The Lessons of the Sevens in the Tarot

One thing that I love about the Tarot is that the deeper you go into the esoterics, the deeper your understanding of the card meanings become. The more you meditate on the cards and their correspondences, the deeper your understanding becomes.

This was hard for me to understand at first. At first I approached the tarot cards the way a lot of people do – memorizing assigned meanings for all of the cards. Except that some of those meanings didn’t resonate with me. Then I found a system that was a bit different, a bit more intuitive. It resonated more at first, but the more I studied, the less it resonated. The meanings I was learning from other people seemed too easy, too simple. They didn’t seem to take into account all of the imagery and correspondences. But there are so many correspondences to each tarot card. It would be pretty difficult to take all of them into account every time you talk about a card. And I fully believe that anyone’s interpretation of any card will shift and change the more they study and work with the tarot.

It took me nearly a week of study and contemplation before I felt ready to write about the sevens, and this does not count all of the study and contemplation I have done before trying to write this post. I feel like there still might be some things that I am missing. I’m looking at the sevens in the Tarot because they can give us clues into how we are meant to work with are card of 2023, the Chariot. I covered the Chariot in my last post, but the short version is we take the information we learned about what is important to us from our time in Lovers energy in 2022, and we figure out how to move forward with it. Of course, there is more nuance than this, but that is the short version.

So of coure the sevens follow the sixes in the tarot, and the thing about the six is that it is a number of balance and harmony. Six-sided shapes are an important part of sacred geometry; the sixth Sephirah on the Tree of Life means Beauty and is right in the middle of the Tree. But then we come to the seven and that balance becomes just a little bit off. It’s hard to tell how to move forward from this point. So the seven is the issue we face when we lose the balance of the six, and how we need to approach that.

The thing is, the seven has its own beauty, too. There are seven days in a week, seven notes in a musical scale, seven visible planets, seven colors in the visible spectrum. In each of these examples, the seven is at the end of a cycle and there is a bit of discomfort when we hang out in that seven, until we get to the eight. So even though seven holds all of these mystical properties, it is a place that is at an end, and we need to find our way beyond it.

Because the Chariot is about finding a new vehicle for that journey, the sevens are about finding new methods to use on that journey. In the blog post on the Chariot, I talked about how the Cancer aspect of the Chariot asks us to lean into vulnerability because that is the only way we will find our new vehicle for moving forward. The sevens help us with this by showing us how to move through these spaces of vulnerability. Change is hard, and as we work toward shifting our priorities so that the things that are important to us have the top spots in our lives, we move through areas of discomfort because we are letting go of familiar habits and routines to make room for new ones, and that can put us in a vulmerable state.

The Seven of Wands

The Seven of Wands card shows a figure on top of a hill, using a wand to seemingly fight off others with wands that are standing below the hill. We can’t actually see the others from our vantage-point, and in some interpretations I have heard it said that perhaps the person is fighting a threat that is not real. This interpretation certainly has its place, because all the time as humans we face fears and perceived threats that are not actually real. I think there is more to this card, however, because of the correspondence with the Sephirah of Victory. If the person were on level ground with his opponents, he would probably lose since the odds are not in his favor. However, this person has found a new vantage point from which to fight, and the point they have chosen is higher than that of those who are attacking. This could speak of a need to take on a new point of fiew in order for the odds of victory to be greater. This works with the Chariot by showing us that we need to look at something differently or from a different angle in order to be successful.

The Seven of Cups

In the Seven of Cups, a person is confronted with seven cups, each of them containing a different thing. It seems to be a situation where the person has to choose one of the cups. But there are seven of them! In order to figure out the pros and cons of each of the choices, it would take forever. And what if you choose wrong? Is there any such thing as a wrong choice? This is all so overwhelming!

It is awesome when we have so many choices available to us, but sometimes what tends to happen is that we move back and forth between this choice and that one and we never actually settle on one choice because we are too busy sampling our options. For me, this has gotten even worse with social media coming into the picture. I get caught up in what other people are doing and posting, forgetting that maybe I already tried that and it didn’t work out too well, or maybe even that it took that person ten years to get where they are at, but they make it look so easy so it must not be that hard. When there are so many choices flashing at you so quickly and loudly, it is easy to get caught up in all of them and never settle on one.

But then, do we really need to settle on someone else’s path? Not all of these cups may even be for us. They are nice to look at, but some of them don’t fit us. The ones that might fit us – do we really want to choose any of them?

The answer is to stop looking outside of ourselves for the answer and start looking inside. What is our heart telling us that it truly wants? What is ours to pursue? What is accessible for us? What lights us up? It might not be one of thsoe cups. It might be something else entirely. But we have to take the time to look inside and listen to figure out what it is.

The Seven of Swords

In this card we see a person who looks to be leaving a fair. They are holding on to five swords, and two more are in the ground behind them They don’t seem all that concerned that they are leaving behind two swords. Maybe they won the swords at the fair. I wonder what this person is going to do with all of those swords? They’re all the same, and he is carrying all of them, but are more swords making him a more fearsome opponent? He can’t even carry all of those swords, much less fight with them. Perhaps he needs to rethink his strategy.

Just as collecting all the swords in the world won’t make you a better or more fearsome fighter, collecting ideas about how something will get done does not get it done. The key is to put into practice the ideas that you are thinking about in order to see whether they will work.

Another point of this card is that these swords were apparently won at a fair. It takes thinking outside the box to win anything at a fair, and seven swords is a pretty large take-away from a fair. He definitely wouldn’t have been able to win by doing things the way everyone else did them. So this card tells us that our path needs to include thinking about things in a new way, from a different point of view. Then once we come up with the ideas, we need to put them into practice.

The Seven of Pentacles

The image for the Seven of Pentacles shows a person leaning on a gardening tool, looking hopefully? forelornly? at a plant that has seven pentacles. The look on the gardener’s face in the Smith-Rider-Waite deck is interesting to me. I tend to typically use one of three decks for readings, and the other decks are Smith-Rider-Waite based. However, the other two decks show this person as happpy, seemingly proud of what they have accomplished. I can’t say that the figure on the Smith-Rider-Waite card looks proud. He looks like he is waiting for the pentacle fruits to become ripe. One has to wonder about his patience level also, because one of the pentacles is on the ground with a couple of leaves that are the same size and shape as the ones on the plant. Did he get over-eager and harvest that one too early?

This card calls on us to be patient. We have planted the seed and it has grown. It continues to grow and to need tending. When we see a plant so close to ripeness, our instinct may be to go ahead and harvest. But it might not be ready for us yet. We need to wait until the fruit reacyes full ripeness. This requires a lot of listening on our part. Listening to our intuition, listening to Spirit, not focusing quiet so much on the doing at this point, but on the listening.

Moving Forward

I hope that these lessons from the Sevens are helpful as you journey your way through the year with the Chariot. If you have any more insights about these cards, please let me know in the comments. I love to hear other interpretations.

Out of the Lover’s Year, Into the Chariot

The Lover’s Card from the Smith-Rider-Waite tarot

2022 was a heck of a year. For some reason I thought that a Lover’s year couldn’t be all that bad. It would be about getting in touch with myself and what is really important to me, so a lot of introspection and identifying how to move forward.

The Lover’s year was about that, but rather than giving me time to contemplate what was important to me, it brutally and ruthlessly showed me. The realization that stress is killing me came into sharp focus through a hospital stay where I was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and diabetes. Both have gotten markedly better after very intentional stress reduction and lifestyle changes. Two more of my immediate family members were also hospitalized this year, with life-changing consequences for each of them. This brought the importance of family and health into focus. My spirituality also came to the forefront in my life as a major way to relieve stress and turn focus away from the stress-causing commercial, capitalist culture we live it. Through my spirituality, community has also take a place in my priorities. My family couldn’t have come through what we have come through without the community we have around us, and I want to continue to grow that community moving forward.

The year wasn’t all brutality. My long-time partner and I got married in a small ceremony out in nature. It was truly beautiful and included everything I hold dear. My family was brought closer together and what is truly important to me came into sharp focus. So positives definitely came out of the crazy that happened this year.

Reflection of the Lover’s Year

I say all of that to say that the Lover’s year is a time to become very clear about what is important to you, what is moving forward with you into the new year, and what needs to be left behind. So take a moment to reflect on what 2022 brought you:

  • What are some specific occurrences that took place in your life in 2022?
  • What did each of these things teach you about yourself and what is important to you?
  • What did each of these things teach you about what needs to be left behind as you move forward?

By taking this time to reflect on the past year, you can gain some clarity about what needs to move forward into 2023 and what needs to stay behind. Another way to gain this clarity is to do a tarot spread. Using this spread can help get you started on your reflection process if you are drawing a blank with the reflection questions.

2022 Lover’s Year Reflection Spread

  • What has 2022 shown me is important to me?
  • What is moving forward with me into 2023? (Draw up to 3 cards)
  • What needs to stay behind in 2022? (Draw up to 3 cards)

Moving Into the Chariot Year

The Chariot card from the Smith-Rider-Waite Tarot.

2023 marks the beginning of the year of the Chariot, because when you add the digits of the year together (2+0+2+3) you get seven, the number of the Chariot in the Major Arcana. I have a Tarot Deep Dive I did on the Chariot in the past, but I would like to take time to expand on that post and really apply the meaning to the present moment. Obviously, your present moment is going to look different from mine, but the energy of the Chariot is something that we all face universally, so some of what I discuss here may apply to you. You can take what resonates and leave the rest.

So when we talk about the Chariot we are talking about the vehicle that moves us through life. In dream interpretation, cars (a type of chariot) can stand for where we are going in life and the means we are taking to get there. So in the Lovers year we spent a lot of time defining what is important to us and what in our lives is moving forward. Now with the Chariot year we are defining how we are moving forward with those things. So there are a lot of different ways this can go for anyone, depending on what they defined as importand and necessary to move forward.

The Chariot card corresponds to the sign of Cancer, and the sign for Cancer is the crab. When we look at the crab, we see that the crab moves around with his shell on his back, and he does this for a while but then eventually he outfrows that shell and needs to find a new one. But the old shell is safe. It protects him. So in order to leave that shell, the thing that is familiar and safe, the crab has to make himself vulnerable while he moves to the new unknown shell.

And that’s always the hard part, isn’t it? Stepping out into vulnerability. We like the safety of where we are. But the thing is, the crab can’t grow if he stays in the same old shell. Just like us, he has to move to a space of vulnerability in order to grow. If we are willing to move forward with these things that are important to us, we may have to become vulnerable as we are finding the right vehicle to make that happen.

There is another aspect to the Chariot that we need to think about as we begin the year. In the Smith-Rider-Waite deck, the sphinxes are not only two different colors, but they are also pointed in two different directions. When we are talking about going anywhere, in any vehicle, we always have a choice about which direction we should go. And a lot of times, more than one direction looks appealing to us. But if we are constantly going back and forth about what direction to go in, we will never end up getting anywhere. The key to this is looking at the options that are open to us and striking a balance between them.

When its put like this, it seems to simple. But stepping out in vulnerability is hard. Being willing to open up to your authentic self, to the things that are important to you, is hard. But this is what we will be working on all year in terms of our growth.

So here is a spread to help you get started on this journey:

The 2023 Chariot Year Spread

  • What is moving forward with me into 2023? (Use the cards you pulled in the last spread, or draw new ones)
  • How am I being invited to move forward with these things? (Draw one card for each item from the last question)
  • How can I step out in vulnerability in order to make this direction happen?
  • How can I achieve balance when I have more than one option open?

Hopefully this will give you a good place to start on your journey into Chariot energy. I will be posting more about the Chariot and the energies of the 7 as we move forward into the year.

Let me know how your spreads turned out in the comments, or any other thoughts you have about the move from the Lovers year to the Chariot year.

Tarot Deep Dive: Justice (XI)

Justice Card from the Smith-Rider-Waite Tarot deck

Ever since the Full Moon in Libra on March 28th, I have been called to explore the Justice card and the idea of balance. Traditionally this card has been used to bring attention to legal matters or court hearings. After all, when we think about justice, we think about judges and courts and justice being served. But I have been drawing this card pretty regularly lately, and I don’t have any court dates coming up or legal battles to worry about. When we look at the larger social sphere right now, we see a lot of justice issues coming up in different areas, and meditating on the Justice card can be a good way to help us figure out what our part is in bringing about the change needed to move closer to a just society. But for the purposes of this blog, we are going to look at what the Justice card can mean to us on a personal level and how to utilize it in our personal lives.

The Justice card is ruled by Libra, which is the sign of balance, harmony, and equilibrium. The figure in the picture is shown holding a scale in one hand and a sword in the other. The Justice card is actually at the center of the 22 major arcana cards, indicating a balance point within the major arcana, and within our lives as well.

Now, I have been exploring the idea of balance for a few years now, believing that balance is what I needed in order to overcome and heal from the effects of the burnout I have been experiencing. But I came to realize that I was thinking about balance all wrong. I was thinking about balance in a linear way: once balance is achieved, you simply need to keep doing what you were doing in order to get in balance so that you can keep balance. Homeostasis: maintaining inner stability.

The problem with this way of looking at equilibrium is that life happens. Sure, we can maintain inner stability – as long as every day is exactly the same with the same triggers, the same food sources, the same schedule, the same interactions, etc. But life does not work that way. Life throws us curveballs every chance it gets. One day we are super motivated to eat healthy, take walks, exercise. The next day we are tired and want to eat junk food and watch TV. One day things go smoothly at work. The next day three people call out and we are stretched to our limits. Achieving and maintaining homeostasis is nearly impossible because life happens. It is nearly impossible to expect to sit in the middle of the scale see-saw and have it remain in balance with everything that life throws at us.

This is also true when it comes to meeting our goals. When it comes to goals, I have always been an “all in” type of person. That actually has made it very hard to meet my goals because my brain and body have been used to doing things a specific way. If I go “all in,” I’m going against the grain of what my body and mind have been used to and they typically throw a tantrum of some sort before everything falls apart. By swinging the scale from a state of balance to a state of imbalance quickly, I am pretty much ensuring that the scale is going to over correct in the opposite direction.

But when we look at balance as a spiralic concept, it changes how the scale works in our lives. For example, let’s say that I want to change my habits when it comes to what I am eating. I want to eat healthier. If I go to my kitchen and throw out all of the junk food and replace it with vegetables and healthier options, I have definitely done myself a favor. But by only giving myself those options when my body and brain are used to junk food, I have tipped the scale really far. Anyone who has been on a diet knows how difficult it is to stay on it when you first start. Your body and brain scream at you because you have tipped the scale really far in one direction and have messed up the balance. Instead of doing that, I can add vegetables to a meal. Not change the meal at first, but simply add vegetables to it. Then when my body and brain get used to that and equilibrium has been established, I change something about another meal, add vegetables or substitute an unhealthy ingredient. I work toward the goal of healthy eating using baby steps instead of tipping the entire scale out of balance. Doing this ensures that the whole scale moves in the direction that I want instead of just tipping one end of the scale in the direction that I want.

It’s kind of like the above, very elementary drawing I made. At the top, in the linear section, the little figure wants to eat healthier. Before they do anything to achieve this goal, they have a sense of balance because they are used to their habits. But then they decide to throw out all the junk food and the scale is tipped. It won’t be long before it tips back the other way as the brain and body try to get their sense of balance back.

But in the spiralic section, the little figure only changes one thing. They move a little bit closer to the healthy side. The scale is only a little out of balance. But if this small change is made consistently, the entire scale will move closer to the healthy side, as I tried to illustrate in the third part of spiralic balance.

We as a culture are good at looking at our starting point, and then at our end goal, and then doing everything we can to make our starting point look like our end goal. The problem with that is that we don’t stop to look at everything in between those two points – the journey. It is hard to appreciate where we are on our journey when we constantly have social media showing us where everyone is on theirs. As a competitive culture we wonder why we aren’t where they are and what we are doing wrong.

The Justice card invites us to stop looking at everyone else and look – really look – at our life. It invites us to see and acknowledge where we are on our journey. Balance comes when we stop looking at everything around us and start paying attention to our own path, start making steps in our own lane. Life becomes so simple when we stop looking at what other people are doing. It invites us to take stock of where we are and look at what is not serving us any more. And rather than throwing it all out, take small steps toward our goals so that balance can be maintained.

So far we have spent a lot of time talking about the scale side of the Justice card and not so much about the sword side. But this side is just as important as the scale side. Because when we work on making changes in our life, our brain can give us a hard time. Since the brain’s job is to keep us safe, it looks at any movement of the scale as a threat. Then it starts talking to us, saying “I don’t like this. This isn’t what we are supposed to be doing. You are going to fail. You aren’t good enough to pull this off. Who are you to think you can make a change like this? Who are you to think you can learn this new skill?” And on and on and around and around until we go back to what our brain views as normal.

This is where fear and anxiety live. Life is about change. It is about everything that we do in order to be happier and live better lives. But the brain does not like change. It puts us in a state of fear and anxiety so that we will be scared to move in the direction that we want to go. The sword in the justice card is about cutting through the brain’s bullshit so that we can move toward our goals with courage.

So how do we do that? It is all about grounding ourselves, taking a moment when the brain starts talking to pause, ground, and acknowledge what the brain is communicating. Acknowledge the fear, but let your brain know that you are safe and you have got this.

This happened to me recently when there was a ritual that I needed to perform. I felt like I was at a place where I needed to do the ritual in order to progress on my spiritual path. But I kept putting it off. Weeks went by. When I thought about doing the ritual something always “came up.” I finally sat down and mapped the whole ritual out, thinking that if I knew what was going to happen, I would be more prepared to do it. But I still didn’t do it. I finally realized what was happening. My brain was not using words to instill the fear, but it was coming up with things to do that were more fun or more “pressing” than the ritual. I realized that I was just going to have to move beyond the fear that had taken hold and perform the ritual. And I did. And it was amazing.

Even though my brain does not speak fear to me in words, it finds ways to hold me back. It seems to manifest in me as a feeling, a somewhat lazy feeling, feeling like its not that important so it is okay if I do something else right now. With the sword of the Justice card, we are invited to cut through that feeling or the words and move forward with our goals. Justice is about truth, and when our brains lie to us about where we really are or what we need to do, it is important for us to cut through that and be honest with ourselves about where we are in our journey and what we need to do to move forward.

So how has the Justice card shown up in your life? Does any of this resonate with you? Leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts.

Making Tarot Cards Relate to You

I feel weird writing a post about tarot card meanings because I feel like I’m not that far along in my journey with tarot. I guess I’ve been reading for myself pretty inconsistently for couple of years now. One thing I’ve found that makes it easier to be consistent is making the cards relatable.

Now, I feel like I’m probably plunging into an area of tarot that a lot of people disagree about. When I first picked up a pack of tarot cards, I was really big into memorizing the traditional meanings of the cards. After all, the cards have had those meanings for so long for a reason, right? Why mess with something that has remained unchanged for so long? I looked with disdain at decks where the authors did their own thing, jumping out of the mold of Rider-Waite or Thoth.

My thinking about tarot has changed a lot since those days as a baby tarot reader. When I stuck to the traditional meanings I didn’t read cards very much because I had a hard time relating to them. When I took a course that helped me look at the cards in a more relatable way (thank you, Lindsay Mack) I started reading cards a lot more often and using them as a way to connect with my intuition. Not only that, but using tarot in this way has seemed to be a gateway that has allowed my intuition to open up even more. I am feeling energies that I did not before, which I will expound on more in a moment.

Even after I took the Tarot course, I have still been married to the idea of memorizing card meanings. This time, though, it was Lindsay Mack’s card meanings that I was trying to memorize instead of the traditional Rider-Waite meanings. And while I have found that Lindsay Mack’s meanings are not that far off from the traditional meanings, there are some cards where either meaning just doesn’t feel relatable to me.

One thing that Lindsay Mack said over and over again in the course I took (Tarot for the Wild Soul) was that you should create your own meanings to make tarot relatable to you. Don’t count on her meanings or the traditional meanings, or the meanings in the little book that comes with the deck, or anyone else’s interpretation of the tarot. Tarot is only useful when it is relatable to you. And she’s right. How many more times have I pulled my deck out since taking her course and having the cards relate more to my life? I’m trying to do weekly spreads on this blog because I feel like I can now because the cards make more sense to me.

But this week I ran into a card that even Lindsay Mack’s meaning did not feel relatable to me:

The Three of Cups from the Witch’s Tarot by Ellen Dugan

The suit of Cups has always been hard for me to relate to because a lot of times I feel cut off from my feelings. But the tarot is actually helping me out with that by reminding me that the thinking brain is not all that there is, and that heart perception is actually even more important when it comes to life’s journey than the brain. You can disagree with me about this point if you want to. That is just my opinion in this stage of my journey. But moving back to the three of cups, when I got this card the other day I looked at the traditional meaning first:

“A gathering of friends, family, or coven members to celebrate. The power of three and the magick of manifestation. Observing the sabbats, sharing experiences,” (Dugan). Well, with the pandemic going on there is no gathering going on with me. I haven’t gotten together with friends or family members since March, and I’m not a member of a coven. Even before the pandemic I didn’t gather much. I don’t have a lot of friends (by choice) and am pretty solitary and eclectic in my magickal workings. So this definition did not work for me on any level.

Then I looked at Lindsay Mack’s interpretation:

“An invitation to come together with ourselves and our invisible community in a kind of ritual celebration,” (Lindsay Mack, Tarot for the Wild Soul, 2020). Her definition continued with an appeal to including well ancestors and how we can free ancestors who were able to come along but could not.

I am not criticizing ancestor work. Let me make that clear up front. I believe that our ancestors watch over us and help us along our way. But ancestor work is not something that I have done much of yet in my spiritual journey. It is something that I know that I am moving toward slowly in different ways, but is not something that is really happening in my practice yet. So this interpretation did not really resonate with me either.

However, I began to piece something together that does resonate with me. In Dugan’s book, the interpretation also mentions creativity and growth. And Lindsay Mack has helped me connect in a deeper way to spirit and my spirit guides. So to me the obvious interpretation would be:

“Connecting with Spirit in order to create. To be a channel for Spirit so that creations are in alignment with what is in our highest and best.”

Earlier in this post I mentioned being more connected to the energies that are out there, and this is actually an example of that. This year, according to the Tarot, is an Emperor year. It is a year for finding our voice, stepping into our truth, and knowing ourselves in a deep and meaningful way. Being able to stop relying so much on the Tarot meanings that others have come up with and make the Tarot something that you truly resonate with is a manifestation of that Emperor energy. Sometimes it is hard to do, to think outside the box that has been in place for so long, but as you work to make your practice your own, and make the tools of your practice work for you, you come into your own as a true practitioner of Magick.

Tarot Spread for Week of 10/11/2020

What a year this has been. I think we can all agree that with everything that has been happening during this year, it has been energy draining, to say the least. Personally, I have been moving through the year with a lot of fear due to the pandemic, and the energy involved in the elections is always draining to me.

In spite of all of this, my guides gave me a vision to follow quite some time ago. Due to all of the uncertainty and fear, it has been hard to follow the vision. I haven’t really been doing much of anything on a consistent basis. But it is time to change all of that. I am making a commitment to begin using my cards more because they are an awesome tool for figuring out the way forward. There are other things that I am committed to doing, but for now, this is where I am going to start.

The Witches Tarot by Ellen Dugan

1. What am I being invited to pay attention to in the week ahead?

Nine of Swords – Sit with yourself and do no buy into the bullshit that your brain is telling you. Your brain’s main job is to keep you safe, and in order to do that, it tells you things that keep you playing small, keep you working in the same capacity that you have been in all this time. What is your brain telling you that is keeping you playing small and safe? What is it telling you that you are using to prevent you from moving forward with your dreams? There is a lot of anxiety and fear out there right now. Don’t let the messages that your brain tells you keep you from following your dreams. What is the best way for you to be in truth this week?

What is the best way for you to be in your truth? The moon

The moon tells us that no one knows what is going to happen moving forward, least of all your brain. Your guides have given you a goal to work toward. You can be with the uncertainty of the times without allowing your brain to run your whole life. Surrender to the uncertainty and don’t allow it to dampen your desire for the future you have been shown.

What card can I call upon for motivation to reach my goals as I move through the week? The King of Pentacles

2. What card can I call upon for motivation to reach my goals as I move through the week?

King of Pentacles – You have work that you are meant to do in this world. Your true self is aching to do this work. Listen to your true self. Let it guide you as you move through your week. Commit to doing the work that you are meant to do in this world, and realize that everything else is just a vehicle to help you get there. Let your soul guide you through the process of using the vehicle and moving through the world.

What am I being invited to let go of? Knight of Swords

3. What am I being invited to let go of?

Knight of Swords – Let go of the thought that you can’t do this. You don’t have what it takes. The Knight of Swords says that you do have what it takes. It says that your brain tells you one thing about your energy and your heart knows something else. Sit with yourself and find that part of you beyond your mind that truly knows what you are capable of.

Archetype Card of the Week: Aletheia (Kim Krans)

Aletheia tells us that we are being called to reclaim our truth. Live in that truth. According to the book, “Reclaiming your own truth is a way to reclaim your vital energy, health, and sense of belonging in the world,” (Krans, 221, Archetype Guide Book from The Wild Unknown Archetypes).

What is your story? What is your truth? Speak it to yourself and begin to live by it in a place free from guilt and shame.

Wishing you a week lived in your truth.

New Moon in Gemini

Tomorrow we will celebrate a new moon in Gemini. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the exact time for the dark moon will be at 12:39 pm EST. My mind immediately started trying to figure out how to pull off a small ritual while I am at work, but I suppose just an acknowledgement until I can get home to do a real ritual will have to do.

I love new moons because they are all about beginning a new cycle. Whether it is starting something new such as a new business or new hobby, or beginning to learn about something new, a new moon is a time to reflect on something new for your soul. It can even be a new phase of something that you are already working on. During this new moon, take a moment to take stock of where you are and what you are doing, and figure out if there is a new way to work on it, or a new angle to focus on. Even if you are stuck in quarantine because of the pandemic, now could be a time to look into a new hobby or read about something new.

Gemini adds an interesting spin to this energy, in that it is about communication, travel, education, and knowledge. Because we are in the middle of a pandemic, communication and travel have been hard for a lot of people. I haven’t been around friends in quite a while. My Piscean daughter keeps up with her friends on the phone or Roblox, and she definitely misses seeing them. Even education has had a different spin with the pandemic, with schools moving everything online.

New Moon in Gemini and the Tarot

I have really been getting into how the Tarot adds more flavor and depth to astrology, and I have been enjoying not only melding the

two, but learning about them in tandem.

From the Tarot of the Spirit by Pam Eakins

Gemini rules the Lovers card, which is not so much about love between two people. It can be, but there are people out there that do not want to be in a relationship with someone else, or maybe can’t for some reason. My teacher, Lindsay Mack, says that if a card’s meaning doesn’t apply to everyone, then it is time to revisit the meaning. The Lovers card is about soul love and reconnecting to your soul. So many of us walk around disconnected from ourselves, and I have been one of those people for so long. I can’t say that I am completely connected with myself – I think that might not be entirely possible because we are all humans living in the world. There are all kinds of things out there that can send our focus flying away from ourselves. Other people may say something to us that make us start wondering about them instead of ourselves, or our job gets us hyper-focused on what it takes to do give 110% of ourselves, leaving nothing for us to focus on when it comes to our soul. So for the new moon what can you do or create that can help you reconnect with yourself on a soul level? This is all about deep self care and self discovery. And some of us may not have the time to go all that deep because we are required to work super hard right now as essential workers, and that can mean putting other people before ourselves in a big way. But even doing something as simple as stopping for a moment to take a deep breath, or paying attention to ourselves long enough to discern our own heart beat – simple practices like this can go a long way in helping us reconnect to ourselves even when we don’t have a lot of time to go deep with it.

The current Venus Retrograde in Gemini brings an added focus to our relationship with ourselves and others. Venus retrograde asks us to turn inward and look at our role in our relationships, and the basic foundations of our relationship with ourselves. This double focus on our relationships means that old relationship stuff may come up, or we may be asked to examine dynamics of old relationships in order to be able to learn from them and apply the lessons to new relationships moving forward.

Gemini is ruled by Mercury, which is the planet of communication and travel. Physically, Gemini rules the lungs and hands. The lungs help us communicate as well, so we can also explore what ways we can communicate with our soul self. What expressions of communication resonate most with you? Are you a dancer, communicating through movement? Are you a musician who communicates through music? Do you communicate through speaking or writing? Think about what you can do to communicate with your soul self and perhaps build that into a new moon ritual.

Also, this is a good time to think about the ways we communicate with the people around us. This is something that I have to do constantly since I am an administrator. I communicate with the staff where I work, and I have to keep in mind that different people have different communication styles. I really have to tune in to my spirit guides when I talk to other people. One good thing about my Aquarius Sun and Moon is that I am good at intuiting what people are saying between the lines. It is something that I didn’t even recognize that I was all that good at until recently, and it is a skill that I have tried to get better at the more I work as an administrator. Is the way you are communicating with others in the highest and best of everyone involved? (I have to give major credit to Lindsay Mack for my wording here – checking in to make sure that something is in our highest and best is a habit that Lindsay teaches on her podcast and courses.) Is the way you communicate in alignment with your purpose?

The Magician from Tarot of the Spirit by Pamela Eakins

Mercury rules the Magician, which is all about the tools we use in our practice. One tool you have is the way you communicate, but there are so many tools we use in so many areas of our lives that we can explore. What tools do you use in your spiritual practice? Are they in alignment with your purpose? Are they getting you to where you need to go?

If you are going to begin a new creation or new hobby during this new moon cycle, what are the tools that you need for that process? Are they something that you need to learn how to use – how can you go about doing that?

I am truly excited about this new moon and the energy behind it. I hope that this post has inspired you to look within and explore some aspects of Gemini as we move through the season and this new moon. Let me know in the comments how you have been inspired!

Weekly Tarot Spread: May 18-22nd

I have not been keeping up my habit of doing Tarot spreads, or even pulling cards for the day. I started back to work last week since my employer was able to get a Payroll Protection loan. It has been an interesting experience, since I had become used to living my more magickal life and infusing more of what I did with my own magickal work. But I had done some introspection of what that would look like when I went back to work. I’m glad I did. I have been using my Tarot as a way to recenter myself throughout the day. It is easier since I have an app that goes along with the deck I regularly use on my phone. I’m not sure what my coworkers would think of me whipping out a deck at work. I’m pretty sure my bosses would not appreciate it much. At work, at least, I’m a closet witch. With my toe sticking out the door, anyway.

I thought it would be a good idea to do a spread tonight, the night before I go to work for another week. Hopefully it will help me align myself in my spirituality and help carry it over into my work, something that has helped a lot with me being aware of my energy level throughout the day and making sure I don’t totally burn myself out before the day is over. I have definitely seen a difference. I have been able to work on some of my witchy studies in the evening after I get home, although my allergies did knock me out two different evenings. They also knocked me out for an entire day this weekend, which was a shame because I really want to get back into my candle making. I haven’t made any candles in well over a month, and that is a shame. Soon it will be summer, and if I want to start a ritual candle shop, summer is not a great time to do it since candles and heat do not mix.

Anyway, this is a really simple spread. The first card is what I am being invited to pay attention to for the week. The second card is what I need to let go of, and the third card is the anchor card that will help me get through the week. These are the cards I drew:

Tarot of the Spirit by Pamela and Joyce Eakins. This is my first time using this deck.

For what I am being invited to pay attention to, I drew the Nine of Water. I am absolutely loving the imagery on this card, with the Qabbalah Tree of Life and the rainbow pillar going through the middle of it. This card speaks to my internal sense of integrity and self-esteem, as well as my sense of joy. What brings me joy throughout the day? How can I infuse each moment of my day with the magick that I had cultivated during my time off? What can I do throughout the day to remember who I am and what I stand for, and how that fits into the work I do every day? This card is also a call to remember how we are connected to all things, and how “happiness results from true alignment with the cosmic will,” (Eakins, 263). In other words, live my day in alignment with what is in my highest and best according to spirit. Which also means that I need to check in often, something that I am still working on.

For what I need to let go of, I drew the Two of Water. This card is equally stunning, with two chalices in the foreground, one with the symbol of Venus and the other with Cancer. There are two figures, yin and yang, light and dark, high on the wave of water, holding onto an infinity symbol. This card is telling me to let go of my sense of separation and realize that I am at one with Spirit. Because of this, Spirit is a part of everything that I do. I have a purpose in this world, a continuing of the work that Spirit has had me do. At the center of that purpose is love. A sacred cord attaches me to that purpose, and to everything around me. I need to remember this as I go through my week.

For my anchor card, I drew the One of Fire. This card has the six sided star with an empty eye socket. Part of the star is yin energy and part is yang. Spirals surround the card, spirals that Eakins calls “spirals of purpose, will, and lifeforce.” This card speaks to restlessness and a desire for meaning that will only come by opening up to the receptive energy of the yin force. The yang force is here and present, action and movement, ideas and schemes. But there is no focus and manifestation without the yin energy. This is a time to turn within and find that well of receptivity to Spirit and Source, the things that will bring the ideas and movement into powerful manifestation.

I have to say, I have never used this deck before. I bought it a few months ago because of its imagery and because that imagery holds connections to astrology and the Qabbalah. I am blown away by the messages of these cards, and I will probably be using this deck more often. This was a much richer reading than the ones I have been having with my other deck, although there is nothing wrong with my other deck. Perhaps this was just what I needed in this time.

THE Voice

What an amazing time of year. I can’t get over how magical everything has seemed lately, but perhaps that is less about the time of the year than about the journey that I am moving into. Whatever is causing this feeling of wonder, I hope it doesn’t stop. It is a very blessed thing, being able to see magic in different aspects of the year, of life, and of people, of nature. Being able to appreciate the uniqueness that they bring to the world.

This particular time of this particular year has definitely felt like an energy portal. I feel like something big is about to happen. Maybe that’s because I’ve been doing all of this work to create, and I know that the new year is when those creations will make their way out into the world. Maybe its because everyone and their mother in this community is talking about how powerful the energy is during this time. Maybe its because my own energy is shifting, or maybe it is a combination of all of these things. I don’t know, but I am loving this energy, although it can be a little overwhelming at times.

I’ve done a lot of reflection on this past year and a lot of mental preparation for the coming year, more than I ever have in previous years. Tarot has been a big part of that for me since I’m utilizing the Tarot for the first time in a consistent way. I’m also preparing for the birth of my project, so that leads to a lot of mental preparation as well. Because of all of this reflecting, I came to a very strong realization about the previous decade and the one coming up.

The last decade, the one of my thirties, was a busy time for me. I was going to school, working full time, studying beyond what school taught me. I created my own business and became super knowledgeable in my field. And as I thought on the decade and what I have learned about the decade to come, I realized that this past decade has been one all about working with knowledge with my brain. That’s where it was at for me. I read everything I could get my hands on about my field, I applied it in my classrooms, and I regurgitated it in my school classes. I used that knowledge to build up my business. It was all about the brain and what I could accomplish using it. It was also about using other people’s words and knowledge to try to build something unique, which can be challenging and sometimes feels like you are regurgitating someone else’s voice. When I had my business in that field, it never truly felt like my voice because I built what I did off of the voices of other people and the knowledge that they had also acquired from others. Such is the path of brain knowledge, perhaps.

As I have gone down this path, I have attempted to do it using that same method – the knowledge of the brain. I have tried to read the books, figure out what THE correspondences are, and find an ultimate truth to this path. But what I am finding is that it is hard, nearly impossible, to get anywhere on this path simply by using the power of the brain. It is impossible to get anywhere on this path by thinking about it from the perspective that there is one set of knowledge that is the correct one and that is the one that you must follow. This path is about a different kind of thinking, a different kind of interacting with the world. It requires an acknowledgement that, while this path is universal in its scope, people from different parts of the world have different truths based on their personal experiences. Hell, the person sitting across the room from me has a different truth based on their personal experience, even though we are in the same part of the world.

This path is about communicating with the heart, and using intuition and heart-centered knowledge to find your own voice in the midst of all of the brain knowledge out there. It is about finding what is true for you and using that to build something wonderful. So it only stands to reason for me that this coming decade is going to be about finding my voice using knowledge of the heart and my intuition. It is going to be about building my path based on that voice and not so much on the voices of others that have come before me. While their voices were true for them and can lend some guidance to my path ahead, this path is ultimately mine and can look different from someone else’s path.

Heart knowledge also requires us to slow down, something that I have been in desperate need of. Working from the brain, especially in our capitalistic system, requires us to move faster and push harder. It’s all about the grind, how much we can produce and how productive we are. People become faceless as they are thought of as “the consumer” or “the customer.” The world around us becomes a source of materials for the work that we do. Heart knowledge requires us to slow down and listen, not just with our ears, but with our intuition and our heart. It requires us to get in touch with ourselves on a more intimate level, not just looking at ourselves from a brain-based space (perhaps more on what that means in a later post), but really getting to know ourselves on a deeper level. It also requires us to get to know others on that same level, to listen to them between the lines and reach out our hearts to them to truly feel them. It means slowing down and listening to nature, to really perceive what is going on around us with our plant and stone allies right in our own neighborhoods, as well as on paths in wooded areas. It requires us to truly connect with others, something that seems to get harder and harder as we move through this age of technology and consumerism.

So this is why this new decade feels so powerful to me. This is the energy that I am going to be working with this year, and probably beyond that throughout the decade. Through interacting with the world from this heart space, I will be able to create a space to work that is much truer to myself than the one I worked in during the previous decade, one that can resonate more with others because we are interacting on a different level than I have with others in the previous decade. And THE voice will be my voice, a voice truer than one of the past because it will not be clouded with the voices of others. Enhanced, maybe. But not clouded.

This is truly a magickal time.

The Non-Linear Nature of the Tarot

The Witches Tarot by Ellen Dugan, the deck I have been using for about a year.

I’ve had a tarot deck for a year or so now. I’ve gotten it out to explore it quite a few times, but for the most part I’ve been overwhelmed by learning card meanings. So I don’t get it out as often as I want to, because I really want to learn how to read Tarot. Most of the decks I have (only a few, really) come with a book that explains what each card means, and it feels cumbersome to pull cards and then have to go through the book to figure out what is being shown in the cards.

Thankfully, I follow a lot of great podcasts by some really wonderful Tarot teachers. I mentioned one of my favorites in my last post, which is Tarot for the Wild Soul by Lindsay Mack. I have really not listened regularly since the summer, so during the last few days I have gone back to listen to episodes that I missed before, and I have not been disappointed by that decision. First of all, episode 40, which was titled Trauma and the Tarot, was absolutely amazing. During this shadow season I have been trying to dive into some of my past trauma and see how it has informed my actions and reactions, and that episode was so helpful when it came to how Tarot can help and other resources and ways to deal with trauma. I highly recommend that you listen to this episode if you have been a victim of trauma and if you are even remotely interested in exploring Tarot.

But it was a statement in episode 41 that really reframed the Tarot for me in a way that made sense. Lindsay Mack was interviewing Christianna Wincek, also known as Crone of Wands on Instagram, and she made a comment about the non-linear nature of the Tarot. They went on to talk about it after the comment was made, and I had to pause for a moment because it was like a lightbulb flashed in my head.

Of course Tarot isn’t linear.

There aren’t a lot of things that are linear when you enter onto this path. Growth is not linear. Creativity is not linear. Learning is not linear. Our seasons of the year are a cycle. When you get away from it all and put away the tech, time becomes non-linear. Our relationships with nature and the world are not linear (or at least they shouldn’t be). So why am I spending all of this time with the Tarot treating it like it is something linear too.

We have been conditioned to think about pretty much everything in a linear fashion. As a former teacher and current administrator, I know that most teachers teach in a linear fashion because that was how they were taught, but I also know from experience that it is not the best way to learn, or even to teach. We are taught to listen and think with our brains, a very linear instrument, and very little with our hearts and guts, which require a non-linear way of looking at things and relating to the world.

So what does linear Tarot look like? Well, it looks like the system that was overwhelming to me: each card has one meaning, which is defined by the book. If you aren’t using the book to get your meanings, you are doing it wrong. This explains why my readings were frustrating and at times did not make a lot of sense. If you ask the cards a question and then go straight by the book for the answer, of course it might not make sense. The cards may not even relate to what you are asking at all if you relate to them this way.

But non-linear Tarot, intuitive Tarot, is a different story. It requires you to look at the card and the symbols present on the card and see how they relate to the question that you have asked. In this way, the card works with the question and can perhaps give you insight into the question that you had not had before. Because of this, the card meanings might slightly change or be shifted depending on their relationship to the question that is asked.

For example, when I was pulling cards yesterday, I asked about a particular experience that was a bit traumatic for me. I was expecting a card that would define the trauma. Instead, I got the Ace of Swords, a card about strength and courage, about movement and going my own way. And I was able to see that, yes, I did show strength during that situation. I did use the book to help with the meaning, but I applied the meaning to the situation and was able to expound on that meaning through journaling, through exploring all of the ways that I showed that strength during that situation. In this way, using the Tarot became a lot like being in a therapy session, something that is talked about in episode 43. The cards were showing me things that I already knew about my situation and what happened, but through the use of the cards I was able to change the way I thought about it. Instead of viewing myself as a victim, I was able to see how much strength and courage I showed during that time, and how I stood up for myself and did not lose my voice in the face of some pretty harsh judgment. And my reading was rich and full of helpful information in a way that has made the cards come alive. I am actually looking forward to doing another reading soon.

One thing that I did try to do with the cards, too, was download Tarot apps. They are great in a pinch, and give me a good way to look up cards the podcasters are talking about on the fly, but I have become disillusioned with using them for readings. For one thing, feeling, touching, and interacting with the physical cards helps build the bond with the cards, which was something that I had heard podcasters say but had never really put much stock into until recently. So while I believe that Tarot apps are a good tool, I don’t think I will be using them nearly as much as I had been before.

I believe it will be fun to build up that relationship with the cards, and I’m looking forward to posting more spreads as I learn about the cards. I hope you enjoy the process as much as I am.