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


©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


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...