mercury retrograde tarot layout

I've been in the throes of life and finding my tarot practice waning a bit. I know you all can relate--days when you want to pull a card, but how? When? For what? Sometimes I find myself in a place where I just don't want to know.

Burying my head in the sand never works. It simply wastes time. One of the times I most want to bury my head in the sand is Mercury Retrograde. Being misunderstood, having things go haywire, mixing up my navigational system is a logistical nightmare for a recovering control freak and perfectionist. It's those times when burying my head it in the sand or "not wanting to know" seem like the best idea in the world. 

But avoiding tools that actually work for connecting me with Spirit and my deep wells of wisdom keeps me from peace. I need to remind myself that Tarot doesn't punish or judge--our interpretations do that! I do that! Tarot is a navigational guide and a map for moving forward. There are many times, though, that I know I am too tender, judgmental or prone to negativity to objectively read for myself. That is when I connect with another reader and trade. Tarot Share is borne out of that impulse to have a community of Tarot readers who get it.

Speaking of Mercury Retrograde, it is coming up on March 5th.  Mercury goes retrograde three times a year. It shouldn't be surprising, and yet we all seem to dread it. I have developed crystals and vibrational support during Mercury Retrograde.  I created this Mercury Retrograde preparation Tarot Layout to help you identify and work with issues that might arise during Mercury Retrograde.

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imbolc tarot layout

You know how I love creating tarot layouts for the Wheel of the Year. I have something in the works for those of you who also work with the pagan Wheel of the Year—the equinoxes, solstices and cross-quarter holidays, plus all the moon cycles. I cannot wait to share it with y’all.

Of course, Imbolc is coming up, so I thought I would design a layout for the seeds beginning to stir within you. Imbolc is basically the halfway point between Yule (Winter Solstice) and Ostara (Vernal Equinox). This is the traditional time that candles are made, and the sheep begin birthing lambs (hence the name Imbolc, pronounced Im-olc, meaning ewe’s milk). The gift of the first milk might help sustain a family in the dark winter. Speaking of darkness, we begin to see the sun rising earlier and setting later. I mean, we hear that Yule is when the sun begins coming out earlier, but now is when we can really see it in action.

It is also traditionally the feast day of St. Brigid, or the Goddess Brigid. Her snake would rise from the soil to test the weather and tell us whether the winter would last for another 6 weeks or longer. (Sound familiar?) But the idea here is under the snow, the grass, the soil, the seeds planted deep in the autumn are beginning to stir. It looks calm and serene above, but the seeds are stirring into action and beginning to make their way toward the sun.

And the same for us. What seeds are beginning to make their way towards the light for you? This tarot layout seeks to understand what is happening below your surface. Let me know if you use this tarot layout and what you think of it.

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New Moon Tarot Layout

New Moon is such a potent time for planting seeds, for setting intention, for taking stock. For me, the dark of the New Moon excites me. It seems so potent and full of potential for me. Plus, that inward reflection for me plays beautifully into my own introversion and need for alone time. I mean, this isn't isolation. It is solitude. It is time to check-in. I often do my most powerful readings during this time period, because I do it ready for release. Hell, the New Moon makes me sleep well, but also finds me cranky. I am not always good with too many personalities, so I pare things down. I connect with the cards, with Spirit, with my own needs. 

I often do the Medicine Wheel Layout or even the Solstice layout, but recently, I have been doing this New Moon Layout I've been playing with. This is really potent for those who aren't really sure what energy they are really ready to call in at the New Moon. It is great for the question: Where should my attention be right now?

As always, please let me know how you like this layout and show me your readings. I am offering distance readings again, so please reach out if you are interested at angie@themoonandstone.com

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medicine wheel layout

The energy of Summer is upon us--that fire in our belly. In terms of the Medicine Wheel, we are facing South, the direction of Fire, of mystery, of passion and heat and action and creativity and, and, and....there is so much going on the South, it is no wonder we break a sweat. The South moves us from the airy East into the deep fires of the lower chakras--the root, sacral and solar plexus. This is where we ground, we create, we do. Red, Orange, and Yellow combine to create those flames of  DOING.

Many tribes use the Horse as their symbol of the South. I certainly use her as my Southern Totem. She is the Great Sojourner, the Carrier of the Warrior and the Maiden, the traveler, the explorer, that fearless movement forward. We call in the energy in the East in Spring, and it flies overhead with the energy of Hawk, Eagle, even hummingbird (hummingbirds have been all over my land this year with her busy, fast dance.) These high fliers have the vision to align you, to see the bigger picture, to see the forest, but what that vision does is move you into South, where we actually do the dang thing we have been visioning. When I am in the South, I find myself creating all day, painting, sketching, playing guitar, singing, doodling. My creativity is awakened. Creativity and action begets more creativity and action. I am ready. I call on fire to burn away that which sit stagnant in my energy field. I call on fire to start me on my wild journey.

I move through the Medicine Wheel constantly--we all do...each day, year, and in the cycle of our life, we move through east, south, west, and north. Each morning, in my prayers, I call in the directions for healing and to guide my days. I use this model for my Tarot readings too. This isn't exactly a new layout, though I didn't "copy" it from another source. This is just how I have always intuitively done reading around the Medicine Wheel. I drew it up in a Tarot Layout that is shareable and useable. I thought we could try it next Tarot Share for our group reading.

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beltane tarot spread

I have really enjoyed creating tarot spreads around the seasonal energies this year. It has been such a challenge for me to think about what we need to know at different times of the year around these cycles. I connect with cycles and even created an oracle deck based on the different cycles we tap into through our life. It's not available yet. I just use it for myself. But I think about this so often when I do readings for my clients. First, what cycle of life are they in? What cycle of their year? What universal cycle are they in--what is the astrological or lunar cycle are all of us facing? This seems like such an important part of the work of reading energy to me.

Beltane, May 1st, is one of those important points on the Wheel of the Year. Spring is in full bloom--flowers are blossoming and the world radiates a thousand shades of green in every corner. The lightness seeps into us all. The Solar Horned God earns his name and is ready to mate with the Lunar Goddess. This is where the idea of Lusty May comes in. We certainly understand Spring Fever and we really enjoy a time of fertility and growth. We celebrate the light, the sexuality and creativity that lies within that sacral energy. It is within us. Now, how are you expressing this time?

I create these tarot spreads to help us easily tap into the energetic and magickal work important around these different points on the Wheel of the Year and in our life. It is such a powerful time to check-in with a relationship or partnership you have. And if you are more interested in a creative project, you can also think of that birthing out of the same energy of Beltane. Remember you can do this reading at any time you want to check in with a relationship or project of any kind, not just Beltane. Let me know how you enjoy this layout.

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Blue moon tarot spread

So much of this energy of January is about the two full moons that act mark the beginning and ending of the month. The second blue moon on January 31st is super special--it is a blood moon, a full lunar eclipse and then of course the Blue Moon. 

Tarot is a perfect way to tap into this energy and use it to manifest your beautiful goals. This Leo Blue Moon is one of bringing in and setting intentions around some long-term goals and dreams. I mean, these are those dreams you dare not speak aloud, the ones that feel too wildly awesome to imagine. I used to be all about magical thinking, and fear of jinxing my good fortune. Pshaw!! Not anymore and not since so many of the dreams I dare not speak aloud have come to be. I am living my wildest dreams (and I'm still uncomfortable sometimes, by the way. The discomfort just stays for so little time, and makes me too curious to suffer for too long!). So, what is that dream for you? Are you so out of touch of your childlike awe and curiosity that you forget? 

Tarot is great for uncovering your subconscious and superconscious selves. So, tap into it with this layout, and let me know how it goes!

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samhain ancestor tarot spread

Creating Tarot spreads has become one of my new favorite past times. It is amazing when, as a reader, you have that deep shift in your bones about Tarot. You go from doing everything by the book (whichever book you have given authority to in that week) to playing with your cards. To realizing they are in relationship with you and you can bend and ask and instruct and prescribe how and what messages you need. This is so powerful when you create a Tarot spread.

You literally start with a question: What information is most useful for me right now? What will help my soul grow? And for me, one of the things I find most powerful is: How can I tap into the seasonal energies to create a layout that helps me grow spiritually? This has been my goal in the last few months with these new layouts I am creating...designing layouts that move us through the Medicine Wheel and the Wheel of the Year. 

Every month, I host a Tarot Share at Alta View Wellness Center. We get together and read for each other. This has been 18 months strong, and I'm so proud of the community we have created. We decided to do a Tarot Share Costume Party this year for our monthly Tarot Share, and to come dressed as our favorite card. We actually chose cards last month out of the Majors and Court Cards, and I pulled the Devil. I cannot wait to get all Devilish for our group. (Incidentally, as a Capricorn, the Devil is my card, and it happens to be my card of the year too. Isn't Tarot AMAZING?!?)

ANYWAY, the Tarot Share works like this. It is for other Tarot readers. We gather and exchange readings. Usually, we get to exchange one on one, then most of the time, we do one large reading for the whole group. We often do a reading around the seasonal energies, or the moon cycle. It has been amazing to see how much each of us relate to the big reading. So, for Samhain, I wanted to create a layout that both taps into the ancestral work of Samhain and the idea of releasing and bringing in. So, I thought you might enjoy this too for your Samhain gatherings. Let me know how it goes and how this layout worked for you.

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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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eclipse reading

One of the gifts of Tarot is how versatile and beautifully flexible it can be with our own spiritual work. Tarot flows through our own journaling and work in whatever way we need it. I've been journaling my daily Tarot readings again, after taking a wee hiatus, and it reconnects me to my Higher Self, my guides and my daily self-care regimen. 

As a professional Tarot reader, I sometimes fall out of the habit of journaling. When I connect with Spirit for other people, I end up taking something away that I also needed to hear. And to be honest, sometimes I get burnt out from the cards. I know what they mean, so I'll throw a reading, then look at it. "Meh, yeah, I know. Quit harping on me, Tarot." But the truth is--Tarot has so much nuance and layers of meaning that this thought is just me being lazy. When I journal, I take a new deck, and use the book, or I go really in-depth with one card in relation to my question. 

The best part of this new journaling journey is that I have been creating so many NEW layouts for myself and others. This time, though, I am creating graphic layouts to help others go deeper with their cards. 

Of course, this new eclipse energy is kicking my ass. I mean, really. So much shadow has reemerged, and I realize now that this eclipse energy emerged for me in June, and has grown darker and deeper through this summer. We are at a culmination of release energy. I created an eclipse tarot layout at look at this shadow work. This layout can be used at any new moon, not just eclipse new moons. It is about going deeper with your own discomfort. One thing I always find confounding is this idea of Letting It Go (Elsa, I'm sorry!) I mean, sometimes I just look at someone with the head turned to ask, "UH, HOW?!?!" This layout has a card that asks just this question, "How do I let it go? How do I release?" I also ask, "What do I need to forgive?" Forgiveness work seems the key to this eclipse energy. Forgiving the self, forgiving others, forgiving our childhood, forgiving our bad decisions...so, that was my thought here. Forgiveness, shadow, release.

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I hope you enjoy it and I would LOVE to hear your experience with this layout. And as a sidenote, I thought tomorrow that I might do a Live Reading on FB of this layout for the entire audience. I do offer distance readings, if you are interested in having a reading with me. Send me an email at angie@themoonandstone.com

 

altar creation spread

If you didn't know, one of my passions is altar making. I have an altar 100% of the time on my bookcase in my meditation room. On one side, i always have a crystal grid going, just to raise the vibration of the room and my soul work. On the other side (because the bookcase is long and thin), I place a statue of a goddess or angel, or a picture, or a statue or fetish of the animal medicine I'm working with. Then more crystals, ones that work with the crystal grid or medicine wheel I have on the other side. I change it out depending on the holy day or sabbat, my soul work or journey work, shadow issues that arise, messages I am getting from Spirit, Animal Medicine, health or family crisis...whenever I am facing a new challenge, passion or phase in my life, I look to the altar first. 

I have been facing so many different exciting changes and circumstances. My health journey has been challenging this year. My work life has expanded with hibiscus moon and then my client base in harrisburg is always expanding and changing. My soul work has been on a nice even keel, and then I went to SouLodge Earth Medicine Gathering and uncovered many layers of what I need to do. Where do I even start with all this?

Well, that was my question. Where to start? Where does Spirit want me to start with all that information? Being an intuitive isn't always so clear cut. I get tons of messages. Right now, my dreaming is through the roof (Last night, i dreamed an incredible dream, and then when it was done, I decided to have that dream again, and then reworked it into a new dream with a new ending. Talk about lucid dreaming on steroids!) And sometimes I get that analysis paralysis, or rather information overload!

Because of all this soul work, I have rededicated myself to morning journaling and daily tarot pulls. AND WOWEE! it is awesome. What is awesome is finding a new passion for something I do so often for other people. When you pull tarot for clients, you often don't pull for yourself. Part of it is that i easily dismiss my messages--yeah, yeah, I need to stop being so hard on myself. Okay. Scoop up the cards, and immediately forget the message. So, journaling keeps you accountable, and I decided to play and explore some new decks beyond my beloved Rider-Waite, specifically the Chrysalis deck by Toney Brooks and Holly Sierra as well as Motherpeace by Karen Vogel and Vicki Noble. I've been using the BOOK! (I always joke with my students about getting OFF BOOK! and now I am back ON BOOK [and incidentally loving being on book. I even went on Rachel Pollack's book with the Rider Waite just to keep it going.]) 

All of this is to say, this morning, I tweaked a spread I do for myself for creating altars when I have a short attention span and cannot figure out what to focus on. It incorporates Oracle decks with Tarot; in fact, it incorporated four additional oracle decks--Visions Crystal Oracle, my own oracle deck called Cycles, of which there is only one deck and it is all about ritual, The Wild Unknown Animal Spirit deck and the Ascended Master deck by Doreen Virtue. Then I used the Chrysalis Tarot deck for my main work, which has guides in and of itself. (Such a fantastic deck. I was at first obsessed with the pips, but now, I cannot get enough of the Majors. Ariadne is stalking me, I swear. And Kali for that matter.)

Anyway, here is the spread as I pulled it:

So much of what this reading said to me was that it was time to allow transformation to happen. The shadow work here is around letting go, surrender and joy. I often struggle with joy. Joy is a bugger for me. So, this work with snake centers around this shedding of control and desire to figure it all out. The ritual card here is one I created called Enso, Imperfection. I used to have a fairly steady and daily enso painting practice. I don't paint ensos anymore--life got complicated with my adventurous two year old. But I decided to paint a rock to remind me of this for my altar, using this enso ritual as a jumping off point to explore an imperfect creative practice to funnel some energy.

Here is the altar and grid that arose from this spread:

You also can play with this spread, as I have compiled a little easy Tarot Layout for you to incorporate into your practice. In fact, I created a few of these for Pinterest, since I use SO MANY pinterest layouts these days, having not so recently discovered that they exist. Enjoy and share, if you can. It is great to have a Tarot community to bounce ideas off of. LOVE to YOU!

solstice spreads

I have shared these Tarot spreads before, but I really love the way they use the energy of the Solstice to help clarify, priortize and magnify . When gathering for the Solstices or Equinoxes, a wonderful way to connect with one another and delve deeper into honoring the times of release and renewal is to do readings. Reading Tarot brings so much togetherness to a gathering, and reading cards with the holiday in mind makes it doubly special. I love seeing my people all huddled together discussing cards, letting Spirit speak through them for one person. You can either have one person designated as the Reader, or you can all read together. Or if you are a Tarot Reader, you might want to be the one to offer this to your guests, or as a gift to each person at the gatherings. I personally love gifting readings to my friends and family. This is also a great solo activity for those looking for ways to honor the solstice in solitary practice. 

These Solstice layouts I developed focus my attention for my personal ceremonies and spiritual work. During different phases of the moons, and always on solstices/equinoxes, I check-in with Spirit via a reading. This is a great layout to do with Tarot, or ANY Oracle Deck. Oracle Decks have such beautiful messages and really succinctly communicate the energy you have around you. So, if you are not a Tarot reader as such, oracle decks are great tools. Most come with a book with a nice detailed interpretation of each card. Oracle decks are easy to find, inexpensive, and make great hostess gifts too. There are oracle decks that involve Fairies, Angels, Saints, even one that wholly focuses on Mother Mary! Think of the Divine connection that most aligns with your beliefs, and use an Oracle Deck that speaks to that tradition. You'll understand the symbols and resonate with the message much more clearly.

Back to the Solstice Layout, you can use this as a touchstone for your work in circle, or in privately. Remember, first is the release, then the welcoming of energy in your next cycle. I would use an crystal like Orange Calcite, Carnelian, Sunstone or Fire Agate as an ally in this reading. It represents the Sun, but more importantly, it represents the clarity that the Sun brings. In this way, using a Clear Quartz is always good if you cannot find a Sun stone. Just place your crystal by your candle and other sacred objects around your reading space. Creating sacred space is a beautiful way to begin your reading. I always blow and knock out the energy, shuffle eight times, then cut the cards three times. And I say a prayer of protection and openness, "I am a clear and open channel through which Spirit make speak truth and only truth for the Highest Good of All."

I have read and used other Solstice spreads beautifully. If you google Solstice spreads you can find a number of ideas. I prefer my own spreads, because I am intimately connected with these questions, and it more succinctly clarifies what I work on for Solstice. Some people suggest pulling out the Sun (XIX) as significator in the center of this spread. I like to use a You Now card as a general check-in with Spirit. One beautiful way to use this spread would be to lay it out in a Solstice crystal grid with a Sun stone as your center, and lay the card out between your crystals. 

I created two spreads, really. The first one is great for groups, more succinct and really draws out clarity. The second is good for those who want to delve deeper for personal work on Solstice. It gives you insights into your releases, and the energy you want to bring in.

For example, I pulled this Spread for myself during Winter Solstice, pulling out the Sun as my You Now, or my Significator. 

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In the position of my Strengths (position 2), the Judgment speaks to my ability to release judgment and forgive. Pulling this into the New year, I can see that my work with forgiveness--both self-forgiveness and forgiveness of others--is something I may have to draw on, and will be important for my spiritual growth. In the Roots position, or where I draw my strength (position 3), I pulled the World. I draw strength from every aspect of my life--my children, my home, my crystal work, my Tarot and psychic work, teaching, learning, writing, and art. I had wondered for so long which was my path, and have come to accept that all are my path. In the Release position (position 4), or what is no longer serving, I pulled the Four of Swords card, which is a card of retreat and meditation before battle. I believe this means that what I need to release is my over-analysis. My Analysis Paralysis, as they call it, and move forward with my work in this new space. So, I need to release inaction! In my Energy I am Ready to Bring into my Life (position 5), I pulled the Magician. Oh, hellz to the yes! This is the energy I want to bring in--achievement, magic, spiritual work, using all my gifts together. 

In the Second layout, we just expand on the smaller layout to get more in-depth. It involves more reflection and self-examination.

For example, I pulled this second layout without using the Sun as the center, and pulling a card to represent myself.

In this layout, the King in position 1 represents me in the Now, someone who is financially stable and in my Earth sign element. In position 2, my strength is my ability to withstand chaos and massive change. Not that I will be facing it, but just to remember that I can weather any storm with aplomb and grace. In the position 3, where I draw my strength, the King of Wands was pulled, and this is a creative man, my husband, I think, who inspires me and grounds me. In the two position 4 + 5, these are the things that are no longer serving me--Eight of Pentacles and Page of Pentacles. I think the Eight is there to remind me that I am ready to move into a more teacher/owner role, rather than as a student, and the Page of Pentacles is immaturity with money. Financially, I think this means moving into amore mature approach with my business, not taking money from our home account for Moon + Stone, and begin treating it as a mature business. What I need to release position 6 is more of an emotional release for my spiritual growth. I believe this card, the Nine of Wands is any defensiveness, or heart protection. I need to wear my vulnerability, embrace it, accept it, wear it proudly. On the Future side, position 7, the Energy I am ready to Bring in is definitely circles of women. My peeps, where for art thou? Position 8, my meditation position, really is something to sit with, and journal about to achieve my release and renewal. I pulled Temperance, which is a card of purification and balance. Such an important card for me. In the 9th position, Outcome, the Queen of Swords is absolutely the energy I would like to welcome in my new phase. No nonsense. And not taking things personally. Also, nodding to my grief without having to live in it.

I hope reading my albeit brief interpretations of these cards in these new spreads helps you to read your own Solstice cards. Let me know what you think in the comments, and Blessed Litha, friends.

Tarot of the Week: the High Priestess

“Our duty is wakefulness, the fundamental condition of life itself. The unseen, the unheard, the untouchable is what weaves the fabric of our see-able universe together.” ― Robin Craig Clark

So much beauty and mystery in this card, the High Priestess honors us with her presence as the first post of the new year--2015 with all her mystery and wisdom yet bestowed. There is so much on this card, it is hard to know where to start. The High Priestess is the second card of the Major Arcana. She follows the Magician with all his power and achievement. You see this often in the Tarot--masculine and feminine cards following each other, balancing each other's energy. There is a sense of yin-yang balance of the feminine and masculine throughout the Major Arcana (and Minor, every King and Queen sits together in the deck). The High Priestess follows the Magician, yet her stance harkens more to the Hierophant. Historically, this card in the original deck way back in the 14th century was called La Papesse, or the Female Pope. WHAT?!? It is true. Such a strong, or rather the strongest, role for a woman in a traditionally patriarchal religion. I am quoting Rachel Pollack here for the historical background:

In the 1200’s, a radical movement sprang up in Europe led by a woman named Guglielma of Bohemia.  Guglielma preached that Christ would return in 1300 to begin a new age when woman would be popes. Guglielma died before that great day and so her followers elected a woman named Manfreda Visconti to be the first female pope. The year 1300 came around and went without Christ returning and its church made its position on female popes very clear: they burned Manfreda at the stake. 150 years later the first tarot deck {as we know it} was created, commissioned by the rulers of the city of Milan- the Visconti family.” -Rachel Pollack, quoted by Marybeth Bonfiglio

This I find absolutely fascinating and important for us Tarot readers. I don't think it is any surprise she stands on the Waxing Moon, as the Virgin Mary is so often portrayed in paintings. This would be the only image of a female spiritual leader the Italians who created the first Tarocchini decks would know. This imagery would have made complete sense to Catholics. She is the Pope of the Virgin. She has been elevated beyond a simple priestess. Like the Pope, she has a connection to the Divine that is beyond a worshipper, or the common man, or the priest. she hold papal infallibility. If the Pope is lineage from Peter, then who is La Papesse in lineage from? It is interesting, because I think the pomegranates behind her are so wrought with symbolism. Nearly every major religion of the Middle East hold pomegranate as particularly symbolic. The Egyptians felt it was a fruit of abundance. The Ancient Greeks associate the pomegranate as the fruit of the dead, and it is intertwined deeply with the story of Persephone and Demeter, so there is an ancient mother connection here. The Pomegranate is associated with the Crone. And in Kabbalah, perhaps the most likely of symbols for Arthur Waite and Pamela Smith Colman, it symbolizes the mystical experience.

Woman in the Tarot hold this deep mystery for Arthur Waite. Pomegranate is a common theme from the Empress on. But the High Priestess is their mediator, and she stands as the symbol of the Divine Feminine. Her standing is more of the holder of mystery, the esoteric, the deep water of religion, of the self, of Nature. Because women have always been associated with mystery, the moon, the water, the nurturing mother, there are additional symbols here that hold this more enigmatic spiritual meaning for us. Her dress literally turns into water as it falls over the moon. The Moon, the eighteenth card of the Major Arcana, is not to be missed. The connection is clear and important. She also wears a crown. I have read that it is similar to the horned crown of Hathor, Egyptian goddess and now a modern symbol of receptivity. I always imagine center of the crown being moonstone, because to me, as a crystal healer, Moonstone seems to be the High Priestess' stone. It sits on her third eye, and the crown itself opens to the Divine. She bears all kinds of religious iconography--the cross over her heart, the Torah in her hands. So, her connection is not to one religion--she is the Priestess of Pluralism. Every path is through her to the Divine. 

She sits regally, flanked by two pillars much like the Hierophant (the Pope), Justice, the Emperor. Front and center she faces you. Her pillars are different for one is dark and one light, anointed with the letters B and J, meaning Boaz and Jachin of Solomon's Temple, the first Temple in Jerusalem. All of these symbols lead to this woman, the High Priestess. She is the prophetess, the seer, the mystic, the psychic. She connects to the Divine and the Mystery, but the darkness of her and this card are important. The mystery holds us captive and frightens us. We must push through the fear for her wisdom and insights propel us to the next phase of our spiritual development. So, in my work, the High Priestess is the card of the channel, the oracle, the psychic. She is guardian of the mysteries of the Divine and esoteric knowledge. I think of her as carrying sacred geometry and a stream to the Akashic records.

When the High Priestess appears, I know I am facing someone who is psychic, intuitive, opening to her or his spirituality. Dreamwork, journeying, visions and psychic abilities are at play here. Dreams are particularly important with any card that shows the Moon. Many of my Tarot friends sleep with a High Priestess under their pillow when they need insight. She is Divine and of the Divine and so there is a kind of purity and grace with her presence. She helps release and shed what does not serve. She assists one in finding their soul path. Meditation, prayer and new spiritual work is indicated. Unlike the Hierophant, which has religion all tied up with its means, the High Priestess is about spirituality and one's spiritual path. The High Priestess is about upper chakra work. She lights up the Third eye and the Crown. Though she is silent, she also opens the throat for channels and oracle work. The blue is important, it calls to work with the throat and third eye together for gaining your own insights.

Reversed, we get a feeling of the shadow self. The mysterious grows darker when the High Priestess is reversed. It can mean one is not facing their true self and honoring oneself.  As always, I'd love to hear what you think of the High Priestess and this post. Comment below.

Tarot of the Week--Knight of Swords

“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world...would do this, it would change the earth.” ― William Faulkner

There is a deep level of courage to each of the Knights of the Minor Arcana. This is what distinguishes them as court cards, and what makes the Knight the most powerful force in the Court. I have written a background post about the Court Cards, which I link to each time I write about the Court Cards, so here is that link.

Let's talk about this courage. The Knight is a more mature energy than the Page, which is still green with new eyes and approach to his Element. He carries messages, but doesn't quite fight a battle yet. The King on the other hand is the wisdom and maturity of his Element. The Knight is the one waging a war, fighting for his own truth, for his beliefs. He is out there, the face of the Court and of his Suit. He travels to the distant lands. He listens. He bridges his passion with his sense of justice. The Knight of Swords has an interesting perspective, and perspective is clearly the key word here, as Swords reigns the element of Air, and of the mind, logic, communications, and perception. With the Tarot, perception is a vital part of understanding the Swords. For the Mind often betrays the heart and the spirit in Tarot. The Tarot was developed as a tool to connect with the Mystical elements of our own spirituality for the early Tarot readers and developers. This was a tool of the Christian Mystic, after all. So the Tarot has a complicated relationship with Logic and Science and the Mind as the one that talks us out of our true wisdom.

The Knight of Swords fights his battles with both heart and mind. Much of this struggle is internal, as it is for the entire suit of Swords. This is evident in the background of the Knight of Swords, who is shown rushing forward into the wind, the trees and clouds evidently strewn across the sky from the wind. He doesn't fear this adversity. He grimaces, but he is determined.This Knight enjoys sparring intellectually, a good adversary is worth his wait to this Knight. His curiosity, intellectual interest, and search for the truth remain important for the Knight of Swords, but the irony of this Knight is that he is passionate about his mind. Don't be mistaken, he leads with his head, but his heart is not far behind. It is simply not the same passion that the Knight of Cups leads with. There is nothing maudlin or sentimental about this Knight. He is not necessarily as artist or musician. He is a logician, a thinker, a heady fighter of justice and truth. Think lawyer, police officer, economist, teacher, engineer, accountant...he uses his mind as his ultimate tool. He is drawn to fights that are about justice, and while others find this sentimental, to the Knight of Swords, it just makes good sense to treat people well. He doesn't fair well with small talk, or simple gossip. It is not his game or interest. He find these things deplorable, and often makes his opinion known. This Knight can be sarcastic, quick-witted, or even cynical to others. Downright negative to those who live in the heart space that doesn't want to hear about murder, rape and betrayal, but for this Knight, this is just realism, not cynicism. The Knight of Swords might say, the glass isn't half full or half empty, it is simply not the correct size.

If this card comes for you, it might signify that you are speaking your truth, or must stand up for yourself of others in the name of justice and equality. It can foretell a spontaneous event, or unexpected situation in which you must use your logic, common sense and clear speech. This Knight indicates a courage there that needs to be tapped into. You might be afraid of speaking your truth, but the Knight bolsters you. You are ready! Champion your cause. Fight for your sense of justice and fairness, it is time to jump on the back of that gorgeous steed and ride into the wind. These Knights often come for other people in your life who may be Air signs--Gemini, Libra and Aquarius. They often fall between the ages of 18-35 and can indicate men or women, but the feeling of the person is one of action, movement and courage. 

In the reversed position, this Knight is incredibly challenging to you. It can be an overly opinionated, negative, pushy, cruel, unfair and brutal person. When I say brutal I mean, mentally, verbally and physically abusive in some way. The person might be narrow minded, and unfair. See, when the Swords can reversed, he often see this type of reversal of the things they hold most dear in the upright position, like equality and justice. They turn that into their own sense of self-righteous justice.

Because of the movement in this card, the Knight of Swords can be a card that POPS up in your life, and can mean some situation or person has suddenly popped up. Reversed, it can mean someone is leaving quickly from your life. This is a less common interpretation, but this movement with this Knight, and intellect.

Let me know what you think about the Knight of Swords below in the comments. 

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--page of cups

“The young habitually mistake lust for love, they're infested with idealism of all kinds.” ― Margaret Atwood

Ah, the young and idealistic! We venture into the week holding hands with the young Page of Cups. You can get no more idealistic than this Page. For a quick reminder of the Court Cards and their role in the Tarot, this piece explains each of their roles in the Shakespearean drama of the Tarot.

Pages, just for a brief reflection, are the youngest of the Tarot. They often deal with the children in our lives, or the, ahem, young at heart. (You can also call them eternally immature!) They are also the messengers of the Tarot and often come when one is receiving messages around the suit's attributes. The Page holds all the energy of the Cups, the suit of Water. So, we are talking emotions, art, love, relationships, creativity, romance. We see the young Page in his fancy outfit with spring flowers adorning his tunic. This represents a new beginning, as Pages often herald. It is our own feelings and perceptions of ourselves as neophytes, apprentices, or newbies in some arena. In the case of the Page of Cups, this might mean feeling those new pangs of young love. Young, either in age or time. In this way, you might find yourself pulling a Page of Cups when you have left a long-term relationship and are beginning to date again, but feeling like it is your first time dating. Pages have to be seen in the realm of perception as much as reality, if that makes sense.

This Page is the high school first love personified. There is obsession at times, mistakes, goofiness, game playing, but it is always sincere. He flirts (you can pull this if there is an exciting flirtation going on rather than a full-blown romance.) He writes poetry, builds monuments to his love, serenades, but leaves when the emotions get too deep. The Cups often swirl around romance and love questions, so he often has that reputation. But the Cups also deal with emotions, so one can pull this card when one is dealing with new emotions, or a new way of relating to his own emotions. Maybe he is trying to set new boundaries, or communicate in a more authentic way. Maybe the Seeker is beginning to see a therapist and uncover and name her emotions in a new way. 

Cups are also the psychic and spiritual suit, so sometimes this card comes when one is beginning their psychic or spiritual journey. We can see this represented in the fish in the the chalice. Because of the association with messages and the messenger, this card can indicate that the Seeker has received or will receive an inspirational message of some kind. Depending on the cards around this one, this can come through sleep (think dream cards like the Two of Swords, Nine of Swords, the Star or the Moon.) The idea of a new beginning can also come with the Page of Cups, but this would be a new creative idea or medium, like taking guitar lessons, or creative journaling when one has been a painter. 

Pages represent people in our life as well. Pages often come to represent children or younger people for the Seeker. Again, this can be a immature person of any age. The idea is that they feel young. Page of Cups are people under the astrological signs of Pisces, Cancer or Scorpio. They are romantic types, often dreamers. They day dream and stare off into space. They create love and poetry. They are charming and magnetic, often connecting with many people emotionally. They are often highly sensitive, imaginative, loving, affectionate, kind, and intuitive. Young empaths can be described as Page of Cups-ish. They often need external discipline to thrive, because they aren't quite built with that kind of stick-to-it-ness. In the reversed position, we really see this play out, as Pages of Cups can jump from one thing to another, never really finishing anything. Reversed, they often have discipline problems, and can escape reality all together through overindulgence in alcohol, drugs, eating, gambling, sex and any escapist techniques. Reversed, they can often be recluses, fearing judgment ,as their sensitivity and empathic skills turn against them in some ways. They often struggle with irresponsibility and would rather spend money on travel than something boring like rent. In this way, they can often become demanding and entitled, feeling expectant that others take care of them so they can pursue their own passions. Again, this is the reversed view of this Page.

In general, though, the Page of Cups is heart-centered, and sincere, artistic and romantic. What do you think of this Page? How do you use it in your readings? Let me know in the comments!