Divination

Tarot Talk

April, 2019

Two of Pentacles

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

Let’s return to the Pips this month and talk about the last of the Twos, the Two of Pentacles. As I’m sure you know by now, a Tarot deck consists of 22 Major Arcana cards with archetypal correspondences that deal with broad and far-reaching life experience issues, and 56 Minor Arcana cards that are customarily grouped into four categories or suits corresponding with the four elements (sometimes called “Pips” or “Pip Cards”) that usually deal with day-to-day issues. The Two of Pentacles is part of the Minor Arcana; as we have discovered, one effective way to understand a Minor Arcana card is to examine its number (or in the case of Court Cards, its rank), its suit, and its traditional image. In this case we are dealing with the number 2, the suit of Pentacles, as well as the traditional images associated with the Two of Pentacles.

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. However, “day-to-day” does not mean insignificant or mundane, and we need to remember that the message of the card can also possibly be a symptom of a deeper or wider issue.

The typical image on the Two of Pentacles is of a man standing on one foot and holding two coins connected by a band or rope in the shape of a figure 8. The ground below his feet is usually flat, but in the background is a body of water filled with waves, sometimes with a sailing ship, its sails filled with wind, riding those waves. Some cards show a fence or a low wall between the figure and the water in the background. Some cards show the figure balancing on that wall; one card shows the figure walking a tightrope while juggling his coins.

The suit of Pentacles (or Coins, Stones or Disks) corresponds with the element of Earth, and of the physical body, physical manifestation, career, health 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, care of the body, 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 to our physical bodies and physical senses, and the pleasures and pains they bring. Earth represents the fertile, nurturing and serene side of Nature, and it represents the tangible end result of our labors. Earth is about stillness and about knowing what to expect; it is about strength, discipline, and physical manifestation of all kinds, and about enjoying what we’ve achieved. Earthy energies are fertile, practical, and slow to change.

You can see 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, are connected to the realm of our Two of Pentacles.

When dealing with the Minor Arcana, another important ingredient is the number of the card. In the Tarot, the number 2 usually represents balance, polarity, comparison and the energy of “distance between.” The number 2 offers creative partnerships, duality, cooperation, and diplomacy; it offers both direction and connection, and can be considered a gateway. In the Tarot, this number represents the first time the element is manifested. Within the suit of Pentacles, we have the beginnings of a connection to our own body and to the physical world around us and the material forces present in the physical world, as we use skills, talents and abilities to make use of these connections and forces (all possibilities offered by the Ace of Pentacles and manifested within the Two of Pentacles).

On the Tree of Life, the Tarot Twos correspond with the sephira of Chokmah, the first actual manifestation after the pureness of Kether (Kether represents the cause or catalyst of manifestation). Chokmah is found at the top of the Pillar of Force/Expansion. It is seen as dynamic thrust, and as the Ultimate Positive, the Great Stimulator and the Great Fertilizer (one of the symbols of Chokmah is the penis), and thus this sephira is connected to the Wheel of the Year. It represents dynamic male energy and is the origin of vital force and polarity. In Chokmah, pure being becomes pure force (and thus, pure formlessness), and independence is possible. Thus, the Twos of the Minor Arcana show the full power of their element and correspondence, in the purest expression that is not yet influenced by anything else.

Astrology is a tool that can offer subtle effects for us to consider as we analyze the Two of Pentacles. The Two of Pentacles corresponds to the planet Jupiter when it is in the astrological sign of Capricorn.

In Roman mythology, Jupiter is the ruler, guardian and protector of the gods. Similarly, the planet Jupiter is in many ways the ruler of our solar system. Some astronomers believe that Jupiter with its massive gravity actually protects the rest of our solar system by attracting or deflecting comets and asteroids that might otherwise threaten Earth. Like passions and emotions, Jupiter is brightly colored and covered with large and intense storms; the planet is symbolized by a lightning bolt. Jupiter is associated with growth, expansion, prosperity, freedom, exploration, and good fortune. Jupiter is connected to long distance and foreign travel, higher education, religion, all humanitarian pursuits, and the law (and its role as a protector of society). Jupiter is also associated with gambling and merrymaking.

Capricorn, the tenth sign of the zodiac, is a Cardinal Earth sign. 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. Capricorn people 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. A Capricorn person may seem unfriendly, arrogant, or without humor to outsiders, 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.

When Jupiter is in Capricorn, the energies are confident and traditional. Hard work will bring success, even in the long term, and devoting energy to a task that is too risky might be a waste. Organization and following a plan while visualizing the end result (and believing that the end result can be obtained) is what happens when these energies combine. The icing on the cake is that society usually also benefits when Jupiter and Capricorn work together. The one problem could be focusing too much on the details to the point of missing the big picture.

The Thoth Tarot Two of Pentacles has the title of “Change.” The image of the card is of a snake in the shape of a figure 8, with its tail in its mouth. Crowley sees this card as representing the complete manifestation of the dynamics of the Universe. To Crowley, Disks represent Earth and Earth is the throne of Spirit, and arriving at the bottom allows us to come out at the top. Interestingly enough, the image on this card can be seen as similar to the first dividing of a cell, a sign of fertility and creation. The card tells of change, of gain and loss and weakness and strength. It also predicts good fortune through prudent management as well as unaccountably foolish choices.

The Wild Unknown Tarot LWB keywords for the Two of Pentacles are “balance and change”; the image is a black and white butterfly with a pentagram on each wing, with a multicolored symbol of eternity circling each of those pentagrams. The butterfly often symbolizes complete metamorphosis; after all it goes from egg (which could symbolize potential) to caterpillar (which could symbolize the decision to do something with that potential) to chrysalis (which could symbolize the manifesting of development of that decision into reality), and then finally to exquisite butterfly (the end result). This process follows a “ritual” of sorts, and it takes time to complete. The end result, the butterfly, looks nothing like the other stages in this process. Perhaps the balance being represented in this card is achieved by accepting both change and the status-quo. Or, since the butterfly also represents the element of Air and the workings of the intellect, perhaps the balance is connected to the physical world and the etheric realms of feelings and thoughts and beliefs. They are also difficult to balance!

The Naked Tarot description of the Two of Pentacles is kind of stressful. It tells of juggling day to day activities and trying to please everyone, and maybe not doing so well. However, we are told that our choice is to give up (never!), or to simplify, delegate, and do our best. The challenge here is to create harmony, and to play up to our strengths rather than our weaknesses. Approach things with a sense of play . . . what if our greatest revelations and meaningful moments come to us via recreation?

The Legacy of the Divine Two of Coins shows a man pedaling a bicycle while holding two large coins, one engraved with the symbol of Jupiter and the other the symbol of Capricorn. He is focusing intently on one coin, and a rainbow shines out of the other coin, lighting his way. This card reminds us that change is constant and energies always flow, and our job is to ride that flow. This takes talent and practice, and the ability to multitask. Balance is the key.

The Two of Pentacles reminds us that adaptability allows us to effectively deal with both the ups and the downs of our lives. Now might be a good time to reorganize priorities and release the things that no longer serve us so that we can concentrate on the things that will allow us to accomplish more. Balancing things out in the physical world might involve “robbing Peter to pay for Paul”; be careful if that is your plan, for that kind of balance only works for a short time.

Finally, the Two of Pentacles could very well represent our efforts to balance the past and the present in order to manifest a brighter future. Or it could be telling us that while a pause is okay, in the end change is healthy for it prevents stagnation.

Most important, take time out to play. Laugh at yourself if you stumble and struggle to stay upright. Balance your work time with some time enjoying yourself; you just might find that you are more effective!

** 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

Tarot Talk

March, 2019

The King of Pentacles

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

We have one more King to talk about, the King of Pentacles. Let’s get busy!

As a reminder, 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 (“families” of all kinds) 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 usually called 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. Some decks change the names around, but the meanings in the hierarchy of the Tarot Court are pretty standard. Since we are talking about the King of Pentacles 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 Pentacles. 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 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, are connected to the realm of our King of Pentacles.

In the Tarot Court, the suit of the card has an elemental correspondence (in this case, the element of Earth), 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 Pentacles as Air of Earth.

The element of Air corresponds with truth, clarity, and our capacity to analyze or apply logic. It is hot and wet, and separates and adapts. Air also represents the intelligence that clears away the fog of ignorance so we can clearly see and understand, and it supports communications and sounds of all kinds. Air allows both expression (out from within us) and hearing (in from outside of us) to happen. If you see the rank of King as representing the element of Air, this information applies to the Kings of your deck, including the King of Pentacles. Elementally, the King of Pentacles would represent resolute force, where intellect overrides the senses, and since Air and Earth are unfriendly (they share no qualities), they weaken each other.

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 Aries and Taurus.

Aries is a cardinal Fire sign that acts as 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 and passion, 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.

Taurus, the second sign of the zodiac, is all about reward. Physical pleasures, material goods, and soothing surroundings are all important to a Taurus. The good life in all its guises is heaven on Earth to those born under this sign. Taurus is a fixed sign, and it represents steady persistence sometimes seen as stubbornness. Taurus is symbolized by the Bull, and Bulls are among the most practical and reliable members of the zodiac, happy to plod along slowly but surely toward a goal. Taurus is ruled by Venus, the Goddess of Love, Beauty and Pleasure, which is why harmony and beauty are a huge part of this sign’s personality. Taurus is a true-blue, loyal sign as well, and slow to anger; like the element of Earth, Taurus is about strength of body as well as strength of heart.

The energies of Aries and Taurus together tend to mesh nicely because what one sign is lacking, the other sign supplies. Aries keeps our King from being boring, and Taurus keeps him from being too independent. Aries is ruled by Mars and passion, and Taurus is ruled by Venus and sensuality and love. Aries will push for growth, progress and new developments, and Taurus will keep to the budget, make sure the resources are in place, and keep everyone safe. While there is always the danger of conflict within this King, he also has the ability to lead and inspire all of his subjects, no matter who they are.

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 Shadowscapes Tarot King of Pentacles is shown as a strong tree laden with ripe and juicy fruit. His roots grasp the earth with strength as they reach and absorb the resources of the soil, allowing a powerful trunk and wide-spreading branches to reach for the stars. He holds a seed in the palm of one hand, and around the base of the trunk a beautiful dragon is coiled, guarding all. This King is an enterprising individual who has the Midas touch; he turns everything he touches into brilliant success. His branches shield those around him, his trunk offers sturdy support to lean upon, and his fruits are shared with everyone. From the seed, new sprouts will grow, spreading the wealth.

The Tarot of Bones King of Pentacles is represented by a bison skull. The bison was the ultimate provider for the natives living on the American plains; from the bison they received meat for food, hides for clothes, and bones and horns for art and tools. Non-humans benefited from the bison as well, from wolves and other predators to vultures and other scavengers, to insects and bacteria. The grazing of the bison helped to keep the grasses in check, lessening the impacts of wildfires, and their hooves churned and aerated the soil and buried seeds, ensuring the continuation of the grasses in the next season. This card reminds us to examine our resources and prosperity, and to remember those upon whom we rely for sustenance and well-being. It also reminds us that at times we must be the backbone, and offer our own skills and resources to assist others.

The Thoth Tarot Knight (King) of Disks stands next to his grazing horse, gazing at the surrounding hills and fertile fields lit by the afternoon sun. He seems to be contemplating a harvest rather than a battle; he tends to keep his nose to the grindstone without indulging in intellectual musings. He tells of being materially focused, clever and patient regarding those material matters but can also be a bit dull.

The image on the Wild Unknown Tarot Father of Pentacles shows a Stag’s head, regal and in his prime. The feeling evoked while looking at the image on the Father of Pentacles is one of respect, honor, the ability to protect, and prime masculine creativity. The Stag gets to reach this stage of life because he is able to defeat all that challenge him; he is in a sense the fittest of his species that has survived to breed. This card is about having a mighty presence in the physical world; it is about not only the thrill of competition, but it is also about turning a win into both honor and status, and the continuance of a fertile lineage, to the benefit of all.

The Legacy of the Divine King of Coins stands on a richly appointed balcony decorated with golden leafy vines, clothed in green and gold robes and holding a large golden coin. He does not wear a crown, showing his connection to the common man and indicating his purpose: regulating the energies of heaven and earth and balancing the forces of nature. He oversees growth, wealth and resources, and manages them for the benefit of all.

The King of Pentacles is the embodiment of his element. He is realistic, dependable, values possessions and tangible things, and is a good provider. He prefers steady progress and is loyal and honorable. This King attracts opportunities and knows how to take advantage of them. He is good at managing others because he inspires them to succeed. He is a philanthropist who gives generously of his time and attention because he knows that the more he gives, the more he receives in return. Others rely on the King of Pentacles because he is always there for them and he never fails to support them.

When the King of Pentacles shows up, you can be confident that you have the ability to recognize opportunities and the skill to take advantage of them. He tells you that now is the time to manifest your vision of success and translate your ideas into reality!

** 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

March, 2019

The Road to Runes: Tiwaz

Tiwaz, Elder Futhark Rune of Norse God Tyr, Sacrifice and Law.

Last month I pulled the rune Dagaz, a rune all about breakthroughs and new beginnings. This coincided with a major life change for me and certainly reinforced my confidence in the runes and my journey with them.

The next rune I pulled was Tiwaz, the rune of the god Tyr. Tyr is a god of war, but also of law and justice. Tyr was invoked when victory was needed in battle. He gives the day ‘Tuesday’ its name, and has been conflated with the Roman god Mars.

Tyr’s primary myth is the story of the Binding of Fenrir, the great wolf who inspired fear, even in the Gods. Fenrir did not trust the Norse Gods, so when they wanted to place fetters upon him, he wanted a guarantee he would be released again. He asked one of the gods to place their arm within his jaws. Only Tyr would do this, knowing full well Fenrir would bite once they refused to release him. Sure enough, the fetters securely bound the wolf, and Fenrir bit down as promised, severing Tyr’s arm from his body.

Sacrifice

This willing sacrifice for the greater good is a key aspect of Tiwaz. Giving up something which is important to us for the benefit of others is noble, but often extremely difficult to do. We don’t need to lose an arm, like Tyr; Tiwaz can indicate that we need to give up our time, by volunteering, perhaps, or spending more time with the kids. Tiwaz could also mean we need to give up something physical. Maybe you’re in financial difficulties, and selling your beloved collection of [insert favourite obsession here] could give you the money you need to see you through to the next pay-cheque.

Tiwaz can also mean sacrificing something we feel is important about ourselves. Maybe you see yourself as entirely self-reliant but are struggling on your own with a particular situation. It’s hard to ask for help when your ego demands that you stand on your own two feet. Tiwaz dares you to put the arm of your ego in the jaws of the wolf, and not to flinch as it bites down. You will not be harmed by the change in your perception of yourself. You might feel too proud to ask for help, but in this situation, you would learn to have pride in your friends and family and eventually in yourself for being willing to change and adapt.

My Situation

In my situation, just having become freelance and working to build a new schedule and routine, it’s not immediately evident what Tiwaz represents for me. I have sacrificed my day job in order to support my family better, but that was a sacrifice I was happy to make- delighted, in fact! What I have struggled with since the change is being my own boss. I’ve been so used to having someone else dictate my schedule, doing it for myself is tricky and slightly alien to me.

Maybe Tiwaz is telling me I need to sacrifice my self-image as a routine-hating rebel. I’ve always seen myself this way; not chained or fettered to the clock, except when I have to be, due to the demands of others. Well, now those demands need to come from within. There’s no boss breathing down my neck, only clients and my own sense of drive and ambition.

Tiwaz also represents the reign of law and order over chaos, and I hope that this aspect of the rune is telling me that peace will soon descend. Chaos has started to blur the edges of my life lately, with some deep loss and grief, and severe mental health difficulties. Perhaps, by remaining confident in my decisions and having faith in my own abilities, order will resume some claim over events, and life will start to settle back into the routine I so desperately don’t want, but clearly need.

Tiwaz is a complex rune, and I have no doubt I will find it again in a future reading. For now, I feel like the rune is telling me not to grip so strongly to ideas of self-image, and be willing to change myself for my own benefit, the benefit of others, and for some peace and calm within my life. 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 Ancestorsand 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

February, 2019

The King of Wands

(The King 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

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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.

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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 on Amazon

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

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