tarot

Tarot Talk

December, 2018

Four of Wands

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

About the Author:

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

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

Wreathing the Wheel

December, 2018

As an eclectic witch, one of the most transformative practices that I’ve adopted is the practice of setting intention. At its root, intention is a really basic method of manifestation: make a plan, then execute the plan. But as I’ve explored the idea of intention over time, I’ve come to see a beautiful effect that results from the ongoing process of self-examination. It’s not just the external result of manifesting my dreams, but a reminder to check in with myself and make sure I’m on the right path. After all, if I can’t answer the question, “What’s my intention in doing this?” for any given action I am taking… then why am I even doing it?

It is in the spirit of setting intentions, and thoroughly understanding those intentions, that I started bullet journaling. While I keep a separate grimoire (and have kept other books of shadows), my bullet journal is the place where my magical life intersects with my daily life, and I put some of the spiritual concepts that I’m working with into practice. In this monthly column, I’ll be exploring various methods for working craft into bullet journaling to help track astrological transits, green ally work, Tarot journaling, celebrating the Wheel of the Year, working with associations, artistic exploration, and more.

 

Monthly Spread for December

 

 

I like to illuminate my monthly spreads with images of plants that are associated with the nearest major sabbat, and the season in general. I gravitate towards plants and natural objects that are native to my own area, as a way to bring the outside in. So for December, the plants that I chose to draw in my journal were pine, ivy, and holly. I like to use the information in Llewellyn’s Complete Book of as a jumping-off point to get started with these associations, but it’s good to remember that associations aren’t set in stone, and can easily be changed to accommodate your own hemisphere and biome.

The next thing that I do when building my monthly spread is add the phases of the moon and the full moon’s name. I also record each month’s Tarot card, which I drew in my whole-year reading at the beginning of the year, so that I can reflect on the role that this card plays in my life and how it fits in with other themes and experiences that I’ve encountered during the year. In keeping with the occult tradition of associating moon values with the left side of the body and sun values with the right side, I track the astrological transits of the sun and moon through the month, with the moon transits in the lower-left corner of each day, and the sun in the lower-right corner. This December, the winter solstice falls on the day before the full moon; at the same time, the sun enters Capricorn, and the moon enters Cancer. The darkest night of 2018 will be filled up with the light of the full moon.

I’m calling this column “Wreathing the Wheel” in an effort to remind myself that this project is about more than just to-do lists and chores. Instead, it’s an opportunity for me to acquaint myself intimately with the cycles of nature, immerse myself in intentional thinking, record and study associations, and deepen my divination practices. This is a bit like the process of making a wreath: you find a solid base, and then weave together plant allies, ribbons, and baubles until you’ve got something that looks alright. While I realize that not everyone is as artistically inclined as I am, I would encourage any journaler to embrace the creative side of bullet journaling, not to impress anyone, but as a way to celebrate the passing of time, allow awareness to manifest as creation, and decorate the days that we’re given.

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About the Author:

Sarah McMenomy is an artist and witch. Her craft incorporates herbalism, spellwork, trance, divination, auras, and more. Her work can be found at https://sarahmcmenomy.tumblr.com

Review of The Queen of the Moon Oracle Deck Created by Stacey Demarco

December, 2018

Review of The Queen of the Moon Oracle Deck

Created by Stacey Demarco

 

 

The Queen of the Moon Oracle is an Oracle deck created by Stacey Demarco, an author and animal activist known as The Modern Witch and the creator of Natureluster, a group which educates people about and connects people to the powers of nature. The Oracle comes in a nice sturdy 4” x 5½” cardboard box with color images on the front and a bit of information about the Oracle on the back. Inside the box are the 44 6” x 9” cards of the deck and the companion guidebook. This hauntingly beautiful Oracle and guidebook were published by Rockpool Publishing, PO Box 252, Summer Hill NSW 2130.

The companion guidebook is the same size as the cards (so everything fits neatly into the beautiful box) and contains 108 pages printed on white paper with an easy-to-read black font, bound in a sturdy glossy softcover with a beautiful card image of the Queen of the Moon on the front cover and a continuation of the starry skies behind the Queen on the back. The companion book begins with a preface written by Demarco, an introduction that offers brief information about the Moon and its phases and a description of some of the correspondences we associate with lunar energy. Next are instructions for using the Oracle including spreads and a simple dedication, and a description of the setup of the deck itself.

There are three categories of cards in the Queen of the Moon Oracle: 28 cards representing a full cycle from the Dark Moon and back to it; 12 cards, called Seasonal Lunar cards, based on the Lakota terms passed down through Native American generations; and 4 other lunar-related cards including 2 astronomical cards. The cards begin with Dark Moon (card 1) and New Moon (card 2), then move on through 6 Waxing Crescent cards, a First Quarter card, 6 Waxing Gibbous cards, a Full Moon card, 6 Waning Gibbous cards, a Last Quarter card, and 6 Waning Crescent cards. The Seasonal Lunar cards follow, offering descriptions of the energies of the Wolf Moon, the Snow Moon, the Flower Moon, and the Harvest Moon to name a few, followed by the Queen of the Moon, the Lunar God, the Blue Moon and the Super Moon. Each card section offers a color image of the card, a keyword, a description of the keyword meaning, an affirmation, a discussion of the individual card meaning and/or the theme of the Moon phase that encourages and supports a useful interpretation, and a suggested companion crystal or metal.

The images on the cards and in the guidebook are created by Kinga Britschgi, a Hungarian-born artist, digital artist, published author, and language teacher who lives in the US with her family. The cards themselves are 3½” x 5”; each card is printed on sturdy cardstock in vibrant glossy color on both the front and the back. The face of each card contains a number at the top, the name of the moon phase, and the keyword also found in the guidebook, along with the sumptuous images. The card art is gorgeous, with jewel-toned colors and images filled with powerful symbolism that instantly attracts me into each card and draws me to learn more about its energies. The art on the back of the cards shows the phases of the moon in a circle on a beautiful blue background. Because of the combination of the glossy finish that allows the cards to slide easily and the sturdy cardstock, even though they are a tiny bit wide for my hands these cards absolutely invite interaction. Shuffling the deck was easy and once the deck was spread before me, the images resonated deeply and powerfully.

The Queen of the Moon Oracle is a useful tool for tapping into the energies of the moon and the lunar cycle and determining how to integrate them into our lives and our goals. Shuffling the cards and drawing a card or a few cards each day, or throwing one of the spreads suggested in the guidebook, would create a spread that offers emotional, spiritual, and energetic messages that would be useful to any seeker. But there is another purpose for this beautiful Oracle: learning about the cycles of the moon and how they affect us. The deck contains a full lunar cycle of 28 days with suggested energies available on each day. Going through the first 28 cards of the Oracle in order and meditating daily on the corresponding card would bring a hugely useful understanding of our planet’s satellite, and would offer suggested focuses for the day, week, and lunar month going forward.

If you are drawn to the Moon, its meanings, its changing appearance in the sky, and the symbolism and effects on our lives that have been passed down through the generations from our ancestors, you will enjoy the Queen of the Moon Oracle.

Queen of the Moon Oracle: Guidance through Lunar and Seasonal Energies (Rockpool Oracle Cards) on Amazon

***

About the Author:

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

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

Tarot Talk

November, 2018

Four of Coins

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Gilded Tarot Deck on Amazon

***

About the Author:

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

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

Learning Lenormand

November, 2018

A Portrait of the Morning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Matthews, 132)

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

Cards 1+4+7 = the past.

Cards 2+5+8 = the present.

Cards 3+6+9 = the future.

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

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

Here’s today’s portrait:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next month, Brightest Blessings!

References

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

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

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About the Author:

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

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

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

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.

Seeing the Signs

November, 2018

Madame Pamita: Her Book, Websites, Music, and Vast Storehouse of Tarot Wisdom

I received a copy of Madame Pamita’s Magical Tarot: Using the Cards to Make Your Dreams Come True this past Ostara, and in the past eight months, this wonderful book has become one of my favorite tarot books. Published by Weiser , earlier this year, it’s a powerhouse of information and magic. I wanted to write a review of this fabulous book months ago but personal events in my own life got in the way. However, this only gave me more time to become acquainted with Madame Pamita via her website and monthly emails. I was really sad that I wasn’t able to get down to New York City to meet her in person earlier this month – I would have asked her to autograph my copy of her book! – but maybe sometime in the next year, she’ll be somewhere in my vicinity. She seems to travel quite a bit!

 

As soon as you open the book, there are two pages of recommendations for Madame Pamita’s Magical Tarot – and from some of my favorite Tarot scholars, like Rachel Pollack and Mary K. Greer. As far as I’m concerned, that’s like getting the “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval” as they used to say back in the day. Just reading what these eminent Tarot authorities have to say about Madame Pamita and her “complete manual”, as Elhoim Leafar puts it, is an affirmation of the book’s positive value.

In the very first chapter, Madame Pamita talks about the Law of Attraction – how “like attracts like” and that “our thoughts and beliefs will attract the thing we focus on.” (Palmita, 1) She quite logically reasons that when we are focused on loss, afraid of the future, and other depressing outcomes, then that is what we are going to be attracting to our lives. Therefore, we need magic – the “ritual that focuses your attention on the things that you want to influence.” (Pamita, 1). She refers to the Tarot as a “map that shows you what steps to take, what to avoid, and what changes are necessary to manifest all those good things you want.” (Pamita, 1). By laying out the cards, you can see where you need to go – quite literally, or should I say visually – in Madame Pamita’s words, the Tarot shows the questioner:

…where they should be positively focusing their intention, what action they should take to support this aim, and even what ritual

would be most helpful for supporting their objective. Tarot is the key to making your wish come true. (Pamita, 2)

She presents the simplest of all Tarot spreads, the Three-Card Reading. Card One is the Past – Card Two is the Present – Card Three is the Future. Acknowledging that “we can go to amazing depths in a reading” by starting with the questing and then adding “the meaning of each of the cards that we turn up” and then adding “another layer of meaning with the position of the cards in the layout” and the final layer of meaning – “listening to what our own intuition has to say in the matter.” (Palmita, 3). She doesn’t say what to do when the cards don’t seem to make any sense at all but she does admit that learning all this may be “intimidating” but that this is going to be an “exciting adventure” and a “wonderful journey”. (Palmita, 4).

Before she gets into the nuts and bolts of reading the Tarot, card by card, Madame Pamita discusses the history of the Tarot, divination and the occult. It’s a very short chapter – only two pages long. It ends with her recommendation of the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot deck as the best deck for beginners. I have to say that I do agree with her on that assessment. While it may not have been the original Tarot deck ever used, it has become the “basic text” for the Tarot and the one most identifiable. It’s the deck that is used in the illustrations of Madame Pamita’s book.

In the chapter titled, “Your Mystic Training Begins”, Madame Pamita once again refers to learning the Tarot as a “journey” (Pamita, 7). She says that the “key” is spending time with them – as the saying goes, “practice, practice, practice!” She also stresses “the beauty in being that beginner” (Pamita, 7). She writes:

There is joy in the journey toward gaining knowledge. I look at it as an amazing exploration.

I know that going down the road is going to bring me such profound experiences and that

eventually, if I take the time to really learn and absorb and apply myself, I can get to the

place where I become master of that skill. (Pamita, 7)

The next few pages are dedicated to starting a Tarot journal and how you should keep it. She recommends picking a card a day and spending time with it and writing about it – every aspect of it – from the people in the card to the symbols depicted to the colors used. She says to step “into the scene in the card” and imagine what would happen or “put yourself into the role of one of the characters in the card” and then write about your feelings. She also says to pay attention to the “energy” of the card. She says you should pull a card every morning, meditate upon it, write about it, and then review what you wrote in the evening. (Pamita, 8-9) Quite honestly, if you do this, not only will you learn important lessons about the Tarot, but you will also learn important lessons about yourself. Years later, you can open your Tarot journal and read your progress as a Tarot adapt as well as an enlightened human being.

The next chapter is another two-page shorty that is nonetheless packed with power. Entitled “Magic Words”, it covers affirmations, “one of the most powerful spiritual disciplines that you can incorporate into your life” (Pamita, 11). As Madame Pamita insists,

Affirmations are positive power words that we can say to ourselves to rewire our brains,

making us magical receptors for good things…Words create magic. Magic is the act

of shifting reality through our will. Therefore, magic spells are words that create our

reality. (Pamita, 11).

Two paragraphs down, she again insists, “Your thoughts create your beliefs and your beliefs are infinitely powerful.” (Pamita, 11).

She includes affirmations with each description of every Tarot card – she calls them “Magic Words”. Like the diary journal, Madame Pamita outlines how to use these “Magic Words” and Tarot affirmations on a daily basis. I like the idea of taking a photo of the card of the day with your phone and making it your phone’s background so you have it with you all day long. I also like the suggestion of recording the day’s affirmation as an alarm on your phone so that you hear it at various times during the day. The thing with affirmations and rewiring the negative thoughts in your brain is that you really do have to repeat the chosen affirmation over and over again or else it doesn’t work. I find Madame Pamita’s instructions to be founded in logic and common sense.

The next chapter – which is the last chapter before she delves into the mystery of the Minor Arcana – is about “Making Magic with the Tarot”. Again, Madame Pamita has one good suggestion after another! I have often used various Tarot cards on my altar or in meditation but I have never put a Tarot card in my shoe! (Pamita, 13). That’s a new one on me! I am not at all sure that would even be comfortable. I think placing the card of the day in the pocket of my coat or in the front pocket of my hoodie might be a better idea.

Before she gets into the Minor Arcana per se, she covers Roman Numerals. She even provides a chart so that the beginner knows how to read the letters as numbers. I guess I’m showing my age – I remember learning Roman Numerals in second or third grade – back in the 1960’s. We even had to do sums using Roman Numerals! However, I do realize that this is something that is no longer taught in school – perhaps hasn’t been taught since my own childhood. I know my own son – who is now twenty-five years old – was never taught Roman Numerals in school – I taught him myself. This chart is a handy guide to those of us who may not have been taught this simple way of reckoning numbers or may have perhaps forgotten it.

For what it’s worth, in some Roman Numeral systems, 4 is written as IIII and not as IV, and 9 is written as VIIII, and not as IX, and 14 as XIIII, and so on. But generally, her chart is correct.

The first suit she covers is the suit of Swords – “The Airy-Fairy Swords”, she calls them. (Pamita, 20). She tells us to “think about the qualities of air” whenever one of these cards show up in a reading. Air is the lightest of all the elements. Winds “whip around quickly” and an opened window “to let in a breeze can freshen up a room.” (Pamita, 20). She also points out that,

Air is breath and the word “inspiration” literally means to breath in. The element of air and the

suit of Swords represent all these qualities. How did Swords end up representing air? Well, you

can imagine the sword waving cleanly and precisely through the air as it’s being wielded by a

skilled fencer. It’s sharp; it’s fast; it’s defined. (Pamita, 20).

Madame Pamita writes that in the world of magic and making your dreams come true, thoughts are the beginning. “Everything that has ever been created was first a thought.” (Pamita, 20). So it makes sense to start the Minor Arcana with the suit of thinking and the intellect. But as she reminds us, the suit of Swords not only represents our thoughts and what happens in our brains but all forms of communication – verbal, written and electronic. The suit of Swords is an important suit when we are doing spell work or considering any kind of magic.

After she covers the Swords, Madame Pamita moves onto the “Fun and Fiery Wands”. She writes, “While the Swords are meant to define and cut with the precision of clear thought and ideas, the Wands are the realm of action, passion and will.” Therefore, the Swords are the first step of manifesting magic and the Wands are the second step. She directs us to think about “the essence of fire: it can be the warmth of a fireside, the light shed by a candle, or the raging destruction of a forest fire.” (Pamita, 50). She says that mastering the control of fire was an “evolutionary shift” for humans and that mastering the suit of Wands will be a similar spiritual shift for the Tarot initiate.

The third step is the Cups – what Madame Pamita terms “The Watery Depths of the Cups” (Pamita, 80). She writes that after the inspiration of the Swords and the passion of the Wands, the Cups is where we put our “heart and soul” into our magic. She writes,

It’s easy to see where Cups correspond to the element of water. Water itself flows to fill in

whatever space surrounds it, so that the Cups is what holds water together. Water represents

those parts of us that seem to some from that inner vessel: spirituality, intuition, and psychic

awareness. The Cup is the center of the heart. (Pamita, 80).

Madame Pamita also points out the differences between the suits of Wands and Cups. They can say the same thing but in different ways – for instance, happiness for a Wands is jumping for joy and shouting aloud while with Cups, it’s a secret smile and a romantic sigh. Wands are sexual passion whereas Cups are romantic love. It’s good to know the difference between the two – in the Tarot and in life.

After the Cups, we come to “The Grounded Earthiness of the Pentacles”, which according to Madame Pamita, represents “the end result” of the cycle of magical manifestation. (Pamita, 109). Although Pentacles are earth, they are also,

…gold discs, reminiscent of gold coins, which can often refer to issues regarding money, financial

stability, jobs, or other means of income. They also have another meaning. That five-pointed star

represents the human body with a head and arms and legs outstretched. So, Pentacles also represent

physical issues of the body and its health. However, that star is also something even more magical.

Beyond being just a physical body, we are made up of stardust. (Pamita, 109).

Another thing she wants us to remember is that Pentacles are “slow-moving and long-lasting”. Unlike the suits of Swords and Wands, which have the quality of quickness about them, Pentacles make a person think of “might and strength” and “roots” and “protectiveness” – all qualities of stability and longevity. (Pamita, 110).

She splits the Court Cards from the rest of the Suits, addressing each of the four members of each Suit as a “family” and giving their characteristics as those belonging to that particular family – for instance, the Swords family “are the intellectuals, thinkers, and communicators” (Pamita, 142) while the Cups family are “the dreamers, the psychics, the creators of the imaginative and introspective art, and the spiritually connected, metaphysical ones” (Pamita, 164) and so on. She suggests taking the court cards out of the deck and “playing” with them to get to know them better. Some of the ideas she has are: choosing a card that you most closely identify with; choosing cards that show the different roles that you play in your life; choosing cards to represent people close to you; choosing a card that “embody the qualities of something going on in your life”, such as your work situation, your love life or your health. (Pamita, 188). It is all too easy to look at a court card and think that it represents an actual person in our life, when it would just as easily represent a situation or an emotion. Working with the cards in the way that Madame Pamita suggests will help break the urge to look at the images on the cards in a literal fashion and be able to truly read them as fully as possible.

After fully examining the Minor Arcana, Madame Pamita moves onto the Major Arcana – “the big leagues” – she calls them. She says that they are sometimes called “trumps” from when the Tarot was a card game – the original name of the cards were actually “Triumphs”. (Pamita, 189). The images on these cards are “allegorical archetypes meant to teach us how to navigate life in the best way possible.” (Pamita, 189). About the Major Arcana, she writes,

The Major Arcana starts at zero and ends at twenty-one. While the Minor Arcana pips represent

circumstances in our life that are more mundane, and the court cards represent people or personalities,

the twenty-two Majors represent big, powerful, and even more esoteric themes. When they show up

in a reading, you can expect them to have a stronger influence and impact on the situation. They may

be the underlying energy that permeates the cards that surround them or offers an irresistible pull in

a certain direction. (Pamita, 189).

Then she examines each card.

I did not write about her examination of each of the Minor Arcana cards or the Court Cards, because she uses the same format as her exploration of the Major Arcana cards. It seemed superfluous to talk about the specifics of her approach to learning each card, when it was the same for every card. So this is why I waited until this point to discuss how she talks about the cards. I have to say that I love her approach! It’s consistent with her theme of the Tarot being a “journey” and a “roadmap” to “adventure”. Indeed, she titles each card as “Your Adventure with …” whatever card it is. If you’re picking a card to work with on a daily basis, thinking about the card as an “adventure” is a heady way to deal with the concepts embedded within the card! And while some cards might be more adventurous than others, each and every card in each and every Tarot deck is an adventure of its own. All you have to do is pick a card and begin!

She describes each card thoroughly. She writes about each card as if we are sitting in the scene of the card, whether we are in the fertile sundrenched field of the Empress or sitting in the busy workshop of the industrious VII of Pentacles or hanging out with the bored youth under the tree in the IV of Cups. Reading her descriptions of each card puts you firmly in that card. No matter what the card is, she presents it as an adventure and a lesson. Every word is a gem. I can’t stress this enough. I am on my third close reading of this book – as opposed to opening it up for regular use – and the more I study Madame Pamita’s use of language, the more I admire her. It’s not just her depictions of the cards – it’s her lush, poetic voice that I love.

After the description of the card, Madame Pamita includes four short sections which I think are most helpful for the beginner but also for anyone who is interested in the finer points of the Rider-Waite-Smith system of divination. The first section is called “The Keys to the Treasure Chest – Key Symbols”, where she lists every symbol of the card she is describing. The second section is called “The Wizard’s Words of Wisdom”, which is her take on what the card means in a reading. The third one is journal questions, which she calls, “Behind the Mysterious Door”. And the fourth and last one is “Magic Words” – Affirmations for that particular card. I scanned the page for the X of Pentacles to give an example of this. The card shown is out of my own collection.

The last chapter in the book is called “Where Do I Take My Adventure From Here?” Madame Pamita exclaims, “You did it! You have had seventy-eight adventures – one with each other of the tarot cards…Where do you go from here?” (Pamita, 251)

I find it interesting that she does not include any spreads in her book. In fact, she advocates using a One-Card reading when you first start reading for your friends and family and then, when “you’ve mastered one card readings, you can move on to larger, more complex spreads, such as past/present/future three cards readings or even a ten card Celtic Cross reading.” (Pamita, 251). How refreshing! Most tarot books present the Celtic Cross as the default spread – it’s like trying to learn a Chopin Mazurka on the piano without ever learning your scales or proper finger training. She writes that it’s most important just to “enjoy spending time” with the cards. Again, I cannot agree more! If you are not taking the cards out on a daily basis and shuffling them and laying them out, then you are never going to learn their language.

I have to say that I can not recommend Madame Pamita’s Magical Tarot: Using the Cards to Make Your Dreams Come True more highly. Whether you are a beginner with Tarot cards or have been studying them for over thirty years like I have, this book is a GEM.

So who is Madame Pamita? This is Madame Pamita! This is a picture from one of her emails.

She is from Los Angeles, and has a spiritualist’s shop there. I went to Google and found her website. Click here to find out more: https://madamepamita.com/ There’s a lot there, so plan to spend some time! I was pleasantly surprised to find out that she is a musician as well as a spiritualist! If you click on the “ian” side of the website, it’ll take you to some really cool links – her music, her photos, press releases – she is really doing some very cool work! Listen to “Madame Pamita’s Theme Song” – it sounds like something out another time – like a voice from one hundred years ago. I could barely hear it – I think that’s by design – but still, her voice spoke to me in a most appealing way. I’m telling you all, if she comes anywhere in my vicinity, I am definitely checking out her show – whether it’s spiritual or music – because everything I have read or heard about Madame Pamita is totally and completely intriguing. I mean – I would stay up past my bedtime to see her. For an old woman like me, that’s really saying something!

I also joined her mailing list. She sends out monthly emails with information on where she is appearing that month, information on how you can study with her online, a spell for that month, and where to follow her on social media – yes, she in on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter, if you wish to friend or follow her! Isn’t the modern world fabulous? So many ways to connect!

Anyway – between her book, her presence on social media and the world-wide-web, and her live appearances across the United States, Madame Pamita is moving beyond her LA occult shop – and I for one, am happy about that! I hope someday to meet her in the flesh but until then, I will content myself with her books, her website, her music, and her vast Tarot wisdom. I hope that you do the same!

Until next month, Brightest Blessings!

Madame Pamita’s Magical Tarot: Using the Cards to Make Your Dreams Come True

References

Madame Pamita. Madame Pamita’s Magical Tarot: Using the Cards to Make Your Dreams Come True. Newburyport, MA: Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC, 2018.

https://madamepamita.com/

https://www.parlourofwonders.com/

https://madamepamita.com/music

***

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.

Review: Greek Mythology Reading Cards by Allison Chester-Lambert & Illustrations by Richard Crookes

October, 2018

Greek Mythology Reading Cards

by Allison Chester-Lambert

Illustrations by Richard Crookes

112 Cards

I have many, many decks of Tarot and Oracle cards and am always on the look-out for those that will enable the reader to connect in their own style using imagery that resonates with their spiritual practice and philosophies. The Greek Mythology Reading Cards fill those criteria very nicely; offering a visual that most people know a bit about, regardless of religious or spiritual practice.

To clarify, these cards fit in the category of oracle cards, rather than Tarot. I’ve been asked when teaching what the difference is and by way of brief explanation, oracle cards fit nicely into whatever package or presentation that is offered and do not follow a prescribed 78-Keys of Wisdom format. Any deck of Tarot captures multiple layers of hermetic and esoteric inroads and so the traditional 78-card deck is prominent. Now, this is not to say that one is better than the other for divination or receiving guidance and answers. My thought is that any system or format you choose that will open you or the person you are reading for to a receptive state and enable the information to flow is valid.

Greek Mythology is a topic that everyone encounters during the course of their childhood education. The media is filled with movies, music, books and more that make use of the Greek Pantheon and principles to tell their stories and to stimulate the imagination. So, with this oracle deck, you already have a baseline of information about the imagery and the possible meanings of selection. The cards are beautifully illustrated by Richard Crookes and are printed in natural earth tones, the edges strewn with vines and offer the notion that you are looking in on a columned Temple and witnessing a very personal and intimate depiction of whatever theme the card is offering.

The Key Words of interpretation are printed at the bottom of the card, so it is not necessary to refer to the accompanying small booklet unless you wish a more in depth understanding. The Trojan Horse relates to Trickery, Aphrodite to Attraction, Perseus to Gifts and Ares to War Mongering, to name a few. And, if you follow a Hellenic tradition or use this Pantheon for your personal work, the layers of meaning will deepen to reflect the mysteries you’ve already revealed on your path.

All in all, I think this is a beautiful addition for use in readings, meditation and deepening your understanding of a civilization and its work that has laid the foundations for much of modern society.

 

Greek Mythology Reading Cards

***

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

It’s Written in the Stars

Astrology

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Two

poetry of the Spheres (Volume 2)

Qabalah

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Three

Awakening the Paths

Qabalah

 

A Year With Gaia

The Eternal Cord

 

Temple of the Sun and Moon

Luminous Devotions

 

The Magickal Pen Volume One (Volume 1)

A Collection of Esoteric Writings

 

The Elemental Year

Aligning the Parts of SELF

 

The Enchanted Gate

Musings on the Magick of the Natural World

 

Sleeping with the Goddess

Nights of Devotion

 

A Weekly Reflection

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

Tarot Talk

September, 2018

Four of Swords

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

We haven’t spoken about the Fours of the Minor Arcana in a while. This month we will talk about the Four of Swords, and remind ourselves of what happens to the energies of a card when we move forward from the Three.

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

The traditional image of the Four of Swords is of a knight laying on a bed with his hands in prayer position. There is a stained glass window in the background depicting a sacred image, as well as three swords hanging on the wall; the fourth sword is on the side of the bed. The knight’s helm is down, so we can’t tell if he is sleeping or meditating or dead. Some versions of this image actually show a coffin with the reclining knight sculpted on the lid. Another version of the Four of Swords shows a man reclining on the ground with his back against a rock (a very grounded image) and his sword laying by his side; behind him is a large Mullein plant (representing focus and grounding) and three other swords. Still another version shows the four swords grounded (points inserted into the ground), with a person laying on the four hilts with his face pointing toward the blue sky with its fluffy white clouds. There is stillness to these images (as if the figure is deep within a meditation or out-of-body experience) and a sense of deliberate solitude, and the sacred.

The suit of Swords corresponds with the element of Air, the Spades of playing cards, the direction of East and the color of yellow; Swords cards usually tell of some focused intent to bring forth a manifestation, or a struggle and then an outcome. Swords cards are about purposeful and deliberate actions and the thoughts, intentions or beliefs behind them. Swords cards and the effects they describe are sourced from within us; they teach us that we create our own reality from our expectations. The Swords cards give hints as to our mental state, the beliefs we have, and actions we choose to 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. The Swords cards also represent an opportunity to feel more empowered; self-empowerment happens when we successfully deal with challenges, but self-empowerment can be dangerous if it is not balanced with a bit of humility.

The element of Air corresponds with truth, clarity, and our capacity to analyze or apply logic. 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. This information applies to all the Swords cards in the Minor Arcana, including our Nine of Swords.

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

Within the Tarot, the Fours represent the concept of the cube, very stable and hard to tip over; here we have the pause that allows us to take a breath after activating the potential of the Ace through the partnership of the Two in order to manifest the creation of the Three. Briefly, we have the potential to experience potent ideas, thoughts and the ability to reason (the Ace of Swords), the power to focus inward and shut out distractions (the Two of Swords), and the perception of personal isolation and heartbreak that can be created by focusing solely on logic and analysis without including partnerships and interactions (the Three of Swords). The Four of Swords offers a “time out,” a period of healing before renewed efforts.

The astrological correspondence for the Four of Swords offers us a bit more depth of understanding; the Four of Swords represents the planet Jupiter when it is in the astrological sign of Libra.

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

Libras are usually very focused on the people around them, and how they interact with those people. Libras are true team players, concerned with balance and cooperation, with fairness to everyone. Libras always put their minds to good use, considering and balancing carefully before choosing a course that brings the highest good to all. Because Libra is Cardinal Air, this sign initiates through new ideas, and by being a balancing force among people. Libra is about partnerships, and about a focus on other people rather than just on the self. Libras are most happy when they are paired up with another, and they are good at partnerships of all kinds. Balance is important to Libras, too, and they don’t like conflict. Libra corresponds with the planet Venus and with the element of Air. They use the intellect and their ability to communicate to form those partnerships and to maintain harmony.

When Jupiter is in Libra, matters focused on equality, liberty and balance are of importance. The energies associated with Jupiter, expansion, growth and good fortune, harmonize with the traits of the sign of Libra, partnerships and collaborations, and bring us balance, harmony and equality, a good foundation for building on and improving all kinds of relationships. Communication between groups and people will be positive and beneficial, and patience, compassion, empathy and an effort toward manifesting the highest good for all are possibilities for the future. This combination does not necessarily create passion, but cool, calm and collected is a good state of mind in which to be.

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

The Wild Unknown Four of Swords shows a lamb with a brightly-glowing third eye chakra, all curled up and serene beneath four Swords hanging point-down above him. This tender, untried youth is resting below four Swords hanging precariously above him, and yet he does not appear frightened. He is alert, so he knows those Swords are there even though he does not even spare them a glance, but he is not even prepared to run should they come loose. Perhaps his stillness is part of his protection. It is as if he is keeping those Swords up there with his serenity, his stillness, his awareness of what is going on around him, and his belief, his mental force . . . his Will!

The Thoth Tarot Four of Swords is called “Truce”; the original name for this card was “Lord of Rest from Strife.” Crowley states that Swords are weapons, and weapons are connected to the discipline of war, not of peace. Thus, while equilibrium and justice are a part of this card, the “truce” being represented in the Thoth Tarot Four of Swords is a peace enforced by the threat of violence, a mutual deterrence. That kind of peace is not usually lasting.

The Llewllyn Welsh Four of Swords shows a woman warrior, resting with her hair streaming under her head, her eyes closed, and her mouth slightly open, with her white dog asleep beside her. In the background are four Swords floating above her, holding up a curtain that shields her, and a tree with naked branches whose trunk appears to be echoing the position of Christ after death on the cross. The card represents a vigil, withdrawal and silence, asylum, finding sanctuary, and a deathlike phase in life which incubates future dreams.

The Legacy of the Divine Four of Swords shows a man asleep, floating above a bed of four Swords with points facing downward, representing an inward focus. Behind him is a round stained glass window through which light shines faintly as if from the moon; upon that window is the Greek symbol for Christ. A hawk flies above the sleeping form, dropping a red rose, representing life, and a white rose, representing death. The card represents the need for recuperation, inactivity, physical healing, and distance from the stresses and responsibilities of life.

Our first three Swords cards, the Ace, Two and Three of Swords, have caused an imbalance that often creates the perception of being harmed. The Four of Swords can represent a pause or truce or mutual deterrent, or a time of silence and isolation used to prepare for challenges to come. Often it is necessary to take a moment to absorb what has happened thus far within our current situation, and this card offers that valuable pause. The truce represented by the Four of Swords does not happen due to weakness, but rather through a conscious and deliberate choice and through a balance of power. After all, the truce is “supported” by Swords, the suit of the intellect. This moment spent in limbo is not a surrender, but rather it gives us the opportunity to heal and rejuvenate, so we can once again face the challenges of the day with renewed optimism and focus.

** 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

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