Welcome to Full Moon Tarot, a blog dedicated to the beauty and mystery of Tarot.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

What Next ~ The King of Cups

Last Saturday the tarot group I am part of had our last meeting for the year and decided to celebrate tarot style ~ by giving each other one card readings for the coming year.

It's evident that we live on the edge.

This was a big deal for us ~ this time last year we didn't think we would even make it this far, so we were ready to do something special for each other to reward the hard work and dedication our members displayed throughout the year just to keep the group going. And thus, the round robin one card readings were born! The premise is simple ~ we each drew one card from our own deck and went around the room discussing each card and what that card meant for the person we were reading for. The whole exercise took around 2 hours for a little more then a dozen people and was an incredibly interesting and validating experience. One thing I particularly love about our group is the variety of decks we all use ~ it is absolutely fascinating to see so many styles and mythologies represented in the cards.

One card readings are a lot more insightful then the name suggests. When you do a reading using only one card, you still get the insight that you would from a small spread ~ the challenge is for you to look deeper, immerse yourself in the symbols and colors and characters of the card in front of you. Quite often when we have a spread in front of us, we can skip over cards that we are not entirely comfortable with (and you know you have a few that make you say to yourself “Oh come on!) and focus on the cards that we “feel” more comfortable with, that speak to us more (we all have cards that we feel more at ease with) There is nowhere to hide with a one card reading!!

I like to have a good spread of cards myself ~ I particularly love the 10 card Celtic Cross or the 21 card Storyboard spread. I am one of those readers who loves to focus on the cards that speak to her rather then challenge her, definitely!!!

But in the last year, I have made an ongoing commitment to myself that I would challenge myself with my readings and the cards. So with this in mind I took on the challenge of the one card readings with relish!

In doing so, I have actually become a fan of the one card reading. One card really can bear incredible meaning and insight for someone, and when you look deeper into that card, so much more becomes available to you as the reader. You notice a lot more about that card then you would have had that card been part of a larger spread because you are forced to look at everything in that card ~ the colors, the characters and their actions, such as which way they are facing, how are they interacting with their environment, what that environment actually is from the general landscape to the little bird at the back or the tree in the distance. I will blog about this more extensively very soon as this is one of the most fascinating factors of the tarot world.

The card that I drew as my “What next?” card was the King of Cups.

Oh yes, a court card.

Court cards are among the most difficult for many tarot readers to interpret. Many of us make a face or scream internally when a court card appears in a reading. I plan on doing a blog on the tarot court in the near future as well, so watch this space!

I did groan to myself initially when the King appeared. How was I supposed to interpret a court card as my near future? But, in the spirit of embracing tarot challenges, I took this on with an open mind. And the results were quite surprising. It turns out the King of Cups had great deal to say about the immediate events that have been set in motion and are going to shape my new year.

The deck I primarily use is the Druidcraft Tarot. In my opinion, the court cards in the Druidcraft Tarot are so much more alive, active and articulate then the Rider-Waite/Smith deck. A king in the tarot court is supposed to represent the mastery of the element of his dominion, and for me, the King of Cups in Druidcraft is much more representative of this concept then the Rider-Waite/Smith deck. In the RWS deck, he seems to be floating aimlessly on top of a turbulent ocean and in some reproductions of the deck, almost looks slightly confused whereas in the Druidcraft the King is planted firmly on the rock in front of the ocean and not only is he steady, he is looking forward in the card (in fact, he is almost leaning out of his chair in anticipation), showing that he is looking forward to the future, which is definitely something that resonates with me at the moment.

The King of Cups ~ Druidcraft Tarot

The King of Cups ~ Rider-Waite/Smith

The King of Cups is a heart centered leader who is devoted, kind in everything he does and a person of introspection. When he speaks, he speaks from the heart and has a quiet power to him. He can be a great leader in religion, arts or the home, and can be a great counselor (interestingly, the King of Cups came up in a reading I did for someone who was very seriously considering going to counseling). While the egotist in me would love to claim all of these traits as my own, the idea of the heart centered leader is one that appeals to me. At work I try very hard not to be black and white and analytical (which can be incredibly difficult as a resource scheduler in a call center) but instead work very hard to ensure that I do everything I possibly can to ensure that the people I work with are happy with their work/life balance, which fits in with the King's need to respond to the needs of those around him with compassion and kindness because he does sincerely care for them, just as I sincerely care for the people who are directly impacted by the work that I do. Coincidentally that is something I am also working on within myself ~ no more excessive unpaid overtime, no more feelings of inferiority and no more lack of respect for myself or the work I do.

The King of Cups is also a teacher or “way shower” who guides students with loving attention in an atmosphere of caring, tolerance and compassion. I am currently being mentored by someone who I think perfectly fits this description ~ she is an amazing woman who opens doors but waits for you to step through and find your own truth. I am also considering teaching tarot in the coming new year too so this aspect of the King of Cups is two-fold for me.

Many texts talk about the King's calm face in the midst of high emotion, patience and tolerance ~ these are definitely lessons that I need but also want to learn, and perhaps the King's appearance as my “What next?” card indicates that such learning will take place.

One point that selfishly does connect to me is the fact that because he is the King of Cups, this King is an incredibly intuitive and creative person (which comes from his mastery of the water element), but unfortunately, the responsibility of being King and what that entails keeps him away sometimes from the inspiration that drives him. I believe everybody feels this way at some time in their life ~ that they have the potential to be incredibly creative and yet “life gets in the way” due to the responsibilities of work, partners, children etc, and such inspiration takes a back seat. I feel like that too sometimes, that there is so much I want to do but I let too much “stuff” get in the way. My premature resolution for the coming year is make that time for creativity and intuition happen, even if it means I have to rearrange a few things in my life and perhaps even take a close look at my priorities and reassess them. This started for me during the Winter Dreamtime I have spoken about in previous blogs and perhaps the King has come up now as a manifestation of that principle to remind me and force me into action.

One of the tricky things about court cards is that they do not always denote a person (be it yourself or someone in your life) and this is where a lot of tarot readers (including myself) the confusion begins. Most of the time the situation can be determined by the the of spread you are doing and the surrounding cards, but nevertheless, court cards can still present problems when it comes to interpretation. This is something that I am exploring in a future post.

While the King of Cups may represent me, the events he represents also connect to me at the point I am in in my life as well. This card can indicate a spiritual group or path concerned with ritual or a project in the same stead. Both of these connect with me as I am part of two spiritual groups and am looking to work more in these fields myself. Spot on King of Cups! He is also about controlling your emotions, channeling your intuition and creativity to manifest something beautiful, using intuition more when making decisions and connecting with your Higher Self, all of which are lessons that I am wishing to master in the near future.

All of this came from one card. As you can see, a single card reading can yield wonderful insights and provide some luscious food for thought. Try some today won't you?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Beauty of Beltane in Tarot

Beltane is a glorious time. It is on the opposite side of the Wheel to Samhain, the festival of darkness and death and balances this by being a celebration of fertility, sensuality, creativity and all living natural things. The veil between worlds is still thin but the energy is remarkably different. Rather then feasting with the dead and retreating within for solitary introspection, we are more likely to be frolicking with faeries and gathering with our clans for feasting and merriment.

One of the great gifts of the Goddess is the power of the Earth to grow and blossom for it is her body we live on and grow our food from, all creatures are part of Her and it is our job to protect and defend Her, tend to Her plants and animals, and to thoroughly enjoy the privilege of our existence on and with Her.

On Beltane, we also celebrate all the different kinds of human fertility and creativity. We give thanks for the power women and men have to make babies, to bring new people into the world. But people can create in other ways as well. When we paint pictures, make up songs, tell new stories, plant a garden, or cook a dinner, we take part in the fertility of the Goddess.

Beltane is also the time when we celebrate the joys of being alive. We give thanks for all the different kinds of pleasure our bodies give us, for without our bodies we couldn't see, hear, touch, taste, smell, run, dance, jump, sing or swim. Many adults celebrate sexual pleasure at Beltane. The good, loving feelings that people can give each other (or even to yourself ~ none of my business) with their bodies are special gifts of the God and Goddess. When we give each other (or ourselves!) love and pleasure, the whole Earth is pleased.

There are beautiful energies at work during Beltane. Three cards in the tarot that I love and believe display these wonderful energies are The Lovers, The Empress and the Two of Cups. There is also an amazing spread using the Major Arcana and Court Cards that can guide you with using the energies of Beltane for your growth.

The Lovers ~ Druidcraft Tarot
The Lovers
All Beltane celebrations celebrate love in all it's forms, as does the Lovers card in the tarot. The Lovers card is a virile, potent symbol of physical union and spiritual integration. Union is an urge so strong sometimes that in it's most powerful form it can take us outside of ourselves. The Lovers card represents the force that draws any two entities together in a relationship, be it people, ideas, events, moments or groups. Inspiration is all around you at all levels and you are in harmony with those around you. Your relationships are balanced.

Union occurs on two levels in the Lovers card of the Druidcraft tarot ~ there is the physical union between lovers (which applies to the experience of love for the same sex, opposite sex or both) and the union of the Divine Self (represented by the White Hind) the conscious and the unconscious.

Love is at the heart of life and at the heart of life is choice followed by surrender. To find fulfillment, purpose, meaning enlightenment, wisdom and our full worth as individuals, we need to go beyond the confines of our self, to surrender to something higher then yourself. When we experience love, you are open to something more then yourself, higher then yourself ~ true love opens us to the life and being of your lover ~ this lover could be a person, a creative project, a new spring garden ~ anything that takes you out of yourself and gives you union with the divine.

The Lovers ~ Mythic Tarot

The Lovers is also about choice. In the Druidcraft deck, the man and woman pictured have chosen to surrender themselves to each other. In many decks, such as the Mythic Tarot, one man is pictured with more than one woman, usually one a virgin, the other a temptress.

Taking into consideration the introspection that has been happening for many of us while we have been dwelling in our winter caves, the Lovers can represent your personal beliefs and the choices you have made and will now carry out. Following your own path can mean going against those who are urging you in a direction that is wrong for you while you are making choices and decisions for the highest good in your life.

At every moment we are making a choice. We make choices about who we are in a relationship with, what we do in our lives that gives us pleasure and joy ~ what choices have you started making to bring pleasure and union with the divine (as you experience it in this world)?

The Empress

The Lady ~ Druidcraft Tarot

The Empress is such a fitting tarot energy for Beltane, the festival of fertility, because the Empress herself is the archetypal Earth Mother who represents fertility with her pregnant belly, as well as nurturing and abundance. The Empress sits on her throne, the embodiment of Mother Nature and assures those within her realm that she can be of service to the Earth and humankind. Isn't that something as we, strong, beautiful sons and daughters of the God and Goddess, should make a principle to live by ~ after going through the introspection and hard, long inner work that comes with dwelling in the winter cave, we are ready to sit on that throne and rule our realms with the wise benevolence of the Empress.

The Empress and the High Priestess are two halves of the female archetype in the Major Arcana of the Tarot. The Empress represents the fertile, life giving Mother who reigns her realm, nature, and the rhythms of the Earth. From the Empress comes the joys and pleasures of the senses that we explore with the Lovers card. She encourages you to strengthen your connection to the natural world and its rhythms. There is no room for false pleasures here.

And yes, the Empress does represent Motherhood, but as she comes to us from the Major Arcana, she goes beyond the surface meaning of the Motherhood archetype to it's pure essence ~ the creation of life and it's nurturing through love and attention, always remembering that life is not just the creation of human life, but the life we give to our creative endeavors or other passions.

The Empress ~ Legacy of the Divine Tarot

The Empress asks you to embrace the principle of life and enjoy it thoroughly! You are blessed with abundance and fertility. Nature, sexuality and sensuality are not to be avoided as some in society preach, but to be enjoyed and respected. She shows us the flowering of our potential in the flora around her ~ this was touched on in the Star card from Imbolc. What was also touched on in the Star was the urge to bring your gifts into the world, and this is further shown in the pregnancy of the Empress.

The inner process of deepening and introspection of winter now bears fruit in creative projects, fulfilling passions and/or relationships. You may be living life through your feelings and sensuality rather then your intellect during Beltane, and isn't it fabulous? Liberating even?

The ultimate lesson of the Empress is to open yourself to the nurturing fertile power of the God and Goddess ~ this power will fill you with passion and a lust for life!

2 of Cups

2 of Cups ~ Druidcraft Tarot

As Beltane is a popular time for marriages, I couldn't go past the beautiful 2 of Cups to round off the energies of Beltane in tarot. The premise of the card is simple and universal throughout tarot decks of any creed ~ a beautiful union of commitment, sharing of feelings ~ the energy between the two are palpable, they almost jump off the card! The 2 of Cups shows the beauty and power that is created through union, be it inner or outer. The 2 of Cups entreats you to look for connections in your life ~ now is not the time to separate yourself from others. We had enough of that throughout our winter dreamtime! The 2 of Cups is about the power of love and how it brings opposites and polarities together ~ it may not necessarily be romantic love for there are all kinds of love that bind us in this life, but could be the union of people, groups, ideas or talents. Expect to feel strongly connected to others, to want to socialize and bond with the ones you love, even if there has been a falling out. Now is a time of reconciliation, within and without of yourself.

2 of Cups ~ Robin Wood Tarot

Something that people forget sometimes is that in order to love and be loved, we have to love ourselves. We can spend so much time and energy on outward pursuits and nurturing others and we forget to tend to our own needs. Think of it this way ~ when we are striving for self love, we are holding our inner nature in high esteem, and treat ourselves with respect. Those around can't help but follow stead with such an example!

The 2 of Cups says to pay attention to the moment, leave the past behind and be free to enjoy everything that comes your way beautiful sons and daughters of God and Goddess!

Beltane Spread

Here is a lovely spread that can help you realise the energies that surround you this Beltane and how to use them to their full potential. For this spread, you only need to use the Major Arcana and the Court Cards. Happy reading!!!
1          2

3                  4 

6        7          8

9        10       11

12           13 

Cards 1/2: Crossing at Beltane. Your general state of being and how it is expressed

Card 3: Major Inner Forces. What is moving in me right now

Card 4: Major Outer Forces. What is moving outside of me, outside forces in play

Card 5: Their Meeting. How these forces interact, how you deal with and express them

Cards 6,7 & 8: Joys and Challenges. Major tasks for this time of Beltane, issues that will come up and need to be dealt with

Cards 9, 10 & 11: Best tools. The skills you have or can develop in order to make the most of Beltane's opportunities

Cards12 & 13: The End of Beltane. Your general state of being at the end of Beltane and how it will be expressed.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Tarot Thought for Imbolc

Rider Waite-Smith

Samhain and Yule are incredibly emotional, transformative times that see our spirits delve to the depths our of souls, find our true selves and rest in the womb of the Mother, waiting for the time when we can come back up to the light of the world and start living the plans and promises we made while resting in the darkness.

Imbolc is the time when the seeds of our plans start to bud and reach to the light from the womb of the Mother we have been laying in through the darker months ~ it literally means “in the belly” because our souls are starting to stir with the planting of these seeds, and these stirrings can be felt all around by those who have a strong intuition.

Are you inspired toward a new creative path, be it artistic, spiritual or entrepreneurial? This could be because after this time of dark introspection, of vulnerability and genuflecting, you are starting to see the world so differently that it inspires you to create or do something different. A new idea of how to live or where to take your life may have dawned during the dark months ~ take a chance, reach for the stars and let yourself shine!Your horizons have been broadened and the promise, fulfillment and inspiration filling you now can neither be denied nor hidden! You are realizing a new strength that stimulates you to higher levels.
Druidcraft Tarot

What will you make of what is inspiring you?

A beautiful tarot card to meditate on during Imbolc is The Star. Throughout this peice are The Star cards from the Rider-Waite/Smith, Tarot of Dreams, Legacy of the Divine Tarot and Druidcraft Tarot decks. What immediately comes to mind when you see any of these images?

Behold the woman at the center of these images ~ isn't she a glorious child of Goddess (just like you)? She is naked, which is to be in your natural state and facing the world as you truly are with no artiface, being stripped bare, and all of the water and fresh green vital Earth around her symbolise the spiritual emergence and healing that is taking place for you now. The water also symbolises your emotions and the tears that have been shed during this emotional time and the gifts that you are pouring into the collective unconcious.

The Star is bringing you pleasure in nature, intuition and hope. For the darker months that have just proceeded, many of us have been on a journey that has been very emotional, opened up soul wounds and spent a lot of time with our shadow selves. Such journeys can be incredibly draining and the Star promises healing and hope.
Tarot of Dreams

Turn your eyes heavenward and bask in the light of the Star for it is the Goddess letting you know that she loves and believes in you. This is a time for the calm and healing power of the Goddess and Water to enter your life ~ it didn't leave you during the dark months but now you are open to this on a deeper, inner, spiritual level. It is interesting to note that the Ancients viewed water as the manifestation of Goddess.

Trust and have confidence in the future. See the wonders that life has to offer. Take this time to heal and reach up from the dark, from the womb and get ready to re-join life again at Imbolc!

From the Druidcraft Tarot Workbook ~ the message of the Star is:

Inner and outer are connected in perfect harmony. All you need to do is to be.
Legacy of the Divine Tarot

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Yule ~ A Tarot Journey

Yule for me is a time of beautiful paradox ~ a time of being still, immersing yourself in the Earth and the womb of the Goddess, delving into the darkness inside and discovering what lies in my soul while simultaneously shedding the extraneous and unnecessary from my life, and making plans that are to be borne at the Spring Equinox. It is here that we stand on the horizon, during the darkest hour gathering warmth in the Sun's promise of growth and renewal in times to come.
Yule is a time of darkness, release, letting go, warming the heart, nourishing the soul and affirming that which is to come, a time of being still while taking an inner journey as we get closer to the Spring Equinox. We need to remember that life continues in the darkness and that light will always reappear.

The Yule journey can be depicted in the tarot, whether by casting a spread and seeing what lessons the universe has in store for you, or by meditating on certain cards that represent the Yule journey. In this article I am going to give you the chance to do both! I am going to explore a tarot journey through Yule using four cards that I feel are connected to Yule, and I am also going to give you a spread to use as part of your Yule ritual/celebrations.

The Tarot Journey of Yule

3 of Swords
Traditionally in tarot readings, the Three of Swords denotes heartbreak, pain, loss, anxiety, betrayal, but in the context of Yule, I see something completely different in this card.
This turn of the Wheel, I opened myself up to the energy of Samhain more truly then ever before and while it was an incredible journey, heartbreak was mixed with the exuberance. The darkness has a way of breaking us down, leaving us to rebuild ourselves again in the light of day once all has been evaluated and considered. This is what the 3 of Swords represents to me. Ponder this: the sword essentially has two functions; one is to pierce, the other is to carve away the unnecessary ~ both are painful but both provide powerful lessons we need to grow. And this growth has to come from within you. This is exactly the purpose of Samhain, to examine your soul and purpose then begin to identify what needs to be removed at Yule. The swords have pierced; now it is time for them to cut away that which is unnecessary.

The actions associated with the 3 of Swords are:
being seperated
discovering a painful truth
wandering far from home
removing that which is unnecessary

4 of Swords
Here, a figure lies in rest, quiet preparation and relaxation. The Swords cards all stand for trials of some kind, but the Four suggests feelings of peace and stillness. Why is this card different? Because it represents the challenge to be quiet! Sometimes resting and doing nothing is the ultimate challenge. The 4 of Swords is also a time when the focus of your life shifts from the external to the internal ~ note that the central figure is “blank” and the world outside is small, colourful and waiting ~ the time will come to re-join that outside world, but now is the time for introspection, to weigh your options, ready yourself for the activity that is to come with the Spring Equinox.

The actions that are associated with the 4 of Swords are:
relaxing body and soul
listening to your inner voice
reviewing where you are
consolidating your inner resources
coming to terms with what is

The High Priestess
The High Priestess is perfect for Yule ~ as we are dropping down into the Earth, the High Priestess awaits us in her underground cave. Many High Priestesses are depicted as being underground, in a cave, a patient teacher waiting for her student as full of potential and mystery as the darkness itself.
The High Priestess is the guardian of the unconscious. She sits in front of the thin veil of unawareness which is all that separates us from our inner landscape. She contains within herself the secrets of these realms and offers us the silent invitation to know these secrets and know that we are own our priests and priestesses. The High Priestess challenges you to go deeper, look beyond the obvious, see the hidden and remember the unlimited possibilities you hold within yourself. Look at her, take note of her stance ~ the knowledge contained in the Torah (in many other decks this knowledge is depicted as a book) is held close to her and the Lady does not share easily; if you truly want that knowledge you have to prove you are ready for it. In the context of this tarot journey, it is the 4 of Swords taken to it deepest level.

The actions associated with the High Priestess are:
using your intuition
trusting your inner voice
opening to dreams and imagination
understanding the possibilities
opening to what could be
allowing development

The Star
A beautiful symbol of hope, healing and renewal, the Star is a wonderful card to end the Yule Tarot Journey with. Looking up to the light of the Star after our time in the dark underground somehow transports us away from ourselves and onto a higher plane. The Star promises that after the upheaval and emotional work done throughout Samhain and Yule, there is hope and healing (which is symbolized by the pool of water) Open your heart and release your fears and doubt; the Star is the Tarot's way of saying that the/your Goddess is with you through this journey. Take some time to swim in those healing waters before heading back to the real world, your work is beginning and it will be beautiful to watch unfold. While the Star gives us light, hope, healing and protection, it is not a card of practical solutions and answers; just love and confirmation.

Actions that are associated with the Star card are:
realizing an inner strength

experiencing peace of mind, counting your blessings

having faith in the future, creating

The Sacred Days of Yule Spread

This spread consists of 12 cards that can be read in two ways ~ June Kaminski, the woman who created this spread, uses this spread over 12 days by turning over one card a day and reflecting or meditating on the meaning and message of each card for an entire day to fully absorb it's meaning. You can follow this method or you can read all 12 at once ~ tarot spreads are completely up to you in the way in which they are read.

Card 1 ~ Mother Night of Dreams. Look for a particular message in your dreams. What are your dreams trying to tell you?
Card 2 ~ Winter Solstice. This card shows us how to connect to the light within and without.
Card 3 ~ The time of Beth. The inner blocks and resistance that is holding us back from following our dreams.
Card 4 ~ Hopi time of renewal. The best way to seek purification and renewal and build tolerance of others.
Card 5 ~ Feast of Mothers. How to connect to the spirits of our ancestors and ask for wisdom and guidance.
Card 6 ~ Festival of Life. How to connect directly with spirit.
Card 7 ~ Yuletide. How to express nurturance, attend to our families and express protective energies to others
Card 8 ~ Birth of Freyja. Issues of love, luck, artistic and creative expression and feminine wisdom.
Card 9 ~ Feast of Alcyonne. A personal inner message, one that speaks directly to your heart and spirit
Card 10 ~ Day of Nymphs. Connect to your playful side, your inner child and how best to cultivate this aspect of yourself.
Card 11 ~ Day of Res. How to walk your path in a relaxed and confident way ~ with the ability to deal with stressful situations in a philosophical, detached way.
Card 12 ~ Hogmany. How to release the old and let in the new. This relates to both your inner and outer worlds.

Take the time this Yule to truly contemplate who you are, what you want, how to walk your path and more importantly ~ know you are protected, loved and very much a part of this world. The Goddess doesn't make rubbish and it is time for you to realize your potential and shine as bright as the Star!

Cute Little Quiz

I found this cute little quiz while I was ...doing "research" for a forthcoming article haha. I am a real sucker for these sorts of quizes; they are a little bit of fun hat come on through to lighten up your day :o)

I got the High Priestess, which I thought was ironic seeing as she was the subject of my last article and is one of my favourite cards.

Give it a go and see what fate lies in store for you haha.


Monday, June 14, 2010

A Tale of Two High Priestesses

“Trust your intuition,” the High priestess urges us,” trust your inner voice, open yourself to your dreams and imagination and become aware of a larger realty.”

The High Priestess is the guardian of the unconscious and is the feminine, inactive balance to the active masculine Magician. She is a passive well of wisdom & knowledge with a deep understanding of the inner mysteries, a magickal power of stillness and depth.

When she appears to you in a reading, she is challenging you to go deeper, look beyond the surface to see what is hidden or obscure. The High Priestess comes forward to remind you of your vast potential ~ that you hold unlimited possibilities within yourself. This is the time to use your intuition to connect to the deeper mysteries within yourself, in stillness through quiet contemplation, meditation and study. This is the time to use your dreams and intuition as a gateway to hidden wisdom. She is urging you to go deeper into yourself to further your spiritual development.

The High Priestess has always been my favourite card ~ I am only ever tempted to buy a new deck if I feel connected to the High Priestess card. In my first (and still most frequently used) deck, the Rider-Waite/Smith deck, the High Priestess is seated before a gateway concealed by a thin veil, holding the Tora (hidden knowledge) in her arms and flanked by either side by the pillars of Jachin and Boaz, representing the catabolic and anabolic forces of life ~ the Goddess/Universe/Lifeforce in her/it’s destructive and creative forms. She is the picture of serene wisdom and knowledge, the patient teacher waiting for her student to come to her. She has knowledge to impart, but only to those who seek her out. Her power is passive, but undeniable. She is confident in her power, but does not have to assert it, nor does she seek out her students. If you want her wisdom you have to seek it!

In stark contrast to this is the High Priestess from the Druidcraft deck, a beautiful deck I have started working with. In this deck, the High Priestess, rather then sitting patiently as the perfect sculpture of inactive wisdom, is standing at the entrance to the realm of inner wisdom, the Otherworld and the unconcious, arms upraised and standing completely in her own power, in a trance of ecstasy drawing down the power of the moon and the Earth. There is no doubting the magick in this woman’s being, nor the wisdom represented by her book of shadows on the altar before her. Her power is internal, channelling the power of the Goddess, the Moon and her altar; she is guided by the soundless voice, looks on only that which is invisible and wants you to realise that you are the Temple to your own mystery and initiation into the deeper wisdom. Her passivity is strong and fertile, and demonstrates the power of reflection and depth. She is so much more active then most traditional High Priestesses ~ she actively stands in your way, almost daring you to find your stillness, build your Temple inside and take hold of your passive power. Traditional High Priestesses are normally sitting in a cave, underground or in a room, waiting for their students to seek them out, whereas the Druidcraft High Priestess blocks your path to the Gateway, challenging you to find your depth ~ you can not ignore this lady!

I love the High Priestess because she encourages us to find the inner mystery of ourselves, to uncover all the hidden knowledge of past lifetimes, this lifetime, the world we live in, the spiritual path we follow. She encourages us, empowers us and always believes in our vast potential ~ something we ourselves often fail to do. Her lesson to us is to always seek, always remember the passive power of stillness and meditation, and to always reach the depths within ourselves.

High Priestess Spread
Card 1 & 2 ~ This is what lies beneath the surface, something that is beginning to become clear to you; a truth, a lesson.
Card 3 & 4 ~ This is what lies deep and hidden ~ you may just be touching upon this in your spiritual journey, most likely this is so deep and hidden that you have not yet touched upon this, but it is a lesson or truth that is waiting for you.
Card 5 ~ the Ultimate truth you are to learn in this time of your spiritual journey.


3 4

1 2

Learning the Tarot ~ by Joan Bunning
The Idiot’s Guide to Tarot ~ Arlene Tognetti and Lisa Lenard
The Druidcraft Tarot ~ Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm

Monday, May 3, 2010

Sacred Samhain, Sacred Tarot

Samhain marks the time when the year starts to wane and venture towards the Winter Solstice. It is a festival of darkness and death which is balanced at the opposite point of the Wheel of the Year by Beltane, a festival of life and fertility. Samhain is not only a time to honor and remember our ancestors, family members, friends, pets and other loved ones, but also a time for us to seek a better understanding of our psyches and the depths of ourselves. At this time, the veil between the worlds is at it's thinnest ~ we can see into the depths of ourselves to seek understanding, guidance and to remember our roots.

The tarot is a perfect tool for exploring the self, for taking the journey into the void, to seek guidance and a higher understanding of ourselves.

Tarot is a passion of mine and I love to incorporate tarot into my rituals and everyday life. For every turn of the Wheel of Life there are cards from the Major Arcana of the tarot that incorporate the energy and lessons of each Sabbat.

For me, Samhain is best represented by Death and The Hermit.

In most decks, the Death card shows a skeleton death figure bringing death to all he touches ~ the King with his fallen crown, the Bishop, the woman and the child. But there is a sun rising in the distance, a symbol of new beginnings and hope, reminding us that for every ending there is a new and brighter beginning waiting to follow.

The Death card is a powerful energy, for who can not look upon the figure of death in these cards and not feel uneasy? He brings with him endings, transition, elimination and explicable forces. Of course, the Death card rarely relates to a physical death, but rather, a transition to a new state. Death is not just the physical ending; it is something that occurs continuously at many levels. At every moment, we die to the present to allow the unfolding of the future. At Samhain, this lesson is never more present. We are honoring those who came before us and taught us the lessons that have helped shape the beings we are today; we are also exploring the depths of ourselves ~ we are searching for what gives us our meaning, and eliminating that which no longer fits and has no further use in our lives. The Death card itself is a card that initiates great change; while there may be sadness and reluctance, there is also relief and a sense of closure. The Death card is also about “getting down to basics”, focusing on what is important and removing the unnecessary.
Death is associated with ending, transition, elimination and inexorable forces.

Which of these actions are going to be part of your Samhain celebrations?
Putting the past behind you
Concluding unfinished business
Closing one door to open another
Changing status
Waiting in an in-between state
Moving from the known to the unknown
Shedding old attitudes
Concentrating on essentials
Cutting out what isn't necessary
Inexorable forces
Riding your fate
Being part of a powerful movement
Accepting the inevitable

The other card that has particular meaning for me at Samhain is The Hermit. The Hermit is traditionally represented by a grey bearded fellow who has chosen to withdraw from society to live a life of seclusion. He wishes to focus on the inner world and the search for wisdom, and knows this will only come from quiet and solitude.

Samhain is a time that allows us to search for the deeper reality that is beyond the obvious in our life. This quest is solitary; the answers we seek lie in ourselves, not the external world or in others. This is a search for truth that will be found with the stripping of diversions, which directly relates to the stripping away of the unnecessary we face with the Death card.
The actions associated with the Hermit are introspection, searching, guidance and solitude.

Which of these will you be practicing in your search for your wisdom this Samhain?
Focusing inward
Quietening yourself
Looking for answers within
Seeking greater understanding
Going on a personal quest
Needing more and being prepared to search
Desiring stillness
Giving up distractions
Withdrawing from the world

One of my favorite things to do with the tarot each Sabbat is do a ritual spread that applies particularly to the energies and lessons contained within the Sabbat. One I have found for Samhain is called the Fruit of Wisdom layout.

Place your first card in the middle of your table, and place five other cards in a circle clockwise from the top.

Card One ~ Reflection, fears and blocks
What is holding you back from creating the life you want? What blocks you from your desires?

Card Two ~ Acceptance
Who or what do you need to accept? What cannot be changed?

Card Three ~ Release and let go
What is no longer useful to you? What habits, relationships or thought patterns are worn out?

Card Four ~ Keep and nurture
What talents, skills and abilities do you need to keep and nurture?

Card Five ~Crone's wisdom
What is your intuition telling you? What can you learn from your situation?

Card Six ~ Cauldron of rebirth
What future are you building as a result of reflecting, accepting, releasing and nurturing?

For those who like a bit more “meat” to their readings, try this un-named spread:
1 2 3
4 5 6
7 8 9
10 11 12

Cards 1-3 ~ What are the karmic lessons I need to learn in this cycle of growth?
Cards 4-6 ~ What are the strengths I possess which will aid me in my growth?
Cards 7-9 ~ What are the obstacles I face in my current cycle of growth?
Cards 10-12 ~ What guidance will aid me in my journey?
Card 13 ~ What is the overall nature of the energy I am working with this cycle?

To complete your reading, meditate with the cards, write a journal entry or keep the cards on your altar as part of your Samhain ritual.

A lovely affirmation for this time is “I awaken to the Samhain season and release all that is holding me back from fulfilling my spirit's desire. This, or something better, is manifesting for me now, for the good of all and harming none.”

Dance the tightrope of Samhain with brilliance and caution beautiful children of the Goddess!

Samhain Down Under

What an amazing Samhain we have had Down Under! I was privileged enough to be part of a beautiful ritual held at the glorious Lady C's house where the energies of the people and the sabbat were hard at work creating an otherworld sacred space.

I was also privileged to witness one of my best friends make her dedication to the Morrigan. Such a beautiful verse, I was honoured to be there to watch you make that vow.

And on the subject of vows...I also re-dedicated to my own patron Goddess, Hecate. I took my inspiration for my dedication from several different places and just "mashed it up" so to speak.

Dedication to Hecate

Hecate, radiant ancient Queen,
You are the Maiden who gives strength, courage and freedom
You are the Mother who brings love and life
You are the Crone, the Dark Mother, Queen of the world of spirits, Guardian of the crossroads, Carrier of Wisdom, Lady of the Wild Beasts, Keeper of the Keys
A light in the darkness with torches held high,
You are the mysterious Queen with hounds by your side,
You are the Goddess who knows your way in the realm of spirits, who has dominion over Earth, Sea and Sky
All the secret powers of nature are at your command
You are justice, death, vengeance, wisdom
I honour you Hecate, and am conscious of you each day in my life.
The flame to guide, the flame to purge, walk at my side yet with shadows merge,
Illuminate the path to my hidden soul.
Hecate, Hecate, holding the key, guarding the gateway inside of me
Beautiful Maiden, Mother, Crone
tearing away blood, sinew and bone
Rip out what's decaying and holding me back
Hecate, mother, sister, friend, I follow your ways and the wisdom you lend
I am your daughter; I am your priestess
Join me in this rite tonight, guide me, show me new paths, inspire my life, share with me your wisdom, hear my call.
Hail Hecate!