Portal Time

Right now it feels like a portal time. It is anyway, because of the new year coming in a week. But it feels like there is an opening up of something new on the horizon.

This could be because of the combination of Yule energy with the New Moon in Capricorn. Yule is the end of the yearly cycle of light, the beginning of a time to go inward and contemplate while the darkness rules over the light. This is the time of year where Persephone rules over the underworld, and in a way the entire earth is in there with her because all of the energy has moved down and into the underworld. Every ending, however, is also a beginning. Yule offers us the promise of the coming of the light. The New Moon in Capricorn is also throwing its energy in there. New moons are the beginnings of cycles anyway, but the capricorn energy in this one makes it feel like there is something that needs to be done, or needs to be started. Capricorn is ruled by Saturn, the taskmaster and boundary setter, so it feels like a time to set up plans and routines.

Jupiter just ended a twelve year cycle by entering into Aries as well. Aries is the sign of the spark of creativity, the beginning of the creative cycle. It teaches the courage to overcome any obstacle, according to astrologer Steven Forrest. Jupiter is the planet of expansion, of faith in one’s ability. This is quite possibly a great example of the energy of The Fool in the Tarot.

All of this energy together equals a time of beginnings that feature great promise. A portal of new beginnings – the beginning of a new cycle. If there is something that you want to reconnect to, now is the time to make that commitment and plan ahead. This energy is huge and expansive and exciting – but remember that this isn’t necessarily a time of doing quite yet. This is definitely a time of planning, of seeing how you want to move forward. The time to act will be soon. I don’t feel like we quite have to wait until we enter Aries season for that, but for other energies coming into play, which I will write about later, planning the way forward is essential right now.

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday.

Two of Wands: Mars in Aries

Astrology dice showing the glyphs for Mars and Aries

I have been extremely interested in the Golden Dawn astrological correspondences to the Tarot cards ever since I heard that such a thing existed. As I have done some research into the correspondences, I have found that they add depth to the card meanings for me. This astrological year I am hoping to cover those card meanings, but there are a lot of cards, so let’s see how I do. Each card corresponds to a certain planet in a certain sign. In a later post I will outline how these signs and planets are assigned. I just learned that myself, and I have found it fascinating.

Since the sun is in the sign of Aries at the moment it seems like a good time to cover the cards that correspond to Aries, which are the Two, Three, and Four of Wands. Today I am going to write about the Two of Wands.

Two of Wands from the Smith-Rider-Waite deck

The Two of Wands can sometimes be hard to interpret, especially since the Two of Wands looks pretty similar to the Three of Wands. The Smith-Rider-Waite Tarot shows a figure who is standing on what might be a balcony. He is holding a globe and one of the wands, looking out over the land to some water.

Two of Wands from the This Might Hurt Tarot Deck. By Isabella Rotman thismighthurttarot.com

In the This Might Hurt Tarot by Isabella Rotman, there is a woman sitting on the hood of a car. The car sits in front of a body of water and the woman is looking intently at a map.

Diving In

In order to talk about the Two of Wands, we first need to step back and talk about the Ace of Wands. Wands energy is all about movement, passion, and our creativity on fire. The Ace comes to us as an invitation to step into our creative fire. It could be a passion project calling to us. It could be that we have had this great idea for so long and we just need the fire and the motivation to step out into our power and work toward that goal. So the Ace asks us to look within and find that power and that motivation to move forward.

But then we come to Two of Wands, and we have to find a way to channel this fiery energy. There is a reason why the glyph for Mars is an arrow pointing up. It takes the energy of fiery Aries and channels it in a certain direction.

And the twos in the Tarot are an invitation for us to pause. All of the twos ask us to pause in some way. The Two of Wands is asking us to pause in this energy, this invitation to do and be and create, and to come up with a plan for what that is going to look like. We think and talk about Mars being the warrior planet, but if the warrior goes to war without a plan, he is going to lose the war. So the best way to channel the fiery Aries energy is to plan where to concentrate it.

So the Two of Wands is this pause in between touching in with our passion and actually doing something with it. It is a space of planning, setting goals, and basically mapping out how you are going to move forward with all of the wonderful creative energy that you have.

So how is the Two of Wands showing up in your life? Let me know in the comments.

Tarot Reading for the New Moon in Aries

Today marks the New Moon in Aries, the beginning of a new moon cycle in the beginning of a new zodiac cycle. I am kind of excited about this energy, personally, but I think all of this “beginning” energy could be somewhat overwhelming for some people. Luckily, our Tarot energy reading for this new moon helps us out by showing us how we can keep from getting overwhelmed during this time. So let’s get right to it!

Energy Card for this New Moon Cycle

Queen of Pentacles from This Might Hurt Tarot by Isabella Rotman http://www.thismighthurttarot.com

The energy card for the New Moon in Aries is the Queen of Pentacles. This might seem counter-intuitive because Aries energy is very fiery and full of sparks of new life, but I think this is Spirit’s way of answering that question of how we keep from getting overwhelmed by the energy of this time.

Whenever I look at the card for the Queen of Pentacles, I see someone who is of the earth, who has that innate capability to communicate with earth spirits and who finds so much joy and healing in earth spaces. The way that this Queen of Pentacles is kind of cradling the pentacle, it brings to mind nurturing and tending. So I feel like this card is calling us to return to the cycle of the earth. Right now, the earth is coming alive all around us after the ling winter. Through the energy of the Queen of Pentacles we can touch in with this energy of coming alinve and find places of expression for it in our own lives.

We can also see the Queen of Pentacles as a call to find ways to stay grounded. With this Aries new moon energy, we can have plenty of ideas, new ways to move forward with new projects, new methods to use to manifest our dreams. This kind of energy has the potential to carry us up and away if we aren’t careful and don’t stay grounded in the moment. The Queen of Pentacles beckons us back to the grounding earth, back in the present moment as we sort through all of the new ideas that the Aries new moon energy brings forth.

Journaling with the Queen of Pentacles

So the Queen of Pentacles in the Aries New Moon asks us to think about:

  • How are you coming back to life after the more internalized energy of the winter?
  • Are there new ideas and new themes coming up for you?
  • How can you nurture yourself through this change of energy?
  • What are some grounding techniques you can use to keep from getting overwhelmed by this energy?

Attention Card for the Aries New Moon

The World Card from This Might Hurt Tarot by Isabella Rotman http://www.thismighthurttarot.com

The card for what we are being invited to pay attention to in the Aries New Moon is The World. The World card is the end of the Major Arcana cycle and shows us that we have everything that we need to move through this cycle.

Sometimes when we have a lot of new ideas for projects and new directions, our brain can tell us stories about how we aren’t ready or that we don’t have everything we need to carry out our bold ideas. We might be trying to do something great and innovative and our brain might just pop in and say, “Nope! You aren’t ready. You don’t have everything you need. You need to prepare more. You need to do more to get ready.”

The World card comes to us to let us know that we are ready. We are ready for the next step of the cycle. In the Tarot, the next step after the World is the Fool, the one who takes the great idea and takes that leap to make it a reality. In order to take that leap, though, we need to have the confidence that we can do it. That is what The World tries to give us by letting us know that it is okay and we can handle it.

Journaling with The World

  • When you begin thinking about all these great ideas that are coming up in the Aries New Moon energy, what is your brain telling you that you can’t do?
  • What reasons does your brain give you for why you can’t do these things?
  • Are the reasons true? Sit with each phrase that the brain tells you and ask your heart if any of them are true.
  • Write down the reasons why you know that the brain’s logic is not true.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope that the reading and the journaling help you during this time. I would love to hear how the Aries New Moon energy is showing up for you. Let me know in the comments!

Tarot Deep Dive: The Emperor

The Emperor from the Smith-Rider-Waite deck

The Emperor card in the Tarot corresponds to Aries. In the Smith-Rider-Waite Tarot deck, the Emperor shows a man with a white beard and hair with a crown on his head. He is dressed in a red robe and seated on a concrete throne. The throne is adorned with ram’s heads at the top and the ends of the armrests. In his right hand he holds an ankh, a symbol of life. His feet and legs are adorned with armor. Behind the throne, mountains rise up in the distance and a river flows beneath them. In the deck I have been using lately, the This Might Hurt Tarot deck by Isabella Rotman, the Emperor is shown as a man with white hair and a white beard in a blue suit with a red tie. His left hand rests on a globe and his right hand grips an ankh. At his feet lays a ram. Two pillars with a wall between them separate the man from the mountains in the background. There are trees and a river at the foot of the mountains.

Traditional interpretations of the Emperor card talk about him as a father figure, an authoritative figure, someone who is in charge or a leader. I don’t necessarily disagree with the equating of this card with leadership; however, because of the patriarchal implications I do not subscribe to the Emperor being a father figure or an authoritative figure. My teacher Lindsay Mack said, and I love this so much, that if tarot is not for everyone, then it is not for anyone. Some people may not have that father figure in their lives. Some may have had really bad or traumatic experiences with authority figures in their lives. So that interpretation of the Emperor does not really resonate with me. Tarot as I interpret it is a healing modality, so I interpret the Emperor in a way that can heal past trauma rather than ask someone to relive it.

The Emperor is a huge archetypal card that is really about foundations and what we are building the foundation of our lives on. If we look back at the Empress – and I am referencing the Empress in the This Might Hurt deck – we see a woman in nature with vegetation growing all around her. Stars adorn her head, and her pose suggests someone who is completely in touch with her sexuality. The Empress is in touch with the cyclical patterns of nature: the cycle of night and day, the seasons of the year, even the cyclical movement of the planets through the zodiac, which is what her crown stands for.

When we look at the Emperor card, we can see that he has separated himself from nature and those cycles. He doesn’t stand on grass, but on a flat surface that could be concrete. Even in cards where he is pictured on grass, such as in the Witches Tarot by Ellen Dugan, he is separated by the armor that her wears and the throne upon which he sits. He has created a new foundation for his beliefs and being, one that is not rooted in the cyclical patterns of nature, but in the linear patterns of societal structures. Even the ram laying in the foreground of the This Might Hurt Tarot card signifies a domestication, a moving away from our wild animal nature and the drives that are included in that, and toward a tamer, calmer existence.

The Emperor card is about the structures that have been put into place that make up the culture of a society. They can be huge structures such as capitalism or socialism. They can be smaller structures such as the education system. They can be structures that define the “shoulds” of society, such as diet and workout culture defining what form the body “should” take to be beautiful, or that you “should” get a credit card in order to build credit to buy things. They can be political systems and the laws that govern society. The Emperor stands for all of them. These are the new foundation that the Emperor has laid down as the basis of his belief and belonging.

We can see the archetype of this card playing out in recent events. 2020 was an Emperor year, and definitely shined a light on different social systems. Oppressive systems like systemic racism were highlighted during the riots that year, and continue to be highlighted as more light is shined on the abuses experienced by people of color every day. Our economic system has also been highlighted as we feel the effects of disruptions due to covid and also of people leaving the workforce or leaving low paying industries in an attempt to earn a living wage. There are so many other examples of ways that these systems have oppressed people for so long, and a lot of people are standing up and saying, “No more!”

Now we are seeing it playing out in other ways too, as the Russian invasion of Ukraine unfolds. So many systems play into this invasion, including political and economic systems. It shows us that in a lot of ways, these systems have not necessarily tamed us, but cause their own problems that can lead to our animal natures coming out in the worst possible ways.

So when we pull the Emperor, we can ask ourselves what are the structures that we have in place that separate us from nature and its spiralic cycles. I have a couple of examples of where this was highlighted in my own life. One night after work I was sitting at a stoplight. It was still in the winter season so it was dark outside. The stoplight I was sitting at was wedged between two large shopping centers on either side of the road, so the whole street and the parking lots were lit up with lights. As I sat there watching the cars drive through, it occurred to me how dark it actually was outside and how we have gone to such great lengths to banish the dark from roads. All in an effort to help us get places after the sun has gone down, but to what end? So that we can be consumers for a longer amount of time every day? I thought, “If none of these lights were here, these people would all be home right now, safe in their houses.” We shield ourselves from the day/night cycle with our artificial lighting, just as we shield ourselves from the cycle of the seasons with our climate controlled houses. I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with that and I am the first person to turn on my air conditioner at the sign of a warm day because I can’t stand to be hot, but it has been a great practice for me to become aware of the ways that we separate ourselves from the cycles of the earth, and even take some time to embrace the hot weather once in a while as a celebration of that.

The other example I want to share has to do with the education system. When my daughter was younger, just starting middle school, she became extremely burnt out. She went through a lot because she is neurodivergent, and we decided to just take a break from school. And that is what we did, for about half a year. There is a process called deschooling where you just take a break from that system and the schedule and expectations that come with it, and it was great for her because she was able to really figure out who she was at that time. That is a gift that most kids don’t get, and that is kind of the age where they need it the most, that time to define who they are outside of the group. Peer pressure and the pressure to conform is so huge at that age, and in high school too. It’s the initial laying down of these structures that we are talking about, not to mention the overall structure of schedules and classroom expectations and homework and all of the pressures that come just from being in school.

I have talked to a lot of parents who have either worked from home or didn’t/couldn’t work because they did not want to put their children in child care while covid was so new and unknown and such a threat. A lot of these parents are going back to work and their kids are in child care since the threat of covid as a serious illness is disappearing. These parents talk about how much more stressful their lives are and how hard it is to keep up with everything, from kids to jobs to homework to housekeeping. Some even wonder how they managed it all before covid. It is like they did their own deschooling, except from the structure and expectations of their job, keeping their kids busy, doing homework, and all of the millions of things a working parent has to keep up with. Without jumping too high onto my soap box, I will say that this is what our capitalist economic system has sold to us as how life should be: two working parents keeping it all together and still having the clean house full of lots of things and soccer practice for the kids on the weekends. It is a demanding way of life, and the time away from it has shown a lot of parents just how thin they were stretching themselves.

These are the kinds of things that the Emperor card wants us to examine in our lives. Sure, you can read the card as someone needing to take on a position of leadership, and it might be true. They might need to. But doesn’t this interpretation go a lot deeper? Doesn’t this examination of the systems that rule our lives cause us to do some deep diving into what we have laid as the foundation in our lives and, if we don’t like what we find, give us the motivation to change that? That is what makes Tarot so great, using it to ask those really deep questions about what is driving us and motivating us and seeking to change those things to make our lives better.

How has the Emperor card shown up in your life? Can you point to any systems in your life that you would like to move away from in order to incorporate some healthier systems? Let us know in the comments.

Entering Aries Season

Aries the Ram

Today marks the first day of spring, and the first day of Aries season. All around us there are new signs of life everywhere. The green of the earth is returning with new leaves on the trees and the grass turning from brown to green. New life is everywhere as baby birds hatch and other animal babies are born. I used to live in an apartment that had a pond behind it, and every spring the ducks that lived near that pond would have little baby ducklings. We used to wait with baited breath for the sight of those cute little ducklings taking their first swims in the pond with their parents. That time was always a celebration of spring.

Aries, The Spark of Creation

The Spark of Creation, handed down by Spirit, God(dess), the Universe

Aries is a cardinal sign. Cardinal zodiac signs are the signs that lead off the season, so Aries is the first sign of the spring season. It is also the first sign of the zodiacal wheel, the beginning of a new zodiacal year. Before Aries arrives, we have spent several months bare trees and brown all around us. Everything in nature is sleeping for the winter. Aries is a call to action. The weather becomes warmer and the trees begin to flower and become green with leaves. The grass becomes greener, too, as the amount of sunlight that the earth is experiencing increases. Aries is that first spark that ushers in the life force as living beings all around us engage the will to exist. It is not much different than when a baby is born and takes its first breath. The baby experiences that will to be alive and exist here on this earth, and the breath is taken as a statement of that will. That will to live and the action taken to achieve it are all part of Aries energy.

Aries, the Warrior

Aries the Warrior

Aries comes to us as a teacher, as do all astrological signs. Aries teaches us how to have the courage to begin something that may be frightening to us. Aries loves adventure, and in order to be an adventurer you must have courage. Sometimes having the courage means going ahead and taking the step even if it scares you to death. When we face something that we are scared of doing and begin the process of doing it, a lot of times the courage grows within us because we began. Aries, as a warrior, faces difficult challenges head-on. I recently read in the book “The Big Leap” by Gay Hendricks that if you take the time to acknowledge your fear and sit with it for a moment, then it can turn into excitement and even exhiliration as you channel that fear and use the energy from it to propel you forward.

The brain likes to invite us into fear a lot when we are thinking about doing something new, something that we are not used to doing. The brain’s job is to keep us safe, and the brain knows that there is no where safer than where we are right now. So when we try to do something new, the brain will scream and throw a fit, coming up with a million scary scenarios to keep us where we are. The key to getting beyond this fear is to acknowledge the screaming brain, thank it for its warnings, and let it know that the situation is safe. It can even help to have a conversation with the brain about the likelihood of the scary scenarios happening. This can help you move beyond the fear and reach your goals.

Aries: I AM

Aries tells us that we belong. We are essential beings on this planet. We have a right to take up space. We will touch on this more in the upcoming Emperor Tarot Deep Dive, but it doesn’t matter the structures that are in place or what society tells us about the way that we should take up space. The person that we are in this moment in time is essential and belongs, and can take up space in the way that we show up. It is hard to do that sometimes when society screams at you about how you are supposed to be and how you are supposed to act. We feel like we need to do all of these things to change ourselves in order to exist. But Aries tells us that we are here. We exist. It is okay to exist how we are.

So how is Aries showing up for you today? What messages are you getting from the energy of this time? I personally have been able to feel the activeness of Aries, more than I have in the last couple of years. Maybe the oppressing energy of COVID is finally starting to subside, giving way to more movement and action. I would love to know in the comments if you are feeling that too.

Contemplating the Upcoming Spring Equinox

First crocuses in snow

It is barely the beginning of March and I am already feeling the energy of anticipation, the stirring of new life as Mother Earth energy begins awakening from it’s winter slumber. The anticipation has been building since Imbolc as the days continue to grow increasingly longer and longer. I’ve begun my yearly habit of watching the tree branches in earnest, looking for the signs of tiny buds coming forth that will eventually turn into the bright green leaves and flowers of spring.

The Spring Equinox is an important time for me, as it marks the beginning of the zodiacal new year, when the sun makes its way back into the sign of Aries. This New Year has resonated with me more than any other, perhaps because of all of the signs of new life that are bursting forth around us when the sun reaches this point. For me it is a time of hope and renewal, a time to think about what I will build and create during this time when the earth is also building and creating all around us. It is an intensely amazing process to watch, the trees bringing forth buds that then, after a period of watching and waiting, burst forth with bright greenery or delicate flowers. It is the symphony of Mother Earth, her own creation that she has been pondering throughout the long winter hybernation.

Spring Equinox and Aries

The cardinal fire sign of Aries the Ram

As I write this post, the sun is moving through Pisces. For me, this has brought a lot of that dreamy Pisces energy – dreaming about my path forward, the direction of this blog, what I want to focus on through the coming cycle, and how I am going to get there. The possibilities seem endless as one cycle ends and another begins. Pisces is mutable water energy, swirling and changing. Things can seem so unstable and in flux. The path forward can seem so clear one moment and so unclear the next. For me, this has been a time of getting back in touch with my practice and defining a path forward, which is also Piscean energy.

Aries is much different. Aries energy is about movement and action. It is about taking all of the dreams of Pisces season and acting on them. It is the spark of creation, of awareness, of action. The dreams and plans take on their first spark of reality as you move toward your goals.

It is easy to see this energy in nature. One minute, it seems like the energy of the earth is still well within the earth. In the next minute, flowers and new leaves seem to be on all of the trees and all over the earth. I just saw irises, one of my favorite flowers, bloom this week in front of the child care center that I work at. And then not long after, the tree across the street also bloomed. Trees in the courtyard behind my apartment are showing the first hint of baby green leaves. Last week, none of this was present or even thought about. But this week the fire of Aries energy has been abundant and present everywhere.

Spring Equinox and Persephone

Persephone with her pomegranate from Hades

I have been working with Persephone for a few years now, and the Spring Equinox is the time when she comes up from the Underworld and resumes her maiden form as Kore, returning to her mother Demeter until the Autumn Equinox. She beautifully personifies the way that the energies shift from above the earth in the spring to below the earth in the autumn and helps to bring me back into alignment with the cycles of the earth.

Spring Equinox and Ritual

With the weather turning warmer, it is a great time to open the windows and air out the house that has been closed off from the cold weather. It is also a time to dust off the cobwebs that may have accumulated during this time. With our modern climate control, it is hard for us to imagine how people lived through the winter before climate control became widespread, but I imagine that there was care to not open the doors and windows in order to keep the heat from the fire in the house. With everyone shut in the house away from the cold, cleaning the house once the warm weather arrived was a necessity. I feel that there is no better ritual to honor the changing from winter to spring than a good spring cleaning, with lots of herbs and smudging to help clear out stagnant energy.

My Floor Wash Recipe:
For every one gallon of water,
1/4 to 1/2 cup white vinegar
2 tbsp. Florida water
10-20 drops lemon essential oil
5-10 drops peppermint essential oil

Mix all of the ingredients together and use to clear away dirt and stagnant energy as you mop the floor. Mop from the inside of the house towards the door to allow the energies to escape out the door.

Aries Full Moon

Red like the fiery nature of Aries?

This Aries full moon energy has been nothing to joke about. It has definitely thrown me for a loop. Luckily I have been on vacation from my day job, so I have had plenty of time to travel down into the rabbit hole that it has created for me, in order to sort out what is what.

Full moon energy is the energy of letting go of what is no longer serving you, and that is definitely what this full moon is serving to me. I feel the power of Lilith involved too. She is the one who has been trying to get me to stop playing small, but for whatever reason I have not been able to stop letting fear and doubt get in the way of the path that the universe has shown me. If you saw my last post, you know that I have been trying to use some methods to release the fear and doubt (and by the way, I have never been a fan of poetry or have even written any poetry by choice until recently).

One of my favorite tarot teachers, Lindsay Mack, has a monthly tarot challenge that is taking place right now. She issues weekly challenges to her newsletter subscribers, and the one that came through at the end of last week has resonated a lot with me as I go through the process of dealing with the full moon energy. I do have a project that I am working on, and it has a lot of pieces that I am super excited about. The problem is that I have felt the fear and doubt that have accumulated from past projects that have not turned out that well. They have been rearing their ugly heads as I try to move forward with this work, telling me that I’m not good enough and that I don’t have what it takes to make a success of this venture.

So I did the tarot spread from the challenge, and what I found was that I am experiencing a lot of fear and doubt around realizing the vision that was handed to me, but I still have a lot of study and work to do before that vision will be realized. I am forgetting about the journey. I am trying to fight my way forward to the top, and while enthusiasm and ambition are necessary in order to make all of this happens, I don’t need to be fighting for it. It is going to happen in its own time, and my job right now is to play with what I have been given. Any time we learn something new, we have to apply it in order to assimilate the information into what we are already familiar with. I have been trying to cram all of the information into my head and then use it to do something big. But that is not how most journeys work. I seem to have forgotten that. I have forgotten that the best way to assimilate knowledge is to play with it, to apply it in many different areas in order to make it come alive. I used to know that and do it regularly, but when I went through my burnout it seems that I have forgotten that part of learning.

The road through the burnout and all of the fallout from that has been long and rough, and it seems that it is not going to get easier very quickly. But this idea keeps popping up in all of the work I do: the idea that this should be a playful thing, that it is not to be taken too seriously, and yet it is a very serious thing. It is something that I need to somehow internalize, that it is okay to play with these ideas, and to make them mine in the process. I think that is something that is actually getting easier for me, because I have enjoyed using candle making to make some of these ideas concrete.