters. I'll be back to my usual schedule this week. Again, any questions or topics you would like discussed, please feel free to write them in the comments.

tarot of the week--three of cups

“It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.” 
― Friedrich Nietzsche

This week's Tarot card was my second choice, first I pulled the Three of Swords, then the Three of Cups, and funnily, I was sitting next to three large Lemurian Quartzes. Threes. Threes. THREES! So, before we talk about this beautiful card, let's talk about the numerological meaning of three in the Tarot. Threes are about growth. Three completes the triangle, both in positive and challenging ways. We see that in the Three of Swords, where the love relationship is tested by the perception or reality of a third person. This growth in the Three of Cups is about friendship and expansion of the emotional/vulnerable part of the being. Threes also have a creative and abundant aspect to them, as any concept of growth does. Threes have a mystical connotation of growth as well, For religions with an expression of the Trinity, this growth is the fullest expression of the One God or Goddess, as the manifestation of three aspects of the One. In Christianity, it is Father, Son and Holy Spirit; Wicca has the Triple Goddess, Maiden, Mother and Crone; in Hinduism, the Brahman is one God in three manifestations; Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva; even the Ancient Sumerians and Egyptians both had the concept of the Trinity. Pythagoras felt all things were bound by the number three (birth, life, death).

This idea of three as a growth from One (singular, individual power)  through Two (the coupling of power) to Threes (growth and expansion) plays out in their expression in the Tarot. in some ways, you can see it as the fullest expression of the Individual. As they say, it is easy to be a holy man on top of a mountain. It is in our interaction with others that our truest spiritual expression reveals itself. In the Three of Wands, it is a business/creative growth. The man is looking over his accomplishment. Three expresses itself as Past, Present and Future. In the Three of Pentacles, you have the growth of the artist. No longer alone in his studio, he has gone out in the world to sell your work, find a benefactor, get the blessings of the Church. In the Three of Swords, this growth is about transcending one's perception of betrayal and cutting to the heart of the truth. You grow beyond perceived victimization to take the reigns on your heart and vulnerability. The Swords contain the most biting commentary on where we are at, but also allow the most spiritually vital growth. In the Three of Cups, one moves beyond the two, or rather the emotional connection with one person, and grow into the connection with a group, a community. Connections. This card is about connection.

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The Three of Cups show women dancing in a circle, drinking. These three are no ordinary revelers; however, they are the Three Graces, or the Charites. The Three Graces (another Trinity, no?) are the children of Zeus and Eurynome. They are minor goddesses from youngest to eldest are Aglaea ("Splendor"), Euphrosyne ("Mirth"), and Thalia ("Good Cheer").  When these three are shown together, they often herald the gifts of beauty, creativity, fertility, and charm. The three were invoked in the beginning of meals or dinners (grace) to herald happiness and health for all present. And so the Graces gather for the Three of Cups, growing from the coupling of the Two of Cups to the fertility and gathering of the Three. 

For me, this card is about the sacredness of our friendships and spiritual community. Circle up, it seems to demand. It is time to find your circle. The lightness of being achieved when we allow ourselves to be present amongst of our friends. I am thinking of the words authentic. Vulnerable. Present. Joyous. Gathering our women together, honoring Splendor, Mirth and Good Cheer as goddesses, as worthy pursuits. Nietzche's quote, for me, is not necessarily about finding friendship with our partner, but rather about friendships around us--other women, ourselves, our community. Marriages and partnerships grow and flourish when our partners are not our all-consuming passion and focus. In particular, when we realize, that our partners simply cannot be every thing to us. We need a network, a circle of people around us. When I pull this card, I often advise my clients to fall into their female friendships, to gather their ladies and go out for drinks. Talk, share, laugh, tell stories, sing, dance, revel in them, and LAUGH a lot. This is the nourishment that you take into the emotional toils of your every day. It strengthens your ability to deal with work, partnerships, family, traffic, all of it. 

Cups are all about emotions, yes. They are about the heavy emotions, but they are also about the light ones. This card heralds levity and friendships. If you have a circle of women, rejoice. Hold hands. Spin. It is the time to allow these women (or men, if you are a man. I believe this card is about same-sex friendships) to carry you into the next stage. This is how love grows, not by simply putting all your love into one person, but into many. In my experience and the messages I get from Spirit, I am told time and again that humans are the conduits of Divine Love, light workers in particular. Our compassion and love is the expression of the Divine compassion and love. And so, when we join circles, we allow ourselves to be channels for Divine love, and in return, we feel that acceptance, non-judgment, forgiveness, and yes, love.

A good affirmation for this card might be:

I accept the splendor, happiness and joy of my friendships. I allow myself to be vulnerable and accepting of the women in my life.

 

the court cards

Since I have been randomly selecting cards since I started this blog, I always go back to check the ones I've written. Today, I selected Two of Swords, but since I already posted about it, I pulled another card. It is incredibly powerful to pull the Two of Swords for me, though, because this week in my newsletter, I am writing about dreamwork, and some tools to help you begin receiving and interpreting messages in your dreams. May be a multi-week series...who knows? But the pull today made me wish I had started from the beginning, then worked my way through the deck. But alas, this seemed more intuitive. (Too much information from my head, eh?) Today's card, the King of Cups surprised me, because it is the first King I have discussed. There is a massive dearth of Court Cards on this blog.  So, I feel like I need to go into a bit of an explanation of the Court Cards before I even start talking about the energy of the King of Cups. So, I have decided to post this piece about the Court Cards, then go into the King of Cups in another post tomorrow as the Tarot of the Week. Hope everyone is cool with that. In this post, I use the word Reader to represent the Tarot Reader, and Seeker, the one seeking answers through Tarot. If you are reading for yourself, then you are both.

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. Court Cards are the "Royal" cards of the Minor Arcana suits (Wands, Cups, Swords and Pentacles) and hold the energy of their elemental correspondence--fire, water, air and earth respectively. So, the Court Cards are the human representations of their suit. When we talk about personality archetypes, most of us identify those kind of things by psychological tests, like Myers-Briggs, for example. And I would be surprised if there wasn't someone out there who didn't already correspond the Court Cards to the Myers-Briggs personality types. Certainly, the Major Arcana has come to represent Archetypes as well, but these Court Cards, like all things in the Minor Arcana, are more about the conditions and circumstances of daily life, so you may have a soul path of the Strength card, but be projecting Queen of Cups.

So, one of the roles of the court cards is to help readers identify people in the life of the Seeker. These people that affect our life, and whose lives we affect. They are all around our lives--our co-workers, neighbors, family, bosses, friends. 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.  These Court Cards represent the attributes of each suit. Each have both negative and positive qualities. Traditionally, these suits also had physical markers as well. They are ethnocentric and have fallen out of favor by most Tarot readers, but I find them interesting nonetheless. I created this little cheat chart for you, if you are curious about that physical attribute thing.

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The other way Court Cards function in a reading is to address a personality the Seeker embodies. And they can help you identify the energy you are bringing to the situation. At work, for example, a Capricorn woman at work may embody the Queen of Wands--dynamic, charismatic, creative, independent; while at home, she may embody her true nature--the Queen of Pentacles energy. We often do that in aspects of our life--shapeshift for survival or to thrivival, so to speak. That shapeshifting is not meant as a criticism; it is what all humans do to grow--adapt to their situation. 

So, in readings, the Court Cards either represent someone in the life, or coming into the life, of the Seeker. OR they represent some aspect of the Seeker. Talking about the latter first, Spirit will bring this aspect of the Seeker to the surface if it is important to 1. validate that personality trait for the Seeker, or 2. to point out a way in which they are acting out and not being true to their nature, or 3. help guide the Seeker to bring a certain energy into the situation at hand. You also may pull two or more of a type of Court Card in a reading. When that happens, reflect on the attributes of the Court card rather than the exact suit of the Court Card. For example, if a woman going for a new job pulls three Knights in a reading, I might tell her that she is being courageous, action-oriented, really "putting herself out there" to get the job, and it will come to fruition. Or if she pulled three Pages, I might ask her if she feels frightened or like a neophyte or apprentice, rather than embodying the King energy of owning her own space. 

So, how do you know if it is another person, or the Seeker? It is the question I get most often with Court Cards. This is where your psychic abilities are very important. Always. Every. Time. I pull a Court Card in either the Approaching or the Outcome position (Future positions), I pull a clarifying card, because in this position, it often means someone else is influencing the situation. Not always, but often. So, I pull a clarifying card by shuffling and saying, "Is this card about the Seeker or someone else? Please give me a clear card." Cards that validate it is about the Seeker tend to resonate with the question, or have a one in it, a solitary figure or someone resonate as the person. You will come to understand your own spiritual validation language. 

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Let's talk about the specific cards. The Pages tend to represent someone young, like the Seeker's children or niece/nephews, or for a teacher, her students (of any age). The energy can be immature, so can often embody the negative aspects of the suit. It also means it can represent someone old who is simply immature. So using Wands here, the opposite side of the dynamic, creative, charismatic person is that they can be quick to anger, be passionate to the point of being off-putting, use their sexuality as a means of manipulation. Or it can be the young energy of that suit, meaning a new beginning, starting a new job and still apprenticing. And even more traditional, the pages were the messengers of the Tarot, so they can come when the Seeker has gotten or will get a message regarding the suit in their life, so if they pulled the Page of Wands, they may hear news of a creative project. You can look at the cards around the Page to get a deeper sense of whether this message is positive or negative. I pulled this card the day before hearing my poems had been selected in a new anthology coming out this Spring. So, as you can tell, it can be very subjective how to interpret a court card. You must tap into your intuitive feelings about the Seeker's question.

The Knights have the power of the suit. In the same way that the Ace of the most powerful card of the Minor Arcana suit. Aces hold all the potential, they match the universal energy behind the Seeker with their will. It is like aligning Divine and personal will. The Knights have the most dynamic, powerful energy of the Court Cards. 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. He does the hard work of the suit and embodies bravery. So, the knight energy carries with it extremes of each suit from its best attributes to its worse. Only the Reader and Seeker 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. When representing people, they tend to represent men or women between the ages of 18-35. This energy is incredibly dynamic and courageous. It moves. It challenges the status quo of the Seeker's own thoughts, or the status quo of society. And it defends.

The Queen energy tends to represent women over the age of 18, but more likely over 35. Her energy is one of feminine stability, self-knowledge, goddess energy. There is a nurturing element of the Queen that is lacking in the King, so men or women can pull this card when special care to nurture and love is needed in the situation. Often, women get this card about themselves when they have come to embody their power. They are living honestly with themselves. The King energy tends to represent men over the age of 35. This energy is VERY stable. One of achievement, a settled, calm, precise energy. Planning is involved here too, and some high regard. Women will pull this card when they are becoming the boss in their company. Or are independently raising their family. As I said, these court cards can come to represent aspects of our own self, even if we are women and pull male cards. All people have both male and female aspects of their self, and tap into those aspects at different times of their lives. 

I hope this incredibly long post was helpful to you. Please share your experience of the Court cards, and how you use them in your readings, or if you have any questions, I'd be happy to answer in the comments of this post.

tarot of the week-three of swords

Love has reasons which reason cannot understand." --Blaise Pascal

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The Swords never fail to make a dramatic entrance into your reading (and our week), and the Three holds no mysteries to its meaning. One of the few cards with no people portrayed, it is the universal understanding of the heart broken, love triangles, betrayal, love grief, and all matters of love lost. This universal experience of lost love is expressed by the heart pierced thrive by three swords swallowed by a storm. It needs no other symbols or explanations. We know this pain. Under the clouds and rain, we look at three swords--three betrayals--my lover, the other person/thing capturing the attention of the lover, and myself.

As with the Swords,  suit of Air, nothing is this straight forward. Air, the sign of perception, communication and reason, complicates when it interacts with love. As the quote says, "Love has reasons which reasons cannot understand." Yet Air is about reason, logic, and our "unshakeable knowledge" of things, which is why Air is often about perception. I put that in quotes, because can we ever truly KNOW what another is thinking? One of my favorite speakers often says, "It isn't what we don't know that will kill us, but  the things we know with absolutely certainty that just aren't so." And Three of Swords is about that heartbreaking disconnect which resides between our heart and reality. The Threes, numerologically, represent the Trinity, the bringing together of forces. Of course, the Three of Swords circles around that concept by dealing with the issue of betrayal. It questions one's true unity, one's loyalty, the trust so deeply needed. Whether perceived or real, the heartbreak is there. 

Therein lies the real start of the journey with Three of Swords. This betrayal, whether real or perceived, demands you change your relationship. It absolutely insists that things not continue as they are. If there is a love triangle, bow out of it. Cut out all that is no longer serving. If you are lacking in trust, examine that. Is the person unworthy of trust? Or are you in need of healing energy around your root and heart chakras? Often, this card comes when you have to "cut to the truth of the matter." And what I mean by that is when you need to find out whether your perception of betrayal is true or not. You have to put yourself out there, risk pain, to see the reality of your relationship. The Three of Swords cuts the B.S. out, and opens you up to heal. This is the distinction between keeping that heart in your chest and allowing it to be rained upon. You allow the hurt to be exposed to air. You allow it to heal. You allowing those vulnerabilities and secrets to poison your psyche.

Of course, the other option for this card is that you are the one betraying another. You love two equally, or at least, are engaged in two relationships. Perhaps clandestinely, or perhaps everyone knows, this card reminds you that someone will be hurt, and it is time to make a decision. Often this card comes in readings for those going through a separation or divorce, or through a break-up. Sometimes, it just is a symbol for me that the a relationship is in need of healing. Other times, this card indicates grief and loss, even on large scale loss, like where our nation is grieving. 

Less frequently, this can be about heartbreak about career, moving house, familial relationships. I would look at the other cards in the reading to get a better understanding of this heartbreak. I have pulled this card for people having heart issues, or surgery. It often bodes well, rather than negatively. It means the bad is being cut out to make room for the new growth. And therein lies the truth and the meditation for this card--releasing the old to make way for new. Whether it be true love, real heart connection, or new tissue growth, when we let go of a relationship that isn't serving our Highest Good, we open the door for one that is.

Ironically, the Three of Swords asks you to open your heart more to heal heartbreak, to soothe yourself with love. It is the opposite of what Swords energy is, which is to heal the heart with the head, and that is why it is so cloudy in this card. Heal your own perceptions and feelings of vulnerability, before dealing with another. This cannot be done through a new relationship, it must be done through self-compassion and self-love. Rhodocrosite would be an amazing ally in this work. A great meditation for this card might be to work on the heart center with Reiki or other energy healing, or heart chakra crystals.

I forgive and release all those swords that have pierced my heart in the past, in the present and in the future. I align my heart center with the Universal Love, Light, and Compassion. 

Let me know your experience with the Three of Swords. or anything else you would like to discuss about Tarot, crystals and more.

 

tarot of the week--four of swords

"The most valuable thing we can do for the psyche, occasionally, is to let it rest, wander, live in the changing light of room, not try to be or do anything whatever.” ― May Sarton

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Coming into the restful hibernation of winter, it is no accident that we pull the Four of Swords on such a wintry day. A beautiful card by all rights, it shows a Knight resting, hands in prayer or namaste position at heart center. Three swords on the wall, one underneath him. He is protected by the church, as evinced by the stained glass window. He is protected. Resting before battle, or after. 

Swords are the suit of Air--communication, perception, and all things dealing with the intellect. The Swords are often the most shocking cards to those unfamiliar with the Tarot.  We see the thrice-pierced, bleeding heart in the Three, and jail of self-imposed suffering of the Eight, the Insomnia of the Nine, and the ultimate dark card of the Ten Swords in the back. This card, however, appears innocuous. But it does insinuate a great deal about what we are facing or what we have just faced. All of that baggage comes with this card. War is hell. And so the resting warrior soothes his embattled body, readying himself for his next face-off.

So often people come to see a Reader because they want insight into a difficult period of their life. The Four of Swords often comes as a reminder to step back. There are a few meditation and step-back cards in the Tarot--Four of Cups is one that comes to mind. This Four is about taking time out, resting, but truly meditating, raising one's consciousness to bring a new weapon into battle--the spiritual cunning and centeredness to win any battle. And truly, taking the time to step back and out of a conflict, to reflect, to raise one's consciousness and get heart centered does change the entire battle before you even begin it again. 

If we search the background of this card, let's look at the stained glass window--the element of protection here. It is a scene of a someone kneeling before another in supplication. I believe the standing person is Mother Mary, but that is just my gut-feeling, perhaps because I work so closely with Mother Mary in my meditations. But I think this stained glass window is asking us to plug back into Source Energy. Our true source of power--God or the Creator or the Goddess, or however you conceive of the Divine. We do that through meditation, crystal healing, Reiki, and other forms of energy healing. The card is a solitary card, not one to go to meditation circles with. But that doesn't mean you cannot see a practitioner here for self-care. This card is one of the Tarot's most important cards of self-care. We rest and reenergize for the good of ourselves and all involved. To ready for the next battle in the war. Or to come to realization that the war is unnecessary altogether.

A great affirmation for this card might be:

I let go absolutely. I trust in the Divine.

 

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.