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Worth the Witch

November, 2018

The Magickal Earth

 

Nature’s Miracles”

 

This month we are diving into a box that is deceivingly small by The Magickal Earth. Their Premium Subscription Box is packed to the gills with items “curated to offer guidance through the months astrological phase. The box will always feature a monthly astrological overview, a brief monthly horoscope, a tarot card chosen for you by the universe, crystals and gems to match the months energy, along with a variation of surprises including items such as, candles, essential oils, soap and, smudge sticks.”

All of this is included in the Premium Subscription Box for only $49.99 a month. This is just one of the Subscription Boxes that The Magickal Earth has to offer. They range in price from a mere $14.99 to $49.99 and cover a variety of wants and needs, from Crystal Boxes to Bath Boxes.

 

Now, let’s get into the box!


The smell emanating from the box is delicious and enticing. It makes me want to tear it open in a rush, but I must be methodical! So I open it carefully and peek inside.

First things first…what do we pull out???

 

Astrology Reading

When you are ordering your box you are asked to give your birth date. This is because The Magickal Earth includes a personal monthly astrology reading with this subscription box. I’m a Libra as you can see. You also get a pamphlet with planetary influences & energies for the month of the sign of the box.

 

One Card Pull

A one card Tarot pull is done for you. My card chosen was Temperance. They send you the card that is pulled for you along with another sheet that explains the Tarot card. It is up to you to read how this card plays in your life.

 

Abalone Smudge Shell

I am in love with this Abalone Shell. It’s large and very iridescent inside, delicate seeming, but sturdy, and gorgeous. The picture only sort of catches a bit of rainbow on the inside.

The iridescence is carried over the outside over a silver finish. There are a few “portholes” along the side that just add to the beauty. On the “mound side” there is a slight rusty patina on some of the holes giving it a real sea feeling.

 

BloodStone

Now this is an awesome piece of Blood stone that The Magickal Earth sends you. It is a big, smooth, tumbled piece. It is the size of the palm of your hand. It feels delicate, you don’t want to drop it. The color play in the stone is mesmerizing. A small card with some facts about Bloodstone accompanies the stone.

 

Quartz & Green Aventurine Stones

Two pieces of Quartz. They are both points. One is unique as it has a two points connected, one off shoot from the side. The larger one is a decent size, and the tinier one is on a small-scale but the uniqueness of it makes up for that.

The Green Aventurine is marbled with two shades of a light and dark green. It is smooth, tumbled, and medium-sized. A beautiful specimen.

 

Citrine

This is my favorite piece of Citrine that I have ever seen. I am amazed at the generous size. It is simply gorgeous! This picture does not do it justice. I could not get one that did. A huge piece of rough Citrine. A cloudy white base that rises to a deep yellow top that is flecked with almost rust colored specs. The vibrations coming from this stone are amazing.

 

Lip Care

Lip care by Night Bloom Apothecary is included in the Subscription Box. It feels very moisturizing on the lips. The scent is natural. It leaves a fresh feeling behind. When you rub your lips together it blends in nicely. It’s not overly oily feeling on your mouth or gooky.

 

Bar of Soap

Minty Magic is the name of the bar. The sticker on the back of the packaging tells you all the ingredients. It has a true mint scent, not a sweet mint, but a fresh mint scent. It lathers nicely and leaves behind a clean feeling, not dry.

 

 

Crystal Infused Energy Cleansing Mist


This blend is by NightBloom Apothecary. You can see the herbs & stones in this mixture. More so than I have seen in other’s that I have reviewed. You shake it and hear the many crystals chime against each other. When reading the ingredients you see they are pure de-stressers; lavender, clary sage, etc… The scent is amazing and it leaves you feeling soothed.

 

Stand and Smudge Stick to Complete Smudge Set

Now I am on the bottom of the box and what do I find? The Magickal Earth truly meant for this to be a Smudge Set. They have included a Stand. I thought the gorgeous Abalone Shell was just a stand alone. This is a great surprise. It’s a very nice wooden stand accompanied by a large smudge stick. This is a most wonderful Smudge Set.

 

My Overall Opinion…

I found The Magickal Earth to have a very impressive box. I really enjoyed their theme of cleansing in the box and think they kept it on target with great products made of wonderful quality. The portions in their Subscription Box were very generous. I have found my new citrine for working with. The Smudge Kit is a great gift for those new to smudging as well as those who have been smudging for years. The Energy Cleansing Mist impressed me the most with it’s quality. I also, really appreciated their personal attention with the astrology reading & one card drawing.  It really personalizes your box, you know no one else is getting a box like yours.  They spent time thinking about just you for the moment.  This box is most definitely Worth the Witch!

 

We got to speak with the woman behind The Magickal Earth boxes, Janet Barto, and ask her the usual from Worth the Witch. Here is what Janet had to say…

PaganPagesOrg (PPO): What brought the idea of your box to you?

Janet Barto(JB): When we started the Magickal Earth we started not with the subscription box in mind. I wanted to do what I loved most and that was crystals and rocks. The subscription box idea just came. We looked at the different boxes being offered and wanted to be unique. Thus, we came up with combining Astrology, Tarot and Crystals together.

PPO: How did you begin them?

JB: I won’t lie, it was a huge process. So much research went into every aspect. From Designing the box to how the contents would be included. I must say it is very hard work to start a subscription box. Especially ours and other like ours. So much attention to every detail. When you start you want every single piece to be absolutely perfect.

PPO: How do you choose what you include inside of them?

JB: First, we look at the Astrological calendar, then we look at the season, and from there I let my intuition take it home. Every item is hand chosen. Every item has a meaning of some kind to make it all part of the whole.

PPO: Is yours a recurring monthly box?

JB: Yes, we offer our box in many forms. We have a recurring box on Cratejoy and on our website. We then also off 3 or 6 month subscriptions at a discounted rate. Costing ranges from $14.99 delivered to $49.99 delivered.

PPO: Are you, yourself pagan?

JB: I am a second degree priestess within Chalice Hart in Washington. I am also a medium and I have trained in Shaman work.

PPO: Tell us about your interests.

JB: I have 2 business I now run full-time. But when I get to play we go on Jeep Runs. We do a lot of off roading in the mountains. I also love Football and Baseball.

PPO: Did you feel the pagan world was missing something to make you create your Box?

JB: This is a good question. I believe the answer is that I wanted ordinary people who had interests in Astrology and in Tarot to be able to order a box that was not just about witchcraft or spells. Kind of a middle ground. I wanted to really try to express that we are all part of the universe no matter what religion or craft you follow.

PPO: Do you have a site and sell other products?

JB: Our website is still a work in progress. As we are doing the boxes we are meeting people with many wonderful handmade items. Magickal Earth is about anything that comes from the Earth.

Our goal at The Magickal Earth is about personal attention. When you order from us we think hard about exactly the right stone or item to pick out for you. We understand how difficult it is for people to order crystals online. It is hard to not be able to see or feel. So when we are choosing for you, we are thinking hard about you and letting the universe help us chose the right one.

The Magickal Earth is growing everyday. And we believe that those who order from us become part of our family. It is all about our connection to them through the universe.

 

I think they really understood and connected with me. From my readings…to the crystals that really rang a note with me…this was an incredible box. Thank you Janet Barto for taking the time to chat with us. You really have an incredible box on your hands.

 

If you would like to get The Magickal Earth’s Boxes in your hands, Here’s their links:

The Magickal Earth’s Website:

https://themagickalearth.com/

 

The Magickal Earth on CrateJoy:

https://www.cratejoy.com/subscription-box/magickal-provisions/

 

The Magickal Earth Bath Box on CrateJoy:

https://www.cratejoy.com/subscription-box/magickal-earth/

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/themagickalearth

 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/themagickalearth/

 

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/barto1866/

***

About the Author:

Jennifer Wright is a witch on a path of change that is always winding. She founded PaganPagesOrg in the hopes of giving those a platform to share and learn without judgment. There are too many important things to her and not enough room to mention them. You are one of them.

Learning Lenormand

August, 2018

Notes from My Lenormand Journal

Thirty years ago, when I received my first set of Tarot cards, I read the cards nearly every day. I didn’t have a separate journal for my Tarot readings in those days – I just put the readings into my regular day-to-day diary. My life was very melodramatic in those days and the various readings reflected the histrionics of my daily life. Mostly I used the Celtic Cross spread but I would try out any spread that I discovered in my study of the Tarot. I was sure that I would eventually find the answer.

Well, here we are all these years later and I am still looking for the answer – or maybe it would be more correct to say that I am looking for answers in general. Naturally some of the questions have changed radically in the past thirty years. But some questions – really, the most important and vital ones – have not changed at all. They have only become more critical and far-reaching.

In the mid-1990’s, a very dear friend gave me a beautiful bound journal with a marbled cover of a glorious royal blue. That was the start of the separation of my Tarot journal and my day-to-day journal. There are pros and cons to this. I like being able to see the divinatory reading in regards to what happened that very day – having the two posts side by side can be very instructive. But having all those Tarot readings – or any kind of reading – broke up the diary’s natural prosaic flow. I have maintained two journals to this day.

These days, I do a three-card Tarot reading and then a five-card Lenormand reading. While I am focusing on the Lenormand in this essay, I must say that I am constantly amazed at how the two systems reinforce the same message. Sometimes I pull a Rune from my bag and nine times out of ten, whatever Rune I pull has the same divinatory message! Somedays I go through all my various means of divination to see if I am getting the same vibes from all the sources! And sometimes they all add up to the same one message. BUT – sometimes it’s just a big fucking jumble of nothing. It’s really tempting to say, the hell with all of this, and not write it down in the journal. I mean – that all takes time and time is not something I have a whole lot of nowadays. The thing is – just because you can’t see the message today doesn’t mean you won’t see the message tomorrow or next week or next year. Or even five or ten years from now. It can be argued that being able to “see” a divination five years after the reading is dubious at best but on the other hand, it’s all a learning experience, isn’t it? And sometimes the cards are talking about events far in the future. It’s human nature to see everything in the here and now.

The past several weeks, I have been pulling these cards over and over again:

Of course, these five cards were pulled with other cards. These cards are just showing up more often in the daily 5-card spread than the rest of the cards in the pack. And given that in the Lenormand, card relationship – the combination of cards to create a single meaning – is more important that a card landing on a certain point, just looking at these cards in and of themselves really doesn’t say very much. For instance, the 5 Tree 7 of Hearts card has come up fifteen times in the last twenty-two days, which is a pretty good percentage. But that doesn’t say anymore than I have been concerned with family and health issues, which are paramount right now. It’s the combination of the tree card with the surrounding cards that enhance and define its meaning. On July 5, the 5 Tree 7 of Hearts card was winged by 8 Coffin 9 of Diamonds and 36 Cross 6 of Clubs. Given the state of my father’s health on that day, this was a totally apt reading – his bad health and the feeling that no matter what happened, it was going to be difficult for all of us in the family.

26 Book 10 of Diamonds has been paired with 21 Mountain 8 of Clubs seven times in the last two weeks. I think this is pointing to the various problems I’m having with my writing – not a writer’s block per se – although that would be the obvious idea. But in my case, it’s not so much that I have writer’s block but I am so horrendously busy that I don’t have the time to write – the mountain is keeping me from my book. Again – the tree is another modifier – it’s family issues that are pressing on me. My father’s ill health – my son, who recently moved back home and now I have triple the housework that I used to have – and sibling drama that doesn’t really concern me but is nonetheless part of my life.

Isn’t 32 Moon 8 of Hearts a beautiful card? Caitlín Matthews says that this card is a “false friend” from the “Tarot World”. She writes,

“In Tarot, the Moon means illusions, mutability, or anxiety – words that are better expressed in Lenormand by Clouds. Stork, and Birds,

respectively. Lenormand Moon is about work, honor, recognition, and creativity. This is because Moon governs the sublunary regions

and is symbiotic with the life of our planet. Everything that the Moon shines upon is under its influence. Beware of assigning disordered

emotions to the Moon, which has more to do with the emotional satisfaction arising from the act of our hands.” (Matthews, 83-84)

But again, in context of my personal life right now, the Moon card in its Lenormand aspect is perfectly apt. I am concerned with issues of work – writing, specifically – but also my collage work – and of course the additional housework with my son now living here!

Naturally, of course, 25 Ring Ace of Clubs represents my commitment to all of the above – my son, my family, my work and my divinatory studies. This card has been paired with each of these cards more than once in every way imaginable.

Do keep a Divinatory Journal? What methods do you use the most? Do you use the Lenormand Oracle? What cards show up the most often? What relationship do you have with those cards?

Until next month, Brightest Blessings!

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

References

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

***

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.

Tarot Talk

March, 2018

(The Lovers Card is from the artist Ciro Marchetti http://www.ciromarchetti.com/)**

 

We just passed Valentine’s Day, so this might be a good time to examine the Major Arcana card known as The Lovers. Before we begin, let’s quickly define and describe some terms.

There are 22 Major Arcana cards in a Tarot deck, with numbers from 0 to 21; the Majors usually deal with broader and more far-reaching life experience issues, archetypes that are easy for us to identify with and connect with at some point in our lives. An archetype (pronounced “ark eh type”) is a generic, idealized model of a person, an object, or a concept which can be copied, patterned, or imitated. The term archetype often refers to one of two concepts: a “stereotype,” a personality type observed multiple times, especially an oversimplification of a personality type; stereotypes can be positive or negative, or an “epitome,” which is the embodiment of a particular personality type, especially as the “greatest” or “best” example of the particular personality type; epitomes can also be positive or negative.

Archetypes present personality traits that are common enough to be known by us all, through images (rather than words) that contain symbolism that connects with our subconscious in a universal manner. Each of us can understand the symbolism of archetypes and connect with that symbolism because each of us has (or will) personally experienced these archetypes.

Each Major Arcana card corresponds to an archetype, an image, a number, an element, an astrological sign or planet, a Hebrew letter, and a Path on the Tree of Life joining two Sephiroth. Let’s get to work breaking this one down.

Many Major Arcana cards represent archetypes of people in our lives. The Empress is The Mother and The Emperor is The Father; we easily understand these archetypes because most of us have these people in our lives. Other Tarot Majors represent ideas or feelings or concepts or stories, rather than people. Temperance represents balance, The Wheel represents fate and Justice represents fairness, all three offering archetypes of ideas rather than people. Our card this month, The Lovers, has several archetypes: the Two Paths, the Union of Mature Opposites, and of course, Romantic Love. With The Lovers we learn how to discern and understand the interactions of duality, of the connections and interactions between pairs with strong connections, and with pairs of opposites (after all, we can’t understand light until we understand the darkness).

In keeping with the idea of duality, there are two traditional images of The Lovers. One shows a man and woman standing before an official or religious leader, with Cupid flying above the pair and shooting an arrow toward them. There is often a brightly colored sun behind the Cupid. A few versions of this image are a bit more sinister, showing a couple holding hands and another woman alongside them, sometimes seen as “the other woman.” Other times, one woman is seen as representing virtue and the other, sensuality. The other traditional image shows an angel with wings spread wide; standing before the angel are a naked man and woman. Behind them all are a blue sky, a blazing sun, and in the distance is a mountain. Often there is a tree behind the man and woman; the tree behind the man is usually heavy with fruit and the tree behind the woman contains a large serpent, reminding us of the Garden of Eden. Many Lovers cards offer other versions of embracing lovers, usually surrounded by flowers and green growing things.

The Lovers is the number six card of the Major Arcana. The number 6 represents victory over the obstacles of 4 (stability that could turn into stagnation) and 5 (movement that upsets stability), and is considered a perfect number because 6 equals the sum of its dividers (the numbers 1, 2 and 3 add up to 6). Perfect numbers are rare; the ancient Greeks only recognized four: 8,128, 496, 28 and 6. This number is also the smallest number above 0 that isn’t a prime or a square number. Snowflakes have 6 points, as does the Star of David, and honeycombs have 6 sides. Because 12 is seen as a number of cosmic order (there are 12 months in a year, and time is measured in units of 12 hours) and is used in other measurements (we use the dozen and the gross as units of measurement), 6 can be seen as representing the concept of “half.” It is also the highest number of the dice and is seen as lucky. The “sixth sense” represents ESP as well as hunches. And finally and quite appropriately for our purpose today, the number 6 is the symbol of Venus, the Goddess of love and beauty.

The Lovers corresponds with the element of Air, and thus the Minor Arcana suit of Swords, the playing cards suit of Spades, the direction of East, and the colors Yellow or Gold. Air is connected to the intellect, and to action, challenges, and a struggle that brings an outcome. This element represents the focused intent to bring forth manifestation, and many times it indicates a struggle as we bring an idea into reality. The element of Air can encourage a focus on truth and clarity, mental focus and spiritual guidance, and encourage a striving to achieve balance between the mind and the heart.

In astrology, The Lovers corresponds with the astrological sign of Gemini, the Twins. Gemini is about communication of all kinds, and about collecting information and stimulating the mind. Geminis are a mix of yin and yang, and they can easily see both sides of an issue. Gemini is all about the intellect, the mind, and the thinking process. They think clearly and make use of logic, and at the same time make use of their fertile imagination. Gemini is a mutable sign, and thus they can sometimes change their mind on a whim or not follow through to the end of a project, but this mutability makes them adaptable and flexible, too.

In the Hebrew alphabet, each letter is connected to the creative forces in the universe. They express themselves on three levels: one level is archetypical and runs from the first to the ninth letter; the second level is one of manifestation and runs from the tenth to the eighteenth letter, and the third is a cosmic level and runs from the nineteenth to the twenty-second letter. The Lovers corresponds with the Hebrew letter Zain (or Zayin), the seventh letter in the Hebrew alphabet and a member of the archetypal group; this letter represents the spear, sword or weapon, and it is also connected to food and to sustenance.

On the Tree of Life, The Lovers represents Path 17, running between Tiphareth (the hub of the creation process where energies harmonize and focus to illuminate and clarify) and Binah (female receptive energy and the origin of form and structure), connecting the Pillar of Balance to the Pillar of Form and the Sacred Feminine of Binah. A keyword for Tiphareth is “Beauty” and a keyword for Binah is “Understanding” so we could say that the 17th Path shows us the Beauty of Understanding as well as an Understanding of Beauty. The 17th Path is one of the paths that crosses Da’at, The Abyss, which tells us that The Lovers is not as simple as it appears on its surface.

Within the Major Arcana, The Lovers can be seen as connected to The Hierophant (which is about the group), and The Devil (which is about bondage, dependencies and addictions). Often, the traditional images of The Hierophant, The Lovers and The Devil have similarities; in many decks each often show s two people standing before some figure of authority or power. The Lovers is also connected to the Minor Arcana Two of Cups, another card that tells of duality, connections and love, and the Queen of Cups, the personification of love and compassion.

The Lovers of the Thoth Tarot has it all: a majestic priest (The Hermit of the Major Arcana), a blindfolded Cupid with bow drawn, a royal bride (who holds a cup) and bridegroom (who holds a lance). Before them are two children; on either side of the children are a white eagle (representing The Empress) and a red lion (representing The Emperor). At the very front of the card is the Orphic egg (the source of all manifestation), and around the egg is coiled the serpent Ophion (the fertilizer and protector of the egg). Above it all is an arch made of Swords. Crowley saw The Lovers as representing the alchemical process of Solution (the process that mixes a solid, gas or another liquid with a liquid, so that one substance seems to disappear into the other).

The Tarot of Bones (the awesome deck by Lupa that I reviewed last month month) Lovers card shows an image of a pair of Galapagos albatross skulls. These birds (who can live up to 50 years and who mate for life) are apart from their mates for most of the year, but in the spring when they reunite to make babies, they perform an elaborate mating dance as they greet and become reacquainted with their partners. The Tarot of Bones Companion Book sums up The Lovers nicely as “The pinnacle of romance and compatibility, bound together through mutual attraction and care.”

The Haindl Tarot Lovers card is chock full of symbolism: a red rose (love) superimposed with the Star of David (as above, so below and the four elements), with each point of the star adorned with a leaf (element of Earth, fertility, Nature); a spear (Wands, element of Fire) pointed down (ownership), and a unicorn (purity, innocence and enchantment). There is a tree on either side of the couple, reminding us of the Garden of Eden and the Trees of Life and Knowledge found there. An important symbol is the fact that the two Lovers hold each other’s hands behind a golden Cup, telling us that while we have many important personal choices in our lives, choices that can affect our physical environment as well as our emotional and mental selves, love is in front of it all.

The Shadowscapes Tarot Lovers card shows a couple who are kissing; they look into each other’s eyes and do not see the sun blazing overhead, the gold and gem-encrusted crown being offered to them. They only experience the oneness of passion and love that brings true union. This card tells of love and a union that can be based on romance, but also can be about the melding of both the heart and the mind, about communion and sharing, and it can even represent the transformative power of love.. The Shadowscapes Lovers card reminds us that this is about choice (and choosing can sometimes be a struggle) and about determining our own values.

The Lovers of the Gateway to the Divine Tarot are not quite touching. The image shows them at that moment just before a kiss that will be life-changing. Between them, Cupid’s arrow flies into the apple of desire that is growing on the Tree of Knowledge, and before them is the uncoiling serpent of awakening desire. Around them are four pillars decorated with lovers’ knots. This card represents relationships, intimacy, communication, unity, and choice, and the motivational power of love. The Lovers also can represent a choice between vice and virtue.

The Lovers presents the two halves that when united with balance are greater than the sum of their parts. This card is about love, but it is also about thinking! Remember, The Lovers corresponds with the element of Air and with the intellect and the workings of the mind. This card is about our personal values, and how they affect our choices and the promises we make to others.

The Lovers is about a one-to-one connection that we choose to allow, or not allow. We’ve all experienced both the pleasures and the pains associated with loving someone else. Trusting in the power of love, even though our minds may be giving other advice, is a very brave personal choice.

And for anyone who believes in the existence of Deity, any love that we humans may feel or experience is an echo or a reflection of the purest and most powerful love offered to us by Deity. The Lovers can be seen to bring us a true understanding of the beauty of love, an emotion which can cure us or kill us, and to show us the Divine nature of the choice to open ourselves to love.

** This year we will be featuring the art of Ciro Marchetti as part of Tarot Talk.  You can view his work and Decks at http://www.ciromarchetti.com/ .

***

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 Journey 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.

For Amazon Information Click Image Below

Tarot Talk

March, 2017

The Tower

 

tarottower

(The Tower Tarot Card from the artist Ciro Marchetti http://www.ciromarchetti.com/)**

 

This month, we will return to the Major Arcana, and talk about The Tower. Now, I know that many are afraid of this card, but don’t panic. You will find that The Tower is not quite as bad as it seems. . . I promise! Since it’s been a while since we talked about a Major Arcana card, let’s begin by defining and describing some terms.

There are 22 Major Arcana cards in a Tarot deck, with numbers from 0 to 21; the Majors usually deal with broader and more far-reaching life experience issues, archetypes that are easy for us to identify with and connect with at some point in our lives.

An archetype (pronounced “ark eh type”) is a generic, idealized model of a person, an object, or a concept which can be copied, patterned, or imitated. In psychology, an archetype is a model of a person, a personality, or a behavior. In the analysis of personality, the term archetype often refers to one of two concepts:

A “stereotype”; in other words, a personality type observed multiple times, especially an oversimplification of a personality type; stereotypes can be positive or negative. For instance, “girls make good cooks” is a stereotype.

An “epitome,” which is the embodiment of a particular personality type, especially as the “greatest” or “best” example of the particular personality type; epitomes can also be positive or negative. For example, Venus is said to be the epitome of feminine beauty.

So basically, archetypes present personality traits that are common enough to be known by us all, through images (rather than words) that contain symbolism that connects with our subconscious in a universal manner. Each of us can understand the symbolism of archetypes and connect with that symbolism because each of us has (or will) personally experienced these archetypes.

Each Major Arcana card corresponds to a number, an archetype, an element, an astrological sign or planet, a Hebrew letter, and a Path on the Tree of Life joining two Sephiroth. Let’s start breaking this one down; we’ve got a lot of work to do!

The traditional image found on The Tower is definitely unsettling. Almost all decks agree on the same basic theme: a tall tower is shown being struck by a bolt of lightning, sometimes with flames burning from the upper windows, usually with two people falling from the crumbling tower. Sometimes the image showers the top portion of the tower also falling down, or the entire tower crumbling; other images show waves breaking upon the base of the tower, or a downpour falling from the dark and roiling sky.

The Tower is numbered XVI in the Major Arcana; the number 16 represents the achievement of the material power, but it also presents tests and failures or unforeseen situations or challenges that offer growth and evolution through discomfort. This is an interesting number; it is a product of 2 x 8, showing the positive evolution leading to karmic liberation (or “construction”), or the negative evolution leading to situations that are more and more difficult to resolve (or “destruction”).

Another way to look at the number 16 is to add the digits. 1 + 6 = 7, the number that tells of pausing in order to make an important choice regarding the next step to be taken. The Major Arcana card associated with the number 7 is The Chariot, a card that encourages us to move forward by having authority over chaos. If we experience the upheaval and destruction of The Tower even one time in our lives, we will learn and remember that taking action and moving forward (rather than insisting on keeping things the same) will prevent the return of The Tower and its discomforts.

The Tower represents the archetype of Chaos. Chaos is defined as “complete disorder and confusion” and “a state in which behavior and events are not controlled by anything,” which can indeed be frightening to contemplate, particularly if you are not good with new things or with the unknown. In physics, “chaos” is defined as “behavior so unpredictable as to appear random.” I like that definition better, because it hints at some hidden purpose to the unpredictability and disorder.

The Tower corresponds with the element of Fire, which is hot and dry, and shapes and separates. Fire manifests as spontaneous, impulsive and energetic change. Fire corresponds with the suit of Wands from the Tarot Minor Arcana, the playing cards of Clubs, the direction of South and the color of red. Fire represents ideas, seeds being planted, growth, ambition, and passion; Fire’s energies encourage us to move forward, to experience joy and passion (including sexuality), and to take action based on divine will rather than our ego-based self. Wands represent our ability to experience joy and passion (including sexuality), and they represent our personal nature. Fire can represent enthusiasm and a pull towards being physical or artistic; it can also represent recklessness and apathy, a lack of energy and potential health issues.

In astrology, The Tower corresponds with the planet Mars. Mars is the Roman god of war and bloodshed whose traditional symbols are the spear (or Wand) and the shield. Mars was second in importance only to Jupiter, and was the most prominent of the military gods worshipped by the Roman legions. Mars is the first planet that orbits outside of Earth’s orbit, making it the first planet that does not set along with the Sun. Astrologically, Mars is associated with confidence and self-assertion, aggression, sexuality, energy, strength, ambition and impulsiveness. Mars governs sports, competitions and physical activities in general. Mars is associated with fever, accidents, trauma, pain and surgery.

In the Hebrew alphabet, each letter is connected to the creative forces in the universe. They express themselves on three levels: one level is archetypical and runs from the first to the ninth letter; the second level is one of manifestation and runs from the tenth to the eighteenth letter, and the third is a cosmic level and runs from the nineteenth to the twenty-second letter. The Tower corresponds with the Hebrew letter Peh, the seventeenth letter in the Hebrew alphabet that tells of manifestation; this letter corresponds with the mouth. This means that Peh also represents the power of speech, and thus to words, expression, and vocalization. In the Hebrew alphabet Peh follows Ayin, the eye, and thus we are told that understanding is a necessary part of expression.

On the Tree of Life, The Tower represents Path 27, running between Hod (which provides analysis and communication) and Netzach (which offers the stimulating factors of emotion and inspiration). The 27th Path is one of the three Paths on the Tree that explore personality. It is within the 27th Path that we learn the hard way to balance instinct and emotion, and where we learn, through endurance beyond what we think we are capable of, that we have faith. The 27th Path is the first Path to cross the Tree horizontally (spanning the Pillars of Form and Force at the bottom of the Tree), telling of the potential for the creation of balance between the extremes presented by the Pillars. Because the 27th Path is close to Malkuth and the physical world, its energies are stronger within the physical world and the effects of these energies will be more tangible within the physical-world life.

While all of these correspondences present discomfort and destruction and inspire fear and superstition, in the end The Tower is a card of renewal. The Tower often presents itself when we are knowingly or unknowingly fighting the flow of events, at first appearing as a gentle warning and then growing more and more blatant in its presence within a spread. The Tower is related to blockages and conflicts, and their resolution. It tells of a violent or explosive correction in the way things are going that usually happens after more gentle corrections don’t bring the needed result. It is a wakeup call that upturns the values and truths which seemed so strong yet prove to be fragile, leaving us no choice but to accept the loss, learn from it, and then rebuild new and stronger values and truths.

The Tower can warn of an ongoing entrapment of some kind, telling us that danger is approaching, and following the old ways and offering the usual and customary responses will only draw that danger even closer. Without a willing return to balance, the ugly and uncomfortable adjustment that is The Tower will happen. In fact, it might happen anyway. In at least one sense, the card represents the Fall of Man, with the lightning bolt a symbol of an “act of God” that forces man to fall from his protective ivory tower.

The destruction caused by The Tower brings trials of endurance, of courage, and of faith. It creates situations that force us to see what can be salvaged and what needs to be released immediately. We end up being forced to face our weaker aspects and forced to build upon our stronger aspects. The Tower is actually clearing away the old and expired, so new growth can begin, the same way that a builder needs to demolish and clear away the remnants of an old building, or clears the trees and rocks from a wooded lot, in order to begin to construct his building. This clearing of the lot might be violent (demolition is usually violent in some respects) and not particularly fun to experience, but it brings opportunities to get rid of the things that no longer serve us. Perhaps this complete change will also change our fortune or clear our vision, or balance our energies in a new and more powerful way.

Clinging to old goals and old ways of doing things will most likely bring on the abrupt and uncomfortable energies of The Tower, but the explosive transformation presented by this card will knock down those old walls and bring in brilliant new light!

 

**This year we will be featuring the art of Ciro Marchetti http://www.ciromarchetti.com/ as part of Tarot Talk.  You can view his work and Decks at http://www.ciromarchetti.com/.

Tarot Talk

November, 2014

This month, we are going back to the Minor Arcana suit of Swords, and we will explore the Two of Swords, one of those cards whose message can be either a help or a hindrance to a Seeker.

The Two of Swords is a Minor Arcana card so it is most likely referring to a day-to-day issue, rather than a long-term or widely-sweeping one, but this does not take away from its potential to assist us, or to cause discomfort. The keywords for this card stretch all the way from avoidance and being stuck, to peace and serenity. How do you effectively respond to such a card? By understanding it. The best way to understand something, even something we don’t understand, is to break it down to its most basic ingredients. So, let’s get started!

The suit of Swords, which corresponds with the element of Air, the Spades of playing cards, the direction of East and the color of yellow, seems to use “no pain, no gain” as its motto. Maybe the tendency for discomfort has to do with the fact that Swords usually tell of some focused intent to bring forth a manifestation of some kind, or they tell of a struggle and then an outcome. Swords cards are about purposeful actions and the thoughts, intentions or beliefs behind them; these actions are different from the Fiery Wands cards because they are deliberate, rather than as a response to random effects presented to us by the elements around us. These actions are different from Watery Cups cards because they are sourced from analysis and the workings of the intellect, rather than emotions and feelings. They are different from Earthy Pentacles cards because they represent the mind and the thinking processes, rather than the physical world and the workings and needs of the physical body. Simply put, the effects of the Swords cards are sourced from within us; we are the main catalyst that creates the manifestation of a Swords card. In many ways the Swords cards represent our attempt to manifest our chosen reality, and they tell us that we might be causing the very challenges we are trying to prevent.

The element of Air corresponds with truth, clarity, and our capacity to analyze or apply logic. Thus, the Swords cards indicate our mental state, the beliefs we have, and actions we take (or don’t take) in response to effects around us. A Sword has two edges, a perfect metaphor for this suit, which can represent attacking or defending, logic or aggression. We are talking analysis and intellect and logic here, without mercy or compassion.

The suit of Swords is not all bad; after all the element of Air also represents the intelligence that clears away the fog of ignorance and allows us to understand what we are dealing with. Air is the medium of our voices, 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. Of course, words and communications are double-edges swords, too, and they can heal or hurt. The Swords cards also represent an opportunity to feel more empowered. That’s what happens when we successfully deal with a challenge!

The number 2 usually represents balance, polarity, and the energy of “distance between.” The Ace of the Tarot Minors represents the Point and the concept of Position; the 2 represents the Line (the “distance between” two points) and it brings us the concept of comparison. The number 2 offers creative partnerships, duality, tension, cooperation, diplomacy, and decisions; it offers both direction and connection, and can be considered a gateway. In the Tarot, this number represents the first time the element appears as itself, manifested. Within the suit of Swords, we have the potential to be effective while using logic and analytical thinking (the Ace of Swords), and we have the building of the protective barriers that bring us quiet and solitude and non-action or non-manifestation (the Two of Swords), so we can focus on the message of the intellect.

The astrological correspondence for the Two of Swords is the Moon in the constellation Libra, and this offers us a bit more depth of understanding of our card. The Moon is the brightest object besides the sun in our sky, and besides feelings and emotions and illusion and imagination, it is also associated with a need for security, mainly because of the unease brought by the darkness. It is feminine and passive in nature, even melancholy at times, and it represents our emotional life. Things look different when lit by the light of the Moon; colors change and shadows distort. Often the Moon helps us to see a different side of our nature. Libra offers the concept of “we are,” and it is diplomatic, objective, cooperative, and calm, and is about partnerships and balance; Libra can also be vague, distant, indecisive, dependent on others, and can lack confidence. When the Moon is in Libra, it offers adaptability, balance, harmony, and tranquility. It also tells us that conflicts are uncomfortable, and we may do a lot to avoid them because we need stability and predictability, which may be difficult to maintain because standing up for ourselves brings that conflict we are trying to avoid. The interesting thing here is that it is in the astrological correspondence for our Two of Swords that we find the feelings and emotions that are generally not found within the suit itself; here is our balance, duality, and polarity!

The traditional image of the Two of Swords is of a woman holding two Swords by their hilts before her, with her wrists or the Swords themselves crossed in front of her, as if the two Swords were blocking out the world and preventing the world from affecting her. Often, she is blindfolded, and there may be a representation of the element of Water or the Moon (both connected to each other, and to emotions, feelings and imagination) in the background, as if the woman is not even acknowledging their presence. The woman may be seated or standing, but she is stationary, well grounded, and well balanced. The image on the Thoth Two of Swords, which uses “Peace” as a keyword, shows the two Swords piercing a lotus flower, representing the intellect being restrained in a balanced manner by love. Perhaps that is how Peace is achieved, according to the Thoth Tarot.

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 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. For the Two of Swords, this purest expression is manifested as inner peace, without influence from the outside world.

The Two of Swords can be seen to represent the barriers we build in order to achieve a pure focus inward. There is always danger to be found in this kind of deliberate walling off of the world. Refusing to make a decision, avoiding the truth, or denying our own feelings and beliefs can certainly be harmful to us, and they can separate us from reality. Even simply giving in to lethargy and deliberately clinging to stagnation as the world passes us by can cause us to ignore the symptoms of decay and corrosion, and allow them to grow and have more influence. Choice, after all, is a power that no one can take from us unless we allow them to take it, and refusing to chose is in the end a choice.

However, there are times when blocking out an instinctive response to the world around us is a good thing as long as it is just for today, and maintaining our cool while dealing with a difficult situation brings clarity. A temporary disconnect from the world can help us to recharge our battery, and allow us to do a bit of system maintenance by cleaning out our “temporary files” and de-fragging our “hard drive.” The Two of Swords can also represent the keeping of a secret of some kind; that, too, can be helpful or destructive.

While it is beneficial to sometimes close out the world, we should always remember that closing our heart will not bring a happy ending. We can and sometimes should create the peace that happens when we shut out the world for a little while, but we need to stay connected to our own self and to our own heart; sometimes it is during that peace and quiet that we can see our heart center with the most clarity.

“Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.” – Unknown. Yes, the Two of Swords offers that kind of peace.

Tarot Talk

February, 2014

Let’s talk about another Six card this month, the Six of Swords.  In the Tarot Minor Arcana, the Six cards are kind of unique, in part because of the properties of the number 6, and in part because of the properties of the Sephira corresponding to the Tarot Sixes on the Tree of Life.  Before we talk about the Six of Swords, if you haven’t read October’s essay on the Six of Pentacles, and in particular the information regarding the number 6, please do so now.

 

The Six cards of the Tarot offer the concept of forward momentum achieved through victory over the obstacles presented by Four (in the case of Swords cards, security that is temporary and tends to become stagnation) and Five (uncomfortable movement or actions that end stagnation).  These victories are met with the healing achieved through negotiation (and thus, the Sixes of the Tarot Minors often present such concepts as equilibrium, peace, comfort, and ease, as well as stubbornness, excessive worry, and harmful gossip). Of course, this means that acceptance is a part of these Six cards, self-acceptance and the acceptance acquired through effective interactions with both friends and enemies.  This is particularly true of the Six of Swords, which tells of balance and healing that can come from logic and analysis.  Remember, the Six cards often present the corresponding element and suit at its practical best, and since the suit of Swords is generally uncomfortable, we could say that the Six of Swords presents a best case scenario for this suit.  In most cases even a reversed Six card has many benefits to offer a Seeker, and the meanings of the reversed Six of Swords are similar to the upright interpretation, just less intense.

 

Tiphareth or Beauty is the sixth Sephira on the Tree of Life, the second on the Pillar of Balance (which is the “trunk” of the Tree), and it represents harmony, equilibrium, and the epitome of balance.  Above Tiphareth are the top three Sephiroth of the Tree, the Supernals, representing God/Source/the Higher Self.  Below the Supernals and above Tiphareth is a void known as Da’at or the Abyss; the Abyss separates (and also bridges) Deity/the Higher Self and the rest of our life experiences.  For more detailed information about the Tree and the number Six, please see October’s essay on the Six of Pentacles. Traveling upward through the Abyss is usually an uncomfortable but in the end beneficial process, for it involves coming to know our Shadow Self, and thus our entire awareness.  This knowledge is terrifying to our conscious mind (the realm of the Swords cards) and empowering at the same time, for it is the source of our personal ethical code and our ability to tell right from wrong. The knowledge and awareness associated with the Abyss are not about the outside world, for the Abyss is connected directly to the one who is doing the knowing, the Self.  The Six of Swords represents that moment when we decide that traveling upward through the Abyss is worth the discomfort, mainly because we have received a glimpse of what could be on the other side of the void.

 

Now that we’ve talked about the number 6 in a general fashion as it connects to the Tarot and the Six of Swords, let’s begin the process of breaking our Six of Swords card down even further.  The Six of Swords 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.  Remember, while on the surface a Minor Arcana card can appear insignificant or mundane, it can also possibly be a symptom of a deeper or wider issue.  Nothing in the Minor Arcana is in any way minor in nature.

 

We already know that 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 6, and the suit of Swords.  These two ingredients could actually give you enough information about this one card to offer a useful interpretation, especially with all the cool information out there regarding the number 6.

 

The suit of Swords corresponds with the playing card suit of Spades, the cardinal direction of East, and the element of Air.  In its natural state, the element of Air is hot and wet.  It tends to expand or separate, is quick and animated, and adapts to its environment. Air is intellectual in nature, and infuses everything in our world; Nature abhors the lack of Air and will attempt to remedy that situation at all costs.  In the Tarot, the element of Air is associated with problems or challenges (usually presented through the quick and animated energy associated with Air), and the solving of those problems or challenges through growth . . . sometimes uncomfortable growth (uncomfortable because it involves upsetting the status quo).

 

Swords represent our mental state, our intellect, the way we respond to challenges, and our capacity for logical thought.  This suit often represents the focused intent necessary to bring forth manifestation through struggling against the odds, a striving to bring balance between the mind and the heart, and an attempt to perceive and understand spiritual guidance.  A sword is a double-edged blade, and thus a fitting metaphor for the energies of this suit, which can represent attacking ~or~ defending.

 

Astrologically speaking, the Six of Swords represents Mercury when it is in the sign of Aquarius.  In Roman mythology, Mercury is known as the messenger of the gods and is known for his ability to move fast. The planet Mercury echoes this, circling the Sun quickly, taking only 88 days to orbit the Sun, spending about 7.33 days in each sign of the zodiac. Mercury is so close to the Sun that it has no atmosphere of its own; it can only be seen in our skies with the naked eye right after the Sun has set.  Astrologically, Mercury represents the principles of communication, mentality, thinking patterns, rationality and reasoning and adaptability and variability. Mercury is connected to schooling and education, research, moving over short distances, as well as email, telephone and snail mail.  Mercury connects learning with communication by also being connected to newspapers, journalism and writing. In medicine, Mercury is associated with the nervous system, the brain, the respiratory system, the thyroid and the sense organs. It is linked to the animal spirits.

 

The Sun sign Aquarius is connected with those who have humanitarian and philanthropic tendencies, and are interested in making the world a better place. Aquarians spend a lot of time visualizing a perfect future, but they are also ready to share their dreams with others, and take steps to make the world a better place. Luckily, they are intelligent and inventive and they work well with others, although they can be impatient, even temperamental, with those who disagree with their ideas. Even though Aquarians are happy to give, and they do give a lot, the giving is usually on their terms and within their comfort level, probably because Aquarius is a Fixed sign.  Aquarians are also into technology of all kinds, and they use modern communication apparatus and social networking with ease.

 

When we combine these ingredients together, we end up with a pretty nice Swords card!  The Tarot of the Sephiroth sees the Six of Swords as representing the appropriate use of mind over matter.  The energies of the card are used to integrate the right and left brain, and to align the heart and the mind.  The Shadowscapes Tarot describes this card as representing a passage away from difficulties, a chance to recover from trials or tribulations, and a way to rise above the confusion for a bit in order to seek clarity.  The Llewellyn Welsh Tarot qualifies that definition even further, by reminding us that while we are moving toward a better place or away from an unhealthy situation, the final destination is still unknown at this point.  The Legacy of the Divine Tarot reminds us that the change the Six of Swords is talking about can happen because we choose for it to happen, or because circumstances dictate it to happen.  The Legacy Tarot also reminds us that we should be open to assistance from others during this time.

 

The number 6 tells of the vertical and horizontal balance that is achieved through negotiation and acceptance; even the reversed number is still beneficial.  The Sixes of the Tarot correspond with balance and beauty, a child’s ability to find innocent joy in simple things, and the ability to remember and understand events of the past, whether pleasant or uncomfortable or challenging, in order to be a better person.  The suit of Swords is about the workings of the intellect, our capacity to analyze, our mental state, and our ability to deal with problems and challenges through growth and learning.  The energies of this suit are hot and wet, they tend to expand or separate, they are quick and animated and tend to adapt to their environment.  Mercury is about movement and communication of all kinds, thinking patterns, logic, education and learning, and technology.  Aquarius is about having a social conscience and being able to act in accordance with it, and about desiring a better world.  Aquarians are able to not only take their own actions to make that happen, but also act as an example that encourages others to also strive in the same way.

 

This means that the Six of Swords represents starting anew in order to move away from a situation that is not serving us.  This is a card of recovery, of getting over a tough time and beginning the process of picking up the pieces.  My favorite trait of this card is that it is also about learning the science behind things that work, because understanding why they work makes them more effective. This card is about healing by achieving a better understanding of a situation, so that we can better cope with problems or challenges.  And it is about making use of all the tools available to us, even the internet and social media, in order to move on to a better place.

 

A reversed Six of Swords could indicate delays in beginning the recovery process, or any anxiety or delay regarding a journey or trip of any kind.  It could tell of changes in plans that might unsettle us at first, or even of an inability to accept the assistance and support of others.  It could even tell of issues with a computer or an internet connection, and the effects of those issues.

 

Not a bad Swords card at all!

The Tarot

November, 2011

As we enter into the month of “Thank Giving” I wanted to discuss two of the cards in the Tarot Deck that come about to remind us to give thanks for what we have.  A lot of the time as we coast through life we forget to keep mindful of how thankful we are.

That being said I’m going to discuss The Sun.  The Sun cards in general means that things are going fairly well for you and even in it’s reversed state the Sun means good things however in the reverse state the card specifically reminds you that you have to be thankful of what you have no matter the situation or the things that are wrong in your life it’s time to count your blessings and refocus on the good.

The Four of Cups has a similar meaning.  In general the card tells you to count your blessing and be grateful and also reminds you not to wallow in self pity or negative self chatter as this negative chatter is damaging to the soul and spirit.

Within the Tarot Deck there are a number of cards that present themselves when we are not being grateful for what we have.  At times overwhelmed by the negative points in our life we tend to focus on anything but gratitude.  But the reality is that being grateful opens you up to receiving more good things.  As gratitude shifts your energy you’ll find yourself focusing on the good and less on the bad this energy shift then bring the law of attraction into play and the more grateful you are the more things to be grateful for will come along.

One of the exercises that I recommend when we are not mindful of “Thanks Giving” is creating a gratitude journal and working on it every night being grateful for at least 5 things a day no matter how insignificant they might seem to you at that moment.

Gratitude is a powerful weapon represented by the Sun it’s warming, nurturing, and life giving just as the real Sun is to the earth Gratitude is to the soul so take a moment to reflect on the good things in life and open your soul to the possibilities.

The Tarot

June, 2011

I’m very excited about being a part of Pagan Pages and being able to share my knowledge of the Tarot with readers.  Although I’m not an expert I have been reading cards for over 20 years and have also grown quite a collection of cards most of which I don’t use because I have a preference for the Traditional Rider-Waite cards myself however, the Tarot and its history have always interested me and so here I am to share a little of my knowledge with you.

The Tarot is believed by some to be as old as ancient Egypt, but according to historians the tarot didn’t come about till much later.  Playing cards first entered into Europe around the 14th century known as Tarocca. It wasn’t till much later around the mid 1400’s that the Tarot was created as a simple card game but later around the 1500’s people began to look at the Tarot different and see more meaning in the pictures represented on the card.  However the Tarot didn’t become widely adopted by mystics and occultist until much later around the 18th and 19th centuries when Antoine Court de Gébelin wrote an essay interpreting the Tarot as an ancient form of wisdom.

Now what intrigues me about the history of the Tarot is that early versions of these cards where hand painted so a very small amount of decks where privately commissioned and typically it was the upper class that were able to obtain such decks. It wasn’t until the invention of the printing press that mass production of the cards became possible.  Many European governments banned the use of playing cards most likely because they involved gambling however in many areas the tarot during its early stage was exempt from these laws.

Presently we can find a variety of Tarot decks most are usually patterned from one of the most historically important desks called Tarot De Marseilles important because Antoine Court de Gébelin used this deck as his study in the essay he wrote.  Today we find decks ranging from the traditional and most popular Rider Waite Smith and Thoth decks to cards like the Vampire Deck or Deviant Moon Tarot.  Tarot decks have not only become a method of divination but also a form of art with amazing artistic interpretations of each card.  The cards have given birth to other forms of card play and have also touched into other faith based institutes that would otherwise not condone the use of the Tarots you can now find cards such as Soul cards created to inspire creativity to Daily affirmation and intentions cards intended, to like the Tarot cards, guide you into your future.

Tarot Talk

November, 2010

Wheel-of-Fortune

The Wheel of Fortune (10)

“Round and round and round she goes, and where she stops, nobody knows.”  ~Anonymous

Image Description:

The Rider-Waite deck depicts a large wheel moving in a clockwise direction with creatures hovering about on a blanket of billowing clouds. Each creature holds an open book. Along the rim of the wheel are the Hebrew letters ’T’, ’A’, ’R’, and ’O’, and within the center of the wheel are alchemical symbols. A sphinx is perched on top of the wheel, cradling a sword.

Symbols:

Wheel: Change and cycles of life, birth-death-rebirth, cycle of the Zodiac, workings of Fate
T,A,R,O: The nature of the Tarot –‘Tora’ (teaching), ‘Rota’ (wheel), ‘Orat’ (to speak or a message)

Creatures: Fixed signs of the zodiac: Bull = Taurus, Lion = Leo, Eagle = Scorpio, Angel/man = Aquarius
Sphinx: The principle of equilibrium, stability within movement, mystery and hidden knowledge

Eight Spokes: Universal radiant energy

Symbols on the Spokes: (From the top clockwise) Mercury, Sulfur, Water, Salt

Key Words:

Destiny, Unexpected Events, Movement, Turning Point, Patterns & Cycles

Fool‘s Journey:

Staring into the deep blue sky, the Fool watches the clouds swirling above him, visualizing their movement in the form of a great wheel gently rolling across the horizon. Inspired by his vision, the Fool begins to contemplate the world’s wondrous design and its intricate patterns and cycles in connection to the greater Universe.  Although he is aware that the world is riddled with unexpected events that can create surprising turning points in our lives, he feels secure placing his fate in the purposeful hands of destiny.

With his sense of determination restored, the Fool continues his journey.

The Lesson:

To learn how to accept change and understand the workings of fate.

Meaning:

The Wheel of Fortune addresses the age-old debate of fate versus free will.  It suggests we do not always have complete control over everything in our existence. The wheel is a symbol of perpetual motion and serves as a constant reminder that life is always changing, despite any resistance to the contrary. We are all subject to the laws of nature as we move through our lives from birth to death, completing one cycle only to begin yet another.

In readings, the Wheel of Fortune can indicate a turn of events or a twist of fate of which we have little control. We cannot always predict surprises, but through intuition oftentimes we can be made aware of impending changes which may herald a new beginning.  It is our reaction to such changes which will determine if the transformation will be a positive or negative experience.

When the energy of the wheel arrives, we may feel as if life has sped up in a negative sense; sometimes it is necessary to come down, in order to go up again. Other times the wheel’s energy provides a positive momentum, which enables us to let go of the past and move forward to embrace a more fulfilling future.

Tarot Talk

October, 2010

The-Hermit

The Hermit (9)

“Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”  ~ Carl Gustav Jung

Image Description:

The Rider-Waite deck portrays an old, bearded man dressed in dreary robes, standing on a desolate peak high in the mountains. His head is bowed and his expression speaks of wisdom and serenity. In his right hand he holds a raised lantern high in the air, casting its illuminating light into the darkness below him. Within the lantern is a brilliant six-pointed star.

Symbols:

Long, White Beard: Age, wisdom
Lantern: To guide those below; “inner light” shared openly with the world
Cloak: Anonymity, mantel of discretion
Mountaintop: Abstract thought, aspirations, path leading to greater heights
Six-Pointed Star (in the lantern): The Seal of Solomon (In legend, a seal ring used by Solomon to control the four elements)

Key Words:

Seeking, Guidance, Solitude, Introspection, Retreat

Fool’s Journey:

In time, the Fool begins to feel a desire for solitude. Retreating to a rustic cabin deep in the woods, he spends many days alone contemplating the deeper meaning of life. One evening, while lost in the introspection of his thoughts, he travels across the bare, autumn landscape and encounters a Hermit carrying a lantern. The lone Hermit, clearly old and wise beyond his years, speaks to the Fool in a raspy voice, whispering simple yet profound words of wisdom, “Seek, and ye shall find”.  Accepting the Hermit’s guidance, the Fool nods his head in acceptance and resumes his journey once more.

The Lesson:

To learn how to look within ourselves for the answers we seek and to guide others while remaining humble.

Meaning:

The lantern of knowledge depicted by the Hermit card represents the illumination of inner self. There are times when we seek deeper enlightenment, and we must embark on an inner spiritual quest to find it. Contemplation, meditation, reflection, and prayer are some of the methods we can use to gain a closer connection to our higher selves. Often times the answers we seek do not lie in the external world but within ourselves.

The Hermit can also indicate a time of withdrawal or retreat. Finding a “still center” in the midst of action or high energy can create balance, allowing us to better analyze our thoughts and feelings.  By stepping away from distractions and diversions we can obtain greater enlightenment and clarity.

In readings, the Hermit can also suggest a period of isolation or seclusion. Peace and solitude can teach us a great deal about ourselves and provide answers we may not have otherwise taken the time to seek.  Like the Hermit, by learning wisdom and patience through the passage of time, we are able to learn how to stand alone without feeling lonely.

The Hermit also speaks of guidance. Whether it be the advice we receive or the assistance we provide others, guidance can shine light on darker situations, making life seem less mysterious and confusing.  Such direction can help us continue to grow and learn as we press forward toward that which we truly seek.