A Change of Plans Tarot Reading

Yesterday, I received a call to let me know that an art course I’d signed up for was no longer being held due to lack of interest. As it turned out, I was the only one to sign up for it. Initially, I was so disappointed. This was going to be my chance to prove myself as a visual artist, after all! Not to mention, I spent a small fortune on art supplies, running the gamut from watercolours to acrylics to oil pastels. I figured that, with proper tutelage, I would learn beautiful brush strokes and a new way of seeing the world. Also, I would be able to feel superior to random people at parties by introducing myself as an artist, and it wouldn’t matter if no work sold in my lifetime, because everyone knows that all the good ones became famous posthumously.

So, times of disappointment often call for a re-evaluation. There are a few things that I want to do with my time, and perhaps I’ll be able to learn more and focus better in what will be my own private semester. First of all, there are some things that I would like to sew. A French jacket awaits in fabric form, as do skirts in Hamilton tartan and an ivory silk evening gown; meanwhile, a half-finished leather jacket from a sample sale demands a lining. So I know that there are some sartorial goals here.

In the absence of art school, maybe I can make an effort to draw or paint every day. This concentrated effort will be in the hopes of one day creating my own tarot deck.

Lastly, I would like to become physically stronger, and better able to dance on the X-Pole. It makes me sigh when I think of how strong I once was when I was dedicating my time to pole dancing and aerial hoop. I’m now a scrawny version of myself compared to the girl who could pike into a high hoop with little thought, or act as the figurehead on a pole. My own laziness is all I have to blame, so it’s time to get motivated in this respect as well.

I do sometimes miss being in school, where steady progress was almost assured because a routine would never break. All focus was regimented, and goals were clear-cut. Feedback was constant, and not just if one did something wrong. Unfortunately, not much of the information learned during that time translated into necessary skills today, but I think it’s time to appropriate the discipline of dedicating daily time to different subjects. With this new change in perspective regarding my class cancellation, I turn to the tarot.

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Please, Tarot, show me what to focus on to ensure I reach my goals.

Because today’s reading was more for my personal growth and a request for advice, I chose Art of Life: Tarot Deck by Charlene LivingstoneThe Art of Life tarot deck, which has beautiful paintings and lovely quotes on each card. The first card I drew was the Two of Pentacles. Usually depicted as a man juggling two coins, this one instead has four Degas dancers and a quote from Franklin Delano Roosevelt regarding the delights of the creative pursuit. The painting has reminded me of something a dance instructor once said to me: ‘The more graceful a dancer is, the harder she is working.’ It has made the takeaway message of this card thus: It is when we work the hardest that we appear the most graceful. This state puts us in a flow of creativity that must be tended daily for it to continue. In doing so, the greatest creative satisfaction is found.

The second card is The Sun, in which the sun itself is not explicitly depicted; however, its light is still seen, filtering through trees and illuminating all it touches. At the bottom of the card is a quote from Nietzsche regarding the serendipitous nature of happiness, quietly appearing in unexpected moments. Like the sun, you do not need to be confronted with happiness head-on to benefit from its warmth and feel its glow. The Sun is a wholly positive card, often depicting the in-the-moment joy of a child. Thus far, both cards remind me that the joy of making art or sticking to creative projects is as much about the time put into the endeavours as it is about the end result.

The third card is, once more, The Hierophant. The quote also comes to us from Mr Roosevelt and portrays a very thoughtful Pope Leo X. This card links back to my Orthodox roots, reminding me that, while I will be traversing unchartered territory within my own life, I am not going to change where I came from or the foundations of my life. For some reason, a Blackadder quote has come to mind: ‘No point – the Black Bank’s got branches everywhere.’ This is reassuring to me, as it’s a subtle reminder that the old ways are always at my core, no matter how I change my outer self.

Lastly, The Chariot was not part of the reading, but I felt its quote was pertinent – and there it was, looking up at me when I settled the deck down. ‘Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.’ – Ralph Waldo Emerson

To conclude my reading today, I must keep in mind that the joy of making art is in the creative process itself rather than having made art.

Celtic Cross Spread: A Study

I find tarot a wonderfully intuitive practice to utilise daily. Its depictions help us to uncover truths about ourselves and our everyday situations. The tarot can be read on a personal level and on a larger, comprehensive level. Generally speaking, the minor arcana deal with our day-to-day questions. These are the aspects of our lives that we affect by our own action, and the things we often have control over. Alternatively, the major arcana deal with universal life questions and may imply that the situation at hand is the result of forces beyond the querent’s control. With this distinction in mind, it becomes easier to divide and understand a reading. This is particularly true if one is working to a rigid spread, such as the obstacle reading mentioned yesterday, a past-present-future spread, or the classic Celtic Cross.

It is this last spread that I want to explore today. Most of the time, I prefer the immediacy of shorter spreads, as I tend to go into a reading with a specific query in mind. The Celtic Cross, however, is a bit like a spiritual body scan. It checks out all of one’s major identifiers and displays them in a preordained hierarchy.

This spread begins by drawing a Significator before the reading proper begins. This card is chosen to represent the querent. It can either be handpicked by the reader or drawn from the deck directly. Today, I chose to ask the deck for my Significator and received The Fool. For anyone embarking on a new journey, as I am here, this is appropriate.

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The Significator: The Fool. Salt lamps found 4 Salt Candle Tea Light Holders (Bundle)here.

And thus begins the spread. I chose my very first tarot deck, the Ancient Italian Tarot: 78 full colour tarot cardsAncient Italian Tarot. When I first started reading, I wanted to be as close to the origins of tarot as I could get. In the years since I bought it, it has served me well.

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A full Celtic Cross spread, built on the Significator.

The first card is that which covers the querent, representing her primary focus. Here, we have the Ace of Swords, which indicates a spiritual breakthrough or mental growth. It also stands for new beginnings or enterprises. Quite poignant, considering my new change in focus. So far so good.

The second card displays what crosses the querent and any obstacles in her way. The Moon is in this crossed position, representing the inner self, intuition and what comes from within. The negative aspects of this card (deceit, lunacy, lack of clarity) are often the result of not listening to one’s inner self. Therefore, I can infer from this that my obstacle is a habit of shunning my inner voice.

The third card is what lies beneath the querent – her foundation. It can also bring to light hidden aspects of the self. My card for this position is called The Hierophant in most decks; in the Ancient Italian Tarot, it is il Papa: The Pope. As I am a cradle Catholic, I would be surprised to see anything else. This card is steeped in tradition and patriarchy. It can also mean that a spiritual path guides the querent’s life and actions.

The fourth card is what crowns the querent, and may also represent what is known to her. Here, we see the Six of Cups. This card is one of nostalgia and memories, usually positive. In this position, it could be seen as happy memories reminding me that I will be happy in the future also.

The fifth card stands for what has passed, possibly in influences or events. The card in this position is the Four of Cups, which represents withdrawal or ennui. It can represent a time of fallow fields, necessary to grow a rich harvest in the future. It’s pleasing for me to see this card in my ‘past’ location, as it implies that the period of less creativity was necessary for me to move forward in my ventures.

The sixth card depicts what is to come. In this spread, I drew The Lovers. This card represents a union of opposites, whether internal or external. The card also indicates that the union, which must be a choice, is sanctioned by an authority figure. This is therefore seen as a positive card, and so I will look forward to seeing which inner or outer rift will be healed and made whole.

The seventh card shows the querent’s state of mind and self-image. The Six of Wands is positioned here, which indicates victory over self-doubt, as well as success and processing forward in style. Indeed, it has felt like a personal victory just for me to get started writing this blog. Admitting my area of study, to myself and my family, has given me a new focus as well.

The eighth card represents the querent’s house and her relationship to it. The card here is the Ace of Wands, which can also represent the beginning of an enterprise. In this way, it reflects the earlier Ace of Swords, and their energies are synergistic. From this, I can gain further confidence that I have made the correct choice in my endeavours.

The ninth card can either show the querent’s hopes or fears – or what she secretly hopes for but still fears. We humans are complex creatures like that. At any rate, we can see an old acquaintance here: the Five of Coins. Again, this card represents destitution and a sense of lack. I can honestly say that this is one of my greatest fears. However, today I felt a different sense of the card’s meaning. It normally depicts two people in need of clothes and warmth passing a church. Perhaps it also implies the need to ask for assistance. For them, it could be their basic needs. For me, it could be that I need to stop being so proud regarding my study and remember to ask for help when I need it. Asking for and receiving help fulfil the hope and fear category.

The final card is the card of Christmas Future, showing what is to come. Happily, the card is a positive one in this spread. The Six of Swords represents moving away from past troubles and settling after a period of upheaval. Physical travel may be involved, or this could simply be a time of integration and wholeness. Bring it on.

Finding Clarity Through Tarot

Today, it’s raining very hard and my pets and I are all cooped up in the house together. These consist of our cat, Dixie, and our recently adopted dogs, Polly and Ozzie. On one hand, I feel great contentment here. On the other, however, I am feeling some sadness: spending time with the dogs means leaving the cat on her own, and vice versa. The dogs have only shared our home for two and a half weeks, so some periods of standoffishness are to be expected. However, I am so hoping for some love to develop between all of these furry babies. Perhaps it’s an optimistic outlook. Thus, today I look to the cards to provide me with a guide.

For this, I have done a four-card reading: Eight of Pentacles, Two of Wands, Seven of Cups and Two of Cups.

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Deck used: The Original Rider Waite Tarot DeckOriginal Rider Waite

The Eight of Pentacles indicates diligence, repeated effort and refining skills. This could mean a need to continue the efforts of socialisation, and refine the skill of reading my cat so as to not rush her.

The Two of Wands has appeared again, and here its meaning feels slightly different than it did previously. It’s a card of the unexpected, indicating that a choice needs to be made, and a surprise may be afoot.

It leads is to the Seven of Cups, which is another card of choice. This time, the choices abound, bombarding the querant with so many possibilities that selection may feel impossible. There is much creative potential, but a choice must be made with the heart.

Pleasingly, the ultimate card dispels any doubt of the outcome. The Two of Cups is a card of harmony and sharing. Presumably, this outcome is in our future provided that the other conditions are met.

While this reading was overall positive, I still felt a lack of clarity. This should not be seen as a fault of the deck, but rather my own lack of directness when asking the question. Thus, I decided to try again. This time, I indicated beforehand which spread I would be using: one for overcoming obstacles in four cards. Card 1 in this spread represents the situation at hand, card 2 represents the obstacle, card 3 is the appropriate course of action and card 4 is the expected outcome.

Immediately, this reading felt more applicable. Sometimes, the tarot can provide us with lots of information, but it makes little sense without a structure that must be in place from the beginning.

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The Situation card is the Eight of Swords. Though this card is quite negative, it implies that the situation is one of the querant’s own making, and her way out will become clear once she chooses to move. After all, the path out is clear to anyone viewing the situation.

The Obstacle card is the Three of Swords. It implies that a third party has entered, resulting in heartbreak and sadness. Thus, I feel that the obstacle at hand is Dixie’s way of life being invaded. Perhaps the three swords represent each of them, resulting in a drastic change in their collective way of life. And how appropriate that the background in the card should mirror the sky today.

The Action card is the Queen of Cups, which feels like very subdued action. This queen is intuitive, generous and loving. Perhaps she needs to be located, as in an animal expert or trainer, or perhaps she represents who I need to become to resolve this situation: a woman in tune with the needs of my animals. My favourite resource for all things cat-related is Jackson Galaxy; I expect it’s time to consult him on socialising cats and dogs.

Lastly, the Outcome card is the Seven of Pentacles. This card represents the benefits owed after hard work. The subject looks admiringly on as his crop grows, lush and full. His work isn’t done, as he still has his rake or hoe close to hand, but he is able to pause and acknowledge that he has done right by his harvest. Ultimately, that is all I want to be able to say about my own caregiving.

Today’s Tarot Reading: Two of Wands, Five of Coins, The Lovers

Sharing my personal tarot readings is a bit like sharing a journal entry – they can get pretty personal. The reason many of us turn to the wisdom of the tarot is to answer niggling questions about ourselves, and today’s was no different for me. As previously mentioned, I’ve had some difficulty adjusting to my new residence, and seeing my cat’s stress markers heightened made me feel all the sadder.

I’ve spent weeks daydreaming about our old flat and thinking that, if only I could get it back, I could redecorate and show my husband how perfect it was. Today, though, I’d finally had enough of my own moping. Time to turn to the tarot.

My query was, ‘Tarot please show me how to progress myself from living in the past.’ The cards I drew were: Two of Wands, Five of Coins and The Lovers.

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Deck used: Golden TarotGolden Tarot by Kat Black

With a three-card spread, I usually see this as a past-present-future journey. However, that didn’t feel like the message the cards were conveying today. In the first location, we have the Two of Wands. This indicates future planning, forward motion and understanding. There is also something regal about the man we see – though he carries a wand and globe (stating, in tiny letters, continent names), they could as easily be the orb and sceptre. This suggests that a noble path is involved, even if it only feels like putting one foot in front of the other.

The following card was (once again) Five of Coins. Having recently had this in a one-card reading, I’m not overly surprised to see it again. After all, cards can keep reappearing until the issues are fully dealt with, and the card gets to the heart of my query. My focus is still on what I lack, remembering only the elegance and simplicity of apartment-style living. Therefore, this aspect of myself, which manifests as a humbling feeling of lack, is more in my own mind than my actual state. I am living in the past rather than moving into the journey suggested by the Two of Wands.

The final card is The Lovers, which is the only Major. This indicates that the resolution is to be found outside myself, in the purity that is love itself. The Lovers is the counterpart of The Devil, which indicates that desires are often the result of temptation and misguided choices. In The Lovers, however, the couple’s union is blessed by an angel and watched over by a bird of paradise. While the couple seems a bit tentative, the card’s presence indicates that problems will be overcome by relying on one another. Moreover, loving another person can help make one more forgiving, even of one’s self. I also need to point out that there is a little dog depicted in this card, which some would say is an Italian greyhound. However, at first glance it looks like a hairless dog to me – here’s hoping that one is in my future!

In short, the reading indicates that future planning and forward motion will bridge a gap of perceived lack to reach love and contentment. Even when times feel bleak and change has rocked the metaphorical boat, there is always progress to be made, and always love to give.

Today’s Tarot Reading: Death, The Moon, The Chariot

And so I began today’s reading as per usual: Dear Tarot, please help me to clear my mind and guide my path. The cards today were particularly resonant.

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Deck used: The Original Rider Waite Tarot DeckThe Original Rider Waite; journal found Mother of Pearl Journal (Diary, Notebook)here.

I have drawn three cards – Death (this one leapt out of the deck as opposed to being drawn), The Moon and The Chariot. All cards of the Major Arcana, which hints at some pretty big stuff going down.

So, in Death, we see impartial endings and beginnings. As this is in the ‘past’ position, this could be a comment on my recent change in work circumstances. The concept of death itself is also linked to the next life. Perhaps it is a reminder to let go of things which no longer serve me in this life as they did in my previous life; a sort of ‘you can’t take it with you’ on the present plane. The fact that this card was a leaper indicates to me that its message was vital and needs to be regarded as important.

One thing that’s striking here is the echoing of the towers in the background of Death and the mid-ground of The Moon. The towers seem to flank the path we take in both instances, though one side is more aligned with wildness than the other (i.e., the right side is represented by the wolf, the left by the dog). The tongues of fire which rain down on the scene are represented by the Hebrew letter Yod, which can mean both 10 and iodine (iodine, incidentally, has an atomic number of 53; 5+3=8, and 8+10=18, the number of the card itself). This is a psychological card, reminding us that things are rarely clear when we are working in low lighting. Shadows and anxiety are great at this time. However, there is a path through the card – intuition and faith are required to follow it through the darkness.

This leads us to the last card, The Chariot. In this card, the driver has turned away from civilisation (presumably passing through the aforementioned towers to do so) to pursue his own path. Again, duality is present, echoed from The Moon. Yet, this driving force does not need to rely on the driver’s physical strength. Instead, he relies on inspiration and willpower – the wand from The Magician is present here, if a bit larger than before (oo-er). Therefore, that initial lightning strike starts our progress, but willpower keeps it going.

So, I am interpreting the reading thus: what came before was a sudden change in lifestyle, leaving me to reevaluate my possessions and way of life. This process has thrown me into a darkened state of anxiety and confusion. Intuition and faith must now be relied upon to keep to the necessary path. In things to come, the path leads us through the realm of material goods and out the other side, relying on willpower and inspiration to see us through to the end.

Overall, it is a positive reading. Here, I am reminded of Picasso’s advice: ‘Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.’ This is simply a reminder to keep on my intellectual pursuits, past the materialistic delights of fashion so that I might come to rely on my intuition and inner strength, even with the wolves howl and creepy crawlies emerge from the depths of my subconscious. In this dimly lit time, it is necessary to remember that a golden time is up ahead, where I will be moving fearlessly along.

Thank you, Tarot.

Today’s Tarot Reading: Two of Swords, Two of Cups, Knight of Cups

I read my tarot readings as I would a story, from past to present. This follows the journey of the Fool, of course, but also the querent. Today, this is me, of course.

Dear Tarot, please show me what I need to know today. The cards I have drawn are all minors today – Two of Swords, Two of Cups and Knight of Cups. From the outset, we can see that we’re moving from areas of intellect to areas of intuition with the change of suit.

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Deck used: The Original Rider Waite Tarot DeckOriginal Rider Waite; Lovebirds Cake TopperCake topper from our wedding.

To me, this says that in the past, I was deliberately blindfolded and torn with regards to my true course, attempting to use intellect only to solve this. Obstacles (to true thought) are present in this card, but they can be navigated skilfully. Wayne Dyer writes that there is no sin, but rather obstacles to living truthfully. Previously, it appears that I was torn between two ways of thinking, not wishing to confront either double-edged sword. Wielding these forces of power left me confused and torn, and so I crossed my wrists as if dead in this capacity, hoping that the problem would go away. It did not. Instead, a waxing moon loomed, reminding me that something new was growing, if only I could make a move and see it.

In the Present slot, our dark-haired protagonist has moved inland. She wears a laurel wreath, reminiscent of the Greek status symbol. Status, here, can be equated with internal acceptance and love for one’s self, as that is one of the most difficult traits to attain. It is only in this state that self love and respect that one can truly hand over a cup of love to someone else. This card speaks of my own inner journey, bringing me from a material mindset to one of free giving. Additionally, the overall structure of the card echoes the Two of Swords, implying that a change in perspective is all that is needed to reach this place of fullness. The last thing that I will touch on here is the Caduceus of Hermes, which is a symbol of commerce and of The Messenger. It seems to state that I am, at present, cultivating my message as I share my joy privately. Its shape also reminds me of two entwined souls, wrapping around the supporting base of faith.

In the Future position, we have the Knight of Cups, taking his cup and carrying it to another land, this time a barren one with a skinny stream running through it. The court cards are often indicative of the self, and I feel that this resonates here. Additionally, he is also clearly a messenger – the wings of Hermes are again present on his heels and helmet. he moves calmly and deliberately, coming in peace to serve. His cloak is covered in fish, representing creativity. This card follows on from the Page of Cups (consecutively), where the journeyer sees the spontaneous appearance of this inspiration. Now, he is clothed in it. However, this embodiment of creativity reminds us that great ideas without action are meaningless. Thus, he moves forward into a dry place that needs his…erm, cup. (Perhaps it runneth over? Shut up, brain!)

Thus, the interpretation here, as it reads to me, is: a time of indecision brought forward a time of growing confidence and immaterial progress. This will lead me to a personal distribution of the knowledge I have gained, distilling it into a concoction which will be easily understood by those who need it.

A One-Card Reading: Five of Pentacles

It’s rare that I do a one-card reading, but today it was the only reading that felt appropriate. When I asked my question (‘What is hindering my work?’), I knew all the information I needed was contained in that single card. The Five of Coins, a dubious card to be sure.

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Deck used: Golden TarotGolden Tarot by Kat Black

However, its message is clear: my focus is misaligned, directed at what I lack. I stand in the holiness of life and still my gaze is on what others have, how it is being used inefficiently, resenting showiness from others even when I love a bit of glamour for myself. Thus, this issue is hypocrisy as much as jealousy.

This particular card also reminds me that I am in a place as sacred as any other at every moment (in the card, a church is depicted), and it is no place for ingratitude – in fact, is completely at odds with the message of love that I should be sending out to everyone.

Moreover, seeing lack everywhere, from a practical standpoint, can only lead to destitution. Gathering more and more to one’s self may result in lots of things, but little soul. Thus, these people who appear to have nothing have entered into a church, where we’re all seen to be the same, and judged on our actions rather than our net worth.

The next step after the Five of Coins is, of course, the Six of Coins – the card of measured charity. In this respect, I could read that to move from a state where I feel so much lack, I must give something to one in greater need.

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