IV – The Emperor (Bran the Blessed) Llewellyn Tarot

May 30, 2010 at 12:12 pm (IV - The Emperor, Llewellyn Tarot, Tarot)

VI - The Emperor (Bran the Blessed) Llewellyn Tarot

The Llewellyn Tarot is based on Welsh mythology, and one fine day I’m going to understand it.  Mind you, I love mythology and want very much to grasp the legends of Wales, Ireland, Scotland and Britain….by and large, they involve an awful lot of really hard to pronounce names and killing.  Lots of killing.

So I don’t know all that much about Bran the Blessed.. His name means Raven, which suggests to me that he’s about death (but again….lots of death in Welsh mythology) and protection. Why he’s ‘blessed’ I haven’t got a clue because after a lot of killing and maiming and insult done to his sister, somewhere along the way he got his head cut off, but there you go, no telling what some people find blessed.

Most definitely, though, he was in charge and responsible to protect his people.  He was regarded as a giant, not just metaphorically, but physically and the notion of crossing him was supposed to instill people with fear, and it did.  Even after his head was cut off, it was buried and it was said that the British Isles would be protected as long as it stayed put.  King Arthur supposedly unburied it as a signal that he alone would be England’s protector.

Again… the motives and which what alls are a bit incomprehensible to me, so I don’t want to pretend to be doing much by way of explanation of the background of this version of the Emperor.

Bran is a leader.  Bran protects, he lays down the law, and you mess with him at your own risk – even if he falls, he’s still in charge.

When I think of the Emperor today, I think of much smaller and more important forms of authoritative leadership – certainly, there is plenty here to say about our political leaders, but on a much closer level I think of fathers and the authoritative aspects of parenthood.

I’m going a bit personal here but this is hardly a situation unique to me – I’ve been raising my youngest two daughters without their father’s presence.  I used to hate the term ‘single parent’ because no matter how many parents there are under a roof, every child has TWO PARENTS and a father is responsible to protect the wellbeing of his children – to preserve the stability of the household, whether he lives there with them or not.

And sadly, there are so many fathers who don’t do that that my kids very casually will mention a friend with “…she hasn’t talked to her dad in eight months.  Their not NOT talking, he just doesn’t.  You know, like my dad.” And that isn’t considered unusual – it’s the norm.  There is a generation of fathers who regard a relationship with their child as an option they can dismiss at will.

Get their head chopped off to protect their kin? Please… they wouldn’t even clip their hair for the sake of their kids.

Mind you, not every father is like this – but how sad is it that when you hear of one who stays involved with their children, you marvel and want to pin a gold start on their chest – shouldn’t’ that be the norm?

There is a generation of children being raised entirely by women who have to be the Emperor as well as the Empress.. And we do it, often very well… but the children still lose that sense of safety that comes from knowing that no matter how hard it is, their father will protect them – that they are top priority for someone other than their mother.

I am the mother of girls and I fear what this absence does for their sense of trust in men – what they hope to be able to expect from men.  I worry about what sons of absent fathers learn about how to treat their own future partners and children.

This lack of male parental leadership is having a very negative impact on society at as a whole.  And I don’t mean that some man needs to swoop in and be In Charge… I mean they simply have to stay a part of their children’s lives. Know the boyfriend’s name.  Know which classes your kid likes and why they get sad everytime they see a red bicycle.  Know your children as only a father can and let them trust that even if the whole world hurts them, their father will always be there for them.

To do less than that is to walk away from the best blessing you’ve ever been honored with.  Aha…. that is the blessing of this Emperor.

Here’s a bit of sadness to contemplate – for a large number of children, hunting for a Father’s Day card to send the dad they haven’t seen in months (sometimes living only a couple miles away), standing in the card aisle is a torturous experience, reading card after card that says ‘you’ve always been there for me’ and realizing there is no card there that says “I wish you had wanted to know me.  I would have loved to have loved you. Have a nice life. Hope you’re enjoying that new car that cost triple what you think I’m financial worth for a year.”

I hear stories (often from the woman involved with the guy who isn’t speaking to his kids) about how it’s all the mother’s fault – she makes it hard.  Well, gee – if it were a bear rather than a woman who doesn’t like you anymore keeping you from your children and leaving them to believe you just don’t care, would you find a way around it?  That is an excuse, and to the one standing up for his excuse making, at some level you do know that this is an illustration about what sort of protector he’ll be if it starts to get hard with you as well, right?

🙂 and… this is the thing that cannot be said by a ‘single parent’ trying to fill both sets of shoes – when I display anger at the person I have to emotionally protect my children from instead of counting on him to help protect them from the rest of the world, well that’s just me being bitter, as if it were something I just chose to do.  Maybe, though I work very hard NOT to be bitter and only feel it bubble up when he’s just deliberately made one of my children feel unimportant in order to avoid having to hear their criticism of his absense.

But maybe putting the responsibility anywhere but on his shoulders is just one more way we’re all kicking this generation of Emperors off their rightful throne.  He belongs there, with all the responsibility and respect for taking on that responsibility that entails… he deserves better than to be allowed to be a brat child instead.

🙂 I think I need some Empress energy, so I’m off to go make some soup.


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XI – Strength / Oya (Goddess Tarot)

May 29, 2010 at 1:23 am (Goddess Tarot, Tarot, XI - Strength)

XI - Strength / Oya (Goddess Tarot)

For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind…” ~Hosea 8:7a

Oya is the Yoruban goddess of the wind, thunderstorms, turbulent weather in general, as well as Death and a few other things – she is a Warrior goddess, a Fire goddess and she shakes things up that need shaking up, and knocking arrogant misuse of power flat on its posterior.

Keying her to the Strength card at first glance made me wonder – she seems more like the Tower.  But after some pondering I get it…first of all, when a storm is shaking down your house, calling on reserves of Strength is a survival skill.  But beyond that – Strength is needed to be the whirlwind – sometimes you have to stand up and draw down divine strength and courage to face down injustice and obstruction – to draw in air and use your voice to passionately blow down obstacles and speak your truth.

It can be a difficult energy to harness – to blow down those that have ‘sown the wind’ without losing control of the unleashed storm and flattening the entire village, but fear of speaking out allows a bad situation to continue without any resistance.  So be brave, be strong, and speak out your truth.  Unleash the whirlwind when it’s called for.

Strength isn’t just about enduring – sometimes it’s about pushing back.

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Ace of Cups (Gilded Tarot)

May 23, 2010 at 9:49 pm (Ace of Cups, Gilded Tarot, Tarot)

Ace of Cups (Gilded Tarot)

The Gilded Tarot Ace of Cups is rich in spiritual symbolism – an ornate golden goblet floats above an ocean that is lit by the sun reflecting across the water.  Above the cup is an eye – the Eye of Providence as the version on the US dollar bill is called, or the Eye of Horus in ancient Egypt.  A trio of rays emanate from the eye in a pyramid shape, filling the cup with divine light, and beyond the cup to suffuse the flowing waters below.

Above the eye are images of the Moon in its various phases, highlighting the connection between the changeable moon and the element of water.

When this card appears in a reading, spiritual and emotional abundance is available as potential energy that can be used if it is accepted – emotions flow freely, love is in the air, and there is sense that the universe is smiling upon you.  Intuitions seem to be heightened and it seems to make sense to follow your emotional hunches.

It’s a little gift that says go ahead and follow your heart – it’s leading you where you are meant to be right now.  What you do with it is up to you, and will determine where it leads, but this is a little blessing to get you started.

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Anxiety – Fenestra, 9 of Swords

May 12, 2010 at 8:16 am (9 of Swords, Fenestra Tarot)

Fenestra Tarot - 9 of Swords

Fenestra Tarot - 9 of Swords

Anxiety…despair… the sort of intense stress that keeps you up all night in dread.  Is there any emotion more difficult to handle?

In the Fenestra deck, we can see a woman in a grey gown girdled with a rope belt (it reminds me of prison garb) sitting on a bench, her head in her hands.  Her feet are tucked underneath her – that is, her feet aren’t on the ground.  Behind her, nine swords are either mounted on the wall as a backdrop or they may actually be racing past her without actually touching her.

The bench where she sits has a decorative wave motif, flowing in the opposite direction from the swords – emotions and thoughts clashing with one another here.

Those are the visuals – the concepts I get are a lack of groundedness, that clash of emotion and thought (leading to that oh-so-lovely anxiety symptom, racing thoughts), a sense of entrapment (the prison garb), and attempts at denial (the covered face).

And it stirs up plenty of memory of late night insomnia, with various stressors overtaking my mind no matter how well I cope when I’m awake.  I’ve experienced it during the end days of my marriage, wondering how I’ll ever manage alone, during health woes – my own and that of various family members, during times of financial uncertainty.

I sometimes think the whole world is collectively experiencing this, and the worst part of this sort of stress is that it stems from a lack of inner peace, and makes it very difficult to get to a place of peace.  The sleep you lose worsens the stress and reduces your ability to cope with it.  It is a very ugly, acutely painful cycle.

When this card shows up,  I think drastic measures are needed – end the cause of the stress, or find a way to deal with it.  Get help.  Anxiety at this level takes a tremendous toll on one’s physical and mental wellbeing, not only in the short term, but later.  Heart disease, high blood pressure, chronic illness… and the irony, I suppose, is that when you’re stuck in the throes of stress, worrying about the impact of the stress just adds to it.

Don’t minimize what you’re experiencing… get help, ask for support, seek out assistance to help fix what’s wrong.  This is a big warning sign, and needs to heard.

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9 of Cups (Deviant Moon)

May 6, 2010 at 8:46 pm (9 of Cups, Deviant Moon Tarot, Tarot)

9 of Cups (Deviant Moon)

The Deviant Moon Tarot is either extremely evocative and whimsical, or flat out disturbing, depending on your preferences… or if you’re like me, it’s whimsically disturbing and great fun to explore.  Intended to reflect the inner landscape of dreams, it is rather like evoking the spirits of the Trickster gods to see what they have to say.

And really, sometimes, a bit of surreal humor is exactly what helps the medicine go down.

The 9 of Cups is often referred to as the “Wish card” and for many readers it is an indicator that the seeker’s wish in the matter will come true.

For me – and this card seems to reflect this well – there is ‘but’ attached to that.  Your wish will come true, BUT… be careful what you wish for.

The image is that of a genii just released from his bottle, to the startlement of the young man who let him out.  That genii is one intimidating figure, and in most genii legends, there is good reason to be afraid and cautious around them.  Pent up geniis – and wishes – tend to be pretty unstable and explosive when first set free.  Often, the story goes, the genii is so angry at being confined, he winds up harming the person who set him free.  But if he doesn’t kill you, he’s yours to ask three wishes of, yes?

Well yes… but you’d better be very very sure of what it is you wish for, and then even more sure of how to phrase that wish so that what you wind up with is what you intend – for that is the way of magic and magical creatures – if you aren’t careful, things will not go at all as you expect, but exactly as you express.  Mindfulness is critical here.

And geniis, well they do love a good joke, which is why they tend to get locked up in tightly corked bottles in the first place – expecting your wishes to be ‘granted’ is just asking for a big spiritual practical joke.  Maybe a better option is to put as much care into finding words for your wishes and dreams as you would if there really were a genii to make it happen – and then use that expressed intention to go after it yourself, instead of expending all your emotional energy on hoping some magical being will just hand it off to you without any effort on your part.

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