Divination

Tarot Talk

February, 2019

The King of Wands

(The Four of Wands card is from the artist Ciro Marchetti http://www.ciromarchetti.com/)**

We haven’t looked at the Court Cards of the Tarot for a while. This month we will return to the Tarot “royals” and get to know the King of Wands. First, we should review some foundational information.

The 78 cards of a Tarot deck consist of 22 Major Arcana cards (dealing with broader and more far-reaching life experience issues, and archetypes that are easy for us to identify with and connect with at some point in our lives) and 56 Minor Arcana cards (customarily grouped into four categories or suits that represent the four elements and dealing with day-to-day issues).

The Court Cards are a part of the Minor Arcana, acting as a representation of the family unit and individually representing particular personality traits of people, places and events in our lives. These cards can also tell us about our own personality, and how it is perceived by others. Thinking of Tarot cards as people, with each card having an individual personality, is particularly appropriate for the Court Cards, as they are the most human of all the cards in a Tarot deck. Even the illustrations for the Court Cards show humans in the majority of Tarot decks.

Instead of numbers, Court Cards have rank. The lowest ranking Court Card is the Page, the messenger or intern or apprentice who is still learning of life and living, but who is also good at dealing with the unexpected. Next comes the Knight, the representation of strong, focused and even excessive manifestations of his suit.

Both the Queen and the King represent mature adults. The Queen manifests her suit in a feminine or yin or inner way, and the King manifests his suit in a masculine or yang or outer way. This manifestation does not necessarily correspond to gender; a man can be represented by a Tarot Queen if he has a strong inner focus, and a woman can be represented by a Tarot King if she projects a strong sense of authority. Since we are talking about the King of Wands today, we already know that our King will manifest his suit in an outer yet mature manner. Our King is concerned with results; he exhibits outer, public expertise in his field, and he is an authority figure. In many ways, the Kings of the Tarot Court can be seen as four facets of The Emperor of the Major Arcana.

Our King’s suit this month is Wands, corresponding with the element of Fire. Besides the element of Fire, the playing card suit of Clubs, and the cardinal direction of South. All of the cards of the suit of Wands teach us about Fiery attributes like creativity, ambition, growth, passion and actions, and how their presence or absence can affect our lives. The suit of Wands represents our ability to experience joy and passion (including sexual passion), and the Wands cards can represent our creativity, our ability to be artistic or to be drawn to beautiful things. Fire often represents Spirit or the Divine Will, and Wands cards also can present the possibility of some interaction with Spirit or the Divine, or actions or passions manifesting in line with Divine Will.

In the Tarot Court, the suit of the card has an elemental correspondence, and the rank of the card has an elemental correspondence. Pages correspond with Earth, Knights correspond with either Air or Fire (depending on the deck), Queens correspond with Water, and Kings correspond with either Air or Fire (depending on the deck). Since we are talking about a King today, we are also talking about the element of Air, or the element of Fire, depending on the deck. For our purposes today, we will see the King of Wands as Fire of Fire.

In its natural state, the element of Fire is hot and dry. It tends to bring spontaneous change or impulsive, energetic effects. Fire transforms everything in our world. Fire can sanitize or cleanse, and it can destroy everything in its path; Fire can warm us and keep us safe, or it can kill us.

The element of Fire can be seen as kinetic, or even electric. It has the power to create greatness (when we are inspired to be better than we think we can be), or destruction (when we believe we are greater than we actually are). Fire fuels innovation, but an imbalance or lack of Fire can bring austerity.

Like the other cards of the Tarot, Court Cards have astrological correspondences. Our King of Wands corresponds with the cusp or joining point of the signs of Cancer and Leo.

Cancer is responsive, emotional and generous, but also is moody, insecure or sensitive, and is often affected by the environment and people nearby. Those born under the sign of Cancer, the 4th sign of the zodiac, tend to experience strong feelings and emotions, and they are very protective of those feelings and emotions. Cancer people tend to be very attuned to the past, and like to have mementos of the times and people of their childhood. Cancer people place a high importance on family, both family of the blood and family of the heart, and nurture and protect those they love. Cancer people are hard workers, and that paycheck is important not only for what it will buy, but also for the security it provides.

Leo is the 5th sign of the zodiac, located in the middle of Summer. The symbol of Leo is the Lion, regal and strong, magnetic and forceful. Leos are determined, ambitious, and highly motivated; add in their charm and they are natural leaders who attract many friends. They make good organizers and motivators, and the best use of a Leo is as the leader of a large group. Leo is the most expressive sign in the zodiac, and those born under this sign are showmen who are exuberant and passionate, but they are also susceptible to flattery.

Cancer and Leo are ruled by elements, planets, and traits that are not similar. Cancer is a cardinal water sign ruled by the moon, and Leo is a fixed fire sign ruled by the sun. Cancer is considered to be quite sensitive and docile, but can survive and even manipulate. Leo is considered to be powerful and dominant, but can move from roaring to purring if treated in the right manner. Thus, this cusp can manifest an interesting set of personality traits, such as the memory of an elephant, a comfort with being the center of drama, being driven by high ambitions and the need to achieve something bigger than oneself. Love, devotion, family, and loyalty form an integral aspect of both of these signs, and is a strong part of this cusp.

Because they are Minor Arcana cards, Court Cards also correspond with a sephira on the Tree of Life. The Kings correspond with the sephira of Chokmah, along with all of the Twos of the Minor Arcana and the element of Fire. The Kings sit at the top of the Pillar of Force in the sephira of Chokmah, representing the Sacred Masculine and the Catalyst of Life. Chokmah is seen as dynamic thrust, the Ultimate Positive, the Great Stimulator and the Great Fertilizer (one of the symbols of Chokmah is the penis), and thus is connected to the Wheel of the Year. The energies of this sephira represent dynamic male energy and are the origin of vital force and polarity.

The Llewellyn Welsh King of Wands shows a mature man sitting on a throne, holding a Wand with green leaves sprouting and ribbons blowing. This card is about status, honor, and personal achievement that not only brings material success, but also contributions related to the arts, the sciences or to quality of life. In this card there is the passion of the Knight, however there is stability to balance out that passion, allowing the achievement of a position of influence and of satisfaction.

In the Thoth Tarot, the Kings are known as Knights (the Knights are called Princes in this deck), and Crowley sees the Knight (King) of Wands as being the strongest of the Court Cards. In “Understanding Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot,” DuQuette describes the Knight (King) of Wands as like “. . . riding a rocket, and that can be very risky. If the rocket isn’t aimed properly, he or she misses the target. If there is not enough fuel, he or she crashes. If there is too much fuel, the person explodes. But if everything goes well, it is the most spectacular of successes.” I could not describe the powerful yet risky energies of this card in a better way.

The Naked Tarot describes the King of Wands as someone you either admire or envy, someone whose charisma and confidence draw others like a moth to a flame. The King of Wands is compelled to accomplish something meaningful with his life, and thus he is appalled and enraged by dishonesty and incompetence. This King thrives on challenges and handles stress with ease, and can’t be bought or lured from his chosen path. His beneficial traits are an interest in self-growth and personal advancement, a fascination with the ideas, inventions and achievements of others, the courage to try new things, and the ability to use constructive criticism to bring progress. His detrimental traits are a tendency to do too much, to offend others (either accidentally or on purpose), and to be a control freak.

The Legacy of the Divine King of Wands stands, glowing scepter in his hands, before a fire that is contained and controlled. His passion is idealistic, and his intellect strengthens his will. His gift is leadership, and his self-confidence and charisma are tempered by his need to nurture and protect his loved ones.

The Kings of the Tarot Court tend to be proactive, and the King of Wands is the most proactive of them all. He comes up with valuable ideas, but he also initiates the manifestation of the ideas of others. He is open to hearing challenges to his own ideas; indeed he often sees those challenges as opportunities. The King of Wands expects to be obeyed; he may ask for courage, boldness, and commitment, and expect innovation and generosity and the taking of responsibility from others, but he will ask the same things of himself.

Yes, the King of Wands can tend toward arrogance and rudeness, egotism and a tendency to be a despot, but he can also be a wise and loving father, a visionary who inspires others to enthusiasm, and a mentor with a powerful ability to motivate others to be the best they can be. The King of Wands makes his own luck, and he tells us that we can make our own luck, too!

** We Feature the art of Ciro Marchetti as part of Tarot Talk. You can view his work and Decks at http://www.ciromarchetti.com/.

The Gilded Tarot (Book and Tarot Deck Set) on Amazon

***

About the Author:

Raushanna is a lifetime resident of New Jersey. As well as a professional Tarot Reader and Teacher, she is a practicing Wiccan (Third Degree, Sacred Mists Coven), a Usui Reiki Master/Teacher, a certified Vedic Thai-Yoga Massage Bodyworker, a 500-hr RYT Yoga Teacher specializing in chair assisted Yoga for movement disorders, and a Middle Eastern dance performer, choreographer and teacher.  Raushanna bought her first Tarot deck in 2005, and was instantly captivated by the images on the cards and the vast, deep and textured messages to be gleaned from their symbols. She loves reading about, writing about, and talking about the Tarot, and anything occult, mystical, or spiritual, as well as anything connected to the human subtle body. She has published a book, “The Emerald Tablet: My 24-Day Journal to Understanding,” and is currently working on a book about the Tarot, pathworking and the Tree of Life. Raushanna documents her experiences and her daily card throws in her blog, DancingSparkles.blogspot.com, which has been in existence since 2009. She and her husband, her son and step son, and her numerous friends and large extended family can often be found on the beaches, bike paths and hiking trails of the Cape May, NJ area.

The Emerald Tablet: My 24-Day Journal to Understanding on Amazon

The Road to Runes

February, 2019

The Road to Runes: Dagaz and Breakthroughs

Reading the Elder Futhark Runes as a form of divination is intriguing, amazing and enlightening.

Remember last month when I pulled the rune Isa? I was locked in a stagnant situation, unsure whether to move forwards forcefully or relax and wait out the freeze. My day job, which I had wanted to leave for some time, was tentatively offering opportunities but then snatching them away, leaving me stuck and not knowing whether to take the plunge.

Well, after some contemplation, I realised Isa was telling me that I was allowing myself to be frozen. I was giving in to the temptation to stare into the frozen lake; to marvel at the river that has stopped flowing. So, I quit! That’s right, beloved readers, I am outta there! I am now a full-time freelance writer and student of the esoteric and occult.

I was grateful for the rune’s guidance. Ultimately, I guess I would have made the same decision regardless of that particular rune reading. However, it was illuminating to realise just how stuck I had become, and how much longer I could be potentially stuck there if I didn’t make a move.

After my exploration of Isa, I pulled the rune Dagaz. Two triangles or arrows touch points, or as I see it, one continuous line zig-zags around a central point. The name means ‘day’ or dawn, and it’s associated with awakenings and breakthroughs. How astonishing that I should have pulled this rune just as I was fretting about being stuck somewhere, and never finding a breakthrough! It certainly seemed like a clear message.

Dagaz is associated with things that have been planned and talked about coming to fruition. The imagination has been hard at work. Now it’s time for action. Things you never quite understood or realised are suddenly so clear or obvious.

Dagaz is also about the inevitability of change. It’s almost directly opposed to Isa in this way. Isa is frozen, cold, unmoving, only hinting at the growth to come after the cold winter. Dagaz is a sure reminder that the world turns, the seasons move on and everything changes.

Dagaz is also about mystical and spiritual inspiration; being open to divine intervention. I feel that this is really appropriate right now, when I have taken a leap of faith quite literally with regards to the work situation, but also allowed myself to explore the possibilities of this realm of divination and interpretation of signs and messages.

I realise I have only scratched the surface of this intriguing rune, but I’m so blown away by how accurate and meaningful this reading is. Isa told me I was stuck, and reminded me that by staying where I was and not taking action I could metaphorically freeze to death. Dagaz highlighted that I’ve made myself receptive to these insights, showed me that action would be the way to break free, and assured me that moving away from my work-based debacle was the right thing to do, no matter how drastic.

Today, I pulled the rune Tiwaz, Tyr’s rune; the rune of justice and sacrifice. I’ll write more about this and what it may mean for me in next month’s column. Don’t forget, you can tweet me @Mabherick if you want me to focus on a particular rune for this column. Until next time!

***

About the Author:

Mabh Savage is a Pagan author, poet and musician, as well as a freelance journalist.

She is the author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors and Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways.

A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors on Amazon

Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways on Amazon

Tarot Talk

January, 2019

The Nine of Wands

(The Four of Wands card is from the artist Ciro Marchetti http://www.ciromarchetti.com/)**

This month we will go back to the 9’s of the Minor Arcana and talk about the Nine of Wands. This is a Minor Arcana card so we know right away that the message offered by this card will most likely be more immediate in nature, or will most likely be connected to more day-to-day issues. The easiest way to get a decent understanding of a Minor Arcana card is to examine its number, or in the case of Court Cards, its rank, and to examine its suit. We can also find useful information within the image on the card.

The traditional image of the Nine of Wands is a figure dressed in a red tunic standing in front of a wall of 8 Wands, sometimes with green leaves sprouting from the Wands. The figure looks tired and is wearing what appears to be a bandage on his head; he leans wearily on the ninth Wand. Wands symbolize support, stability, and singleness of purpose, particularly the Wand on which the figure leans. Behind the wall of Wands are green craggy mountains in the distance, or sometimes rounded hills, symbolizing past challenges already dealt with; the sky is blue with white fluffy fair-weather clouds that symbolize an idea coming from out of the blue. Occasionally, the figure is on one knee, leaning on his wand with his head bowed; one card even shows the figure from the back, as if the observer is standing behind that wall of Wands, looking in the same direction as the figure.

Let’s look at the number 9. I see the number 9 as representing the fullness or completeness of effect or manifestation. We are talking about completeNESS here, not compleTION or the winding up of a cycle. The number 9 represents our perceptions as we reach the limit of our understanding of or experience of a situation, just before we wind up the process and take another step up the ladder in order to begin the whole process again. In our spoken language, we say that we are going to “go the whole nine yards” when we intend to experience something to the fullest, and that is what the number 9 can tell us in the Tarot.

So just by looking at the number of our card, we already know that the Nine of Wands is going to present an intense experience. This will not necessarily indicate that we are done with the experience, but rather that we are at the “peak of the wave” just before the wave tips over and disseminates its energy onto the shore. Now, we narrow down our interpretation by looking at the suit of the card: the suit of Wands.

For this discussion we will accept that the suit of Wands corresponds to the element of Fire. This is not always the case, depending on the deck being used; some see Wands as being connected to Air. Besides the element of Fire, the suit of Wands corresponds with the playing card suit of Clubs, and the cardinal direction of South. In its natural state, the element of Fire is hot and dry. It tends to bring spontaneous change or impulsive and energetic effects. Fire is passionate and it transforms everything it touches, everything in our world. Fire can sanitize or cleanse, and it can destroy everything in its path; Fire can warm us and keep us safe, or it can kill us.

All of the cards of the suit of Wands (including the Nine of Wands) teach us about Fiery attributes like creativity, ambition, growth, passion and actions, and how their presence or absence can affect our lives. The suit of Wands represents our ability to experience joy and passion (including sexual passion), and the Wands cards can represent our creativity, our ability to be artistic or to be drawn to beautiful things. Fire often represents Spirit or the Divine Will, and Wands cards also can present the possibility of some interaction with Spirit or the Divine, or actions or passions manifesting in line with Divine Will.

The element of Fire can be seen as kinetic, or even electric. It has the power to create greatness (when we are inspired to be better than we think we can be), or destruction (when we believe we are greater than we actually are). Fire fuels innovation; action and energy are enhanced by this element, but so are destruction and oppression.

The astrological correspondence for the Nine of Wands is the Moon in the astrological sign of Sagittarius.

The Moon is our planet’s only satellite, and it is large enough for its gravity to affect our Earth. The Moon actually stabilizes the Earth’s orbit around the Sun, and it produces the regular ebb and flow of the tides. The lunar day syncs up with its orbit around Earth so that the same side of the Moon always faces the Earth. Astrologically the Moon is associated with a person’s emotional make-up, unconscious habits, rhythms, memories, moods, and a person’s ability to react and adapt to his or her environment. It is also associated with Yin energy, the receptive feminine life principal, maternal instincts or the urge to nurture, the home, the need for security, and the past, especially early experiences and childhood.

Sagittarius, the 9th sign of the zodiac, is often seen as the wanderer, but remember, not all those who wander are lost. Sagittarius is the truth-seeker, the enthusiastic consumer of information who loves knowledge achieved by traveling the world and talking to everyone. The life quest of a Sagittarian is to understand the meaning of life, using both spiritual and philosophical disciplines to digest what they learn. This is a mutable Fire sign, and thus while exploration and adventure are a necessary part of life, procrastination is also a danger. Sagittarius corresponds with Jupiter, and is expansive in all things, is an effective healer, and can be a bridge between humans and animals.

When the Moon is in Sagittarius, we have an ability to tap into instincts connected to emotions, dreams and rhythms. This combination of energies is active, independent and optimistic, and not afraid to create a unique path. Being in one place can feel confining, but the solution is to expand and learn and to teach others what we learn. These energies are optimistic, always expecting things to go well. And if they don’t pan out, the mutable Sag/Moon combination is very adaptable, and will go with the flow without hesitation in order to find a new solution.

Each of the 78 cards in a Tarot deck also has a home on the Tree of Life of the Qabalah; all of the Nines correspond to the sephira (or sphere) of Yesod. Yesod is the first sphere out of (and the last sphere into) the sephira that represents the physical world, Malkuth. Yesod is about things such as emotions and feelings, which are directly connected to our physical existence, but not actually physical themselves. Yesod is also the home of our life force, our personality, and the Self. It is only above Yesod that the Tree begins to branch out. This reminds us that emotions and feelings and an awareness of our life force and our personality are natural processes, and that exploring them and understanding them is an important part of our own evolutionary process.

The Llewellyn Welsh Tarot Nine of Wands shows the traditional figure leaning on a Wand standing before a wall of Wands; all of the Wands have leaves growing from their tops. This figure has a bandage on his head and one of his arms is in a sling, and he is gazing off to the side. Behind him are two rounded mountains. The keywords for this card are order, control, planning, experience, guarding one’s assets, anticipating hostility. Here we have a disciplined warrior who has experienced growth and achieved wisdom through successfully traversing a perilous passage.

The Nine of Wands of the Thoth Tarot is named “Strength,” and its keywords are strength (sometimes scientifically applied), power, health, recovery from a sickness. Here we have a steady force that cannot be shaken, and even if injury is present, recovery is not in doubt. While Crowley saw both the Moon and Sagittarius as weak, he still named this card Strength. However, the strength of the Nine of Wands lies in its ability to change. “Defense, to be effective, must be mobile.”

The image on the Wild Unknown Tarot Nine of Wands shows a view from the bottom of a stairway made from nine Wands. The stairway reaches far upward, and it appears that if we can find the strength and stamina to climb to the top, we just might be able to touch the beautiful golden crescent in the sky. This is an optimistic metaphor for the Nine of Wands, showing us that if we can keep focused on our own inner Fire and fine-tune our ability to direct the resulting energy for a sufficient amount of time and in the correct manner, we will make it to the top. Mental discipline and focus, and the right amount of exertion, will do the trick.

The Shadowscapes Tarot Nine of Wands shows a warrior seated on a mighty mythical steed, holding his Wand and gazing into the distance with clear eyes and an alert mind. This guardian is trained and ready but is untried in real life, and yet he sits tall and proud and at attention, whether the sun shines or the darkness gathers. This card is about vigilance, about keeping some strength in reserve, and about being prepared for any eventuality. We are also told to remember that sometimes our most powerful abilities do not show themselves until we are actually put to the test.

The Legacy of the Divine Tarot Nine of Wands shows a figure kneeling on one knee on rocky ground with head bowed, grasping a Wand with a crystal tip. Behind the kneeling figure are eight other Wands with crystal tips that glow in the rays of a setting sun. A large waxing moon shines in the golden sky. This card tells of great strength and endurance that have achieved much but have also taken a great toll. It tells us that we have one more challenge to overcome, and we will need to dig deep in order to struggle and overcome. Here we are told that if something does not kill us, it will make us stronger.

The Naked Tarot describes the Nine of Wands as a castle surrounded by a moat, grueling circumstances, the final push with almost-dead batteries, going the distance, running a marathon, and sticking it out. This card is personified by Rocky Balboa, Murphy’s Law, the Great Wall of China, and the final moments of a close football game.

The Nine of Wands tells of the practical application of wisdom that has been attained through resilience and focus. This card tells us that for the moment, we are in a safe place. We may be battered and exhausted, but now is the time to remain vigilant and focused so we can hold our position firmly for just a bit longer, and we will win the day.

The danger here is that we will surrender to the attitudes, habits or situations that have tempted or derailed us in the past. Unexpected challenges or close calls can make us want to give up, but we need to remember that everything happens for a reason, and we will gain something of value no matter what, if we just fond the strength to hold firm.

There is an overall theme here. The Nine of Wands is not about victory or defeat, but rather it is about putting up a good fight. It is about accepting that sometimes the very thing we are fighting for can’t be seen with the physical eyes because it is an ideal, not an item. Perhaps in the end, the victory we win will be against the stumbling blocks of pessimism and procrastination.

** We Feature the art of Ciro Marchetti as part of Tarot Talk. You can view his work and Decks at http://www.ciromarchetti.com/.

The Gilded Tarot (Book and Tarot Deck Set) on Amazon

***

About the Author:

Raushanna is a lifetime resident of New Jersey. As well as a professional Tarot Reader and Teacher, she is a practicing Wiccan (Third Degree, Sacred Mists Coven), a Usui Reiki Master/Teacher, a certified Vedic Thai-Yoga Massage Bodyworker, a 500-hr RYT Yoga Teacher specializing in chair assisted Yoga for movement disorders, and a Middle Eastern dance performer, choreographer and teacher.  Raushanna bought her first Tarot deck in 2005, and was instantly captivated by the images on the cards and the vast, deep and textured messages to be gleaned from their symbols. She loves reading about, writing about, and talking about the Tarot, and anything occult, mystical, or spiritual, as well as anything connected to the human subtle body. She has published a book, “The Emerald Tablet: My 24-Day Journal to Understanding,” and is currently working on a book about the Tarot, pathworking and the Tree of Life. Raushanna documents her experiences and her daily card throws in her blog, DancingSparkles.blogspot.com, which has been in existence since 2009. She and her husband, her son and step son, and her numerous friends and large extended family can often be found on the beaches, bike paths and hiking trails of the Cape May, NJ area.

The Emerald Tablet: My 24-Day Journal to Understanding on Amazon

The Road to Runes

January, 2019

The Road to Runes: Isa, Waiting for the Thaw

Isa means ‘ice’ and is associated with stillness, stagnation and immobility. It is the third rune in the second aett of the Elder Futhark, also known as Hagal’s aett.

Today I was pondering a frustrating work problem and decided to see what the runes had to say. My situation was that I wanted to make a change, but there was the possibility of a certain opportunity if I stayed where I was for the time being. It’s that age-old question immortalised by The Clash: should I stay, or should I go?

Stillness

I drew the rune Isa, which literally means ‘Ice’. Isa is associated with stillness and stasis. Ice seems to render flowing and fluid water suddenly still and motionless. It stops things in their tracks, yet it is beautiful and alluring. This makes it all the more dangerous, as while we pause, transfixed by cold beauty, we are not moving forward and completing our journey. Of course, sometimes a moment of stillness can be refreshing and rejuvenating. But when we stay still for too long, we become stiff, useless, and even forget why we were moving forward in the first place.

This rune indicates that I am stuck. The work situation that I was worried about shows no signs of resolving itself anytime soon, and I am left with the same dilemma; to forcefully break out of the situation or allow things to take their course, no matter how slow and frustrating this may be.

Gestation

Although the frustration of being stuck is my primary reaction to Isa, Isa can mean so much more than this. Just as the earth rests in winter before new growth in spring, so do we sometimes need to let ourselves rest and be still before our lives get back on track. Isa can indicate a period of gestation; a time to let things grow and progress naturally. It could actually be the worst time to change or force change, as now is the time for rest and letting things take their course.

Isa represents Niflheim, the cold and misty world of the dead. It is a place we fear to be; frozen and unmoving, with no chance of life. This is like real-world stagnation. We yearn to be ever moving forward, achieving and progressing. Isa makes us realise that sometimes, events which are outside our control can prevent us from moving forward, and that we have to accept that and not let that stagnation prevent us from being the best we can be. Continue to live our lives, as well as we can, and trust that when the ice thaws, the water will flow again. Our river will move inexorably towards the sea.

The rune seems to tell me I just need to wait, for now. However, I should keep working at my problem, checking in, being cautious and aware of new information and changes. I should not let my ego take over but remain calm and avoid giving in to frustration. If I follow my own process and stay true to myself, eventually the ice will thaw, the problem will become clearer and the solution may even become visible.

As an afterthought, I drew another rune, which was Dagaz, the rune of breakthroughs. This gave me more hope, and I’ll discuss this further in next month’s article. Don’t forget, you can tweet me @Mabherick if you want me to focus on a particular rune for this column. Until next time!

***

About the Author:

Mabh Savage is a Pagan author, poet and musician, as well as a freelance journalist.

She is the author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors and Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways.

A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors on Amazon

Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways on Amazon

The Road to Runes

December, 2018

The Road to Runes: The Right Headspace

 

 

Reading runes is a form of divination. All forms of divination require an open mind ready to receive messages and interpret symbols. A stressed and worried mindset will lead to false interpretations, or prevent messages coming through at all. Even the strongest connection between diviner and tools can be blocked by a worried mind or troubled soul.

Of course, we often look for answers from the runes because we are troubled and worried. So how can we stop these worries affecting our divination?

Relax

As an anxious person, believe me, I know this is easier said than done. Relaxation becomes even trickier when you have lots of questions on your mind. However there are several techniques you can use to relax your body, which will normally also help relax your mind.

Listening to music is an old standard for me. Very familiar songs allow me to blank out everything else in my mind, and I often find that belting out a good tune can release a lot of pent-up tension. Classical music can also be very relaxing, but if you’re someone who finds classical music boring, don’t go down this route! Spend some time figuring out which music relaxes you. Are you more relaxed after shouting along to something upbeat? Or by closing your eyes and letting some panpipes wash over you? Services like Spotify are great as they allow you to search for relaxation music and sounds, if you can’t think of anything from your own collection.

The pendulum method, or progressive muscular relaxation (PMR) is also a method I use to help me relax. It also works for sleeplessness. It consists of deliberately tensing groups of muscles, then allowing them to relax. The idea is that for the pendulum to swing the most one way, you first have to pull it all the way in the other direction. So muscles will relax better, or feel more relaxed, after being tense. You may start with your hands, work up to the shoulders, then down to the feet, all the way back up the body leaving neck and face until last. I tend to start with the feet and really take my time. I will talk to myself mentally as I do this: “I’m tensing my toes; I’m relaxing my toes. I’m tensing my feet; I’m relaxing my feet,” and so forth. The combination of muscular relaxation with focusing on the task will leave body and mind loose and ready for anything.

Meditate

Rune meditation is a specific type of meditation designed for understanding the runes better. However, any form of meditation before divination can help make the mind more receptive to messages and more skilled at interpretation. Meditation helps move our mind onto a different level of operating, and allows us to let go of thoughts and feelings which may be bothering us unduly.

Breathing is the key to meditation. A very skilled meditation master advised me that breath is the only tool we ever need. Philosophical, but also accurate. Find yourself a comfortable position. There’s no rule that says you have to sit cross legged, or sit at all. Laying down is perfectly acceptable, although there is the risk of falling asleep! I have joint issues which means it’s very painful for me to sit cross-legged, so I normally sit on a chair or on my sofa, supported by cushions in order to have a straight back whilst remaining relaxed. Once you are comfortable, start to focus on your breath. Breathe naturally, but make a note of it flowing in and out of your body. Notice the breath coming in, then feel it leaving you. In, then out. Imagine yourself breathing in fresh, cooling air, and imagine any stress or tension leaving you with every out breath. Inhale refreshment, exhale stress and worry. Inhale light, expel confusion. Inhale relaxation, exhale aggravation.

If you struggle to breathe normally whilst focusing on your breath, try counting as you breathe. Breathe in through your nose for a slow count of four, then breathe out for a slow count of five. There are lots of different breathing techniques to allow you to enter a meditative state. Once you find your mind starting to relax, you can start to let go of troublesome thoughts. Notice them appear, then just let them drift away. Don’t try to quiet your mind; this is impossible and can make you feel more stressed when you fail. Let the thoughts rumble through your mind but treat them as though you are watching traffic, or the birds flying by. You don’t need to be involved with them right now. Observe them, then let them pass. Stay in this state for as long as is comfortable or until you feel relaxed and comfortable. Always come back to yourself slowly, and gently. Drink some water. Thank yourself for the gift of relaxation. Now you are ready to read your runes.

***

About the Author:

Mabh Savage is a Pagan author, poet and musician, as well as a freelance journalist.

She is the author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors and Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways.

A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors on Amazon

 

Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways on Amazon

Tarot Talk

December, 2018

Four of Wands

(The Four of Wands card is from the artist Ciro Marchetti http://www.ciromarchetti.com/)**

This month we will complete our exploration of the Fours of the Minor Arcana. Last but certainly not least, we will talk about the Four of Wands, and we will think about how a combination of force (Wands/Fire) and form (the number 4) can interact within the Tarot Minors.

Yes, the Four of Wands is a Minor Arcana card, so as we know, the message offered by this card will most likely be more immediate in nature, or will most likely be connected to more day-to-day issues. As we have discovered during this journey through the cards, the easiest way to get a decent understanding of a Minor Arcana card is to examine its number (or in the case of Court Cards, its rank) and to examine its suit. In this case, we are dealing with the number 4, and the suit of Wands. As we have already discovered, these two ingredients alone could actually give us enough information about this one card to offer a useful interpretation. We have other useful things to consider, too, such as symbolism, astrology, and more.

The traditional image of the Four of Wands is of a scene of celebration. In the foreground are four Wands, two on the right and two on the left, connected by a garland of flowers tied in place by ribbons, all of which form a gateway or frame for what is beyond. Sometimes the Wands themselves are sprouting leaves and flowers. Through this gateway, we see a large castle or mansion with verdant plantings surrounding it; alongside the walls of the castle is a gathering of well-dressed adults and children. In the middle of the gateway, we see a man and a woman dressed splendidly, joyously holding flowers and greenery over their heads. The sky is clear and golden, and the entire atmosphere is one of peace and wealth and security, and celebration of achievements. This sense of achievement and possibility is sometimes created without people in the image; several cards show the gateway of adorned Wands with a castle on a hill in the distance, and a golden road leading us from the foreground, through the gateway and to that castle, seeming to promise that we won’t be sorry if we travel that road.

This month we are talking about the suit of Wands and the element of Fire. Besides the element of Fire, the suit of Wands corresponds with the playing card suit of Clubs, and the cardinal direction of South. In its natural state, the element of Fire is hot and dry. It tends to bring spontaneous change or impulsive, energetic effects. Fire is passionate in nature and it transforms everything it touches, everything in our world. Fire can sanitize or cleanse, and it can destroy everything in its path; Fire can warm us and keep us safe, or it can kill us.

All of the cards of the suit of Wands (including the Four of Wands) teach us about Fiery attributes like creativity, ambition, growth, passion and actions, and how their presence or absence can affect our lives. The suit of Wands represents our ability to experience joy and passion (including sexual passion), and the Wands cards can represent our creativity, our ability to be artistic or to be drawn to beautiful things. Fire often represents Spirit or the Divine Will, and Wands cards also can present the possibility of some interaction with Spirit or the Divine, or actions or passions manifesting in line with Divine Will.

The element of Fire can be seen as kinetic, or even electric. It has the power to create greatness (when we are inspired to be better than we think we can be), or destruction (when we believe we are greater than we actually are). Fire fuels innovation, but an imbalance or lack of Fire can bring austerity.

The number 4 is about solidification, discipline, balance, authority figures, a foundation being created, calmness, caution, being steady or difficult to shake up. There are four points to a compass, so the number 4 can represent everything around us as it is right now. If we remember that the number 3 usually represents the creation of something new, or the making real of concepts or understandings presented by the number 2, then we can see that the number 4 brings depth or solidity to that creation. On the negative side, the number 4 can represent energies that are slow and plodding, too conservative, or suspicious of or averse to change.

Within the Tarot, the Fours represent the concept of the cube, very stable and hard to tip over; here we have the pause that allows us to take a breath after activating the potential of the Ace through the partnership of the Two in order to manifest the creation of the Three. Briefly, we have the potential to experience an unexpected creative force and the confidence to wield it (the Ace of Wands), the personal power and authority that allows us to be a pioneer (the Two of Wands), and the ability to detach from a focus on ourselves in order to see the big picture and make effective plans (the Three of Wands). The Four of Wands offers a sense of excitement and celebration that comes with the completion of a job well done, as well as an anticipation of experiencing new possibilities that should present themselves thanks to past successes.

The astrological correspondence for the Four of Wands offers us a bit more depth of understanding; the Four of Wands represents the planet Venus when it is in the astrological sign of Aries.

In astrology, the planet Venus is seen as representing the Goddess of Love, Beauty and Pleasure. Venus is a feminine planet, which means its energies are inner and receptive in nature. Venus is associated with feelings and well-being and gentleness, friendship and fidelity, relationships of all kinds, youth, lust, fertility, travel, and an appreciation for art, social life, pleasing the senses, and beauty. And yes, sex and sexual pleasure are a part of this too. Venus is often seen as being a twin planet to our Earth; it orbits the Sun in 225 days, and is the second brightest object in the night sky, the Moon being the brightest. Venus guides us regarding relationships, feelings and love, and regarding giving and receiving, and since Venus is the second-most powerful beneficial planet (Jupiter is the first), we need to listen to her.

The astrological sign of Aries is a cardinal Fire sign that is a catalyst, a person that inspires others by being totally committed to his or her own vision. Aries is the first sign of the zodiac, the leader of the pack, first in line to get things going. Those born under this sign prefer to initiate, and they won’t shy away from anything new. Aries people are action oriented, assertive, and competitive. Aries is ruled by Mars, the God of War, bold and aggressive, and able to tap into the focus needed to take on any challenge. The symbol of Aries is the Ram, blunt and to the point, and a sheer force of nature. The great strength of those born under this sign is found in their initiative, courage and determination.

Once again, we are seeing an interaction of opposites: Venus is calm and loving and accepting, and is all about relationships, and Aries is assertive, determined, and self-focused (like any good leader). However if we look past the differences, we will see that this pairing offers us an opportunity to put ourselves first in a manner that is not abusive and selfish, but rather that enables us to learn about ourselves, and to discover what we personally need in order to be able to create and maintain beneficial relationships. It is through understanding our own needs and embracing them as valid and useful that we are able to attract to us what serves us the best.

The Fours have a place on the Tree of Life of the Qabalah; they are found in the sephira of Chesed in the middle of the Pillar of Force/Expansion. This sephira is seen as the place of both expansion and stability; there is that balance of opposites again. Chesed represents Mercy and tells us that love cannot happen without understanding. Chesed also represents the concept of authority, which brings the danger of self-righteousness and at the same time offers us the opportunity to learn humility.

In The Naked Tarot (the awesome book I reviewed last month; check it out!), the Four of Wands is described as representing the group that gathers when we are celebrating an important milestone or the accomplishment of a goal, with that celebration also promoting and encouraging unity. The gift offered by the Four of Wands is kinship: blood kinship, a kinship of heritage, and a kinship of community. This card tells us to bring about connections between the different groups in our lives, celebrate our accomplishments with those groups, and then take a bit of time for ourselves to ground and recharge.

There are subtle yet powerful differences between the Wild Unknown Four of Wands and the Three of Wands of the same deck. The Three give us a glimpse of a possible manifestation, swirling with fertile possibilities, visible through a small portal; the Four of Wands has enlarged and supported that portal so that it is a permanent structure. The foundation has been created, and it is solid. Now, we can not only more easily visualize the goals of the future, but we can also actually see them beginning to manifest in the physical world. The work we have done so far is acting as a lens, focusing our vision and supporting our efforts. A cause to celebrate, for sure!

The image on the Thoth Tarot Four of Wands, called “Completion,” shows a circle or spinning wheel with four Wands creating the spokes. On one end of each Wand is a representation of Aries and on the other end is a representation of Venus; the wheel spins smoothly because these opposing energies are balanced. Here we have the result of a balanced combination of harmony and effort and creativity that is meshed with effort, and we have the valuable conclusions gained through our efforts.

The Llewllyn Welsh Four of Wands shows four Wands, topped with flowers and ribbons, around and in the middle of a stream frothing around rocks. Behind and above the stream is a beautiful walled castle surrounded by verdant growth and topped by a merrily-fluttering banner. There are several bridges crossing the stream, giving access to the open gateway offering entry into the castle. This is one of the cards that offers a message without having a single person in the image. The keywords for this card are repose after difficulty, unexpected celebration, alliances and friendships, sharing of bounty, and achieving a state of balance after an ordeal.

The Legacy of the Divine Four of Wands shows four Wands topped with glowing crystals, each emitting a beam of light that meets in the center to form a protective canopy over the image. Within the archway created by those four Wands is a beautiful scene of green trees and green grass, with a rainbow arching over distant mountains and a stream flowing toward the viewer and falling out of the image into darkness. Along the outside of the wands, the tree branches are nude, the ground is brown and the skies are filled with gray clouds. Is the image under the canopy a reality being protected by the four Wands? Or is it a dream of possibility, the goal we are working so very hard to attain? The card brings us optimism and hope for the future.

The Four of Wands offers a clear message: opposing forces can work together in order to create security and safety without blocking or misdirecting creativity and potential. The Four of Wands tells us that if we have been working hard and using our talents and skills to achieve a goal, and that goal or achievement has arrived, we deserve to celebrate. Taking the time to share our success with those we love and including them in our celebration builds community. After all, important milestones require a commitment in order to be achieved, and sharing the benefits of those milestones once they are achieved builds a community that supports its members.

Celebrating the achievements of others brings even more joy, strength of community, and kinship into our lives. Through this kind of sharing, we create a strong foundation that promises growth, stability, security and well-being for the future . . . for everyone!

** We Feature the art of Ciro Marchetti as part of Tarot Talk. You can view his work and Decks at http://www.ciromarchetti.com/.

The Gilded Tarot (Book and Tarot Deck Set) on Amazon

***

About the Author:

Raushanna is a lifetime resident of New Jersey. As well as a professional Tarot Reader and Teacher, she is a practicing Wiccan (Third Degree, Sacred Mists Coven), a Usui Reiki Master/Teacher, a certified Vedic Thai-Yoga Massage Bodyworker, a 500-hr RYT Yoga Teacher specializing in chair assisted Yoga for movement disorders, and a Middle Eastern dance performer, choreographer and teacher.  Raushanna bought her first Tarot deck in 2005, and was instantly captivated by the images on the cards and the vast, deep and textured messages to be gleaned from their symbols. She loves reading about, writing about, and talking about the Tarot, and anything occult, mystical, or spiritual, as well as anything connected to the human subtle body. She has published a book, “The Emerald Tablet: My 24-Day Journal to Understanding,” and is currently working on a book about the Tarot, pathworking and the Tree of Life. Raushanna documents her experiences and her daily card throws in her blog, DancingSparkles.blogspot.com, which has been in existence since 2009. She and her husband, her son and step son, and her numerous friends and large extended family can often be found on the beaches, bike paths and hiking trails of the Cape May, NJ area.

The Emerald Tablet: My 24-Day Journal to Understanding on Amazon

The Road to Runes

November, 2018

The Road to Runes: What Questions to Ask?

 

One of the hardest parts of divination is asking the right questions. A question that’s too closed may get an answer that makes no sense if you’re expecting a definitive “yes” or “no”. Most runes have plenty of meanings, and aren’t always obviously negative or positive.

Conversely, questions that are too vague or broad leave the answer widely open to interpretation. This can lead you to find an answer that you were hoping for, rather than an accurate one. I covered these “false positives” in last month’s article.

So what are the best questions to ask? What questions lead to the best answers? Experimentation has led me to narrow it down to a few I come back to again and again. Let’s have a look at those that I regularly use with good results.

 

  • In regards to situation “x”, what is the outcome if I make decision “y”?

This type of question is good, as it puts a clear framework around your question. You aren’t asking for a yes/no answer. You’re also not asking for general guidance around the whole situation. You’re specifically asking what the potential outcomes are in relation to one action within the situation. This could be, “While deciding where to move house, what will happen if I take my brother’s advice?”, or “I’m leaving my job. What will happen if I decide to become a homemaker?”, or “Someone is causing trouble for my family. What are the repercussions of hexing them?”

These are all made up situations, but you get the idea. Your own question may be about something very mundane, or completely metaphysical. Narrowing your question down to one aspect of a complex situation makes it a little simpler to analyze and interpret the answers the runes give you.

 

  • Can you give me clarity on this situation?

This is for when you are struggling to get your thoughts or emotions in order. Stressful or complicated situations may leave you feeling confused or unclear, but the chances are that the answers are buried deep within your subconscious. The runes are a magical way to unlock those hidden answers. Asking this type of question and doing at least a three rune spread allows you to parse out your own musings on your situation and become a bit more logical or move forward with confidence.

 

  • What’s my next step?

This is a more risky question, as it’s more direct than the pleas for clarity. This is out and out “tell me what to do” which is fine as long as you are prepared for either some blunt or potentially confusing answers. The runes do seem to swing between “Do this right now” and “Sort it out yourself” so don’t be surprised if you don’t get the answer you were hoping for. But divination is sometimes about hard truths, not false hope. The reason this is a good question is because there’s no room for misinterpretation. Visualize your current situation, focus on where you are right now and ask what you should do next.

These are just a very few of the questions you can ask the runes. I’ve used all these with interesting and informative results! What questions do you ask your runes? Let us know in the comments or tweet me @Mabherick.

 

Image credit: Stentoftastenen, today exhibited in Sankt Nicolai church, Sölvesborg by Henrik Sendelbach 2005 via Wikimedia Commons.

***

About the Author:

Mabh Savage is a Pagan author, poet and musician, as well as a freelance journalist.

She is the author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors and Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways.

A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors on Amazon

Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways on Amazon

Tarot Talk

November, 2018

Four of Coins

(The Four of Coins card is from the artist Ciro Marchetti http://www.ciromarchetti.com/)**

We haven’t spoken about the Fours of the Minor Arcana in a while. This month we will talk about the Four of Pentacles, and remind ourselves of what happens when we have begun to find success within the physical world.

The Four of Pentacles is a Minor Arcana card, so as we know, the message offered by this card will most likely be more immediate in nature, or will most likely be connected to more day-to-day issues. The easiest way to get a decent understanding of a Minor Arcana card is to examine its number, or in the case of Court Cards, its rank, and to examine its suit. In this case, we are dealing with the number 4, and the suit of Pentacles. As we have already discovered, these two ingredients alone could actually give us enough information about this one card to offer a useful interpretation. We have other useful things to consider, too, such as symbolism, astrology, and more.

The traditional image of the Four of Pentacles is of a well-dressed person wearing a crown and sitting on a throne, with a pentacle under each foot, a pentacle above the crown, and a pentacle held firmly with both arms. Behind the seated person is the skyline of what appears to be a well-organized and prosperous city; above is a blue and cloud-free sky. Most versions of the Four of Pentacles are similar: four Pentacles being guarded, although there is no indication exactly what they are being guarded from.

The suit of Pentacles (or Coins, Stones or Disks) corresponds with the element of Earth, and of the physical body, physical manifestation, and wealth. Many Tarot decks use images of pentagrams or coins or disks on their Minor Arcana Pentacles cards as well as trees, flowers and green, verdant growth, all of which will make it easy to connect with the symbolism of this suit. A nice place to begin is with the element of Earth itself.

In its natural state, Earth is cool and dry, and it binds or shapes the other elements. Earth is of the physical or physically formed or manifested world, and of nurturing, health, finances and security, and the wisdom associated with living simply and being well-grounded. Earth is the element of form and substance; it is connected to material world security (and even wealth), and to our physical bodies and physical senses, and the pleasures and pains they bring. Earth represents the nurturing and serene side of Nature, and it represents the tangible end result of our labors. Earth is about security and stillness, and knowing what to expect; it is about strength, discipline, and physical manifestation of all kinds, and about enjoying the fruits of our labors. Earthy energies are fertile, practical, and slow to change.

You can see just by examining the paragraph above just how easy it is to connect the element of Earth to our daily lives, our physical bodies, our careers and our finances, our families, and the natural world around us. These things are all the main correspondences of the element of Earth, the suit of Pentacles, and of course, our Four of Pentacles.

The number 4 is about solidification, discipline, balance, authority figures, a foundation being created, calmness, caution, being steady or difficult to shake up. There are four points to a compass, so the number 4 can represent everything around us as it is right now. If we remember that the number 3 usually represents the creation of something new, or the making real of concepts or understandings presented by the number 2, then we can see that the number 4 brings depth or solidity to that creation. On the negative side, the number 4 can represent energies that are slow and plodding, too conservative, or suspicious of or averse to change.

Within the Tarot, the Fours represent the concept of the cube, very stable and hard to tip over; here we have the pause that allows us to take a breath after activating the potential of the Ace through the partnership of the Two in order to manifest the creation of the Three. Briefly, we have the potential to experience abundance, good luck and comfort (the Ace of Pentacles), the power to deal with change in a balanced and beneficial manner (the Two of Pentacles), and the ability to practice our skills with talent, dedication and a focus on details (the Three of Pentacles). The Four of Pentacles offers a glimpse of the success that comes with a long-term application of luck, skill and dedication, and an awareness of just how much we have to lose once that success begins to manifest.

The astrological correspondence for the Four of Pentacles offers us a bit more depth of understanding; the Four of Pentacles represents our Sun when it is in the astrological sign of Capricorn.

In astrology, The Sun corresponds with our sun, the star at the center of our solar system around which the planets revolve. The sun provides our Earth with the heat and light necessary for life as we know it. The arc that the sun travels in every year, rising and setting in a slightly different place each day, is a reflection of the Earth’s orbit around the sun, which is particularly applicable with our Four of Pentacles and the astrological sign of Capricorn (an Earth sign). The sun is thought to represent the conscious ego, the self and its expression, personal power, pride and authority, leadership qualities and the principles of creativity, spontaneity, health and vitality, or simply the “life force.” In Chinese astrology, the sun represents Yang, the active, assertive masculine life principle. In Indian astrology, the sun is called Surya and represents the soul, ego, vitality kingship, highly placed persons, government and the archetype of The Father.

Capricorn, the tenth sign of the zodiac, is a Cardinal Earth sign ruled by Saturn. Capricorn people are stable, hard-working, practical, methodical, and ambitious, never losing sight of goals regardless of how many obstacles or distractions are in the way. They are a bit stoic and rigid, and they will stick to their beliefs despite convincing evidence to the contrary. More than anything else they enjoy power, respect, and authority, and they are willing to toe the line for as long as it takes to achieve those goals. The Capricorn personality is one that is firmly grounded in reality, the voice of reason in a chaotic world. A Capricorn person may seem unfriendly, but remember the image of this astrological sign has a fish’s tail. The emotions are there, just hidden within that inhibited exterior. As far as material wealth is concerned, Capricorn approaches finances with prudence, planning, and discipline, and thus, there are not many Capricorns who are lacking in physical-world resources.

If the Sun is about the Self, and Capricorn, an Earth sign ruled by Saturn, is about resources and reality, then when our Sun is in Capricorn, there can be a strong focus to deal with and master the more tangible aspects of life and living. We are talking about ambition here, but also responsibility. These energies are not about going forth into the unknown, but rather they are about working hard and making the most out of the resources at hand, solving challenges through focus and endurance. The Sun in Capricorn is about being admired for accomplishments, as well as dependability, creativity, discipline and a sense of humor.

The Fours have a place on the Tree of Life of the Qabalah; they are found in the sephira of Chesed in the middle of the Pillar of Force/Expansion. This sephira is seen as the place of both expansion and stability. Chesed represents Mercy and tells us that love cannot happen without understanding. Chesed also represents the concept of authority, which brings the danger of self-righteousness and at the same time offers us the opportunity to learn humility.

In The Naked Tarot (the awesome book I reviewed this month; check it out!), the Four of Coins is described as someone who is poor-minded rather than someone who is actually deprived, a perfect description of the personality of this card. Janet Boyer’s description of the Four of Coins as actually about withholding and stockpiling to the point of being paralyzed by what we have accumulated, is spot-on. The personifications of King Midas and Ebenezer Scrooge fit well with the message of the Four of Coins, as does the health issue of constipation.

The Wild Unknown Four of Pentacles shows four Pentacles, each connected to the others by belts or straps. We can almost hear the hum of those belts as they turn, creating lots of energy but only allowing each Pentacle to turn in one direction, in only certain ways. The image shows the benefits of the energy of this card, as well as the restrictive nature of the devices which not allow things to grow or evolve in new ways. This card is about valuing the things we have right now and protecting them to the point that they are stifled. Keeping things as they are, holding tightly to those possessions we value, prevents us from using them to create new things. But the support offered by structure and a strong foundation can just as easily grow into a prison.

The image on the Thoth Tarot Four of Disks, called “Power,” looks like a fortress with four square watchtowers, surrounded by a moat that can only be crossed at one place. The Four of Disks represents assured material gain in the form of dominion, rank, and earthly power that have been obtained but are leading to no further growth. After all, a fortress offers useful protection but if our enemies surround us with strength and focus of their own, a siege becomes a long and painful process.

The Llewllyn Welsh Four of Pentacles shows the traditional image for this card, and tells of a need to focus on growth opportunities closer to home, and of acquiring new possessions and guarding them, maybe to the point of over identifying with them. The card hints at a tendency to parade our wealth in front of others and warns of the danger of ostentation.

The Legacy of the Divine Four of Coins shows a man dressed in a manner that indicates material wealth and success achieved through effort. Despite his outward appearance of power and security, the man grasps four golden coins to his chest in a very insecure way, and looks at us out of the side of his eyes as if saying “these are not the Coins you are looking for; move on!” Saving for a rainy day is a prudent thing to do, however the fear of losing our physical possessions can easily overcome our ability to enjoy them.

The message here is pretty clear: yes, managing our resources in order to make certain that our physical-world needs are seen to is smart. The ability to provide for oneself takes training, effort and perseverance, but constantly questioning ourselves as to whether or not we have enough ends up blinding us to the true pleasure of personal satisfaction and comfort, and the joy of sharing our own bounty with our loved-ones. These kinds of connections are valuable too, and they are also necessary for our sense of worth and our joy of living.

This process of holding tightly is well and good for a little bit; it allows us to gather ourselves in order to take the next leap. However, realizing that eventually the process of holding tightly will begin to prevent the very leap for which we are preparing is a necessary realization for that leap to actually happen.

** We Feature the art of Ciro Marchetti as part of Tarot Talk. You can view his work and Decks at http://www.ciromarchetti.com/.

The Gilded Tarot Deck on Amazon

***

About the Author:

Raushanna is a lifetime resident of New Jersey. As well as a professional Tarot Reader and Teacher, she is a practicing Wiccan (Third Degree, Sacred Mists Coven), a Usui Reiki Master/Teacher, a certified Vedic Thai-Yoga Massage Bodyworker, a 500-hr RYT Yoga Teacher specializing in chair assisted Yoga for movement disorders, and a Middle Eastern dance performer, choreographer and teacher.  Raushanna bought her first Tarot deck in 2005, and was instantly captivated by the images on the cards and the vast, deep and textured messages to be gleaned from their symbols. She loves reading about, writing about, and talking about the Tarot, and anything occult, mystical, or spiritual, as well as anything connected to the human subtle body. She has published a book, “The Emerald Tablet: My 24-Day Journal to Understanding,” and is currently working on a book about the Tarot, pathworking and the Tree of Life. Raushanna documents her experiences and her daily card throws in her blog, DancingSparkles.blogspot.com, which has been in existence since 2009. She and her husband, her son and step son, and her numerous friends and large extended family can often be found on the beaches, bike paths and hiking trails of the Cape May, NJ area.

The Emerald Tablet: My 24-Day Journal to Understanding on Amazon

Learning Lenormand

November, 2018

A Portrait of the Morning

My sun is in Taurus and I most definitely a creature of habit. My morning routine is a good example of this. I generally wake around 4 a.m. I stay in bed for a half-hour or so, cuddling with a kitty – usually Radar, who sleeps with his head on my pillow – and praying. Then I get up, put on my flannels and go into the kitchen, where I start the coffee. I feed the cats. I have my oatmeal and coffee while reading and replying to emails and then it’s in the shower. I’m in and out of the shower by 6 a.m., generally. After I’m all clean and dressed, I make my bed and straighten up my room. While I do this, I listen to classical music on the radio. I like peace and quiet in the mornings.

This is when I meditate. My son James is still sleeping and the cats are fed and back to sleep so it’s a nice serene environment.

I used to do Tarot readings after meditation. When I got my Lenormand cards, I started doing both – but with James living here, I usually don’t have time to sit and read cards for over an hour anymore. Honestly, I barely have enough time to do anything I want to do anymore but that’s a whole ’nother issue!

I don’t have to read the Tarot everyday to learn it – my life is immersed in the Tarot whether I am reading the cards or not. My poetry and my artwork are both mostly about the Tarot and uses Tarot themes. I am not so arrogant to suggest that I don’t need to learn anymore about the Tarot – there’s always more to learn! I’m just saying that my Tarot journal is now essentially a Lenormand journal.

I decided to stop doing daily readings of any cards except the Lenormand because – like learning a new language – I just wasn’t getting it. That’s the honest truth. If you are only using the cards once in a while – or if you are only using them after you have already done a reading with your favorite Tarot deck – how are you supposed to actually learn anything? I had to get in a schedule where I was sitting and only using the Lenormand. I also had to use the same format everyday – like I had with the Tarot thirty years ago, when I was using the Celtic Cross predominantly. So – after working with several different Lenormand spreads I found in Caitlín Matthew’s The Complete Lenormand Oracle Handbook: Reading the Language and Symbols of the Cards – I decided upon Spread 6 “The Portrait”, which you can find on page 132, if you own this fundamental book – and I highly recommend the purchasing of this text! – I cannot stress that enough!

The Portrait Spread is a 9-card spread that is the basis for many of the spreads that follow in subsequent chapters. Therefore, it’s perfect for a daily spread – it’s a quick and easy look on what is going on in your life. Nine is such a great number on so many levels – as the saying goes, “Three times three, so mote it be”. Matthew writes that, “Nine is a powerful number in that it replicates itself in all its multiples.” (Matthews, 131). There’s ten cards in a Celtic Cross but when you consider that the first two cards are “crossed” over the same position, it can be argued that there are actually only nine positions in the spread, which gives it a different dynamic.

The Portrait Spread is laid out with three cards along the top, three in the middle, and three along the bottom.

(Matthews, 132)

Card 5 – the middle card – is the focus of the reading. I can’t tell you how many times that card is absolutely dead on. Sometimes I can’t get heads or tails out of the cards around it – especially when I try to blend meanings of cards – but usually that one card tells me everything I need to know.

Cards 1+4+7 = the past.

Cards 2+5+8 = the present.

Cards 3+6+9 = the future.

Card 1 tells me what “provoked or instigated the issue” (Matthews, 133). On a daily basis, there might not be an ongoing “issue” but then again, there might be stuff going on that you are not yet aware! The corners 1+9+3+7 shows what that basic issue is. The diamond cards of 2+4+6+8 (who do we appreciate, sorry couldn’t help it) show the inner aspects of the issue.

After this, read the rows 1+2+3, 4+5+6, 7+8+9 as well as 1+8+3 and 7+2+9 to get all the aspects of the portrait. If this seems like a lot – well, it is! But like learning any new language, doing your daily homework is the key and that’s the only way to learn. And I’ll be honest with you – quite often, I lay out the cards and start writing my analysis in my journal and have to stop because life intrudes. So now I have started setting aside time after lunch to finish up any unfinished Lenormand “homework”. Since it is my habit to take a nap after lunch, it’s nice to drift off to sleep with Lenormand images and concepts floating through my head.

Here’s today’s portrait:

I usually shuffle the cards as part of my morning meditation. I don’t focus on a question or anything at all. I just let the cards slide through my fingers and back through between my hands as I drift through consciousness. I’ve found that I get better readings when I don’t have a specific question then when I try to get the cards to “tell me something” – I just let them talk to me.

32 Moon 8 Hearts is Card 5 – the middle card – the focus of the reading. After months of being artistically blocked, I am once again working at my poetry and my artwork and other writing projects – I am getting up before dawn to work. I am also baking bread and thinking of other creative things to cook. My life seems to be bursting with creativity and I am working harder than ever. And I am loving my work!

30 Lily + 11 Whip + 28 Man is my past – I always read this as resent past, within the last twenty-four to forty-eight hours. At first glance, I really can’t make any sense of these cards together but I will take a guess – I’m always guessing! – and say that these three cards refer to the maturing man in the house – my son, James – and how he is increasingly in charge of things.

20 Garden + 32 Moon + 23 Mice is my future – I read this as “what’s happening today” – and this tell me that having to go out into the world (running errands) will cut into my ability to work today, since getting around Buffalo on public transportation takes up so much time.

16 Stars + 5 Tree + 4 House is my future – which I take to mean as the near future, tomorrow or the next day – I will be focusing on my health and well-being and doing things at home.

That seems really straight-forward and to the point, doesn’t it? When I first started reading Lenormand cards, I was obsessed with getting the perfect reading, the correct reading of the cards and the most precise reading but now I realize that I could read these cards today and get a certain reading and then read these same cards tomorrow and see something different. There is no true correct reading. There’s only the reading that resonates for you.

After I read all aspects of the Portrait Spread and make notations in my Lenormand Journal, I put the cards and the journal away for the day. Later in the evening, I get the journal out and see how closely the cards predicted the day and remind myself of tomorrow’s prediction.

When you have been doing a spread like this for say – two or three weeks – a month, tops – look through your readings and see what cards have been showing up most often. This past month, I have been seeing 32 Moon 8 Hearts, 26 Book 10 Diamonds, 5 Tree 7 Hearts, 6 Clouds King Clubs, and 33 Key 8 Diamonds more than any of the other cards. Given that my focus has been on creativity and writing and just how to get going on my novel again, I think these cards really show my struggles with those issues.

I really like this spread. It takes a bit of time to do but the more I do it, the easier it gets to read the cards. For me, I think the trick is to read the cards quickly
“First thought, best thought,” as Allen Ginsburg famously said – put the concepts together into a coherent thought and go with that. The more I ponder the “meaning” of the cards, the less meaning they actually have. I get lost in layers of implication and nuance and end up confused and frustrated. So I have found that the first thought that pops into my head when I am looking at a group of cards is generally the one that I should listen to.

And like I said before, there is no true correct reading. I haven’t been keeping a Lenormand journal long enough to see this in action, but I can tell you that when I look through Tarot journals from ten, twenty, thirty years ago, I can see where I made rookie mistakes but also where I was spot on – even as a beginner! Your journals are a great learning resource, even years after the reading. And it’s fun to relive whatever drama was going on at the time! And be grateful for the happy serenity I enjoy right now.

Until next month, Brightest Blessings!

References

Matthews, Caitlín. The Complete Lenormand Oracle Handbook: Reading the Language and Symbols of the Cards. Rochester, VT: Destiny , 2014.

The Complete Lenormand Oracle Handbook: Reading the Language and Symbols of the Cards on Amazon

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About the Author:

Polly MacDavid lives in Buffalo, New York at the moment but that could easily change, since she is a gypsy at heart. Like a gypsy, she is attracted to the divinatory arts, as well as camp fires and dancing barefoot. She has three cats who all help her with her magic.

Her philosophy about religion and magic is that it must be thoroughly based in science and logic. She is Dianic Wiccan and she is solitary.

She blogs at silverapplequeen.wordpress.com. She writes about general life, politics and poetry. She is writing a novel about sex, drugs and recovery.

The Road to Runes

October, 2018

The Road to Runes: Keeping it Balanced

Any divination can be a double-edged sword. And isn’t it interesting that sword is an anagram of ‘words’; our fiercest weapon and most powerful tool. We practice divination through our words, by asking questions of the universe or our deities via tools such as the runes. But it can be hard to ask the right questions, and very easy to attribute meaning in hindsight. How can we be sure that the interpretation of the runes is in relation to what we’ve asked, and that we are not just shaping it around the answer we hope to receive?

False Positives

No, I’m not talking pregnancy tests! Although I do know of situations where the runes have indicated possible future fertility, but that’s quite another story. A false positive is what I call it when someone purposefully takes only the positive aspects of a rune and applies them to their situation or question. It’s so tempting to reach only for the positive outcome, but in divination, we’re looking for accuracy, not platitudes. It’s even harder to avoid falling into this trap when doing readings for others, as who wants to be the bearer of bad news?

Balanced Readings

However, just because a rune or rune spread carries negative connotations, it doesn’t mean a reading is all bad news. It’s important to look at both aspects of the runes; the ‘bad’ and the ‘good’. Many aspects that may seem bad may actually be about cleansing or something negative being swept away or destroyed. Or they could be indicating the tumult of a current situation rather than a future outcome.

Here’s an example. Today I drew Thurisaz in relation to a question about a personal issue I was dealing with. Thurisaz means ‘giants’ and is shaped like a thorn, representative of conflict and pain. It’s associated with both Loki and Thor, particularly the tormenting and aggressive aspects of these deities. Immediately, I started looking for alternative meanings to the rune, and ways it could be viewed positively. Of course, there are positive aspects to Thurisaz. Conflict can lead to resolution, or the rune may indicate that you are being resistant to change. It can indicate a breakthrough or breaking down internal blockages that have been preventing you from progressing.

divination vs. hope

My problem wasn’t that the rune doesn’t have a positive aspect. It was that I immediately began to try and skew the rune’s meaning to a positive outcome for my question. This is not divination, it’s just being hopeful. Reading the runes should come with a balanced approach, and the understanding that the answers received might not be what we were expecting or looking for. But we should take them on board, just the same.

In my situation, once I took a deep breath and stopped grasping for the good, thurisaz means I might have to drastically alter my own view of myself and accept that there are parts of myself that I want to change, and actually do something about them rather than just saying “this is who I am.” It tells me that there is pain, and may be more pain, but that it’s up to me to take responsibility for my own actions and resolve to be the change I want to see; to set an example.

Remember, the runes are sending a message in response to your question, or allowing you to dredge your own answers from your subconscious. Just because these answers aren’t always happy and hopeful, doesn’t mean they aren’t useful. Keep yourself open to all aspects of the reading, and of course, that includes the positive aspects too.

Next month I’ll be talking about how to frame our words and questions in the best way to get the most effective readings. Contact me via Twitter @Mabherick if there’s a particular rune you’d like me to focus on.

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About the Author:

Mabh Savage is a Pagan author, poet and musician, as well as a freelance journalist.

She is the author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors and Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways.

A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors

Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways

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