XX – Judgement (Revelations Tarot)

March 6, 2010 at 10:05 am (Revelations Tarot, Tarot, XX - Judgement)

XX - Judgement (Revelations Tarot)

In the Revelations Tarot, each card has built in depictions for reversed cards, allowing for an interesting exploration of the range of meaning inherent in each one.

The image of Judgement shows a Christian-style Judgement Day scenario … an archangel blowing a trumpet, surrounded by choirs of heavenly host, as a naked human ascends through the clouds to meet them.

In the upright position, the human greets them, arms open, ready to embrace this new life after death.  In the reversed position, the human is covering his face to hide from the call, and the choir of angels have their own arms out, beseechingly.

I think the dual concepts here are rebirth and forgiveness vs. judgement with the expectation of punishment and what stands out for me is that the difference is not coming from the angelic beings, but from the human’s expectation and response.

And ultimately, that difference in how this is going to be experienced makes no difference at all… either way, the human self is passing through that reddish amniotic pool into the clouds of rebirth – go easy or go kicking and screaming, you’re still going.

This card makes me want to ask myself what do I need to forgive? What do I need forgiveness for?  What new start do I need to meet as a joyous opportunity rather than with a heart full of fear?  What does rebirth mean to me?  What aspect of the divine is speaking to me that I can’t hear due to my own assumptions and insecurities?

It’s a big card…big concepts here.

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10 of Chalices (Da Vinci Tarot)

February 18, 2010 at 2:29 pm (10 of Cups, Da Vinci Tarot, Tarot)

10 of Chalices (Da Vinci Tarot)

The Da Vinci Tarot uses artwork reminiscent of Leonard Da Vinci’s sketches, with soft muted colors to illustrate the themes of each card.  Here in the 10 of Chalices, we see a Mother and Child portrait, with the mother gazing contentedly at her son as he grasps a small flower she holds out to him.  He peacefully grasps her hand and reaches out for the flower with chubby little fingers.  The woman holds one of the chalices suspended behind her with her left hand just behind her son’s head.  The ten chalices are arrange with five across the top, then two, and then the three, including the one she holds.

I like to look at the arrangement of pips (suit symbols) as well as the overall image, so see what patterns suggest themselves to me, and here is what I am seeing with this – the five chalices that cover the Mother and Child speak of the numerological number five – the number of humanity, of individuality and freedom, and in Tarot five also indicates conflict and a bit of chaos (which is another way of saying humanity, now isn’t it?). Below that is the two chalices… a pair, mirrored by the pairing of mother and child – the one on one connectedness of one human with another, the blending of contrasts, yn and yang, dark and light, mother and child, young and old.   Finally, the three – with the woman holding one of them brings in community, the collective – in Tarot, threes are the suit’s element coming into manifestation.

The 10 of Cups most often indicates themes of Joy, Happiness, “Happily Ever After” and in this card, most certainly a sense of serene contentment and very much sensing the joy of fully experiencing happiness in the here and now.  Both mother and child are at peace in their own individuality – each one unique.  Together they create a family, within which this happiness can be experienced.  But they are also a part of the whole community of humanity and a part of their family of ancestors and descendents – each a link in the chain of parent to child to the next generations parent and child.

I think we often forget that there is joy in simply being – that it isn’t about having what you want when you want it and how you want it.  It is in noticing and fully experiencing the small things.. .the flower examined, the hand held, the linking of one loving spirit with another and realizing that you are an indispensable part of creation.

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6 of Wands (Original Rider Waite)

February 11, 2010 at 11:45 am (6 of Wands, Original RWS Tarot, Tarot)

6 of Wands - Original Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot

The Rider Waite deck, illustrated by Deco artist Pamela Coleman Smith, is truly one of the iconic decks of the Tarot world.  Nearly all modern decks draw in some elements of Ms. Smith’s artistry and interpretations, even if they model themselves after the Thoth system or older historic decks such as the Marseilles style decks.

It is the deck I first learned with, and the one I mentally go back to when I’m finding a card dense and difficult to interpret.  Interestingly, Ms. Smith approached it as an artist, regarding each illustration as a stage set in a performance piece.  She followed notes given to her by A.E. Waite, but he was admittedly not particularly interested in the minor arcana or Tarot’s use for divination, and he pretty much left her to her own devices on them, offering merely short commentary about what each card means.

As a marketable and usable deck, the RWS deck is undoubtedly a triumph for both its creators and those who use it – and those who use decks that are influenced by them.  The images have themselves entered into the symbolic subconscious of many people who wouldn’t know Tarot from Texas Hold ‘Em – used on album covers, in movies, etc, etc, etc.

Which brings me to the 6 of Wands which shows a triumphal procession with a gentleman seated on a horse that is covered by a gold blanket.  The man wears a laurel wreath symbolizing victory, and another wreath is held high on a staff (wand). Surrounding him is a crowd, also holding wands aloft – each one alive and bearing leaves.

Did the crowd follow this man into battle and share in this victory directly, or are they the welcoming crowd shouting Hooray and sharing in the triumph as those who have benefited from the win?  Depends on the situation in a reading, of course – but what comes to mind for me everytime is that this is about acknowledgement of one’s successes, and knowing that others have your back.  Frequently, it comes up for me in situations where the only thing lacking in an otherwise good relationship is that acknowledgement of the good – of noticing one another’s triumphs and battles waged and won on behalf of one another.  When this comes up in a relationship reading, I want to make sure that the need to be appreciative and to be appreciated is highlighted.  In a career reading, this is not only about success, but about due attention and rewards for that success.

We all need to be noticed and to acknowledge what others have done for us.  Just as the RWS has had a successful part in so many decks and readers through the decades, we all have a history of positive ripple effects left in our wake that deserve attention now and then.

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1 Green – Receiving (Bright Ideas Deck)

February 1, 2010 at 10:36 am (Ace of Coins, Bright Ideas Deck, Tarot)

1 Green - Receiving (Bright Ideas Tarot)

aka: Ace of Coins.

The Bright Ideas Deck uses modern imagery and transforms the elemental suits into colors, the courts into actions, and the Majors have keyword style names.  In spite of all these changes – which make it possible to use the deck with people who might not be particularly Tarot-friendly – the images hold up as Tarot metaphors and even include astrological symbols tucked away somewhere in the picture.

Today’s draw is the Ace of Coins, er… 1 Green: Receiving.  It shows a woman in a red dress that was probably festive when it was new, but now looks a bit raggedy, with matching red pumps.  She’s seated on a large boulder in the desert – we can see some cactii in the distance – and she’s opening a green giftwrapped box.  Next to her, separating her from the cactii, a fault line has broken open and a new plant is growing out of the parched ground.

What a perfect card to receive for Imbolc!  For me this image shows that times have been tough, but a new day is starting – new life is on its way.  In terms of weather, most of us have experienced cold and snow while life goes dormant, rather than the dessert depicted here…but the message is the same – things only look barren, but life is already struggling to the surface.  Hang in there when its hard, store up what you need like those cactuses, because more is coming.

I do like that it is portrayed as a gift – it isn’t saying struggle harder, or go find what you need… it is saying new beginnings are coming…are in fact HERE now, a freely offered gift we have only to notice and accept.

In a neat bit of serendipity, I literally got a gift this morning from my daughter, who budgeted out a bit of her own money to take me shopping today (I’ve put off buying new jeans for a long, long time), as a thank you for the support I’ve given her and her fiance over the last year.  I wasn’t expecting it.. but I can’t stop smiling.

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Queen of Wands (Archeon Tarot)

January 13, 2010 at 9:09 am (Archeon Tarot, Queen of Wands, Tarot)

Queen of Wands (Archeon Tarot)

Queen of Wands (Archeon Tarot)

On a day that is beginning very low energy, I draw the Queen of Wands. In the Archeon Tarot, her connection to energetic fire is clear – the card itself seems to be suffused with firelght, and the Queen carries a torch. She’s got a determined look on her face as she walks forward – not frantic, but not still, either.

She strikes me as someone who knows how to use her energy – neither expending it wastefully, or letting it dissipate through idleness. The torch she wields lights up the darkness so that she can see what is near at hand – she doesn’t need to see everything or rush around and try to do everything, either.

Instead, she focuses her attention and energy so as to manage those things that are within her sphere of influence.

That’s my plan for today… to hook into the energy I have, to focus on my most immediate concerns, and to calmly exert my influence where it can most efficiently be applied.  I find that even in low energy times – perhaps especially during those times, it is beneficial to maximize and care for whatever energy is available to me.  And that is exactly what the Queen of Wands does.

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4 of Swords (Buckland Romani Tarot)

January 5, 2010 at 9:39 am (4 of Swords, Buckland Romani Tarot, Tarot)

4 of Swords - Buckland Romani Tarot

This version of the 4 of Swords shows a man napping under a tree in the Winter.  All around the tree and man it is cold and snowy, but the ground beneath the man is green.  Three knives are stuck in the tree and a fourth is on the ground next to him.

The image looks very still and quiet – it is easy to picture not just the peaceful rest of the man, but also hibernating animals, the dormant sleep of the trees… the world is taking a pause beneath a blanket of snow.

Many of us around the country have been getting our fill of snow this year – my daughter in Nebraska reports on how high the drifts are that are enclosing their house and making keeping the driveway passable a work that takes a day to complete..repeatedly.  This morning, my younger daughter’s fiance wasn’t able to get the car up the hill that is our driveway without sliding all over like a fish on the deck of a ship.

This snowy quiet works better when you don’t have anywhere you’re trying to be… the 4 of Swords is a card of mental rest, and that’s the ticket… to go accept the down time and not try to fight it.  This card is often about recuperation – the need to take a break to heal, and there again, it can be either peaceful or painful depending on how willing one is to chill out and rest.

Today I have little to do and plan to mentally hibernate and I will remember that this rest allows that hint of green to appear… that in silence and stillness there is the beginning of growth.

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6 of Water (Osho Zen)

January 3, 2010 at 9:17 am (6 of Cups, Osho Zen, Tarot)

The Dream - 6 of Water (Osho Zen)

In the Osho Zen deck, the Cups suit is “Water” and the 6 of Water shows a woman envisioning herself happily in the embrace of her Prince Charming.  The fantasy self is radiant, well dressed, the prince the stuff of romantic perfection.  The reality is an attractive, simple maiden wearing everyday clothes.

In the Rider-Waite style decks, this card is usually shown as a pair of children, one handing off a bouquet of flowers to the other, with the idea being simple pleasures, nostalgia, childhood…

Here, the highlight is more on the childlike looking ahead to a ‘happily ever after’ future with a mate.  The possibility of finding one’s Dream mate is real… as long as one doesn’t stand too hard on the notion of perfection – the mate we find will be as real and as flawed as we are.  Finding a person to share our lives with will not magically grant us a better wardrobe, make us beautiful, or make every day a graceful waltz.

Children don’t yet know this – and adults sometimes never learn it, and instead see every conflict or imperfect (or indeed every less-than-lovely mood) as a sign that the person they’re with is not ‘the One’ and keep dreaming and looking for that person who is going to make everything perfect for them.

This card highlights that the Dream is just that – a dream.  It doesn’t mean real relationships can’t lead to great happiness – they can and do, but that happens when we love and honor the real live flawed and perfectly human real people in those relationships and give each other a break.  Childlike dreams are a lot of fun, but you risk losing the fun of a real life if you try to live in them.

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