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

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?

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.