lesson

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

Retha’s Crystal Reflections

January, 2019

“Super Seven & Auralite Twenty-Three: All You’ve Ever Wanted to Know”

Hi everyone and Happy New Year!! I want to start off this year telling you a bit about both super seven and auralite twenty-three. These are two of my very favorite crystals because for one they are absolutely stunning, and secondly they are the ultimate multi-taskers as they contain many minerals in both and therefore contain the properties of all the included minerals! How cool is that?! You can wear just one piece of jewelry and gain the metaphysical benefits of all the minerals you need! And to me the patterns and variety of colors included are so very stunning, I have never seen a piece of super seven or auralite twenty-three that I haven’t loved! 

Super Seven”

First lets talk about super seven. Super seven, just as the name implies, contains seven minerals. They are amethyst, smoky quartz, lepidocrocite, cacoxenite, clear quartz, rutile and geothite. All of these minerals alone are fantastic crystals to wear or use, but having all seven of these power stones in one is beyond wonderful. 

Super seven comes from Espirito Santo (which translates to ‘holy spirit’) in Brazil. It is still relatively rare and therefore expensive. It is also referred to as “Melodys Stone” and “Sacred Seven”. It can be purple, gray, orange, red, brown and clear.This crystal is known as being high vibrational and called a stone of higher consciousness. It is an enhancer of all types. It aids in personal ascension, assists in development of all psychic gifts, aids in channeling, and brings souls into communication with the divine. 

It guides to help change the vibrational level of the whole planet! It links humanity. It aids you in taking the right path. It provides clarity of mind and revitalizes and clears the entire energy field. It clears the mind of distracting thoughts and anxiety and brings you to a sacred and tranquil realm. It clears & aligns all the chakras. It is great for all zodiac signs. 

It attunes you to its abilities to trigger development of psychic abilities to promote further healing of the earth and wellness on all levels. It provides universal protection and universal creativity. It guides and inspires creative life force. 

This crystal is healing, grounding, protective, powerful and transformational. A stone of expansion. It is a great stone for sleeping as it creates peace and harmony. It is perfect for crystal healers and meditation as it provides physical, intellectual and spiritual healing. It also creates stability during chaotic times. And it has the added benefit of heightening the vibrations of all other crystals near it. So as you can see, this is a super stone indeed. I could go on, but for lengths sake I will wrap it up….we still have auralite twenty-three to dive into!

Auralite Twenty-Three”

Also known as “Auralite amethyst” and “kindred spirit crystal”. Auralite Twenty-three contains 23 minerals. Xray diffraction has identified these 23 minerals, though much is comprised of amethyst, citrine, and a rare type of green quartz. Keep in mind also that scientists cannot identify all of the minerals within, because a meteor dissipated into the crystal over 1.5 billion years ago and the minerals are not of this planet. Here are the 23 we can identify: titanite, cacoxenite, lepidocrocite, ajoite, hematite, pyrite, magnetite, geothite, pyrolucite, gold, silver, copper, platinum, nickel, iron, limonite, sphalerite, covellite, chalcopyrite, gialite, epidote, bornite and rutile. Wow…what a combo!!! This crystal is a newer find and only comes from Canada. It is mined in the “cave of wonders” or Boreal forest in thunder bay, northwestern Ontario. It is one of the very oldest crystals, more than 1.5 billion years old. It can be gray, purple, clear, orange and red in color. It can also display beautiful etching and chevron phantom banding.

This crystal has an extremely high frequency and an abundance of properties. It is a stone of new consciousness. It can even be too strong and intense for some (much like moldavite). Being grounded is important when working with this stone. It is a master healer and is meant to be used. This stone is meant to change both your life and the world around you for the betterment of mankind. Its used for code clearing, DNA healing and cellular activation. It also activates spiritual DNA and the pineal gland. It reminds our bodies of its proper vital functions and brings forth regeneration and rejuvenation.

Auralite 23 aids us in spiritual evolution, and enhances all spiritual and psychic gifts. It helps with communication with spirit guides, angels, ascended masters, and source energy.  It is great for astral travel, lucid dreaming and accessing the akashic records and past lives. It can heal the inner child and help release old karmic patterns.

This crystal balances and activates all the chakras and even the chakras above the head and below the feet. It balances and awakens kundalini energy. It aids us in self-acceptance and self-confidence. 

It can also revive our lifeforce, relax the body, remove tension, and relieve headaches and muscle spasms and pain.

It can help to end bad relationships and create a healthy long lasting one. It can help to create a divine line from you to your twin flame. 

Auralite 23 is perfect for healing, meditation, deep soul work and exploring ones own consciousness. 

As you can see from the huge amount of properties each of these power crystals have (and this is only some!), they are both very special crystals. If you can get your hands on one or both I highly recommend you give them a try!

Thanks for taking the time to read and I’ll see you back next month!

Crystal Blessings and Happy 2019! 

References:

Www.crystalvaults.com

Www.crystalpedia.com

Www.auralite-23.info

Www.spiritialmagickal.com

***

About the Author:

Retha N. Lent has been married for 17 years to her husband Mark & they have four cats that are their life. She lives in Norristown, Pa. Retha has her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Behavioral Counseling Sciences from Drexel University. She is the owner of “Retha’s Crystals” & sells sterling silver unique crystal jewelry & specimens on her FB business page. She has a FB group for her customers and those interested in learning more about crystals & all things magical called “Retha’s Crystal Circle“. She is also an advisor in the Sage Goddess Affiliate Program. She has her Holistic Healing Certificate and Pillars of Priestessing certificates from Sage Goddess. She is also an Ordained Pagan Minister from the Universal Life Church. Retha has a passion for crystals, nature, astrology, working with moon cycles, ritual practices, tarot and oracle cards, runes, essential oils, herbs, manifestation work, ancient cultures, magic & music. Her favorite place is New Orleans, La. Retha has an extensive personal crystal collection and loves sharing her love of crystals with the world. She has been a practicing pagan since she was 16 years old. 

You can reach her at rethalent@hotmail.com or on her business page on FB: https://www.facebook.com/Rethas-Crystals-197411227666484/

Or in her FB group:

https://m.facebook.com/groups/1960619300929876

Her Sage Goddess affiliate link is:

www.sagegoddess.com/ref/84/

Or follow her on Instagram at @spookygirl16

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

MagickalArts

December, 2018

Excerpted from:

19-Days of Illuminated Darkness

Day Three

The Light Within the Shadow of the Winter Solstice



For most of us the turning of the Greater Wheel to the Winter Solstice (Yule) is one of welcoming the return of the Light of

renewal and strength, the promise of increasingly longer hours of daylight and anticipation of warmer weather and a more outer world focused time. This change is subtle in physical form as this is also when the cold of the Winter (Northern Hemisphere) will remain for a few months more prompting us to retreat indoors as the early arrival of evening’s darkness envelopes and calls us into the warmth and light of home.

Each year, I do my work of Self, both within my Tradition (The Assembly of the Sacred Wheel) and personally to call forth this return of Light. And, I also find myself retreating more deeply into the shadows and taking refuge in its landscape of shadow; being intuitively drawn towards the deeper work of spiritual quickening, I think of this as the energy of the Hermit Key of the Tarot and my time to move into the darkened areas of my own inner landscape so that I may welcome and bring forth the Greater Light within. This is also the time of relying on my Shadow self to provide the necessary absence of light to guide me through those darkened paths in a constructive and informed way.

In all spiritual practice, the thought of the physical being holding the Inner Flame of Spirit or The Divine Spark of Light is offered up as a basic concept. The language may differ. The way in which this Inner Light presents itself and interacts with conscious awareness may have different ideology. And, the tools and methods used to quicken its energy may be worlds apart in intent and function, but the premise remains the same. In the space of our dark nature lay a light that is luminescent and brilliant that may be called upon to enliven and transform our spiritual and mundane pursuits. If we take it a step further, this transformation is the direct result of collaboration and embracing the dark and the light natures of our consciousness and using each as support and spiritual catalyst of the other.

This dark nature that I am referring to also has many names, functions and philosophies attached to it. I will simply call it the Shadow (Self) . There is an inherent polarity in all things and this Shadow is that polarized image of our Light nature. I am intentionally not using words that are negative in connotation for the Shadow, because it is not anymore a negative aspect of our being than the Light filled self is. Both are states of being that are subject to all the permutations and scales of intensity and impact that any other state of being is. In reality, if we did not have the antithesis or opposite of something, how could we ever enjoy and fully embrace the thing that is being opposed? So, how can this Shadow state be used during the waxing of the Light and engaged to work co-creatively upon those parts of myself I Will to quicken and prime in alignment with the increasing state of light?

The time of the Solstices allows for a deeper awareness and exploration of what impact we have in this world and how we may use the information we learn about ourselves to move in appropriate and fulfilling ways. It is the time of disequilibrium to bring about the eventual balance that is actualized at the Equinoxes. Neither of these energies are about everything being measured and being exactly the same amount of something on each pan of the scale. Rather, they are the states of balance that are dynamic in nature, moving and flowing one to the other and arriving at an informed state of equilibrium at some point of the process. It is again about the process of polarities and the allowance of a void or lesser amount of one thing, so that it may be filled and quickened by its opposite. There is also the component of sacrifice within these thoughts in that we must willingly acknowledge that something must be given up to make room for that which would be drawn in.

This is the battle of the Holly and the Oak Kings, as each gives way to the other and also resists the relinquishing to the other of its power. One holds the promise of the growing Light and the other the refuge of the increasing Darkness. And, although they are one in the same, in order that the cycles may continue and a newly formed energy can be birthed into being, one must relinquish a parcel of its power to be subsumed into the other; temporary imbalance as brothers become enemies and in the final act, become allies in the process of transformation. The Light of the Oak King birthed from the darkening and lessening of the Holly King.

We call forth to the return of the Light-filled Oak King and celebrate the waxing of the Light half of the year. But, in order for that light to shine in its fullest way, we must also embrace and celebrate the remaining vestiges of the darkness of the Holly King. The darkness of the months that persist of winter’s cold. The darkness that becomes the expanding shadow as the sun shines increasingly longer and brighter around us. And, the darkness that we can retreat into to find those hidden sparks that yearn to be nurtured and brought to the full light of day.

As the weather remains or becomes even colder, the natural inclination is to seek out the warmth and coziness of home. And, so I retreat into the welcoming warmth of my home and settle in ready to study, meditate and reveal more of myself to myself. I embrace the early evening darkness as a cloak that I step into so I can more fully appreciate the sun’s light of day. I move within both physically, settling into home and family and spiritually as I dig deeper into the recesses of my own nature. I seek out and call to the inner spark within and stand ready to embrace also the Shadow of my nature as it rises to the surface, revealed by that light.

In meditation, I allow my breath to slow and deepen into the darkness and move along the paths of my own creation that I have tended to in the previous months in preparation for this time of going within. These paths are often mired with the thorns and treacherous roots of inertness, illusory thoughts and judgments that I have used as the trappings of who I am in the world. My Shadow has nurtured each and knows the weakness and strength of each because in this space of darkness what is revealed is often seen more clearly in its true form than in the blinding light.
When I finally relax and surrender into the wisdom of my Shadow the first striking of the match of greater light is drawn across the rough surface of my resistance, and the resistance is transformed into the tiny sparks that ignite the part of myself that is receptive and waiting.

In accord with the energy of Yule, I allow the weakening resistance of my Holly King to be replaced with a renewed sense of purpose and the strength of my Oak King. My Shadow self is resistant to being brought forward, knowing that bits of it will be released in sacrifice and other parts will be transformed so that its darker nature can work co-creatively with the strength of my light self. I call to the Oak King that he may bless and enliven both aspects of myself as we move forward into the new year in anticipation of what can be seeded at the Spring Equinox; and accepting the knowledge that his wisdom will be transformed as the Shadow begins to strengthen its work at the Summer Solstice and the rising once again of the Holly King.

At those points when the darkness seems pervasive and overwhelming and the light is barely visible I am reminded that without the necessary shade to prevent the seedling from drying and withering from an overabundance of the light’s unfiltered rays, the beauty of new growth and radiant and healthy flower will not come to fruition.

May the blessings of the growing Light and the wisdom of the Dark create the quickened space for a prosperous, enlightened and informed Yule.

***

About the Author:

Robin Fennelly is a Wiccan High Priestess, teacher, poet and author.

She is the author of (click on book titles for more information):

 

The Inner Chamber Volume One on Amazon

It’s Written in the Stars

Astrology

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Two

poetry of the Spheres (Volume 2) on Amazon

Qabalah

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Three

Awakening the Paths on Amazon

Qabalah

 

A Year With Gaia on Amazon

The Eternal Cord

 

Temple of the Sun and Moon on Amazon

Luminous Devotions

 

The Magickal Pen Volume One (Volume 1) on Amazon

A Collection of Esoteric Writings

 

The Elemental Year on Amazon

Aligning the Parts of SELF

 

The Enchanted Gate on Amazon

Musings on the Magick of the Natural World

 

Sleeping with the Goddess on Amazon

Nights of Devotion

 

A Weekly Reflection on Amazon

Musings for the Year

 

Her books are available on Amazon or on this website and her Blogs can be found atRobin Fennelly 

 

Follow Robin on Instagram & Facebook.

Tarot Talk

October, 2018

Three of Wands

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

We have already talked about the Three of Cups, the Three of Swords and the Three of Pentacles, so this month we will examine the Three 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 Three of Wands is a figure dressed in a robe of red or red and green, standing on a hill or a cliff, often surrounded by grass and flowers (representing fertile ground) and holding a living wand with leaves or flowers just springing out (symbolizing fertility and early manifestation), with two other Wands, one on each side of him, creating a sort of gateway (representing a transition point). He (or she; some cards show a woman) has his back to the viewer and is looking outward (showing a look into the future, or anticipation). Before him is usually a lake or body of water (thoughts or the subconscious) upon which sails one or several ships (journeys, cargo); sometimes a bird is flying overhead (representing grand ideas). On the far side of the body of water are hills and mountains (challenges and attainments). Everything in the image is bathed in a golden light. There is a sense of quiet anticipation in this image, and an anticipation of good things to come once his ship comes in.

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, 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 Three 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. Action and energy are enhanced by this element, but so are destruction and oppression.

The number 3 usually represents the creation of something new, or the making real of concepts or understandings presented by the number 2. We can see the manifestation of this throughout our physical world; when a male and a female of any species come together, the result is often the creation of new life. The number 3 can also represent optimism, self-expression and the polishing or honing of skills already in place. On the uncomfortable side of things, the number 3 can represent self-doubt, wastefulness, or vanity.

Within the Tarot, the Threes are seen as either creating something out of the potential of the Ace and the partnership of the Two of their suit, or they are seen as manifesting or making real the potential of the Ace and the concept of the Two. Briefly, we have the potential for experiencing a creative force that could bring enthusiasm and excitement (the Ace of Wands), and the ability to be a pioneer and the courage to choose our own path (the Two of Wands). The Three of Wands presents the first-stage completion of a glimpse of what can be created if we stay the path (with the second stage at the number 7 and the third and final stage at the number 9), begun with the potential of the Ace which manifests in the Two card and then presents a sense of achievement in our Three of Wands. Our card tells us that we have the ability to take the long view and the courage to look for greater possibilities.

The astrological correspondence for the Three of Wands is the Sun in the astrological sin of Aries.

The Sun is the star at the center of our solar system around which the planets revolve; it provides our Earth with the heat and light necessary for life as we know it. The arc that the Sun travels in every year, rising and setting in a slightly different place each day, is a reflection of the Earth’s orbit around the Sun; hence its connection with reflection and fertility. The Sun travels through the twelve signs of the zodiac in one year, spending about a month in each sign. The Sun represents the conscious ego, the self and its expression, personal power, pride and authority, leadership qualities and the principles of creativity, spontaneity, health and vitality, or simply the “life force. In Chinese astrology, the Sun represents Yang, the active, assertive masculine life principle. In Indian astrology, the Sun is called Surya and represents the soul, ego, vitality, kingship, highly placed persons, government, and the archetype of The Father.

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.

The Sun represents the individual, and Aries supports that concept by bringing in fierce independence. These are the energies of a warrior, a trailblazer who can see where to go in order to find his way. This combination gets the job done, often by steamrolling the opposition. In any event the courage and leadership and ability to think out of the box are assets that are very desirable. These energies can be impulsive, though, and they represent moments where it can be difficult to understand why others won’t follow our path.

The Threes have a place on the Tree of Life of the Qabalah; they are found in the sephira of Binah at the top of the Pillar of Form/Restriction. This sephira is seen as form, as force in pattern, and as the Great Mother and the Womb of Life. Binah offers shadow and contrast, which in turn gives us shape and form. Binah restricts in order to provide a springboard, and that restriction can also be its downfall if it becomes greed. Binah represents intuitive understanding, contemplation, and deductive reasoning, and the fertile receptivity of the Sacred Feminine.

The Llewellyn Welsh Tarot Three of Wands shows a figure standing on a hill covered with grasses and flowers, looking out over a bay on which there are three sailing ships. The person’s robe is blowing in the breeze. He holds a wand decorated with young green sprouts and a scarf that he holds in order to keep it from blowing away. On either side of him are two other wands. The keywords for this card are speculation, exploring, broadening horizons, trade and negotiations, distributing resources and gambling on the unknown.

The Three of Wands of the Thoth Tarot is named “Virtue,” and its image of three Wands topped with flowers and surrounded by flames represents the primal solar energy that penetrates the earth in Spring and causes the seeds to germinate. This card not only represents great power, but also the will and the courage to use that power.

The Legacy of the Divine Tarot Three of Wands shows the silhouette of a figure standing on a beach looking across calm waters as the sun sets and tinges everything with gold. Surrounding him are three Wands tipped with glowing crystals. In the sky before him floats a glorious wooden sailing ship held aloft by three brightly colored balloons, surrounded by sea birds. There are clouds in the sky and the figure’s cloak blows in the breeze, but there is not a sense of storms or impending chaos for the ship sails steadily. Is the ship really there? Or is the figure dreaming of possibilities or the future? The card represents the joining of forces, enterprise, trade, and power.

The Three of Wands is a very exciting card, for it tells of approaching good fortune. What we are waiting for is arriving and reinforcements are on the way. Success is within sight, and while there is still work to be done, perhaps frantic last-minute work crammed into a short time period, we are resourceful enough to communicate what we need and to make things happen. Luck is on its way!

** We Feature 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 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

The Road to Runes

July, 2018

 

The Road to Runes: Learning the Layouts

Before I expand further into learning the individual meanings of the runes, I wanted to understand a bit more about the different layouts used in rune divination. Like tarot, there are various ways of displaying runes, and each layout can have different meanings and is useful in different types of situations. We’ve already had a look at a three rune spread, showing what has happened, what is happening right now and what is going to happen; past, present and future. More metaphysically, this can be seen as our current situation, our desired situation and the eventual actual outcome of the situation. We’ve also looked at pulling a single rune, and using that to give us some guidance on a single question. But how else can the runes be used for divination?

 

The Four Directions

Pull four runes and lay them at north, south, east and west. The Rune Site tells us that each of the positions of the runes can be named for each of the dwarves that hold up the sky; Nordri, Austri, Sudri and Vestri. This cast expands upon the three rune cast by adding in an extra rune which tells us of what obstacles may be in our way.

Nordri: North, the past. What happened to lead the subject to ask the question they are asking today? What led to this situation? Why are we here, in this position, today?

Vestri: West, the present. What’s happening right now? How are people feeling? How are they dealing with the current situation? How are subjects reacting to one another?

Austri: East, future obstacles: What stands in our way? What opportunities are there? What challenges, and what chance to overcome these?

Sudri: South, future outcome. What may we expect at the end of this situation? How will it be resolved? Indeed, will it be resolved, or will it lead to another situation beyond this one?

 

Five Rune Spread

You or your client pulls five runes and spreads them in a line, and they are read left to right. Blackwitchcoven.com tells us that these runes, one to five, are the present, the obstacle, a desired goal, a concern and the final result.

Rune One: This is the truth of the current situation and should directly relate to the question the caster or client has asked.

Rune Two: This rune will describe or foretell an obstacle which will occur in the caster’s journey.

Rune Three: This rune should relate to the caster’s goal, but may reflect an unconscious desire.

Rune Four: This rune deals with any worries, concerns or even anxieties about the situation in question. It may be that the caster didn’t appear to have any worries, and was simply looking to the runes for reassurance. This rune will deal with any subconscious worries that are lurking behind the scenes.

Rune Five: This rune gives some guidance on what the actual outcome may be.

 

Seven Rune Layout

This one seems more complex, but is incredibly useful for obtaining more detail and specifics about your situation or problem. Sunnyway.com tells us this spread can often tell us how we ended up in this position in the first place, and can look three months in to the past, or the future. Another left to right reading, simply choose seven runes, lay six out left to right with the final rune by itself, below the first six.

The main difference in this layout is that two runes are read at a time, the meanings combining to give a more complex, but more thorough explanation of each aspect of your situation.

Runes One and Two: These should give details on the current problem; what is happening right now; people’s current feelings, reactions and actions; how we are dealing with this situation right now and how it is affecting us.

Runes Three and Four: what happened in the past to lead to this situation? What are the root causes?

Runes Five and Six: These are the two key runes that will provide the necessary guidance for this situation. Try and interpret the meanings of each rune and see how they relate to one another, in order to get the best advice possible. You may be told to move on, to let something go, to hang on to something, to wait, to act; it’s important to try and glean as much meaning as possible from these two runes.

Rune Seven: The overall outcome. The meaning of this rune will be affected by the runes that came before, so if it’s a rune where the meaning could be either generally negative or positive, look to the prior runes and see how positive or negative they are, and their meanings; do they back up a negative outcome? Or would that make little sense in the context of this reading?

This sounds like a really complex reading, and I doubt I’m ready for it yet, but it’s really interesting to see how the runes can be used together, and not just as individual messengers.

 

***

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.

 

 

Book Review- Gifts of the Crysnix by Lisa G. Shore

June, 2018

Book Review

Gifts of the Crysnix

Author: Lisa G. Shore

209 pages

 

(Author Lisa G. Shore courtesy https://lisagshore.com/)

 

This book brought me back to my younger years when my imagination was at its best. The author’s magical world includes fairies, kings/queens, princes, ogres, underworld creatures, laws of light, crystals, and much more.

The story is set in a small town called Galvin Colve. In the woods called Castle Forest lies a majestic Crystal Kingdom that is hidden from human kind. Inside the Crystal Kingdom are advanced beings who have unfastened the truths of the universe. They are crystal fairies who call themselves Crysnix. The Crysnix grant wishes for humans in trouble and try to guide them in the right direction while the dark side tries to create chaos. This story has celebration, love, tragedy, and war. Everything that makes a great story.

I felt young and happy while reading this book. It has “teachable” moments interlaced with the story which I thought was a great aspect. It’s about love, working together and helping one another mixed with magic and emotion. This book actually helped me realize how caught up I have been in my adult life that I had forgotten my whimsical creative side of me and I miss that.

I believe this book is good for children and adults. It was an easy read. I loved the fact that the author used quotes in the beginning of the book as well as in front of each chapter. The quote that hit home most for me was:

“Do not lose hold of your dreams or aspirations.

For if you do, you may still exist but you have cease to live.”

-Henry David Thoreau

At times, I wish there was more detailed explanation involved, but not enough for me not to enjoy the adventure this book brought me on.

 

Gifts of the Crysnix

 

***

About the Author:

Amy Sweryda is a Legal Assistant for a Workers Compensation Attorney.  She works at PSRB.  Amy loves the products that she sells on the side, Safe, Natural and Essential products from health to beauty.  Her website is https://www.amysweryda.arbonne.comAmy, also, enjoys reading, animals & being outdoors.

 

 

Finding Your Own Way

June, 2018

Chapter 3

 

Acceptance

The hardest lesson that we need to earn as human beings is acceptance. It is not a vague feeling of goodwill, nor a sign of weakness and vacillation. It is a powerful tool for expanding up our intuition and creativity. It gives us new insights and new options in many situations. It allows us to take a realistic and honest look at situations in our homes and at work and at many social events.

Where once we may have been victims of our own emotions and impulses, we begin to gain the ability to take control of situations around us. It is the key to unlocking a positive future.

As we learn to accept others without judgment, we begin to remove the emotional blockages to the exploration of our own inner worlds.

We learn to see ourselves honestly and without self-criticism. We can then begin to see, and deal with, our own hidden motivations and develop true spontaneity. To encourage acceptance, we need to release ourselves from our need for certainty. Remember, it is inconceivable, that we are always right, and others are always wrong. This basic truth is a good starting point.

I cannot emphasize enough how important a force like acceptance will become in our lives.

It is a key element in self-healing. It is essential for any true learning and personal development.

It is best to use a comfortable chair at this stage, to lessen the likelihood of falling asleep.

Again, just read the text and muse over the images. Then, allow the images and ideas to flow through your mind unchallenged, both during and after the deep relaxation technique.

If you wish, you can now begin to add some visualization techniques.

If your eyes open, just allow them to close again after a few moments.

As you breathe in, imagine a stream of golden light flowing down into your body from above.

As you breathe out, imagine it flowing out from your torso and forming a golden ball around you.

Repeat this a few times and return to your musings.

You may repeat the sequence a few times if you wish.

Allow yourself time to return to normal consciousness before driving or operating any machinery.

A drink and a snack are a good way to return fully to normal waking consciousness.

Be aware that time distortion often occurs during meditations. An hour may pass in what feels like a few moments, or time may seem to stretch, and a short session may seem to last much longer.

This section will ease your journey into later, more advanced, meditations.

Try not to rush ahead or work to any targets. The journey is what counts. Every single moment is what matters most. This is your journey and will unfold in your own unique way. You will discover a wisdom and guidance that will benefit you for your whole life as you begin to discover your own inner resources.

Certainty

Like a suit of armor,

Polished gold that gleams and sparkles in the light.

That Blessed Shield that keeps our ego safe.

No niggling doubts disturb us in the night.

No second thoughts to make our conscience chafe.

The Joy of never being wrong,

Those great eternal truths that beam down from above.

Our principles that keep us different from the milling throng.

When we love Certainty,

Its charms can keep us safe from any other love.

We feel misunderstood by those who do not truly Know.

Their dreadful ignorance and anarchy surround us every day.

If only we could set them on the path they need to go.

If only they could understand the things we try to say,

Then we could let them bask in our enlightened glow.

But then,

How can I teach the sparrow how to fly?

They seemed to know just what to do,

Before I ever had a chance to teach them how.

I often watch in envy as they dance and weave above us in the evening sky.

The crimson setting sun, that lights their antics, lights the furrows on my brow.

Streaking red and gold across the purple hills and dark green fields,

Its rainbow glory blinds my eyes and lets me see,

This world was doing fine before there ever was a Me.

*****

 

Once we start to meditate, we open a doorway to our unconscious thoughts and feelings. This may not always be a comfortable experience. Take things slowly. If you become unhappy with the experience stop and open your eyes. If you feel tearful for no apparent reason, do not worry. It is simply a release of energy. But if you find yourself becoming moody or unhappy, – just take a break for a few days. This will give you time to assimilate whatever is being released from your unconscious mind. This is a very personal journey, and a lot of the images that will flow into your mind may seem strange at first, – but they will tend to have a relevance to your life which will become clear in time.

Many of the images may even seem religious. This is because they are a part of our human history and have been experienced and interpreted by many people over the ages. It is your own personal reaction to the images that count. You will come across them in the guided meditations also. Again, this is because we all share many of these ancient images as part of our common heritage. As you learn to deal with these ancient images, you will come to realize that they can release energy into our lives. This is not a religious exercise. Meditation on these symbols will allow us to tap into skills and abilities and attributes that are dormant in our minds, – regardless of whether we are atheists, agnostics or members of any of the mainstream religions. Our journey is about finding balance in our lives between our inner and outer needs but doing it in our own unique way.

 

***

About the Author:

Patrick W Kavanagh, Featuring the inspirational art of Bill Oliver

Writer, poet, Patrick W Kavanagh was born in Dublin and now lives and works in Lincolnshire in a small rural town. Patrick became fascinated by the strange abilities of the human mind from watching his mother give psychic readings using tea-leaves and playing cards. With a lifelong interest in metaphysics and parapsychology, he has given tarot and spirit readings for over 40 years. He travels to many events with his wife Tina, exploring the power of shamanic drumming to heal, and induce therapeutic trance states. They also hold a regular drumming circle in the picturesque Lincolnshire Wolds.

By Patrick W Kavanagh available at most retailers:

Finding Your Own Way: Personal Meditations for Mastery and Self-knowledge.

Kiara

Distant Shores

From the Muse

The Road to Runes

June, 2018

The Road to Runes: Ansuz, Woden’s Rune

For this stage in my journey with runes, I decided to do a little divination for myself. I’m wanting to begin working from home within the next year, hopefully within a few months. I’m at home with the six-month-old baby at the moment, but will have to return to the ‘day job’ by October, and everything in me rails against it. I want to be at home with my family, and I already write all the time anyway, so why not make a career out of it? Having already made steps in this direction, I was interested to know what the runes would make of this decision.

I pulled out a single rune for this particular piece of divination. This rune (pictured) was Ansuz, which literally means ‘God’. It’s normally associated with either Odin or Woden, the runes having come from Norse and Germanic origins. Esoterically, this rune is complex but tends to mean ‘inspiration’, which as a writer, is definitely one of my favourite words. Ansuz is also linked to communication and answers, something I was definitely hoping to get, so how does this rune translate into an answer to my query?

Ansuz is the rune of air, specifically breath. It is the breath of the universe, and the first breath that takes the spirit into the body, and the last breath that allows the spirit to escape. It is intrinsically linked to words and the power of words, particularly names. Words develop from and into concepts and creativity, and are often the focus of communication. As a writer wanting to make a career from my words, this rune tells me to listen to my inner voice, to embrace my creativity and use the talents I have to make this step.

Ansuz is also a rune of order. It indicates that even when the path is unclear, or times are difficult, that the universe has a plan and that ultimately, order will prevail. Ansuz encourages us to find patterns within chaos, and to trust that all will be as it is supposed to be. To me, this encourages me to take a leap of faith. Even if I have doubts, if I trust in the divine energies of the universe (and work hard!), I will find myself in a place that is good for me and my family.

Ansuz also reminds us to listen. Breath comes from the universe, from Odin, from ourselves but also from others. We must acknowledge that their breath, words and ideas are as potent and important as ours. We should take care with our words and not use them for manipulation or menace.

I’m a bit taken aback that for a question about writing and a big change in my life, I’m given a rune that focuses intensely on words, inspiration and creativity. I’m also reminded of the power of my own voice, and that words can do great harm, as well as great good. At the very least, this has inspired me to take the step I was tempted to take anyway, and see where the path takes me. The best interpretation is that this is definitely the right choice for me, and that if I trust the universe and my own inner voice, I will end up on the path that is truly best for me.

***

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.

 

Follow Mabh on TwitterFacebook and her blog.

Tarot Talk

October, 2017

Death

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

This month, since we are heading toward Samhain and Halloween, we will return to the Major Arcana, and talk about Death. The Tarot Major Arcana card Death, that is. Once we take a closer look at this card, you will come to understand that the Death card rarely foretells death of the physical body, and it really is something to be celebrated, not feared. Before we begin, let’s remind ourselves of some terms. If you know them, go ahead and skip down to where we talk about the traditional image of the card.

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” (a personality type observed multiple times, especially an oversimplification of a personality type; for instance, “girls make good cooks” is a stereotype), or an “epitome” (the embodiment of a particular personality type, especially as the “greatest” or “best” example of the particular personality type; for example, Venus is said to be the epitome of feminine beauty). 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 personally experienced (or will experience) these archetypes.

Besides the symbolism in its traditional image, 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.

The traditional image on Death is of a skeleton in black knight’s armor, sometimes also wearing a black robe, riding a white horse whose bridle is decorated with skulls and crossbones, and carrying within his bony hand a flag or banner featuring a white rose. Standing before the horse is a priest, his hands together in prayer. At the feet of the horse are people who are dead or in the process of dying, one of which is often a child. Also at the feet of the horse is a discarded crown. Where the horse walks, the ground is brown, yet in the background are green trees, mountains, and a river on which a boat moves, its white sail filled with air. On the horizon are two white castles, and what could be either the rising or setting sun. In some decks, the horse being ridden by Death is also a skeleton. Other Death cards show the traditional version of Death himself, a Grim Reaper skeleton in a black or a blood-red robe, carrying a scythe, with skulls and bones and body parts littering the ground around him; often he is standing beside a stream or body of water, and sometimes the sky is filled with dark clouds.

Most of the symbolism within the traditional images of the Death card tells of endings and beginnings, transitions of some kind, and often, a return to balance. Death is a frightening figure, and yet his banner is emblazoned with a rose, the symbol of promise, hope, love, and new beginnings. The rose is also often found on The Magician, Strength, and The Fool, all three of which could offer us advice for dealing with the Death card. The sun on the horizon could represent the ending of a day or the beginning of a day. Water tells of emotions, visions, and dreams, all ways to communicate across the Veil between those who are alive and those who have passed. Water also tells of birth and death. The scythe represents the harvest, which happens at the end of the growth season when the harvest is leveled, and the discarded crown tells us that no one, even a king, is immune to death.

The Death card is numbered XIII. The number 13 has a lot of baggage attached to it, not all pleasant. We can break this number down several ways. We can add the digits, 1 + 3, and get the number 4. The number 4 is about balance, stability and depth, not concepts we would connect to Death. However, cycles of being born, living, and then dying and resting only to be born again are a part of our natural world, and death is a key part of the renewal that comes with birth, a part of the balancing of those cycles. We can break the number down as a combination of the numbers 10 and 3. The number 10 tells of the completion of a cycle or effect, and the number 3 tells of broadening our ability to perceive, or the physical manifestation of an idea, or a new creation out of the union of opposites. Or, we can take the number on its own. 13 is seen by many as representing bad luck, rooted from that Friday the 13th in 1307 when the Knights Templar were mostly assassinated. However, the number 13 can represent the “enlightened guest”; Christ had 12 disciples, which means there were 13 people at the Last Supper: 12 disciples and the “enlightened guest,” thus offering keywords such as ascension and resurrection to the Death card. In ancient Greece, Zeus was considered the 13th god of the pantheon, and the most powerful. This offers keywords such as completion, attainment and realization to our card. The number 13 is also a prime number, which tells of purity and an incorruptible nature.

The Death card represents the archetypes of The Reaper and Rebirth. The Reaper clears the growth from the fields and brings in the last harvest. Again, we are shown the cycle of life, and the importance of endings and completions. Only then, once the harvest is gathered and the fields are cleared and allowed to rest, can Rebirth begin. For even during the darkest winter night when the fields are covered with snow, the seeds of the last harvest begin to germinate. These archetypes tell of letting go of the old to make way of the new, of moving from the known into the unknown (which can be frightening), and that new beginnings will follow a period of grieving for what has gone.

Death corresponds with the element of Water. In its natural state, Water is cool and wet. When amassed, it has weight, and it tends to gather or pool at the lowest place. Because of this tendency, Water creates its own roadways or channels, and it prefers to use those already-in-place channels if it can. Water is used for cleaning and purifying, and Water can be a carrier for other substances. For instance, we can dissolve salt or sugar into warm Water, and use that concoction for other things. A body of Water can be calm and deep, or it can be dangerously churning and filled with powerful currents.

Feelings and emotions are the main correspondences of the element of Water. Emotions flow and have currents, a powerful wave of emotions can be cleansing, emotions can be hot and expanding or they can be bubbling upward, like steam, or cold and contracting and heavy, like ice, and our emotions can affect our physical bodies (which contain a lot of Water) and our health. Often, tears appear when we feel things strongly through sadness or joy or anger, as physical manifestations of those emotions. Water also represents the Inner Voice and the subconscious, the dark and unknown depths hidden below the smooth reflective surface.

In astrology, Death corresponds with the astrological sign of Scorpio. Scorpio is a fixed Water sign; in Astrology, Fixed Signs are associated with stabilization, determination, depth and persistence. For Scorpios, these traits are found through achievement, and through going deep into the timeless mysteries of the imagination, dreams, and passions. Scorpios are powerful and willful in all they do; they stick with a task to the end, often achieving much more than Cardinal and Mutable Signs. On the other hand, they are also inflexible, rigid, stubborn, opinionated and single-minded. Scorpios will ruthlessly fight on behalf of their beliefs, regardless of any contrary evidence, but they are most at home when immersed in a sustained, worthwhile situation. Scorpios love to learn about others; the curiosity of Scorpios is immeasurable. Scorpio is about beginnings and endings, and about understanding the deep, dark secrets of the self. Scorpios stick to the plan (Scorpio is a Fixed Sign, after all); they are intense and passionate, even if they appear quiet on the surface.

In the Hebrew alphabet, each letter is connected to the creative forces in the universe. These creative forces 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. Death of the Major Arcana corresponds with the Hebrew letter Nun, the fourteenth letter in the Hebrew alphabet which falls into the level of manifestation, representing the fish. In Aramaic, the fish is a symbol of activity and life. Nun is said to represent both faithfulness and the reward for faithfulness. The origin of the pictograph representing the letter Nun is said to be a seed sprouting, representing perpetuation, offspring and the verb “to continue.”

On the Tree of Life, Death represents Path 24, running between Tiphareth (the hub of the creation process where energies harmonize and focus to illuminate and clarify) and Netzach (the stimulating factors of emotion and inspiration). The 24th Path explores the differences between materialism and spirituality; it connects Netzach, the bottom of the Pillar of Force, with Tiphareth, the center of the Tree. The 24th Path helps us to face our fear of change; it shows us that death is a natural part of the evolutionary process, and of living. Through working with this Path, and with the Death card, we learn that death is actually a beginning, and we learn that change and transition are healthy.

The alchemic process of Putrefaction can be seen as a form of death. In biological death, putrefaction is one of the stages of decomposition in which the cohesion between tissues is broken down and the organs are liquefied. Within the alchemic Great Work, Putrefaction destroys the old nature and form. “Everything that has lived, dies; everything that is dead putrefies and finds a new life.” Dom Pernety.

In the Tarot of the Magicians, Oswald Wirth shows us a skeleton with a scythe, surrounded by body parts and the head of a woman with long hair and a man wearing a crown. In this deck, many of the cards are named: the Magician, the Priestess, the Empress; however Death is not named, only numbered. Wirth tells us that death is not to be feared for it is liberation, rather, Death “extinguishes nothing, but sets free the energies overwhelmed by the weight of Matter’s increasing inertia.”

The Dreams of Gaia Major Arcana Death/Rebirth card is **the** change card of this beautiful deck; the keywords for this card are endings, beginnings, cycles, transformation, transmutation, change and growth. Death/Rebirth tells of the death of the things that no longer serve and the birth of the new and exciting things that will replace the things that died. The process is not reversible (which is one reason we fear death); once we pass through Death and into Rebirth, there is no re-do. The LWB offers pointed advice: “. . . it is time to take a long, hard look at your life, and understand that it is time to let go.”

The image of the Death card in Thoth deck is what attracted me to this deck initially. The Death card shows death as a dancing skeleton bearing a scythe. He wears the Crown of Osiris, the Egyptian god of the dead and is shown in the waters of Amenti, an Egyptian after-death state. The sweep of his scythe creates bubbles which contain the seeds of new life. This version of Death does not show the usual version of the Grim Reaper; instead this being dances!

I adore the image on the Wild Unknown Death card; it absolutely captures the idea of transformation without bringing in the fear. Here is the duckling of The Fool and the swan of the Cups Court Cards of this deck, or at least what is left of them after their life forces have departed and their bodies have mostly decayed and gone back to where they began so new life can spring from their ingredients. There are still some feathers left, and a beak on the skull, like the fading memories left in our minds of someone who was once alive. Most of what was here once has gone on to another plane of existence, the life force back to the Divine and the body back to the Earth. We don’t know what it is like to die, but there is a rightness to this image that reassures. Life may not be forever, but neither is Death.

The Legacy of the Divine Death card has everything you would expect: a skull, spiders and scorpions, a grim reaper on a rearing steed, wearing armor and carrying a tattered banner, a dead bird and winter-bare branches along with a beautiful, perfect white rose blossom. This card tells us that we have indeed died, maybe not physically but we have been irrevocably transformed. We are not existing in the same form. The keywords are letting go, death, rebirth, regeneration, and metamorphosis, among others.

Endings are as necessary in life as beginnings, and the Death card reminds us that the cycles of life, no matter how pleasant or feared they may be, have a beauty about them. Our life cycles have an elegant simplicity about them. Nothing is wasted, and everything has value. As we move through the changes and transformations of life, we need to remember to not dwell too much on the events of the past, or the possibilities of the future. Instead, we should embrace this moment in time and look for the possibilities hidden within it. Those possibilities have so much to offer, and they are right here, in our hands.

** 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/ .

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