The card for this week is the Ace of Wands, and again it's reversed, showing a lot of blocked energy in terms of focus, drive, and creativity. The things that are blocked in our lives are often the things we most need to unblock and learn. To me, that's why one of the interpretations of Tarot reversals is to pay special attention to the card and bring it into focus in your life.
The deck this week is the Forest Folklore Tarot, a deck by illustrator Kessia Beverley-Smith that draws inspiration from the New Forest in England. All the Wand cards in this deck have the same blonde, dainty fairies as shown in this first card -- which is interesting to me, because I'd have taken that kind of coloring for an Air fairy, and I've seen horses used to represent Earth. Associations are often so subjective, which can sometimes make them hard to navigate when you're using them to perform magick, or even to inspire you personally. But they can also lead to some really cool outside-the-box thinking.
Because I look at that image and I see a very powerful, spirited, free animal standing as a backdrop over the very beginning of the Wands cycle, a small light of inspiration and spirit that will soon grow and increase. I'm going to be starting a group read of The Fire Starter Sessions soon, and I'm really excited to see what changes it creates in my life and my business. I do have dreams and visions for my life, visions I want to create - but it's so easy to get our way blocked by the fear and the overwhelming choices. We don't know how to just keep moving forward in a continued exercise in growth.
But the beauty of the Ace is that it'll soon expand into two, three, four wands crafting the foundations of active and inspired life. The trick is to keep that spark ignited, to keep moving forward and not be crushed by the overwhelm of it all. I had something told to me in a dream once, that I've kept with me forever since:
"Don't worry about where you are right now. Just keep going."
When talking to a friend about some tough memories, she said something to me that I have the feeling is going to stick with me a long time.
"What's the story you're telling behind that?"
We all have stories, she explained. Not the stories that really happened, the ones that are actually a part of our history. But the stories we tell ourselves, the ones that come up in our memories and play tricks on us.
"I wasn't good enough, so I failed."
"Their lives are perfect; I wish I was like them."
"I ruined everything, and now they hate me."
Maybe, as an anxious or sensitive person, you actually say it in those words. Maybe you don't realize that's the way you see it, but you might as well be saying it in the back of your mind. Our lives go through a filter, where we see the circumstances as a play - and the ending is whatever we decide to believe about ourselves. And often, the impressions we leave are strong and can be unforgiving.
Look back over the stories you tell yourself, and find one that stands out as an old regret. Then rewrite it. Pick out the parts where you did well, and the parts where you could have done better. Then rewrite the ending. Create the final act where you release your pain, climb the next hurdle, prove yourself and believe you deserve it.
You're already writing your story. Empowerment just means consciously creating a new chapter.
"Absolute power corrupts absolutely."
"The power of man has grown in every sphere, except over himself."
"If you want to test the mettle of a man, give him power."
When you're trying to grow anything of your own - confidence, creativity, self-love or self-discipline - power eventually comes up. What has power over you? What do you have power over, and what should you be able to control?
We're taught, probably for a good reason, to be afraid of having too much power over the world around us. After all, will we really know how to use it wisely? Will we wind up becoming one more person in a long line of bullies, acting only in our self-interests? Or are there institutions that have had power over us for too long, and is this the only way to make a stand?
The Tarot has a lot of cards about power, and in writing my upcoming course, I was surprised at how much crossover there was in just the first six. There's the Magician, who is a magical student, adept, or a stage magician and a shyster depending on who you ask. There's the Emperor, a ruler of men, and the Heirophant, a ruler of our traditions and institutions.
That's to say nothing of the cards that come later, such as the Chariot and Strength, who in many decks come right after each other. To me that's the story of "hard control" vs "soft control", of the times you have to take life by the reins and steer, the times you have to gently tame your inner beasts and demons. It's the Chariot I decided to put up as an illustration for just that reason. And wouldn't you know, my randomizer selected the Lunatic Tarot by Evan Yi Feng. It's one of the first decks I've ever seen where the charioteer isn't pulling horses, or a dark and light Sphinx, but instead is in command of human beings. That's scary - but the beauty of it is when you take a look at that illustration, if it's drawn in your reading, and say "am I exercising control or abuse of a situation?"
There are so many ways to use power, so many ways to define what it even is or where it belongs. That's why to me, power itself isn't a dirty word. We're afraid to call ourselves powerful, to say we have any kind of control. We think it'll make us scary, selfish, or egotistical. But if you don't have power over anything, ultimately it has power over you. You lose any kind of hold you might have over your own life, or the life you want to make for yourself.
"With great power comes great responsibility." And if you don't acknowledge your potential for power, you don't take responsibility for what's happening around you. The beauty of the Major Arcana is that we've been all its figures at one point, or will be someday. We've taken charge or been stuck in tradition, we've fought our problems with gentle grace or by reigning them in. If you don't like the role you see yourself playing, you can understand the part it's playing in your life, and make the choice to transform into another.
And that's the ultimate power over, and responsibility for, your own life. So who will you decide to be today?