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Tarot Talk

July, 2019

The Nine of Pentacles

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

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

The
traditional image of the Nine of Pentacles shows a well-dressed woman
wearing a beautiful yellow robe decorated with sunflowers, a ring on
her finger and earrings in her ears. She is standing in a garden
that is overflowing with vines heavily laden with grapes, and is
surrounded by nine golden Pentacles. Her left hand is gloved, and on
her hand sits a bird of prey wearing a hood, a wild thing that is
calm and completely tamed. In the background are green trees, hills,
and a glimpse of a large mansion or castle. They sky is clear and
golden, as if it is a mid-summer day. The woman’s head is tilted
to the side, as if she is looking at her bird. Most versions of the
Nine of Pentacles are similar: a well-dressed woman surrounded by the
bounty of nature and a rich harvest holding either a bird of prey or
a brightly-colored bird.

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

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

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

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

You
can see how easy it is to connect the element of Earth to our daily
lives, our physical bodies, our careers and our finances, our
families, and the natural world around us. These things are all the
main correspondences of the element of Earth, the suit of Pentacles,
and of course, are connected to the realm of our Nine of Pentacles,
as shown within its image.

The
astrological correspondence for the Nine of Pentacles is Venus in the
astrological sign of Sagittarius.

Venus
is the second-closest planet to the Sun, and is the brightest natural
object in the night sky besides the Moon. Venus reaches its maximum
brightness shortly before sunrise or shortly after sunset, for which
reason it is often called the Morning Star or the Evening Star. Venus
is similar in size, gravity, and bulk composition to our Earth,
however, the surface of the planet is very different from our planet.
Venus, or the Greek Aphrodite, is the Goddess of love, beauty, and
relationships. Venus is a feminine planet and thus is in-taking,
rather than out-going. Venus is the bringer of pleasure, happiness,
wealth, good fortune, and love. Venus is also associated with the
principles of attraction, persuasion, and getting along. Venus
represents sociability, friendliness, harmony, balance, values, art,
beauty, and romantic love (as opposed to sexual love which is Mars’
domain).

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

Venus
in Sagittarius can bring adventure, because they combine Venus, the
lover, under the rule of Jupiter, the planet of freedom, luck, and
breathless risks. There’s a defiant edge to Venus Sagittarius, as
you move freely and seek variety in love and among friends. Freedom
is valued and limitations are uncomfortable; experiencing everything
firsthand, preferably with like-minded people, brings joy and
fulfillment.
Both Venus and Sagittarius love to make connections to others, love
to have fun, love to meet people from diverse cultures and explore
new places.

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

The
Llewellyn Welsh Tarot Nine of Pentacles shows the traditional
well-dressed woman holding a falcon and standing in a ripe field.
Behind her is a figure who appears to be tallying or taking notes
regarding the harvest The keywords for this card are prudence,
assessment, planning and diplomacy; choosing friends and confidants
carefully; successful handling of a multi-faceted venture;
compassion, patience and effort to understand others.

The
Nine of Disks of the Thoth Tarot is named “Gain,” and Crowley
sees this card as representing good luck and good management. Here we
have a big payoff on the material plane, free from concerns, worries
and anxieties. This card represents material gains, an inheritance,
riches, and treasures.

The
Shadowscapes Tarot Nine of Pentacles tells of the balance of the
material world with the spiritual world. The image on the card shows
a woman playing a piano that is entwined with trees, a part of the
moss and leaves and bark of the trees. She sits on a snail shell,
its spirals echoing the spirals of the tree branches, hinting at the
golden mean ratio. She smiles as she plays, not looking at her
fingers but rather, gazing up at the sun shining through the leaves.
This card tells of material well-being and refinement, and the
discipline needed in order to obtain them. We are told to rely on
our self and trust our abilities, and understand and appreciate the
wealth that we already possess.

The
Legacy of the Divine Tarot Nine of Coins shows a beautiful woman in a
flowing gown with a bird of paradise perched on her arm. She stands
on a balcony filled with healthy flowering potted plants, and above
her is a brilliant arch of nine golden Coins. In the distance we see
a storm, but the storm has passed and now all is calm and brilliantly
lit. The image is lush and opulent, almost surreal in its loveliness,
telling of accomplishments that look easy on the surface but are
actually attained through long and hard work. This card encourages
us to retreat from the real world into an environment that is
harmonious and comfortable so we can focus on intellectual and
spiritual pursuits.

The
Nine of Pentacles is seen by many as one of the most fortunate cards
in the entire deck. Yes, this card often tells of good luck, but it
also tells us that hard work over time can bring wealth, pleasure and
an easy life. The Nine of Pentacles tells us that we have strength
of character; we are self-sufficient and efficient. Best of all, we
can enjoy the company of others and yet still enjoy alone time. As
long as we don’t expect too much from others or allow others to
demand too much from us, we will succeed.

We
do need to remember that success can mean worldly achievement, but
the best end result is to succeed in creating ourselves, the best we
can be, out of the material given to us by the circumstances and
conditions of our life. The Nine of Pentacles represents quality and
an awareness of the value of the gifts we have been given, and is the
emblem of a truly evolved person.

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

Legacy of the Divine Tarot 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

Book Review – Mindful Tarot by Lisa Frienkel Tishman, Ph.D

April, 2019

Book Review
Mindful Tarot
Bring a Peace-Filled Compassionate Practice to the 78 Cards
by Lisa Frienkel Tishman, Ph.D

The
preface gives the reader a very specific view into the interpretative
style and way in which Dr. Tishman is going to incorporate a Mindful
approach to using the 78 Keys as tools of integration and awareness.
This is a different ideology than is the norm in treating the cards
of the Tarot as tools for accessing predictive information or having
a specific spiritual practice in mind that these interpretations may
be fused into. Dr. Tishman is, after all, a Zen Buddhist minister, so
the underpinnings of this book’s methodology are grounded in a more
eastern, vs. Western Hermetic dialogue.

Mindful
Tarot
is separated into two
Parts, the first giving a very thorough set-up for the reader who is
more acclimated to the traditional hermetic approach in using the
Tarot. Part One: From Mantic to Mindful Tarot begins with the
author’s experience as she sat on the meditation cushion during a
break in the seven-day silent retreat. The author tells us of the
epiphany she had surrounding the simple phrase, ”This
is ALL there is”…
and the clarity
of meaning she derived from that phrase when looking through a
different perspective.

Chapter
Two: Cartomancy and Mindfulness
-gives
even more insight to the interweaving of the tried and true Tarot
expectations and how these may be used in a more mindful way. She
sites the words of Tarot icon, Mary Greer as having been instrumental
is pushing her to seek deeper meaning for the individual…

Many people come to tarot in hopes of “fixing” their lives-obtaining information and guidance that will help them make the “right” decisions and no mistakes-guaranteeing perfection. I ask you, as a Tarot reader, how can we help the querent “embrace brokenness”? 1. Tarot for Your Self, 2nd Edition: A Workbook for Personal Transformation by Mary Greer

I
especially liked Chapter 7: The Daily
Pull
– Dr. Tishman using the acronym
of PULL
for Pausing, Unknowing, Looking, and Leaning In. Many of us are
familiar with the concept of pulling a card daily, not only as a way
of learning the deck but also as guidance for the day’s energies.
The author encourages us to cultivate the (zen) “beginner’s mind”
of absolute aliveness and openness to “what’s that”. We then
move on to the practice of patience, an excellent reminder that
things unfold as they unfold, regardless of the amount of coercion we
attempt to place on the desired (immediate) outcome. Each of the
steps of PULL have an experiential exercise following the descriptive
of how to, which is very helpful In training the individual towards
being present and fully engaged in the action.

Part
Two: Reading the Cards
is separated
into the usual format beginning with the Trumps (Major Arcana), the
Pips (Minor Arcana), the Court Cards. Each of the cards is given a
key word of focus and much like the books contained with a Tarot
deck, information is provided regarding that key word and its
application to a mindful Tarot practice.

Mindful
Tarot is filled with references and quotes that those who have a
solid background in Buddhist or mystic practices will easily
recognize and be able to make use of, which may leave those who are
coming from a hermetic mantic approach may not readily embrace. I
think this is an excellent book directed towards an audience that is
both versed in the nuances of a “real” Mindfulness practice-not
the buzz word version so popular nowadays and has a firm grasp of
understanding of the Tarot Keys using the more traditional predictive
interpretations. The Works Cited section completing the book, gives
validation to Dr. Tishman’s research and exploration used in
penning Mindful Tarot. Many of these, again, are not your staple
tomes for Tarot studies, which makes it all the more fascinating to
read.

Having
such a background to draw from, I found Mindful Tarot to be a very
interesting read that gave me enough thought-provoking information to
easily direct my focus for the Keys use in the way most revealing for
what I was hoping to receive.

About
Lisa:

Lisa
Freinkel Tishman, PhD
, began
studying the Tarot as a grad student at Berkeley in the late 1980s.
She has published extensively on Petrarch, the Renaissance poet
sometimes thought to have influenced the tarot trumps. An
award-winning teacher, Zen Buddhist minister, and certified
mindfulness educator, she is a former humanities professor and dean
at the University of Oregon (UO) and founding director of UO’s
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program. Lisa is now an interfaith
chaplain at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Springfield, Oregon, and
continues to offer mindfulness classes, trainings, and Tarot readings
through her business, Calyx Contemplative Care. She can be found on
YouTube and Instagram as “Mindful Tarot.”

Mindful Tarot: Bring a Peace-Filled, Compassionate Practice to the 78 Cards on Amazon

***

About
the Author:

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

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

The
Inner Chamber Volume One on Amazon

It’s
Written in the Stars

Astrology

The
Inner Chamber, Vol. Two

poetry
of the Spheres (Volume 2) on Amazon

Qabalah

The
Inner Chamber, Vol. Three

Awakening
the Paths on Amazon

Qabalah

A
Year With Gaia on Amazon

The
Eternal Cord

Temple
of the Sun and Moon on Amazon

Luminous
Devotions

The
Magickal Pen Volume One (Volume 1) on Amazon

A
Collection of Esoteric Writings

The
Elemental Year on Amazon

Aligning
the Parts of SELF

The
Enchanted Gate on Amazon

Musings
on the Magick of the Natural World

Sleeping
with the Goddess on Amazon

Nights
of Devotion

A
Weekly Reflection on Amazon

Musings
for the Year

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

Follow
Robin
 on
Instagram & Facebook.

Tarot Talk

March, 2019

The
King of Pentacles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

About
the Author:

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

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

Tarot Talk

January, 2019

The Nine of Wands

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

About
the Author:

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

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

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

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

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

Tarot Talk

August, 2018

The Nine of Swords

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

We haven’t talked about the Minor Arcana Nines for quite some time. This month, we will examine the Nine of Swords. Comparing cards and their individual meanings is valuable throughout the study of the Tarot, but this process is particularly useful when looking at the Swords cards. If you remember, I stated in past columns that in my opinion the Five of Swords and Seven of Swords are sometimes not easy to tell apart. Understanding these two cards and their differences helps us in part to understand the Nine of Swords and all of its potential effects within a reading. You know by now my method for dealing with this issue: break the cards down to their most basic ingredients. Let’s get started.

The traditional image of the Nine of Swords shows a person sitting up in bed, appearing to have been woken from sleep, with hands over face, ears, or across the chest; sometimes the person appears to be in agony. Above and behind the person are nine Swords, sometimes arranged like a wall or blind, sometimes all pointing toward the person or away from the person, sometimes crossing each other. I saw one card image that showed the points alternating, one to the right, then to the left, then to the right, and so on, cancelling each other out. No matter where those Swords are arranged, they at least appear threatening to the person in the image. The traditional images on the Five and Seven of Swords show Swords being held in the hand, or grounded (point in the ground); while there is still a bit of an appearance of threat, the figure in each of those images has at least partial control over the Swords, unlike the images from our Nine of Swords.

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 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.

Astrology is a tool that can offer subtle differences for us to consider. The Nine of Swords brings us to consider Mars (action, spontaneity, aggression, drive) when it is in the astrological sign of Gemini (“I think,” curious, talkative, social, dual).

Gemini is about communication of all kinds, and about collecting information and stimulating the mind. Geminis are a mix of yin and yang, and they can easily see both sides of an issue. They are very practical; they are adaptable and flexible but they can also tend toward being wishy-washy, and they are not always good at following through to the end of a project. Gemini is all about the intellect, the mind, and the thinking process. They think clearly and make use of logic, and they can be real good at seeing the big picture. Gemini rules the nervous system, and calmness is a quality they need to cultivate. They love to play, love to share their fun and their ideas with others, and they love adventures that stimulate the mind.

Mars is known as the “Red Planet,” and is about energy, passion, drive and determination, all fiery personality traits. Mars is associated with confidence and self-assertion, aggression, sexuality, energy, strength, ambition and impulsiveness. Mars governs sports, competitions and physical activities in general. Mars is commanding, confident, and powerful, asking us to stand up and be noticed without fear. Ambition and competition are also associated with this planet; Mars encourages us to face challenges and to be our best with honor. Mars rules our sexuality and sexual energy, and governs weapons, accidents and surgery. It’s important to note that Mars’s energy can be constructive or destructive; the key is to use the energy of Mars in a proper manner.

When Mars is located in the sign of Gemini, the drive and passion of Mars can get a bit scattered due to the influence of mutable Gemini and its duality. When there is a long To-Do list of things to be done, this combination can be effective and enthusiastic, but with not enough to keep busy, the energies of Mars in Gemini create lethargy, restlessness, and boredom. Words, the power of words and the effects of words, are a focus, tool, and sometimes a weapon. This combination creates enthusiastic communication, and perhaps angry and hurtful statements. These energies are good at multi-tasking, dealing with change, and manifesting new and exciting ideas into reality, but you may need to depend on others to help bring projects to completion.

The Tree of Life offers further insight. All of the Nines of the Tarot Minor Arcana correspond to the sephira (or sphere) of Yesod (which is known as “Foundation”). Yesod is the first sphere out of (and the last sphere into) the sephira that represents the physical world, Malkuth. Yesod is about things such as emotions and feelings, which are directly connected to our physical existence but are not actually physical themselves. Yesod is the home of our life force, our personality, and the Self; it is also the home of the Dark Night of the Soul and all of its doubts and challenges. It is only above Yesod that the Tree begins to branch out. This reminds us that emotions and feelings and an awareness of our life force and our personality are natural effects and experiences, and that exploring them and understanding them is an important part of our own evolutionary process.

When dealing with the Minor Arcana, perhaps the most important ingredient besides the suit of the card is the number of the card. In the Tarot, the number 9 tells of completeNESS (not compleTION or the winding up of a cycle). The number 9 represents our perceptions as we reach the limit of our understanding of or experience of a situation, just before we wind up the process and take another step up the ladder, in order to begin the whole process again. In our spoken language, we say that we are going to “go the whole nine yards” when we intend to experience something to the fullest, and that is what the number 9 can tell us in the Tarot. This will not necessarily indicate to us that we are done with the experience, but rather that we are at the “peak of the wave” just before the wave tips over and disseminates its energy onto the shore.

All of the Tarot Nine cards offer this concept of completeness of manifestation or full and material impact of all the previous cards. We have the necessary focus and discipline over the long term that is needed for success (Pentacles), we have the satisfaction that comes when we obtain what we think we want (Cups), and we have the knowledge that our learning and our ability to survive life’s challenges will be enough to bring us across the finish line (Wands). In the Nine of Swords, we have the illusion that all is lost and it is all our fault.

The Hermetic Tarot Nine of Swords is a nightmare; every part of this image is distorted or decayed. Eight of the Swords in the image are rusted, distorted, bent or broken each in its own way, and the flower has become 12-tentacled monster. The ninth Sword rises up from the bottom of the card, wickedly curving and coming to a sharp and deadly point. Called the Lord of Despair and Cruelty, the name of this card describes perfectly its meaning. It tells of loss, misery, and suffering, burdens and oppression, and lying, slander and dishonesty. There is an obedience laced through this card, as if we can’t help but continue the despair and cruelty that is manifesting.

The Shadowscapes Tarot Nine of Swords shows a young winged man, a black crow on his shoulder, looking anxiously upward into a swirling vortex of storms above him while clutching a sheathed sword to his breast. He is filled with unnecessary anguish. He is a being of Air and should feel free to take to the skies and escape. He is carrying a Sword that could light the way to freedom, yet he lacks the courage or the skill to wield it. This card tells of inner turmoil, guilt, and vulnerability, and of our soul being laid bare to our own demons.

The Thoth Tarot has a name for the Nine of Swords: Cruelty. This card represents the “agony of the mind,” and the poison created by this agony can kill the day. Here is the hangover and all of its discomfort: dizziness, nausea, and an ugly taste in the mouth, all created by our own actions. Within this degeneration of the suit of Swords, we need to remember that we do have the ability to control what our mind focuses on. This control might be difficult to achieve under the circumstances, but we must not succumb to despair.

The Llewellyn Welsh Tarot Nine of Swords shows a traditional image, and tells of nightmares, suspicion and insecurity. Here we have the weight of depression upon us as we are eaten up by worry and delays, longing and misery. This card tells of distress, injustice, loneliness, and the haunting of past hurts, all of which indicate a debilitating and unhealthy situation of our own creation.

The Legacy of the Divine Tarot Nine of Swords shows a woman in bed but not asleep. Her head is resting on her pillow, but her eyes are turned upward toward the nine Swords hanging overhead and the phantom ghostly hands she imagines are reaching for her. The image shows us what happens when stress and worry push our imagination into overdrive. This card represents the loss, suffering, doubt, and pain that we inflict upon ourselves as we second-guess our choices during the dark wee hours of the night.

The Nine of Swords represents brooding and worrying, usually self-caused, and usually unproductive. Often the worrying attached to this card is connected to insecurity or suspicion, or it is connected to things that are over and done with, and thus unchangeable no matter what we discover during our late-night ponderings. We may seem to need seclusion in order to be safe and survive until dawn, but in the end we are allowing ourselves to become a slave to our own anxiety. Until we realize that our preoccupation is becoming dangerously unhealthy, we will not find the peace and clarity we need in order to thrive.

To me, the Nine of Swords shows us what happens when we allow the element of Air and its use of only logic and information to exist without such concepts as feelings, intentions and emotions (Cups/Water), safety, security and comfort (Pentacles/Earth), and courage, personal power, and the influence of Spirit (Wands/Fire). The complete manifestation of the effects of the suit of Swords can create a sense of paranoia, helplessness, guilt, and despair. Perhaps bringing in influences of outside recommendations or counseling will balance things out in the end.

** 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

July, 2018

Three of Pentacles

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

We haven’t looked at a Pentacles card in a while, so this month we will examine the Three of Pentacles. The Three of Pentacles 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. In this case, we are dealing with the number 3, and the suit of Pentacles. These two ingredients could actually give us enough information about this one card to offer a useful interpretation!

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, 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 Three of Pentacles.

The traditional image of the Three of Pentacles shows three people, one standing on a bench who appears to be carving something into the wall, one holding what looks like plans or architectural drawings, and one that appears to be a priest or a friar. The worker appears to be describing his work to the architect and the friar, both of whom are listening carefully to the worker. All three are standing beneath a stone arch supported by three pillars, decorated with three pentagrams. Above the arch is a brick wall. In the Tarot, an archway represents a transition to a new stage of development or progress. Arches are difficult to construct, but are worth the effort because they are strong and balanced.

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 experiences within the physical world (the Ace of Pentacles), and the ability to deal with changes and developments without losing balance and confidence (the Two of Pentacles). The Three of Pentacles presents the first-stage completion (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 Pentacles. Our card tells us that we are able to use the skills we’ve developed in order to work with others toward meeting our goals.

The astrological correspondence for the Three of Pentacles is the planet Mars when it is located in the constellation of Capricorn.

Mars is known as the “Red Planet,” and this makes sense because Mars is about energy, passion, drive and determination, all fiery personality traits. Mars is associated with confidence and self-assertion, aggression, sexuality, energy, strength, ambition and impulsiveness. Mars governs sports, competitions and physical activities in general. Mars is commanding, confident, and powerful, asking us to stand up and be noticed without fear. Ambition and competition are also associated with this planet; Mars encourages us to face challenges and to be our best with honor. Mars rules our sexuality and sexual energy, and governs weapons, accidents and surgery. It’s important to note that Mars’s energy can be constructive or destructive. In the end, however, the energy of Mars can be quite useful if used properly.

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. Capricorn people are a bit stoic and rigid, and they will stick to their beliefs despite convincing evidence to the contrary. More than anything else they enjoy power, respect, and authority, and they are willing to toe the line for as long as it takes to achieve those goals. The Capricorn personality is one that is firmly grounded in reality; here is the voice of reason in a chaotic world. A Capricorn person may seem unfriendly, arrogant, or without humor to outsiders, but remember the image of this astrological sign has a fish’s tail. The emotions are there, just hidden within that inhibited exterior. As far as material wealth is concerned, Capricorn approaches finances with prudence, planning, and discipline, and thus, there are not many Capricorns who are lacking in physical-world resources.

Mars in Capricorn is a confident combination, almost intimidating. Mars is driven to succeed, and Capricorn is willing to work hard in order to achieve goals. These two energies together enable us to take on big tasks and see them to the finish. Capricorn is ruled by Saturn, the planet of structure and form, and this means there will be plans rather that dreams. Mars is eager to act, and Capricorn makes certain that actions have a purpose and will be likely to succeed.

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 Pentacles shows a young woman sitting in a field filled with grasses and flowers, shaded by a tree, with three pentacles beside her (in fact, one foot is holding one of those pentacles in place). The woman has on her lap a colorful cloth decorated with symbols, and she is sewing or embroidering with a calm focus. The meanings of the card are skill, craft, marketable ideas, slow and steady progress, taking pride in humble work, and making use of talents.

The Three of Disks of the Thoth Tarot shows an aerial view of a pyramid resting on sand dunes that appear to have been formed by blasts of energy emitted by the pyramid. The four corners of the structure are resting on large wheels. The title of this card is “Works,” and its meanings are success, material gain, rank, dominion, a gain of money or influence, and a present, however there is the potential for these to be empty gains.

The Legacy of the Divine Tarot Three of Coins shows a grey-haired man diligently and skillfully carving a large disk that is inset with a glowing green gem; surrounding him are his tools and another green gem. Hanging on the wall behind him are two disks covered with carvings, as well as several more tools; on a shelf are several blank disks. This card tells of a labor of love, a task that completely engrosses us and brings rewards on many levels, not just financial.

The Three of Pentacles is an encouraging card. It tells us that if we continue to work with diligence and we don’t allow disillusionment to dampen our enthusiasm, we have the potential to find fulfillment and success and create something to be proud of. We are being told that our dreams can be made real through determination, persistence and effort. Perhaps we will need to draw on the knowledge and advice of others, and it may be beneficial for a partnership or a team to be formed, as long as those persons are of like mind. Feedback from others, at the very least, is important.

The Three of Pentacles reminds us that now is the time to be realistic. We have the ability to see what will work for us, and to tap into our skills and strengths in order to be both efficient and creative. Ideas and inspirations can be manifested into the physical world in a way that creates a secure and stable foundation upon which we can build our future.

The Three of Pentacles is a card of action; if we assemble skilled partners and focus on our goals, there is no limit to what we can accomplish.

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

**

About the Author:

Raushanna is a lifetime resident of New Jersey. As well as a professional Tarot Reader and Teacher, she is a practicing Wiccan (Third Degree, Sacred Mists Coven), a Usui Reiki Master/Teacher, a certified Vedic Thai-Yoga Massage Bodyworker, a 500-hr RYT Yoga Teacher specializing in chair assisted Yoga for movement disorders, and a Middle Eastern dance performer, choreographer and teacher.  Raushanna bought her first Tarot deck in 2005, and was instantly captivated by the images on the cards and the vast, deep and textured messages to be gleaned from their symbols. She loves reading about, writing about, and talking about the Tarot, and anything occult, mystical, or spiritual, as well as anything connected to the human subtle body. She has published a book, “The Emerald Tablet: My 24-Day 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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