Monday, 3 December 2012

Hekate's Spiritual Pathway Spread

©Marashinsky & Janto
Inspired by the Goddess Oracle's Hecate card, I designed this spread to examine where we are and where we're going on our spiritual path.  I decided to draw on my favourite, Tarot of the Sidhe (Schiffer, 2011), and got:

1) Where am I currently on my spiritual path?

XIV - Temperance.  I am in a place where I need to find a middle path that honours my emotions and spirituality, respects nature, and opens me to wonder.  I should take time to thank spirit for all it offers me, and to feel that connection with the divine which is healing and wholing, as Marashinsky and Janto say on their Pachamama card :)


2) What obstacles do I face?

IV - The Emperor.  Well, this card made me laugh!  I'm currently feeling quite conflicted because of some people's narrow-minded, traditionalist/purist approaches, and lack of understanding of my desire to open new paths that honour my pagan spirituality.  I have often seen the Emperor as rigid and opinionated, so that definitely fits!
©Emily Carding


3) What path should I take?


Dreamer Eight (Eight of Swords).  I need to stop breaking myself into pieces, trying to please everyone.   The difference between this card and the Temperance card is striking.  Temperance feels like a holistic balance, while this feels so fragmented.  While I might need to balance other people's desires with my own, that doesn't mean questioning everything I think and do.

Another thing I see here is the suggestion to break up the tasks I have ahead of me into manageable pieces.  I have a to-do list a mile long, but so long as I can tick of something every day...  While that might not sound spiritual, it is.  Doing things that honour my spirituality, and which fill me with joy, are spiritual pursuits, even if they are also work-related :)

4) What guidance does Hekate offer me at this time?


Dancer Three (Three of Cups).  The perfect follow-on from the last card!  Hekate's guidance is to seek joy, particularly with friends and like-minded people.  To allow myself to be emotionally nurtured and sustained by those around me, and offer the same in return.  One internet friend coined the expression "the general entropy of wellness" to express that sending out good vibes increases the overall goodness of life.  I'll dance to that!

I'd love to hear if you try this spread :)

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Egyptian Male Deities - Set

©De Marco & Manton
For this final post, I consider a God who doesn't, for me, represent one of the elements.  Still, his role is one that is still vitally important: that of the shadow.  The image is taken, once again, from the Gods and Titans Oracle (Blue Angel, 2011).

Shadow - Set - Chaos

Well, you've already read about what Set did to his brother Osiris!  Tricking him, killing him, dismembering him :o  To top that, he just plain likes making trouble.  Or maybe we simply need a shadow, a dark and scary part.  Having Set in the pantheon rounds it out, allowing for the nasty, cruel, vicious, spiteful, manipulative, envious part that is there in all of us, though most often we like to deny it.

Interestingly, Wikipedia suggests that Set's bad reputation is mainly due to a smear campaign.  He was the prime deity of Upper Egypt, and when the Pharoah of Lower Egypt decided he'd like to unite the two parts, part of the offensive was waged through spin!  Plus ca change...

Set is associated with the desert, a dry, inhospitable place that is dangerous to humans and animals alike.  Also with storms, destructive and chaotic.  Yet, as it says in the companion book: "Sometimes things need to fall apart so that they can reform into what you really want."  And sometimes we need to plumb the depths of our own shadows, to bring greater wholeness to our souls.



Friday, 30 November 2012

Egyptian Male Deities - Anubis

©De Marco & Manton
For the fourth quarter, the God I've chosen from the Gods and Titans Oracle (Blue Angel, 2011) is Anubis, with his keyword of Protection.

North - Earth - Body - Anubis - Protection

Anubis is associated with mummification and the after life.  So, the protection he offers is not merely physical, but also at a soul level.  After guiding the Ancient Egyptian embalmers in their task (they would wear an Anubis mask while they worked), this God would then also accompany the souls of the dead to their final judgement by Anubis and Ma'at.

Being associated with tombs, womb-like structures within the earth, is one reason to associate him with that element.  The idea of protection, particularly taking care of one's body, is another.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Egyptian Male Deities - Osiris

©De Marco & Manton
For this third day, and still using the images from the Gods and Titans Oracle (Blue Angel, 2011), here is Osiris.

West - Water - Emotion - Osiris - Renewal

Osiris, husband of Isis, had a tumultuous relationship with his brother, Set, who was envious of him.  First, Set made him a sarcophagus as a birthday present, suggesting his brother try it out to see how well it fit him, and then locking him in it and hiding it.  Isis managed to find it again, and release Osiris. So then, Set dismembered his brother, scattering the pieces across the world.  Once again, Isis managed to find all the bits of her husband, except for his phallus.  So, she made him a new one out of gold, and it worked so well that he sired Horus with it ;)  So, not one but two "rebirths", with a little help from the determined and skilled Isis!

Why associate him with water, you may ask.  Well, I guess it links to ideas about the cauldron of rebirth, and he did float along a river in his sarcophagus.  There's also something about the deep emotions he evoked, both in Isis and Set.  And renewal is something I associate with water, washing us clean for a fresh start.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Egyptian Male Deities - Ra

©De Marco & Manton
Drawing again on the Gods and Titans Oracle (Blue Angel, 2011), today I'll take a look at Ra.

South - Fire - Passion - Ra - Power

Ra is the Egyptian Sun God, carrying the sun in his chariot across the sky each day.  More than that, though, he is associated with creation itself, with the bringing of life.  Which is kind of curious, considering how Egypt suffered under droughts.  Perhaps, in part, it is for that very reason he was considered so important - a force that can kill you and blight your crops must, at the very least, be respected.  Still, his role went well beyond that: it is said that he called all beings into existence by speaking their secret names (now there's an archetype for you!)  And the power of the sun, in good measure, is vital for crops to grow.  Ra speaks of inner power, too, the inspiration to build something of value (huge building projects took place under his auspices), and to value yourself.

When you dig deeper into pantheons, they tend to make less sense rather than more, as the Gods evolve over time to fit the needs of changing populations and cultures.  For example, in some texts Ra is linked to Horus, the son of Osiris and Isis, while in others he is said to be father to Set, Osiris' brother *doh*  Ultimately, I don't think these lineages matter.  To me, what matters are his strength, creativity, and inspiration, as characteristics to call upon.

As for his connection with the element of fire - the power of the Sun is the most obvious.  The aspects of creativity and strength also speak to that, for me.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Egyptian Male Deities - Thoth

©DeMarco & Manton
Still don't get on with Greek male deities, they just rub me the wrong way!  So, I started thinking about what other Gods I might call on, particularly when casting a circle.  I was drawn to the Egyptian Pantheon, and my first thoughts were Thoth, Ra, Osiris, Anubis and Set.

The Gods and Titans Oracle (Blue Angel, 2011) has all of these.  While I find the Gods in this deck a little overly "calendar boy", these ones are mitigated by animal heads and amazing colours.

My thoughts, then, for assigning them to the elements when calling a circle, and for shadow work, go like this:

East - Air - Mind - Thoth - Wisdom
South - Fire - Passion - Ra - Power
West - Water - Emotion - Osiris - Renewal
North - Earth - Body - Anubis - Protection
Shadow - Set - Chaos

Over the next few days, I'll post about each in turn, so here's Thoth:

East - Air - Mind - Thoth - Wisdom

God of learning and wisdom, of the written word and magic, Thoth is the God that Aleister Crowley attributed the Tarot to :)  He was also said to be the one who taught Isis the words she needed to resurrect Osiris (more on that this Thursday).  Thoth's wife, Ma'at, was the Goddess of Justice, so together they represented a good balance of knowledge and action.  And Thoth also became known as the go-to God for arbitration, both for humans and amongst the Gods themselves, and took part in the judging of souls.  All these attributes associate him with the element of air: magical words, judgement, knowledge, and good communication skills.

Friday, 9 November 2012

The Goddess Hekate

Last night I attended a lecture by Prudence Jones on the Goddess Hekate (I prefer this spelling to Hecate).  She traced the worship of Hekate back to ancient Greece, and from there possibly back to Anatolia and Mesopotamia, where she may have been a Great Goddess.  Although the Asia Minor version was blood-thirsty, she was also a Goddess of Plenty, generous to her followers.  However, it is from there that she may have her association as Goddess of Witches, as the Greeks equated blood sacrifice and black magic ;)

Prudence traced interesting connections: how Hesiod in his Theogeny named her a Goddess sole-born to her parents (a title also given to Jesus).  He also said she was honoured by her uncle Zeus, and given her Titan-born share of the heavens, the earth and the seas.  In this way, already around 700 BCE she was a triple-aspected Goddess.

©Marashinsky & Janto
Interestingly, in her Athenian depiction as the saviour of Persephone, she is a Maiden to Persephone's Wife and Demeter's Mother aspect.  Nowadays, we tend to see her as a Crone, perhaps because of her connections to the land of the dead.  Later, Hekate became equated with Artemis, with many sculptures inscribed as being Hekate-Artemis. Thus when Artemis, previously Goddess of Hunting, became associated with the moon, so too did Hekate.

Around 45 BCE, there was a temple to Diana Trivia just south of Rome.  Trivia means of the three ways, which was a name for Hekate, and Diana was the Roman name for Artemis.  This temple was built by the side of a lake in an extinct volcano crater, so that the moon would reflect in the circular pool, an enormous scrying mirror!


www.theoi.com
Hekate's most frequent associations are as a Goddess of the three ways - when three paths join, or a fork in the road.  She protects from bad energies, and is a psychopomp, guiding the souls of the dead on their path with her two flaming wands.  However, she was also originally a Goddess of flocks and fishing ;)

It was interesting to hear Prudence's research, making connections between ancient practices and our modern-day ideas, tracing how different associations accreted to Hekate, and exploring her different aspects, dark and light.  This is still a work-in-progress, but Prudence hopes to publish on it in the future, so it will be interesting to see how her ideas develop and see where her research takes her...

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Samhain Shadow Work

©Emily Carding
Hi Tarot Blog Hoppers, and any one else who finds their way here.  You may have come from TABI's blog.  If not, why not hop back and check it out, or hop forward following the link at the end of this post?  And if you'd like to orient yourself, you can always check out the Master List.

This time round, our wrangler, the fabulous Amethyst Mahoney, asked us to look at our shadow.  It seems very appropriate for this time of year as darkness encroaches more and more.  Yet, I didn't really feel very dark and shadowy: I've been feeling very productive, with lots going on in my life that feels very positive.  Still, all the more reason to suspect that there may be not-so-happy things that I am pushing out of awareness.  After all, who has a perfect life, right?

So, I took some time to look inward, past the excitement and creativity, and what I saw was pain about my recent miscarriage, powerlessness at being able to control my life, and sorrow at the difference between my disabled son and other kids his age, which is becoming ever more stark as he gets older.

©Emily Carding
You might think that was enough: enough darkness, enough shadow.  But this is a TAROT Blog Hop, so I decided to dig a little deeper with the tarot's help.  Cilla Conway facilitated that, with her powerful workshop on "Tarot and the Shadow" at the UK Tarot Conference a couple of weeks ago.  During her workshop, I pulled the Three of Swords... twice!  Then we did a pathworking which had me sobbing (as quietly as I could, I'm British after all) as I came face to face with with my anguish.

Those three swords, they are my own thoughts which stab me.  At first I thought I was worried about what others will think of me, but really, it's what I think of myself. 

I think I'm a bad mother because I sometimes feel ashamed of my son.  Others stare at him in the street, especially other children who haven't yet learned that it isn't polite to mock those less fortunate.  His disabilities are ever more obvious, but I also love him and think him beautiful. How paradoxical are our feelings!

I think I'm a failure, because I haven't been able to give birth to a healthy child.  I had a miscarriage, then gave birth to my son, then had another miscarriage. 

I think others pity me for those things.  And I pity myself, and hate that pity worst of all.  Shouldn't I be strong, and confident and loving and brave?  Well, yes, but no-one's perfect!  And that brings me right back to my shadow, all the aspects of myself that I think are imperfect. 

©Emily Carding
What to do about it, then?  Well, I loved a perspective offered by Rachel Pollack during the UK Tarot Conference.  She asked us, in a different context, "Which Majors connect numerically with the Three of Swords?" 

The Empress, the third Major, tells me that I need to nurture myself when I feel this pain, to be kind and compassionate to myself.  Rachel also suggested that allowing ourselves to actually feel the pain is the first step in loving it and ourselves.  Well, at least I've taken the first step, then ;)  I also see in the Empress the suggestion that my current bout of creativity isn't just a distraction, it is part of my healing, my way of coping.

I notice the irony: my issue is around mothering, and the "solution" is the archetypal mother card!  The Empress is a card of nurturing and care, of love in that sense of the word.  So, another message I get is to connect with love.  To love my son, to love myself, and to trust in the love of others.

©Emily Carding
The other Major connected with the Three of Swords is the Hanged Man.  In a somewhat similar vein, this card tells me that I need to be able to sit with the pain, to hang with it.  Perhaps, too, to accept that right now there is little I can do directly about it - bringing me back to the creative pursuit of other things in the meantime.

I enjoyed this method of starting from a single card and then seeing what connects with it.  It felt helpful, and leaves your tarot cloth a little less cluttered, while bringing in a lot of insights.

Now, why not hop on over to the ever-insightful Alison Cross at This Game of Thrones?

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Esoteric Cross: Chakra Reading

©http://ways-to-harmony.ucoz.ru/
Carla over at Rowan Tarot read my post on the Esoteric Celtic Cross and decided to give it a go.  Not content to stop there, though, she spotted an interesting connection to the chakra system, and re-read her cards on that basis.  I thought this was such a cool idea, I had to see what it would throw up around my reading!

Chakra rearrangement:

Crown chakra --     6) What will I know when I leave this form?
Brow/Third Eye --   3) What higher truth guides me? 
Throat --                 2) What is my task?
Heart --                   7) Who is my hidden self?
Solar plexus --       1) Who am I?
Sacral --                 3) What deep energy powers me?
Root --                    2) Where do I come from?

©http://www.wakeupenergetics.com/
My chakras

Crown chakra --     6) Maker Eight
Brow/Third Eye --  3) Maker Prince
Throat --                2) Maker King
Heart --                  7) The World
Solar plexus --       1) The Tower
Sacral --                 4) Maker Queen
Root --                   5) Warrior Seven

This makes me think that my root chakra is a little unbalanced, a little defensive.  Given this is the chakra of being grounded and feeling secure, the Warrior Seven does not sit very well there.  

The sacral chakra with the Maker Queen is fairly happy.  This is the chakra connected to our sexuality, and the Maker Queen is quite sensual and generous, a good fit.  

©Emily Carding
The solar plexus, with the Tower, in the position of my sense of power echoes the feeling of uncertainty that began at the root chakra.  I feel like I am constantly having to battle to make my way in the world, as the rug gets pulled out from under my feet again and again.  This is not only the chakra of our sense of personal power, but also about how we digest emotions, and our eating.  So, no surprise with the Tower here that my eating has not been great lately!

Having the World at the Heart Chakra feels supportive, though - a sense of wholeness at my centre, the middle point between the upper and lower chakras, and where emotions combine.  Despite the weaknesses in my system, I am still able to feel fairly whole, to keep things together.

Maker King at the throat chakra suggests that I am able to skilfully and strongly put my voice out in the world.  I think that, given the weaknesses in the lower chakras, this indicates that I come across more confident than I actually am, which certainly rings true!

©Emily Carding
At my third eye I have the Maker Prince, subtitled Gift of Connection.  While the Prince may not be the most mature of chaps, he is a Maker, of the element of Earth, so fairly grounded and stable.  My chakra of wisdom and learning, of seeing beyond, is open to the world, to connecting with everything around me.  Not a bad thing.

Finally, at my crown chakra, I have Maker Eight - Emergence.  The image just speaks for itself.  I am working at opening myself to spirit, and though I may not be there yet, I'm headed in the right direction.

It's interesting that my higher chakras are quite healthy and balanced overall, while my lower chakras are in a bit of a mess.  So, I need to get more grounded, be in my body more, and work on my sense of stability and security.  I found this a really useful exercise, my thanks, Carla!

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Esoteric Celtic Cross

This is a reading designed by Rachel Pollack, which I decided to give a go.  It's part of what she calls a multi-dimensional way of reading, bringing spiritual and past life energies into exploring deep questions.  As ever, I used the wondrous Tarot of the Sidhe (Schiffer, 2011).

©Emily Carding

1) Who am I? - XVI - The Tower


Well, this card certainly struck home.  I have been tracking the cards I get for several years now, and the Tower is the Major that comes up most for me, bar none!  So I guess it's no surprise to see it here.

Still, I love this depiction from the Tarot of the Sidhe.  I am someone who needs to break out of rigid ideas, to be freed from structures that constrict me, even if they are of my own making.  What feels like destruction will actually lift me up, though it may well feel scary and dark in the process.  I am someone who has to face these shake-ups, these challenges: it is part of what I have chosen as my lesson for this life. 

Somehow, that feels kind of reassuring: that these earth-shattering events are what I need to learn and grow, no matter how hard they are at the time.

©Emily Carding

2)What is my task? - Maker King - Gift of Skill


My task in this life is to learn, to develop skills, and to put them into practice.  I see this being connected with the first card: I need to learn to become stronger and to be able to not just weather the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, but to create something from them.  I also see it in terms of using those shake-ups to find new inspiration, to get up, dust myself off, and make something of life.

Out of destruction comes inspiration and beauty.  Or as Pablo Picasso put it: "Every act of creation is first an act of destruction."

©Emily Carding

3) What higher truth guides me? - Maker Prince - Gift of Connection


I just love this card!  I had it on my altar for quite a while, and included it in a video I did on Herne :)

What this card says to me is that it is through connection that we find wisdom.  Connection with nature, first and foremost - honouring the trees and animals, the plants and landscapes of the natural world.

Connection, too, with other humans.  Whether through real life interactions or online, we are shaped by the people we relate to in any way.  Tierney Sadler recently wrote a great post about how even the a**eholes in our lives shape us, and it's true of every being that touches us in any way.

©Emily Carding

4) What deep energy powers me? - Maker Queen - Gift of Healing


Isn't she wonderful?  I see her three ways.  Firstly, she represents the Goddess in her infinite, giving, loving, healing aspect.  She is the source of all love, all connection, and of nature.

Secondly, she represents my own ancestors and my mother, who have always been an inspiration to me.  My maternal grandmother was a beautiful singer at a time when women of her social group didn't do things like sing in public.  She pushed the boundaries, and though she eventually married a nice man her mother approved of, she always kept that joy in life, and that faith in herself.  My grandmother was a doctor, when that still wasn't very usual for a woman.  After she retired, she went to schools to educate kids about sex ;)  My mother raised me as a single mum, and always told me I could do what I put my mind to, and said that if I didn't agree with her, if I could argue my case she would always listen - and she does!

Finally, I see her as myself, as a mother, as a loving woman who nurtures others and herself.  That feeling of connection we saw in the Maker Prince here has been taken in, and now she offers it up to the world.

©Emily Carding

5) Where do I come from? - Warrior Seven - A Hero's Challenge


There is a part of me that feels like I have to battle all comers, face any challenge.  And given I am the Tower, there is honestly a part of that which is true.

I see this as being someone who is willing to stand up for what they believe in, to fight for what they want, for themselves and for others.

So, I come from a place of believing in my strength, and being willing to use it.  For that, once again, I thank my ancestors and the deep energy they lend me.

©Emily Carding

6) What will I discover when I leave this form? - Maker Eight - Emergence


Oh, wow!  When I leave this form I will discover that it was only the physical manifestation of my spirit.  Moving on, I will have the potential to grow and become far more.  More alive, more expansive, stronger.  Perhaps also more vulnerable - the tree can be harmed far more by the things around it than can the acorn, yet it brings so many other benefits.  And perhaps being able to be vulnerable is, itself, a good thing.

©Emily Carding

7) Who is my hidden self? - XXI - The World


This card stayed hidden until the end of the reading, facedown.  I was quite stunned when I turned it over.  As if there hadn't been enough power to this reading already!

My hidden self is whole, complete.  She already is that tree we see emerging in the Maker Eight card.  I am connected to the universe, I grow in the light of the sun and the energy of the stars.  Though I may fear I can't cope, though I may worry and doubt, under it all I am already perfect, with all my faults.

What a beautiful reading :)  I really encourage you all to give it a try - very powerful stuff!

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Meet the Sidhe - Part 11

©Emily Carding
Next in line is the Wheel of Fortune from Emily Carding's Tarot of the Sidhe (Schiffer, 2011).

The first thing this card makes me think of is the traditional association of this card with the Norns or Fates.  These female deities spin the threads of fate, deciding on the lives of humanity - what thread to use, how to weave it, and when to cut it.  In this case, the first offers us the ingredients for our life, the fruit (our personality traits and genetic predispositions) and the water (our emotions).  The second cooks these up together in her cauldron to create our actual life, with all its ins and outs, passions and pains.  And the third marks the ending of it, up on the hill with lightning coming down to touch what may be a burial mound marker stone and setting light to the tree beyond it.

When I meditated with this card, though, I got a quite different message.  The first sidhe lady asked me to give thanks for the material world and all its simple pleasures.  The second spoke of my place in society, of the way in which we affect and are affected by other people.  It reminded me of a quote from Jung which recently came up in Lisa's Tarotize Daily Quotes service (which I highly recommend): "The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed."  The last asked me to look inward, into the deepest parts of my soul, to understand myself.  So, moving from the macrocosm to the microcosm...

Life is an ever-changing dance of light and dark, of the physical and the spiritual, of time alone and time with others.  This card reminds us of the many facets of life, and asks us to take time to enjoy them all, to enjoy the journey.  As the song says of life: It's Just A Ride.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Hermit's Understanding

©Emily Carding
To explore some of what came up for me in my meditation on the Tarot of the Sidhe Hermit (Schiffer, 2011) I decided to do a little reading.

What aspect of my self do I need to understand better?  Dreamer Ten - Desolation


The part of my self that I need to get to grips with is my fears, my sense of desolation, what my DH sometimes calls my "catastrophising".  I often come up with worst case scenarios, and fear that they will come to pass.

I know this is a bad habit.  Focusing on the negative, devoting energy to it, is a waste of that energy.  Instead, I need to look towards what I can do to work towards a positive outcome.  I think part of the problem comes when I feel impotent, powerless to make much difference.  As many wise teachers have said, we always have the power to decide how to respond to our own emotions - they are not forced on us, we choose to accept them.

©Emily Carding

What learning can I gain at this time?  Dancer Nine - Make a Wish


What this card says to me is that, if I weren't so full of wishes, I would also not be so full of fears - the two are intimately related.  If I didn't wish for a child, I wouldn't be afraid that I'll never manage to have one.  If I didn't wish for success in my studies, I wouldn't be so nervous at delays and setbacks.

This suggests I need to do more than dream and wish, more than worry.  I need to act, to do, to get on with things.  Of course, I don't have the power to control everything in the world, or even just in my life.  Still, if I figure out what it is I can do, what I need to do, then I can actually do it.

I have some ideas and some plans on that front, so hopefully I will, overtime, make some of my dreams into realities :)

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Meet the Sidhe - Part 10

©Emily Carding

This time it is the turn of the Hermit from the Tarot of the Sidhe (Schiffer, 2011).  Emily Carding's version of this card is quite unusual, being lit by the light of the sun!

A dark, hooded figure sits in the prow of a boat, pointing to an island with a hill and some standing stones off in the distance.  The island is lit by a red sun that peers from between fluffy clouds.  The water to the left of the boat whirls in the shape of the Great Glyph of the Sidhe, while the water to the right is calm, gently rippled.

To me, this card has something of the feel of the traditional Six of Swords, moving through turbulence to an inner calm.  It also makes me think of the Isle of Avalon.  Moving through the mists of time to the Otherworld, to a place of magickal learning and spirituality.

The Hermit guides us to our own inner wisdom, offering us a time and space to look inward, to study, to learn.  What we find will often depend on what we look for, though, and how we go about it...

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Mabon Tarot Blog Hop

©Paulina Cassidy
As we reach the autumn equinox, it is time once again to consider the Wheel of the Year and its turning.  I always thought that the equinox meant that day and night were equal at this time.  Of course, that doesn't make sense, as even within Europe the balance of light and dark varies hugely, and would certainly not be the same on any one given day.  Turns out, the equinox is to do with the earth not being tilted either towards or away from the sun.  So, I guess it marks a turning point, after this the earth will be tilted away (from the perspective of the Northern hemisphere) and hence why we move towards winter.

Speaking of moving, this is a Tarot Blog Hop.  So, you can follow the link back to Christiana Gaudet's fascinating Tarot Trends blog, check out the Master List to get your bearings, or else hop forward following the link at the bottom of this post :)

Anyhow, it's the date that is sometimes called Mabon in the pagan calendar, or the autumn equinox, or the second harvest.  It is a time for making mead, according to the wrangler of this round of the Tarot Blog Hop, the knowledgeable Aisling the Bard.  And that inspired her to ask us about what power of transformation we find in the tarot.  Having just got my hands on Paulina Cassidy's new Faerie Guidance Oracle (Llewellyn, 2012), I couldn't help but notice the card titled Transformation, perfect to introduce this post :)

I really enjoyed reading Aisling's explanation of the making of mead, how you have to get rid of some bits, and let other bits transform (rot), and than you get a delicious and intoxicating drink that will last through the winter.  What it brought to mind was three questions:

©Emily Carding

What do I need to cut away from my life?  Warrior Prince


Okay, so maybe I'm a bit impulsive sometimes.  And sometimes I think I know what's best.  Bah, trimming those bits of me off is going to be a toughie!

To be honest, what I mainly see here is the suggestion that I need to take a step back and not rush into anything right now.  Which makes sense, but is also hard.  A lot has happened this week, which leaves me with a great sense of uncertainty.  But this card in this position says I need to drop the idea of charging into anything right now, and sort myself out a bit first.

©Emily Carding

What do I need to transform?  Warrior Ten


This card came up for me recently as the direction I needed to take.  But since then, everything has changed.  I lost the baby I was carrying, the task that I was working towards.

So, I need to change my focus, refind my path towards the future.  First, though, as Aisling said of mead, I have to let the task I held so dear die, let it be transformed.  That's not going to be easy, but these two cards suggest it is what needs doing, and that I can't rush it, either!

©Emily Carding

How will this process nourish me in the future?  Warrior Nine


What I see here is that if I can stand back, not rush into things, and slowly let go of what I had seen as my main goal for the next year or two, then eventually I will come to feel safe again, whole in myself.  I don't think it'll happen overnight, but hope that, with the turning of the Wheel, this too may come to pass.

It's interesting that all three cards are from the Warrior (Wands) suit.  It speaks of my passion, my beliefs, what I think is worth fighting for.  Those things will still be there, even if I don't charge in straight away, even if I have to change my approach.  And perhaps that last card says I can let myself be nurtured, by myself and by others, for as long as it takes...

I found this exploration of transformation using the Tarot of the Sidhe (Schiffer, 2011) very helpful at this difficult time.  I hope some of you will try it out, too.  If so, let me know how it goes :)

In the meantime, please do consider hopping on to the amazing Jordan Hoggard's Tarot in the Land of Mystereum.  

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Super Sweet Blogger :)

Christiane, of Cosmic Faery's Tarot, was kind enough to nominate me for this award :)  Christiane's blog is fascinating, combining an understanding of astrology and tarot, as well as showcasing her own tarot deck, a work in progress that combines photos and quotes!  The latest addition showed two sheep cuddled up together for the Lovers, with a quote from Aristotle: "Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies."  Christiane's site also includes links to her online tarot and astrology course, which I'd love to take one day...

I was really touched that Christiane nominated me.  This blog hasn't been going long, and it's nice to hear it has something to offer.  So, the Rules are:

1. Give credit to the wonderful person who chose to nominate you
2. Answer the “Super Sweet” questions3. Nominate a “Baker’s Dozen” of 13 blogs


2. Super Sweet Questions

Cookies or Cake? 
Hmm, Chocolate Chip Cookies are a definite favourite!

Chocolate or Vanilla?
No brainer: chocolate!

What is your favorite sweet treat?
I think I'll have to go for a chocolate brownie, gooey, part cake part cookie, all delicious ;) 

When do you crave sweet things the most?
They don't call it emotional eating for nothing.  Being upset is definitely a trigger for me.

If you had a sweet nickname, what would it be?
Well, my DH sometimes calls me KerryChocolate...

3. My Baker's Dozen

I haven't been blogging that long, so I think I'll follow Christiane's example and not stress any longer about choosing more blogs.  Instead, I'll just choose nine blogs, like the nine maidens of Brigid's sacred flame...

Siddaleah - I only just discovered this blog, but am really enjoying it.  She uses an interesting selection of decks, and asks some tough questions.

OathBound Secrets - a very intelligent pagan blog, exploring the history and philosophy of magic.

Book of Mirrors - a wonderful pagan blog, with interesting thoughts on a heap of different subjects.  From "modest dress" to herbs to rites of passage, there's a wealth of things to think about and learn.

SamhainMoon - Monica Laura uses some very unusual decks, and shares plenty of good spreads.  Her readings are always enlightening, and she does helpful deck reviews, too.

Seer Pathways - I love Lisa's wisdom and spiritual beauty.  This is such an inspiring site!

Rowan Tarot -  Carla does some fascinating things with tarot cards, and I absolutely loved her Tarot Majors and chants series - beautiful!

The Life of Witch Elle - Elle, or Shelley, crosses the blog/vlog boundary, posting to both fairly regularly.  I was delighted to learn about crystal grids from her, and enjoy her card explorations and more personal posts, too.

Magic Mentha - with the odd post about herbs thrown in to educate, this blog is mainly about cards and about life.  A homey place to visit, I love the sense of meeting a real person here.

Priestess of the Light - a gorgeous pagan blog, with an author who really thinks about what spirituality means to her, and adds in lots of gorgeous pics and poems, too :)

P.S. Sorry for the formatting issues, hope this is still legible *doh*

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Karma

©Emily Carding
To explore the Justice card a little further, I shuffled it back into the deck, then looked to see where it was placed.  I found it with the Warrior Five to one side and the World to the other, right at the bottom of the pack.

What to make of this?  The Warrior Five card, subtitled "Action Frustrated", shows a male figure burning with enthusiasm, but unable to move forward.  He is blocked by two hooded figures who hold his arms, and by two further figures who cross wands in front of him, barring his path.  So, he is frustrated both from in front and behind.  There is a real feeling of powerlessness here.

©Emily Carding
As for the World card, here we see the World Tree, branches reaching to the sky, roots open to the fertile void of the Universe.  Where in Justice the sun and moon balance to either side, here they are combined, united in a single whole.

I guess what this says to me is that I have spent quite a while feeling powerless.  Stopped either by external circumstances, or my own limiting beliefs, I have been unable to get much done.  Now, though, if I take the time to assess what led me to feeling powerless, I have the chance to change it.  The chance to feel less polarised, more powerful and able to grow.  It is a time to let go of past frustrations, to allow myself to trust in the potential of the universe :)

May it be so!

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Meet the Sidhe - Part 9

©Emily Carding
Today's post looks at the Justice card, numbered VIII in Emily Carding's Tarot of the Sidhe (Schiffer, 2011).

It's interesting, I feel quite strange with Justice in this position, having been "brought up" on the RWS numbering.  For me, it makes sense for Justice, the weighing up of the past and the assessing of the future, to come in position 11, at the centre/balance point of the Major Arcana.  And I notice, too, that there is a lemniscate, an infinity sign, in this card, which is normally found on the Strength card.  Look at the shape of the clouds around the moon and sun...

What I see here is a message about Justice being something at a cosmic level.  It isn't the number-crunching, penny-pinching version that we so often see in our courts of law, where everyone and everything is assigned a value.  It is about weighing up the dark and light in all our actions, and trying to come to some kind of equitable balance.  It is about the karma of our past, and trying to move forward in a way that honours what is right.  It is about finding a solution that all the parties involved can live with.

Our main tool for this: our head.  She balances on a sword, significator for the mind.  And yet, her hair flows down around her as though she herself becomes the land and it her.  So, even though our mind is the one that does the weighing up, this Justice isn't purely rational.  It is felt at a bodily level - it is pulled by gravity, the weight of the past, our sense of where we are in the world - just as she uses her legs to help her find that balance point.  Balancing on the sword, with her hair flowing down like the blindfold on many ancient depictions of Justice, means that she is affected by a bodily sense of things, and has a different perspective, like the Hanged Man, rather than being stuck in rigid, rational ideas about what is fair.

The fact that she balances in this marvelous landscape is a reminder to me, as well, of the debt we owe this beautiful planet.  Mama Gaia nurtures and supports us, and Justice says: "Honour the planet, act in her favour."  Loving nature, what can we each do to even the scales between what we take from the world and what we give to it?

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Focus

To explore the Chariot's influence in my life at this time, I decided to draw a single card to answer: "What will help balance me, allowing me to move forward?"

I drew the Warrior Ten card (equivalent to the Ten of Wands), subtitled "The Great Task".

©Emily Carding - Tarot of the Sidhe

What I see here is that to find my balance I need to focus on a single task - with the obvious question being: what is the most important task in my life at this time?  And there's no doubt there: it's doing my best for the baby in my belly!

I have been told that I have a high risk of miscarriage, which means I'm now taking three different medications on a daily basis, and spent five hours being transfused with immunoglobulin last week - not painful, just boring.  They say I may need to do that another three times over then next few months...  It all feels so medical, so clinical - so little to do with the natural act of giving birth.

I feel the weight of the world on me - if I make the wrong choices, it could kill my baby :(  Instead, I want to find a balance between the medical world and the more natural remedies and methods that are closer to my heart.

It's not just about the injections, the scans, and the tests, though.  I recognise the importance of my mindset, about making this baby a priority, and doing everything I can to be in a good place, physically, mentally and spiritually, for it.

That means accepting that I won't workout as much as I normally would, that I may need to change the kind of exercise that I do.  And that I won't be able to do all the projects I would otherwise do.  I don't think I will go back to my second job, which I had taken time off from over the summer.  It can wait until after the baby is born.  I am determined to meditate more, which has fallen by the wayside the last week with all this medical stress.

In all these ways, I try to balance my normal tendencies with what is best to help bring this baby into the world - from hope to reality.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Meet the Sidhe - Part 8

©Emily Carding
The Chariot in Emily Carding's Tarot of the Sidhe (Schiffer, 2011) is, as with many other cards in this deck, a quite unusual depiction.  For one thing, there's no Chariot!!

Instead, a Sidhe warrior rides a winged-steed, half black and half white.  So, the duality normally seen in this card is maintained, yet with an important twist - a single beast that represents both dark and light.  A creature of polarity, then.  I ask myself whether it's two halves are united, or whether each pulls in a slightly different direction, as per traditional notions of the Chariot?  Perhaps, being a single creature of two halves, it has been able to combine the polarities which make it up, and is more directed, clearer, stronger...

Another thing that I notice about this card is the fact there's a solar eclipse right behind the Sidhe and his steed.  It feels as though he draws something of his power from that.  Perhaps because during an eclipse of the sun it is as though day and night happen at the same time  - another combining of polarities.  A reminder, too, that it is during liminal times - during transitions and times of uncertainty - that we can perhaps most strongly determine our own direction.  When the bonds that normally restrict us are loosened, we can choose where to go with greater freedom.

As I look at this card, the pegasus creature charges towards me, with the Great Glyph of the Sidhe at the centre of his chest - as though that portal is rushing towards me, sucking me in...  Yet, it is a card of choicefulness, of determination.  Driven by a desire for wholeness, I allow the Otherworld to whirl me into it's embrace, to explore and find myself.

The way the Sidhe's arms are raised, it's like he throws himself open to the hidden energy of the sun, to the force of the Universe.  Once again, a letting go, in this card of drive and ambition.  What a delightful paradox :)  When we are willing to let go is when we suddenly move forward in a way that had eluded us until that moment.

It's funny, I've rarely really liked the Chariot as an archetype, but this card affected me very strongly...

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Choices

For the Lovers card, I again decided to see where it's choicefulness is in my life right now.  So, after shuffling the card back into the deck, I looked for it and found it between Maker Three and the Emperor.

Tarot of the Sidhe ©Emily Carding

I read this two different ways.  The Maker Three could be me in my nurturing mother aspect, and the Emperor me in my disciplinarian aspect.  Or the Maker Three could be the new baby in my womb, the fruit I hope to bring to the world quite literally through labour (the card is subtitled Labour's Fruit).  That would make the Emperor my firstborn son, an association he has long held for me.  In either case, what I see here is the suggestion that it doesn't have to be an either/or choice, but rather that I can choose both!

It's not something I normally associate with the Lovers.  After all, the card either shows a couple, or a man with two women and a look of confusion.  Yet, who says that when we make choices they must exclude other choices?  I wouldn't personally choose polygamy, but when the choice is between two aspects of ourself, or two children, why should we only choose one?

A good reminder, then, that I can be nurturing and have clear boundaries, and that I can hopefully have another child without changing my relationship with my son in any negative way :)

Monday, 27 August 2012

Meet the Sidhe - Part 7

©Emily Carding
This week, the card to explore is the Lovers from Emily Carding's Tarot of the Sidhe (Schiffer, 2011).  In the companion book, Emily writes: "this was only the second card that I completed.  This may explain why I enthusiastically hurled every symbol imaginable into the mix!" :D

There are two intertwined snakes among the intertwined branches of the tree.  A female faery holding a moon and a male faery holding a sun.  A river that splits in two to flow around a sacred fire, with a black and a white dove rising above it.  A male Sidhe warrior with a sword and a white cape, and a female Sidhe maid with a red cape and cup face one another across the divide of the river, each leaning against a tree.  In the distance, mountains, suggesting wisdom, where the water and the earth combine.

When I meditated with this card, one of the things that came up for me is firstly that we can choose what we want to believe or act on.  It doesn't have to be right or wrong, our choicefulness is what makes it important.  What we choose affects how we respond, and so will help influence the outcome.

I am trying to choose to believe that all will be well with my pregnancy.  I had a miscarriage before my son was born, so I know this might not work out.  I pin my hope to the Star card which came up before, not because I truly believe it foretells the future, but because believing all will be well is more likely to help create that future than my worrying and panicking and not sleeping.

Another thing that came to me was a reminder that, even when things seem like opposites, they rarely are.  Male and female, black and white, sun and moon, they are not mutually exclusive, but rather two sides to a coin, two aspects of the same continuum.  I remember someone once saying to me that the two ends of a spectrum actually bend around to almost meet, so that what seems furthest apart may in fact be closest together.

Does it matter, then, what we choose, if things aren't really all that different?  "Yes," I was told "it still does."  We create not only our reality but ourselves through the choices that we make, the actions that we take, and what we choose to believe.

I countered with "But many of our choices are habitual!"  The sidhe said that doesn't matter, we are choosing to remain in our habitual patterns, but we can also choose to change them.  It isn't always easy, but it is always a choice.

We can be afraid of making choices, scared of what will happen if we fail, and equally if we should succeed.  Yet, as Arwen reminded us in a recent post (which I sadly can't find) not making a choice is also a choice, and frequently a poor one!

Our choices also rarely affect just ourself.  We are connected to everyone around us, both at a personal level, and at a societal level.  Our actions influence others, even when we don't intend it or aren't aware of it.  And then there are choices which are more obviously about more than just ourself, decisions which we take with others, or where we commit to something beyond ourself.

I didn't expect to find such complexity in a card which many associate just with finding true love... ;)

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Faery Wishing Well

©Cavendish & Fenech
Another card from the Wild Wisdom of the Faery Oracle (Blue Angel, 2009) comes out to play.

It acts as a reminder that, even when one thing manifests in our life, it's rare that we don't have something else still to wish for.  Shortly before I sat for my meditation, I found out that I'm pregnant - naturally and without all the problems inherent in fertility treatments.  Now my wish is for a healthy baby :D

The sweet faery was all aflutter with my news, while the greenman stayed calm, as is his way.  I had overlooked him at first, but then asked if he was allowed to make wishes in his own well.  He told me that he is the impetus behind the wishes coming true, so he can't wish for himself.  He is also the wise one who stops us from making a bad wish, one that will come back and bite us on the a**e ;)  He did ask me for an offering, though, which I went out and made as soon as the meditation was done.

I feel so blessed by this turn of events.  I'm still very nervous - I've had a miscarriage before, so I know there's no such thing as a done deal where babies are concerned.  Still, for today I'm happy!

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Midnight Prince

©Cavendish & Fenech
Drawing this card from the Wild Wisdom of the Faery Oracle (Blue Angel, 2009) I meditated on it.  I found the phrase on the card affected my path working a lot.  The Prince asked me to tell him a true story, which was quite painful to do.  Yet, as my tears flowed, I was also grateful for the chance to explore what feels true to me.

One thing this meditation reinforced is the power of telling the truth, no matter how harsh.  Obviously, this is easier to do if the person you are telling a harsh truth about is yourself, and if you don't feel judged in the telling.  A counsellor is good, but a Midnight Prince seems to do the job just as well :)

It helped answer a question I had, which I had pushed to the back of my mind.  A querent from a free-reading had asked to share some personal details in return for my "take" on the situation.  I was hesitant, mainly because I don't feel qualified to give my opinion.  I can say what I see in the cards, but really the one who knows what is best for them is the person asking the question.

Still, this meditation reminded me of the power of being able to tell our story.  So, I replied to my querent saying please go ahead.  I release the need to find an "answer" for them, but hope that telling the story will help...

As for me, the truth that helped me today was to acknowledge that I don't believe my son could be anywhere better.  Even when I feel guilty for wanting another child, I know that he is truly loved and cared for at home with us.  We want another child as well, not instead.  And as I said in another post, I also realise that I do all I can for him, as does my husband.  Wanting another child does not change that, nor will it.


Monday, 20 August 2012

The Elder Spread

To further explore the Elder from Emily Carding's Tarot of the Sidhe (Schiffer, 2011), I was inspired to create a spread based on it. 

Cards from the Tarot of the Sidhe
1)  Snake - What do I need to shed?

2)  Tree - Where do I need more connection?

3)  Sidhe Lady - How can I feel the magic of life?

4)  Empty Stool - What wisdom do I have to share? 

5)  Glyph-Etched Stump - What is the wise counsel of this reading?

And of course, I had to give it a whirl :)


©Emily Carding

1)  Snake - What do I need to shed? 

The Dancer says I need to shed my desire for simple emotions and easy answers.  While love is the most important lesson for us to learn in this life, I also need to recognise that love isn't always easy.  Thinking I should be able to balance amid a whirlpool of emotions is unrealistic.

Emotions come in so many guises, and though there is a single source underlying it all, I need to acknowledge the complexity of feelings.  It's alright not to just feel loving and positive emotions all the time, to recognise my shadow emotions, too.  These may sometimes feel scary, and I may feel guilty about them, but trying to pretend that I have only positive, nice emotions does no-one any good, myself least of all.

©Emily Carding
2)  Tree - Where do I need more connection? 

The Maker Queen suggests I need to get more connected to my sense of groundedness and abundance.  It is hard to offer healing to ourself or others when we feel weak or lacking.  Perhaps, too, a need to connect with my sense of fertility and ripeness - my creativity in every sense.

I wonder whether part of the message here is about connecting to others whom I associate with this archetype?  It can be easier to connect to our own groundedness and abundance when we see it mirrored in those around us.  So, a reminder to spend time with people I admire, who have these characteristics.  My mother is one, several of my friends are others...

©Emily Carding
3)  Sidhe Lady - How can I feel the magic of life? 

This card seems to emphasise the message of the previous card, though with its own nuances.  Feeling the magic of life would be helped by connecting more with other, like-minded individuals.

I love this card, with its circle of people raising a rainbow of energy.  It speaks of circles of friends, covens, the power that we have when we are with others, rather than alone.

One thing it makes me think of are the circles of people I connect with around the world through the internet.  Be it in particular forums or on Youtube, these are groups who share a desire to be more connected to magic, to understanding the energy that flows through life, and how to channel it.

It also makes me think of one friend, in particular, Carla of Rowan Tarot.  We have been sharing book and deck suggestions, discussions on meditation and our spiritual paths.  We are meeting up in a few weeks time for a Conference on Pagan Studies - how cool is that!  I think this is exactly the kind of thing I need to help me feel the magic of life :)

©Emily Carding
4)  Empty Stool - What wisdom do I have to share? 

Wow, I was quite blown away by this card!  The wisdom I have to share is the World?!  Actually, I guess it makes sense.

Firstly, there's the fact that I'm in my early forties, so I've seen a fair few cycles in my life.  I have enough experience to know that the end of anything indicates the beginning of something else, and to understand that the journey and our learning is never "done".

That's shown beautifully in this card, with the World tree spreading its roots in a moonscape and raising its branches to the sun.  Day follows night follows day, just as the seasons also flow.  Each is exactly as it should be, and does not make the other any worse or less.

This points to another piece of wisdom that has come to me in recent years: that there is no such thing as perfection.  That might sound obvious, but for many it's a hard lesson to learn.  For decades, I tried to  be perfect: the perfect daughter, the perfect student, the perfect girlfriend, the perfect mother.  It really doesn't work!  The World card kept coming to me, in negative positions or reversed.  A reminder that perfection and completion are archetypal ideas, not reality.

©Emily Carding
5)  Glyph-Etched Stump - What is the wise counsel of this reading?

What a lovely card to have in this central position, the heart of the reading.  The Warrior Four card is subtitled "Foundations Blessed", and speaks of the need for me to accept the blessings in my life; the love, the challenges and the delights.  I need to let go of fear, and acknowledge just how blessed I am, to learn to feel that.  In doing so, I open myself to joy, to the magic of life that comes from a deep connection to others and a sense of being at peace with oneself.

Easier said than done, of course.  Still, this card has some suggestions there, too.  It suggests focusing on making a sacred space for myself and my family.  It recommends taking time both to connect to others and to connect with myself.  It promises that spirit is always there, just a breath away, if I am willing to open the door to it.  There is something there, too, about knowing ourself through the mirroring of others - yet another reminder of the importance of other people.

It seems to sum up this reading well: shedding simplistic notions of love to connect to the true abundance of good friends and the magic of shared direction and enthusiasm.  Acknowledging that we are always laying the foundations for the next thing, never "completing" things entirely.  Even when something in our life ends - a relationship, a job, a life phase - it leaves traces of its presence in us, laying the foundation for what will follow.  And so the wheel turns...