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.
Why do I love Tarot?
Because Tarot is about stories. It's about creating a life where you walk with wanderers, magicians, and kings. Where you see the big, powerful themes of your life, and the small but poignant scenes that make up who you are. Where you're able to review your life's story and see how you want it to be told.
Because it's about possibilities. Because I can take a look at seven cards laid out in a pattern and see myself reflected back at me - parts of me I'd never considered before, and options I'd never imagined. Because when we're bogged down by too many choices, or by a sense of being overwhelmed and lost, we're able to illuminate our path and see one direction where it might lead.
Because Tarot is art. It's taking 78 ideas, 78 moments from life, and seeing the myriad ways those images have evolved and changed from person to person, theme to theme, artist to artist. It's seeing the unique lens through which each deck views our lives, and then learning about yourself through which images speak to you.
Because the world needs magick. Because we're
magick, and the sheer power and beauty of peering into the unknown and calling up what we find there is something we're never too old for.
Want to command the elements with the Magician? Harness your creativity with the Empress? Tarot Journeys: Of Mentors and Magic Wands
is available to teach you the unique lessons of the Major Arcana! Go check it out!
It's been a rough start to the week after Tropical Storm Isaac blew through my part of Florida over the last few days. I don't know if I'm really qualified at all to speak about it, since I've always had a lot of luck with hurricanes. In the many years I've lived in Florida, my family's had to deal with exactly one tree falling down in front of our door, and a few days without power whenever an honest-to-goodness hurricane blows through. We've been incredibly lucky, compared to a lot of people who've lost homes, businesses, and loved ones.
But there's something about even the most basic of disaster preparedness, the break it makes in all of our routines. Suddenly you're accounting for a lack of power and Internet capability, for limited access to the outside world, all the stuff a lot of us normally take for granted. It cuts out the choice-heavy, hyper-stimulated world we live in, and leaves us with just single moments. It's just you and a book, or getting a flashlight to work, or the sound of the wind and the rain outside. It's a sort of meditative, in-the-moment feeling.
The Tarot of the Mermaids by Mauro De Luca and Pietro Alligo changes up the suits a bit, and the Swords suit is changed to Tridents. I like that idea; instead of cutting away excess and getting mental clarity, tridents stab to the heart of things, direct but also a bit cold the way the Swords can be on a bad day.
Like all the Knights, the Knight of Swords can be unbalanced. When he's the worst aspects of his suit, he can be blunt and overbearing, maybe even a little intimidating. But he cuts out the excess and gets to the truth of things. Riding a dolphin in this illustration, he's in the middle of stormy weather but he's heading straight for the sun - which is even clearer because of the surrounding darkness.
In the Heirophant portion of my Tarot Journeys course
, I talk about how tradition can be a rock in a storm. That's one of the ideas behind daily practices like meditation or journaling, having a quiet and simple thing to rely on where you can collect your thoughts. When the storm of your life feels overwhelming, try taking yourself out of it for a little while. Cut out all the choice and the noise, and just sit for a while and focus on one thing. We make our lives so complicated that getting down to the basics can be a little scary. But it often reminds us of the inner core of things we're so quick to leave behind.
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.
The first installment of Tarot Journeys, a jam-packed six week walk through each card of the Major Arcana, is finally here!
(Like that picture? That's my oh-so-basic Photoshop skills. I feel so clever!)
I am hugely excited, because not only does this fill one of my goals for Mirror Moon Tarot, becoming a teacher of Tarot and spiritual development, but it's opening up a truly unique offering to all of you.
So many Tarot courses tell you how to read the cards. Which, well, that's what they're here for - right?
Yes and no. Because Tarot is all about archetypes, larger-than-life story figures that teach us about ourselves and the world. It's all about symbolism, from the little dog chasing the Fool to the two pillars framing the High Priestess's temple. And it's all about micro-lessons in wisdom, spiritual development, and ways to create change in your life.
I wanted to create a course that highlights all that - the things that Tarot can teach us emotionally, spiritually. And I wanted to do it in the way I love best, as an interactive journey - meditations, exercises, quotes, spreads, and lessons about how to tap into the wisdom of the cards.
This is a huge, HUGE undertaking. So huge that I had to divide even the Major Arcana up into parts. This first segment, Of Mentors and Magic Wands
, lets you apprentice to the first six cards of the Major Arcana - the Fool through the Heirophant - as a journey to a deeper understanding of Tarot and of yourself.
Enter the Magician's garden and call the elements. Create your own daily traditions with the Heirophant. Let the Emperor show you that you, and only you, are the authority on yourself. And much, much more.
(or on the 'Courses' tab above) to find out more about exactly what you'll get over the full six weeks.
And if you enjoy this course? The others in the series are well underway!
Still not sure if this is right for you? Take a look at a preview from the opening of the course,
where I show you how archetypes - and even the stories you love - can tell you a lot about who you are and what you value.
Well, we're at the end of the Ultimate Blog Challenge, and I've successfully written 31 different posts relating to Tarot, history, fear, motivation, diversity, creativity, and my continued ridiculous love for Leonie Dawson
This is a huge thing for me, because while I love my blog to pieces, and I love everyone I've met through it, sometimes I slip up. I don't write a post every day, so I write extra posts and backdate a day or two. I don't always promote every post perfectly. Some of my ideas have been great, some not so great. I could write for a month or ten years, love it no less, and still have it be a learning process. So accomplishing this, having everything to show for this month, is a big deal for me.
Why would I tell you this when I'm a life coach? When I use my gifts as a Tarot reader, along with creative exercises and a guiding hand, to help others to learn, plan, expand, and grow? Because it's okay.
I have ADD, Attention Deficit Disorder. That means things like schedules, repeated tasks, and details are sometimes difficult for me. I've had to learn, over a long period of time, that Getting Stuff Done and Being Organized doesn't come as easily to me as it does to other people.
That means I've done more to learn how to make it happen for me, what works and doesn't work, what fits into my personal rhythm and needs. And that means I've learned how to make mistakes: with acceptance. Understanding what happened, and how that's where I'm at. Resolving to take what I've learned, and try again tomorrow.
I've had times in the past where I'd decide that overnight, I was going to be a master of everything. I'd plan to work my tail off until my house was sparkling, my eating habits were flawless, I'd accomplished four or five different projects and still have time to read a book about spirituality or self-development at the end of the day.
That just doesn't work
. Even when I finished most of what I planned to do, I was exhausted. The things I loved felt like chores, items on the checklist of life rather than something that could genuinely benefit me and be enjoyable. And the stuff that wasn't so great? I'd punish myself over it - until I learned that not only was this biologically supposed
to be difficult, but learning it was a process
So I set a few things to do each day. I broke it down and made it simple for myself. I slowly chipped away, and I kept moving forward. No punishment, no judgement. If I had an unproductive day, I'd look at what happened, and I told myself I'd do better tomorrow.
And when I got the website made, the class finished, the story written, I'd be able to look at it and say: "I did that."
Congratulations to everyone else who completed the Ultimate Blog Challenge, and to anyone worrying about what they haven't accomplished: nothing is impossible. The only way you could ever lose your way is to stop moving completely.
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."
Well, aside from the "hero with a presumably hopeless cause" thing, they're both archetypes.
From Anansi to Merlin, from Don Quixote to Jack Sparrow, archetypes are characters that are larger than life—broad "types" that everyone can know and relate to. Famous figures like Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell spoke a lot about archetypes because they say a lot about human nature. Through the way we tell stories, we learn a lot about what's important to us, and how we view the world we live in.
Archetypes become blueprints that we all can relate to, drawing us in based on how we live and what we want for ourselves. Few people feel they're exactly like Batman, Gotham City's brooding guardian, or that they have the roguish charm of Han Solo. But they can reflect on the powerful images those characters create when they're looking for inspiration about the kind of person they'd like to become.
Tarot may have started as a card game. But the figures in that game—the Emperor, the Chariot, the World—are all images of ideas we can connect and relate to. This makes it a perfect tool for self-discovery. The way we tell the story of our lives is powerful stuff. When we choose the stories we tell ourselves and the world, we decide the images that help us reflect on our lives.
Tarot's Major Arcana is where the most archetypical figures dwell. The Major Arcana provide images of many different figures and settings along a long road to self-development and enlightenment. The ideas about what they represent have changed over time and they're still changing. But finding out what those images mean to us tells us a lot about who we are.
Try this exercise to take a look at the archetypes that inform your life:List three of your favorite characters from any story. Movies, comics, mythology— nothing is off-limits. If you want to list a religious figure you believe literally exists, that's completely fine too. Remember, we're looking at the stories that inspire us and help us grow.
Now look at your list of three figures. For each character, list the qualities that draw you to them the most. I'd suggest at least three things but you can keep going if you like.
When you've created your list, look at the characters and qualities that you've written down. Spend some time thinking about them. Are they male or female? Heroes or villains? Do you relate to them because of things from your own life? From the lives of people you love? How can you use their stories to inform and transform your own life?
This blog post is an excerpt from my new course, Tarot Journeys: Of Mentors and Magic Wands
. The course takes a look at the first six cards of the Major Arcana, and how they can serve as guides on our personal journeys. If you like what you see, give the course a look - and sign up to my list! I'll be sending regular updates about Tarot Journeys and all my other offerings, including a free giveaway coming up soon!
There are a lot of eye-rolling cliches about how talking to yourself is a sign of some kind of instability, the first sign that you're "losing it." It means you're fragmented, freaking out, unable to "keep it together."
Personally, I think it's a great idea. And I keep on learning new ways to do it.
You know the old jokes in cartoons, when you get a look at a character's brain? There are all these little mini-selves running around, like highly specific Smurfs. 'Anger' sets his head on fire at the slightest insult. 'Love' is scattering flowers. 'Fear' is cowering in a corner, trembling at every little noise.
Of course, it's never that easy to pick specific things out. Emotions are complicated, wrapping themselves in layers and sometimes carrying two completely contradictory feelings at once. It can seem like a huge, frightening task to even sort through all your feelings, let alone pick them out and give them a face.
But maybe that's exactly what we need to do sometimes. Take a look at the complicated thought that's been hanging on to you for a while, keeping you blocked or sad or overwhelmed. Start picturing it as a person. What does it look like, and how does it dress? What's its body language? Does it have a name? Draw it, if you're artistic.
Set aside ten or fifteen minutes where you can sit quietly, undisturbed. Then turn in towards that feeling and have a conversation with it. Introduce yourself to it, and ask what it's doing there. Learn who it is, and make friends with it. Find out what it needs. See if you can transform it, and find some positive work for it to do.
Any kind of communication with yourself is just one more form of meditation. And the more we sort through and get to know ourselves, the more we're able to transform ourselves into stronger, happier people.
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.