The Crystal Tarots by Elisabetta Trevisan (not to be confused with the Crystal Tarot, which is actually about crystals) is one of my favorite decks in terms of style; I love the stained glass look and all the fascinating little details. The Knave, or Page, of Pentacles stands among growing trees and fertile rolling hills, clad in rich colors that give him a wealthy air. The spirals on his tights particularly speak to me; they bring to mind the spiral of birth and death in Pagan symbolism, though that's probably not what the artist had in mind.

I've been drawing court cards a lot lately, and Pages especially, along with a handful of the Aces. They both signify young energy, the start of a process. While the Minor Arcana can often show a growing and maturing energy, the Pages will show you your own life cycle, or the maturity of your emotions.

Beginnings are exciting, but just as often they're the hardest part of a process. You have to commit. You have to gather your materials and plan your strategy. More than that, you have to work through the first gradual growing pains - and there will be some, no matter what you're doing. Those beginning steps can be almost addictive in their newness, feeling the possibility of what can happen without any of the realities bogging you down. Relish that energy, cherish it - but remember it.

Remember the freshness and newness of something, when you forget why you started. Remember the foundations you laid down, whether it's to refresh your values or to decide where there were cracks and gaps. Remember the reasons you began - because often that means a goal you set, a vision you had. So by remembering your beginnings, your roots if you will, you'll remember what the end looks like - and you'll remember to keep it in view.

This week's card is from the Fantastical Creatures Tarot by DJ Conway and Lisa Hunt - and Ms. Hunt always creates some of the most beautifully illustrated decks I've ever seen. In this case it's a deck about mythical and mystical creatures, focused on communication with these powerful forces. Whether you believe this is a literal possibility or not, it adds another layer to the richness and beauty of the Tarot.

The Six of Wands is illustrated by the White Eagle of Zeus, a messenger of the gods. The glowing wands emerging from Zeue's hands seem to indicate the power and energy of the Wands suit, while the eagle spreads its wings, about to set off to communicate with mortals and allow them to touch the gods.

It's an interesting idea when compared with the image of the Rider-Waite deck: a man on horseback proclaiming his victory, wreath and all. It's as if our victories get us closer to the Divine itself. Acknowledging our power, our ability to achieve the things we desire, makes us feel like we've touched something godly. Or isn't that the reason for the legend about the parades in Rome, where there'd be someone asked to stand next to the victorious general and whisper in his ear, "Remember, thou art mortal."

The Six of Wands is numbered six of ten. It's only in the middle of the path. But I don't think that's because the next steps are the fall of mortal men. I don't even think it's because in the Rider-Waite, the Ten of Wands is someone being crushed under the burden of too many responsibilities and expectations.

I think that achieving all we are gets us closer to the Divine - but really, we were divine already. Our achievement brings us in communion with the gods because we remember our ability to manifest wonderful things. We remember our connection to a world that works with us, not against us. 

That may seem materialistic, selfish even. But only if you think the point of achievement is to get "stuff", money, goods, or accolades that have no meaning beyond the idea that you have it. Our deepest victories aren't the simple idea of money in our bank accounts, or a trophy on a wall. They're how we worked to achieve that thing, something we'd never imagined to be possible before. They're how money is one road to more time with our families, or more freedom to discover and grow beyond our current limitations. 

Who's to say our victory has to be material things or accomplishments? Our best achievements are inside us, discovering all we're capable of, all we can grow to be. And if that's not touching the Divine, I don't know what is.

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