Happy New Year! It’s finally 2020 and I don’t know about you, but I am absolutely pumped.
As you know, I like to write long posts. So, for those of you who just want to get to the spreads, here’s a table of contents for you:
- The Number 4
- The Card, The Emperor
What the Emperor Means for the Year
- Divine Masculine
- The World
2020 Emperor Spread
First, I want to thank all of you who have made this year awesome for me. This time last year I was lost and didn’t know what to do with myself. And Tarot, as always, gave me the answer.
Because I started this tarot blog, I was able to reach out via the #30DayTarotWritingChallenge, meet writers and begin my writing coach business. This has been so incredibly uplifting and amazing for me, and it is because of you, dear reader, who inspired me and nudged me on by showing up.
So thank you, so much!
2019 was rough for me because I learned a lot- a lot- a lot – of lessons, but they were all good, nourishing lessons that were essential for me to grow. I’m looking forward to the growth ahead of me, and am ready to take the bull by the horns!
You can do the same by embracing the lessons of the upcoming year.
This year is the year of the Emperor. This is because numerologically speaking, 2020 is 2+0+2+0 = 4, and 4 in the Major Arcana is the Emperor.
To help give a fuller understanding of what the Emperor represents, I’ll talk about the number 4, as it somewhat provides a foundation to build on, and then I’ll talk about the card itself. I personally find that understanding the different components of a card, such as the numerological aspects and the astrological aspects can be helpful in really diving deep into the meaning.
The number 4 is a number of structure. Let’s go back to the basics, and work our way up.
The number 1 is the first point, it is the seed of an idea. The number 2, is two 1’s, which essentially makes two points. When you have two points, or two seeds of an idea, then it’s an expansion of that idea. It’s no longer the spark of inspiration, but a thought. When you connect the two points, you have a line. What is a line if not an extended point? Or, an extended idea?
To add a third point is to create a shape, which is the first shape. It’s the first expression of an idea. It’s like speaking the idea. The inspiration came first, then the formation of the idea, and now it’s being expressed, or birthed.
Consider the progression of the Major Arcana. The Magician represents the inspiration, and the High Priestess is delving within to develop and listen to that inspiration, that intuition, that creativity within us. The Empress is the mother, she’s the creator, she’s the one who nurtures an idea and brings it into the world. She births it.
The number 4 then is a fourth point which creates a square. A square is a solid structure, and from that, it can be expanded into a cube, which is an even more solid structure. The number 4 is rigidity, something upon which you can build, and build with a good foundation. Thus, the number 4 represents strength, sturdiness, and rules. Without rules and guidelines, things can’t be built.
This is the year that falls into the realm of the Emperor, who represents active energy, but well-constructed energy.
Traditionally, the Emperor represented the father energy, or masculine energy. However, I think it is extremely important to not that masculine and feminine are just terms for types of energy, but don’t necessarily belong to those who identify as male or those who identify as female, respectively. These energies are for everyone, and thus, everyone has some combination of the two energies. It’s when these two energies are balanced with one another, which can mean different things for different people, that we find ourselves in our most productive mentalities.
However, the idea of “masculine” energy is active energy. It’s the get up and go energy, the motivation to move from the internal to the external. When we look at the position of the Emperor in the “timeline” of the Major Arcana, the Empress and the Emperor are often seen as the “parents,” in that Empress provides love and nurturing, promotes creativity and emotion, while the Emperor still promotes love, though is more structured. It is the Emperor who teaches rules, teaches external skills, and can demonstrate how to navigate the physical world.
What does this mean in terms of the year ahead?
The growth has already begun with the Empress, who has birthed an idea out into the world. The Emperor provides the structure for the seed to survive, thrive, and grow.
Consider a garden. You plant the seeds of the garden, and water the garden. This is Empress energy. However, sometimes your garden needs a fence or netting to keep animals out, or a trellis to grow up, or a stick next to it to help it strengthen its stalk. This is Emperor energy.
Emperor is also a Fire element. Fire is all about creativity and moving forward with passion. The Emperor too is ruled by Aries, the first sign of the zodiac. Aries is about bursting into the world and saying “I am” with every ounce of conviction within you. It’s about taking up space and being unapologetic for who you are. However, with the combination of Emperor energy, it is about taking up space, being unapologetic about who you are with love. The Emperor is still about nurturing, just like the Empress, and is about growth, so it is important to note the as the Emperor works as the other half of the Empress, the main objection is to promote growth.
The Emperor in 2020 is about being unapologetically you, but also holding space for others to be unapologetically them as well. It is a time for remembering that we are all in this together, and since we’re all falling under the same year, we are all bursting forth with the force of the ram, and demanding that growth takes place. We are demanding a new way, we are demanding that the growth of the world be put first.
Furthermore, the Emperor is also a time to honor and recognize the divine Masculine. We have been experiencing a rise of the beauty of the Divine Feminine, and celebrating all that that means.
Before you begin to tell me that we have been living in a masculine dominated culture for hundreds/thousands of years already, I want to clarify that we are acknowledging, supporting, respecting, and honoring the divine masculine, which we have not experienced or supported in quite some time.
Consider a line with one side masculine and one side feminine. The world is in dire need of turning that line into a circle, and recognizing the connectedness of the two sides, and realizing that it isn’t two sides at all, but just different points in the circle. We are all at a different point at a different time. We all contain within us the divine masculine and the divine feminine.
The last few years have been about calling out toxic masculinity. But what’s much quieter is talk of what nourishing masculinity is. Healthy, nourishing masculinity is supporting, is providing, is structure, is physical strength, is mental strength. It’s that push-forward mentality that drives us through the difficult things in life when we know that if we just get to the other side, we’ll be fine.
This year is going to use the strength, force, and momentum of that beautiful divine energy to push us through the hard things that come up, and it’s going to give us the outer strength and fortitude to weather the storms.
The Emperor is about making a safe space for growth. It’s about giving yourself as much structure as you can in order to allow yourself to grow. Remember, Aries also rules Emperor, and Aries is the sign of “I Am.” Thus, it is time to nurture yourself, get selfish and take care of yourself so that your “am” can grow and be strong.
Lindsay Mack of the Tarot for the Wild Soul Podcast (highly recommend it!) likes to use the metaphor of Aries being the force that pushes us into the new world, thrusts us through the threshold. Because of its fiery energy, it bursts us through the birth canal and says “I am here!”
This is a huge part of what the Emperor is about. It’s about setting your structure to help nourish your growth but making sure that you allow yourself the space to grow. Take up the space you need to be able to flourish.
Have you ever grown a cabbage? Or an artichoke? They have no qualms taking up space—lots and lots of space. And they grow, and create nourishment in their growth because they are wonderful beings (I really like vegetables, can you tell?), and they do so because that is what they need to do to survive.
Take up the space you need to survive and thrive.
As we reflect on ourselves and our own lives, we are the micro representing the macro. As one of my favorite Tool songs says, “As below, so above, and beyond I imagine.” Of course, this comes from many different versions of “as below, so above,” meaning that we are all a part of an infinite spiral.
What we do for ourselves, we are doing for the world.
Consider, say, the decision to cleanse your body. You want to make sure you eat good, organic, ethically produced food, cut out toxins, walk more, etc. In doing this, you’re making healthy planetary decision. By decided to eat less processed food, you’re giving less money to those companies, and when enough people do this, then they produce less. By deciding to eat ethically produced foods and organic foods, you’re supporting businesses that are working in line with the earth, working to be a part of the solution the environmental crisis we’re facing. You might decide you want to walk to work or ride your bike to work instead of driving. This means you’re being more eco friendly as well. By looking after yourself, you’re looking after the planet.
When I talk to people about writing, I remind them that a good character/world relationship shows a reflection of each. For example, something within the main character will reflect the world around them, and the world will represent something within the main character.
Not only does this help to create a good story, but this is a representation of our perception and how it creates the world we live in. How we interact with the world and how we participate in the world a) reflects who we are and b) creates the world we live in. Thus, as Sartre states in his Existentialism is a Humanism states (paraphrased, of course), we must act as though we are setting an example for how the entire world should act, and that is how we will know how to ethically act.
Right, so, that was a long-winded explanation of how being selfish and looking after your personal authentic and unapologetic expression of you influences the world.
Take some time to consider the you, the part of you that wants to burst forth into the world and be. Now, consider how that you is representing the world around you.
The Emperor is about growth but not just for the induvial, but in a societal manner as well. We are no longer at a point where we can be complacent, but need to mature, need to be practical, logical, and move forward, and grow. How are we, as individuals, promoting a healthy, stable growing environment?
This is what the Emperor asks us all to consider. We are all being called to provide the structure for societal growth.
Without further adue, your Emperor spread for 2020.
Pull out the Emperor from your deck, and use this as a Signifier card. If you want to choose your own personal year card, you can put the two side by side and use them both as your signifier.
Shuffle your cards, thinking about 2019 and the feeling of openness to what is to come in the next year.
As you draw the cards, spend some time reflecting and journaling on each aspect. Really dig deep into this, find your own seeds buried within you, and give them space to grow.
I’ve watched artist and tarot creator, Chris Anne‘s plight to get this deck released for a few months now. She first caught my attention with her Muse Tarot, though it was never a deck I invested in. However, the Light Seer’s Tarot was what really got my attention.
I watched Chris’s Instagram, and delighted whenever I saw a post revealing one of her cards in the Light Seer’s Tarot. The images always caught me in such a way that I felt for a moment my breath was stolen from me. No, that’s not an exaggeration.
To read more reviews, you can check out my Review Page here. This includes Tarot deck reviews as well as Tarot-related book reviews.
The Light Seer’s Tarot is designed to provide an up-beat and light feeling. It’s a way to heal the shadows of ourselves while keeping the message positive.
The deck plays with the concept of shadow and light, with the idea that both need to be harmonised in order to be a healthy, functioning individual. And thus, in order to learn the lessons the Tarot has to teach, that Life has to teach, both light and shadow must be embraced.
Chris Anne writes:
My goal was to create a happy deck that would lift me up, without sacrificing tarot’s incredible ability to illuminate any deeper meanings that hid beneath the surface…I invite you to explore this world of traditional and nontraditional archetypes with m. It is my wish that you make the characters your own, and breath new meaning into their worlds as you work your magic into the cards. Tarot can be a profoundly healing tool, and as you explore the sunshine-and-shadow laden path of the Light Seer, I hope you hear it whisper that shadow is a profound tool, and that light is an awesome end-game.Chris Ann, Light Seer’s Tarot guidebook, pp.v-vi.
The concept of intertwining shadow with light is seen in all but one of the spreads she provides in the guidebook, to the point where Chris states the importance of sometimes forcing a reversal in the reading to see a more complete picture.
The art in The Light Seer’s Tarot is not my style. But I knew that when I purchased the deck. As my partner pointed out, it’s a little bit like a comic book. I attribute this to the line shading. However, I only feel this is the case when you glance at the deck without giving any time to let yourself sink into the cards.
When you spend a moment in the cards, the art is stunning. Chris Anne did a magnificent job capturing the essence of the people in the cards. The colors are vibrant, and the characters are delightfully unique and diverse, each person having their own history and story within a card.
The cards are Rider-Waite-based, though only loosely. For example, the 4 of Swords depicts a woman resting, though instead of being in a bed with four Swords around her, she is in a crow’s nest, with the four twigs or perhaps they’re the “quill” part of feathers?) around her. The 8 of Pentacles (I love this card) shows a girl with books, herbs, and a candle in front of her, while the phases of the moon are the representation of the Pentacles–which is beautiful as it then shows the time that goes into learning and practicing a craft, not just the labor.
The Light Seer’s Tarot is also borderless. From a personal standpoint, this is exciting, as it’s the first borderless deck I’ve personally purchase (I do have the Silver Moon Tarot in the US, which also doesn’t have a border, but it was gifted to me). It allows the cards to feel as though they’re having a conversation with one another when using them in a spread, and let’s the energy flow from one card to the next.
Finally, the numbering/labelling of the cards are done in a faux hand-written style, each in the corner of the card, and at somewhat of an angle, rather than the standard header/footer style that’s typically seen. This gives the impression that the card is an art piece first, and that the signature of the art piece is the name or number of the card. On a deeper level, this is almost as if the Energy that represents the card and creates its meaning is the actual painter of the card, and thus, the Energy is signing its creation. For me, it provides a meta feeling about the deck.
The Light Seer’s Tarot comes in a great box: it’s sturdy cardboard, beautifully printed, and with a pull-off top, rather than a folding flap.
The guidebook is a hefty little thing, one that is beautifully printed as well. Keeping with the theme of light, the book has a full-color cover, matching the vibrancy of the box which shows a portion of the High Priestess. The energy is clearly present in this guidebook, intended to help the reader, allowing for upward of 184 pages.
The downside of this little book is that it does make it difficult to open and hold open. While it’s chocked full of information, your hand can ache while you try to hold the pages open, and if you’r anything like me and don’t like to bend covers, then this can be quite a difficult book to deal with.
However, the information in it is great. Each card has two pages. The pages include:
I really appreciate that the explanation of the card comes after the keywords for the card. If a tarot reader is trying to learn based on the keywords, then it’s less tempting to read through the rest of the meaning of the card.
In the card definitions, it includes both an explanation of the light aspect of the card, as well as the shadow, or reversed, aspect. For example, Temperance:
Temperance is the alchemist of life, and it calls you to create your purposeful blend using moderation and patience as ingredients. Where are you focusing your precious energy right now? Maybe you’ve been overdoing it in your social life? Or binging on television, drinks or food, or overspending? Focusing on a relationship that is depleting more energy that it is replenishing? being wholly materialistic vs. wholly spiritual? We live in a world of extreme passions and heated hustle, so slowing down the desire for excess in any one area of your life may be harder than you think. Don’t do drastic right now. Stay away from “all or nothing” choices. Clearing your energy of extremes will foster a dynamic, nourishing flow that is aligned with your perfect alchemical purpose. See equilibrium and be mindful of your resources while fusing all the elements to achieve a beautiful balance.
Affirmation: I walk the middle path, and I nourish my spiritual wholenessChris Anne, Light Seer’s Tarot guidebook, pp. 46-47
Along with the meanings of the cards, the book gives a note as to why Chris created the deck, as well as an introduction to Tarot and the suites for the budding reader. Likewise, exercises are provided to help you get to know and read your cards in a spread.
There are four different spreads that are provided:
In all but one of these spread, a reversal or shadow card is required. This makes for an interesting perspective on spreads in general. It doesn’t negate reversals in other aspects of the spread, but rather, it is suggested that the indicated shadow card be drawn in such a way that it would flip whatever it was meant to be prior to the flip.
This is the first modern deck that I’ve come across that advocates and encourages the use of reversals. There are many Tarot-readers, including myself, who at some point or another discarded (get it?) reversals altogether. Personally, as I’ve grown as a reader, I’ve learned the value of reversals, and think it is important that readers at last learn to use them, even if they don’t stay a part of their reading practice. A deck which encourages this as well is a unique and beautiful gift.
When I got the box in the mail, I was a little concerned with how big the deck box was. Once I pulled out the book and realized that was why the box itself was so big, I was less worried.
However, the deck itself seems to be quite thick to look at–though admittedly, I’ve been working with smaller decks, and so it might seem bigger to me.
The card size is a standard size, one you would see more commonly in Lo Scarabeo decks. It’s a similar size to the standard Rider-Waite decks, The Impressionist Tarot, The Vampire Tarot–to name a few that I have used as examples on this website.
While the cards look like they stack high to me, they’re actually delightfully bendy. They make riffle-shuffling a delight. I personally have a hand injury from the past that can be problematic for shuffling–especially since riffle-style shuffling is my preferred method.
Sometimes cards can be too glossy, or be too sticky to each other. This deck faces neither of these problems. As far as I am concerned, the matt-printing is perfection. They are not overly slippery, and cling just enough to make shuffling–no matter your style of shuffle–a breeze.
I haven’t had a new deck in a long time. Earlier in the summer I promised myself that I wouldn’t buy any new decks unless they were second-hand for environmental reasons.
Well, two very large glasses of wine and a well-timed Hay House deal mixed with a Benebell Wen post put that promise right to bed.
When the The Light Seer’s Tarot arrived, I was overjoyed. It wasn’t just the excitement of having a new deck but the excitement that I already had connected to this deck before I got it out of the post packaging.
As I flipped through the cards, I began crying. The colors in the deck, the images, the people–these were my people, the ones who I’d met at festivals, the ones I worked and interacted with when I lived in the Pacific Northwest, ones who I’d been to retreats with–the characters in these cards are the people who I miss from my little cabin on a farm in North Yorkshire. You don’t find many of these wonderful spirits in this area, and this deck felt like my connection to this part of me that is one of these people.
Everything about this deck says I shouldn’t like it. It’s not my style of art, it’s not the size I would want, and it’s a really popular deck (I tend to go for lesser-known decks). But everything about this deck is perfect for me. The irony that this deck deals with light and shadow is not lost on me when I consider how much I would never have guessed how well I connect to this deck.
I am so grateful that I have it, and that it gets to be a part of my little Tarot deck family.
It truly is a gift.
To read more reviews, you can check out my Review Page here. This includes Tarot deck reviews as well as Tarot-related book reviews.
There are a lot of Tarot spreads out there. If you follow any Tarot-related hashtag on Instagram, you’ll quickly see how many truly amazing and helpful spreads there are out there. There is a spread for just about every need that there could be. But we are individuals, and while some spreads hit close to the mark, you might be wondering if you can change a tarot spread to resonate more definitely with you.
Some can be quite complex. I know that I am certainly no exception of this. If you’ve looked at some of my spreads for the #30DayTarotWritingChalleng, they get kind of intense when it comes to how many cards and where they go. Or, if you’re not a writer, but into more classic forms of Tarot-reading, such as older ways put forth by Papus or even A. E. Waite in his Pictoral Key to the Tarot, you’ll find long spreads that can involve 32 cards at times. I’ve even seen spreads that require the whole pack!
While there are some intense spreads that can make for a lot of cards to keep track of, likewise there are sometimes cards that just don’t seem necessary to your question or to the reading at all.
For all that the designer of the spread might have intended for each card to have a deep relevance, it doesn’t meant that the tarot reader using the spread necessarily can connect the dots of the spread-maker’s thought process. However, the spread-maker has put thought into the spread, and no-doubt does have a purpose for each card-placement.
So, can we change a tarot spread to make it our own?
The simple answer is Yes, we can. We don’t need to keep it just as someone else has created it.
Essentially, when you are using a spread, what needs to be clear in your head is the card positions and their meanings. While you’re shuffling, keeping your question and focus in mind, you need to also be aware of where the cards are going to go when you put them down and the influence those positions will have on your reading.
If you are altering a spread to fit your own personal needs, I have a few suggestions:
The simple answer as to whether or not you can change a tarot spread, or course is yes, you can. However, that leaves room for a complex answer.
The complex answer is that the maker of a spread has put time and thought into the spread. If you are going to alter the spread, then you need to consider the above-mentioned things.
I challenge you to really consider the link of the each card in the spread, and spend time contemplating what the importance of the seemingly unrelated or irrelevant card position might be.
For example, when I was learning Tarot, I thought that the 9th card position in the Celtic Cross spread, the Hopes/Fears position was superfluous. It was mostly there so that it could make up the ten cards. I thought that what you were afraid of or what you hoped to get in general had nothing to do with the reading. However, after a lot of consideration, reading, studying, and general maturation, I realized that it’s there to serve as any blocks that might be hindering you from getting to the end result. Likewise, it might be the driving force behind you that’s pushing you toward succeeding in your goals.
Considering that the Celtic Cross Spread is usually done as a general reading (well, not always, but it can be most readily done as a general reading), this is an important factor. If at the beginning of my Tarot-learning I had simply just disregarded the position then there would be a large insight that would be missed in my readings and my understanding.
All this to say that when you do come to a reading that seems like it’s complex for complexity’s sake, spend a moment and questions why it might be that way.
Tarot is a highly personal practice. How we all read the cards is like how we learn—we’re all individuals with different experiences and different ways that our minds work. Therefore, we all will have different ways of learning. Thus, we have different ways of reading the cards. There is no right or wrong way so long as it’s authentic to what resonates with you.
If you don’t resonate with a spread, then don’t use the spread, or you can change a spread to make it your own. However, take the time to really contemplate and consider why it is that it doesn’t resonate with you if you’re planning on altering it, and spend time really working to alter it so that it can best serve you and the art of Tarot.
Remember to always be respectful. That is how communities and individuals evolve and grow.
Understanding gender in its entirety is a huge necessity in our society. Whether it is to simply accept that there is more outside the dualistic masculine/feminine binary we’ve created, or to fully understand each point on the spectrum, as people feel more comfortable fully expressing themselves, we are understanding that gender is a complex topic. However, Tarot can help, especially when we break open how we understand gender in Tarot.
I recently stumbled across another Tarot podcast – love podcasts so much! The Root Lock Tarot podcast is a product of Weston from New York, and the very first episode of his that I stumbled across was:
I put that in MASIVE text because You really need to click that link to get to the episode, since his website doesn’t include it.
However, he has a beautiful theory that he posits regarding the idea of a dualistic gender within the tarot.
This is a topic I’ve discussed before when considering the idea of ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ in tarot, and talking about how it doesn’t necessarily correspond to biological genders but rather the energy related to the genders. I talked about how each of us is a combination of some form of both masculine and feminine.
What Westin has done is explained how there are actually 16 different expressed genders in Tarot. And it kind of blew my mind when he said it. It’s so simple, so obvious, and yet such a different way of looking not at the Tarot, but how we view binaries in general.
I won’t give away the whole plot of the episode, but the idea is that for each element you have either a masculine or feminine energy that corresponds to it: Fire and Air are masculine (active energy) while Water and Earth are feminine (passive energy). So when you begin looking at the Court Cards, you have each suit which is giving you an active or a passive energy, and then each member of the court which corresponds to an element, and thus to a masculine or feminine quality.
The Queens are Water elements. Thus, the Queen of Cups is a Water meets Water type of energy. If water is passive, and thus feminine, then you have feminine/feminine. However, the Queen of Wands is Fire meets Water. Fire is an active element, and thus masculine. And so, you have a masculine/feminine. It goes even further when you consider that one is a fire-masculine while one is a water-feminine, vs say the King of Swords, which would be an Earth-feminine/Air-masculine: Kings are ruled by Earth, which is passive, thus feminine; Swords are represented by Air, which is active energy, thus masculine.
I found this absolutely fascinating, and a brilliant exploration of how we view gender as a spectrum rather than a binary set definition. Furthermore, it expands our understanding of energetic gender in Tarot, thus provides a new layer that we can draw from as readers.
Give the episode a listen. I promise it is worth your time, and will help you to be a better Tarot reader.
So in my absence, I stopped doing the Weekly Tarot Card, leaving it very partially completed. In fact, I believe that I left off having only completed the 3’s, and was about to get into the 4’s.
I don’t like leaving things partially done. I would like to continue doing them but in such a way that it isn’t going to drain me. I go back and forth on how I’d like to continue onward, but I don’t know how. I feel that it’s important to study the cards, and I want to make sure that that is happening for the new and budding tarot-reader, and I like the meditations that should happen in order to get to know the cards as well. The moral being that I don’t want to forgo those types of entries.
I thought then that perhaps I could combine these all into one post. That won’t work for two reasons – the first being that I write them all in one document at one time anyway, so publishing them in one post won’t do anything to stop draining me. The second reason is that it’s what I used to do, and it’s a lot of information for one post. That’s why I started breaking it up anyway, to make sure that it wasn’t a novel of an entry.
I am at a loss as far as what to do. So, I’m reaching out to you for suggestions. What do you think would work best for you? After all, I’m putting this information out there for you, my dear readers, and thus, what I produce must be in compliance with what you hope to gain from reading my blog.
What are your insights, friends?
Good morning readers and writers!
I woke up this morning feeling so excited for this October day. I sat down at my computer and peered over the fence just outside my window to see a thick wall of fog, set to inspire my absolute adoration of autumn.
I thought I would start the day by asking for some guidance from my new oracle deck (which I am so excited to have!), Ancient Feminine Wisdom of Goddesses and Heroines by Kay Steventon and Brian Clark.
I shuffled, thinking about how excited I was for the day, and asking what guidance the deck had for me this morning.
Out popped Eos.
The authors write:
‘To the poet Homer, Eos was the “rosy-fingered” goddess of the dawn. As she rises, she lifts up the night sky, yet through her veil some stars remain visible. Her seductive appearance entices us to rise and welcome a new day…When Eos is chosen, it suggests you are at the dawning of an adventure or new stage of life. The future is filled with new possibilities…’Little White Book, p. 15
After posting my offering yesterday, I was so thrilled by how quickly my available spots filled up, and I am excited to work with each person. This card aptly summarizes what I hope to move forward with, and I am so grateful for those who are coming with me for the journey.
However, this does mean that the offer is now closed. I’m so sorry for those who missed it this time. Our partnership was not meant to be, yet at least. But thank you to all of you who did respond. I’m grateful for your interest.
Ok guys, I have a confession: I’m not just a two-dimensional character. I do more than just read tarot. I have many interests and hobbies and experiences, such as writing! But I’m sure you guessed that after exploring my writing prompts and my #30DayTarotWritingChallenge.
However, I have even more about me than just reading tarot and writing stories (and blog posts). I’m wanting to delve into the world of Writing Coaching. As a former student at Durham University studying English in the UK, as well as years of experience as a writing tutor in the US, I’ve worked with dozens (approaching a hundred or more) of writers on their essays, short stories, novels, and even their gaming storylines (any DMs out there?).
So here’s what I’d like to offer you: I’d like to work without on your NaNoWriMo projects. I’ll take three of you, totally free of charge, and work with you through your current WIP. You don’t have to specifically be working on NaNoWriMo, but just on a novel that you want to get done by say New Year. I’ll work with you for two months, with an hour session a week, giving you 8 hours of my one-on-one attention in total.
Have I got your attention yet? If so, if you’re interested, or you have any questions, feel free to use the Contact Me form and send me an email. We can chat, see if we’re a good match and go from there.
I’m so excited to work with you, and I hope this will be the start of an exciting new adventure!
Tarot is a beautiful and fantastic messenger that many people turn to in times of need. However, it’s important that we recognize that we are using tarot as a tool, and it is not the medicine itself. Only you can distribute the medicine prescribed through tarot, or any spiritual tool for that matter.
I think it was February or March that I realized my year’s card was the Moon, meaning that I had a lot of inner stuff to work on and sort out this year. That was part of the drive for my hiatus, was my own personal inner work and discovery.
Jordan, my unofficial tarot mentor (who does really great video reviews of deck on her store’s Facebook page here) once described the Moon as that which makes the shadows darker. In the night, when we’re struggling to see, the Moon shines a beautiful glow over the world, but where there are shadows, they are even darker in the night contrasted with the moonlight. So while the Moon can give us direction in navigating the subconscious, it can also be the key to finding the areas that just aren’t letting any light in.
These shadowy places are what scare many people when they see the Moon. But they’re just places in which the subject of the reading need to do some extra work.
With the use of the Tarot as a tool, a querant can be guided toward the work they need to do, but in knowing what needs to be worked on, the task still needs to be fulfilled. It is not uncommon for tarot readers and those who turn to tarot readers for answers to see Tarot as answer to their problems, rather than the guidance system. And it is important to know that when you have the map laid out for you, you still have to travel along the roads in order to get to the destination.
Too many times have I had people ask questions regarding whether their partner will come back to them, if they’re being cheated on, if they’ll be able to obtain x, if their job will work out, etc., only to get their answer but do nothing toward what the cards have expressed.
To return to my example of the Moon being my guidance for the year, I could simply have acknowledged that this year is for my shadows to become prominent, and that be that. But the message of the Moon is that now is the time for me to deal with those shadows. While accepting that they’re there is a great first step, it doesn’t do anything to sort them out and address them. The message and guidance of the Moon is that this is the year that my attention should be turned toward them so that I can move on to the Sun next year (that’s the exciting part!), which will then come with new things to address.
It is the same with any Tarot reading. A spread saying that everything is going to be alright, generally isn’t all there is to it. One can usually expect some homework that comes along with the reading, such as ‘everything will be alright so long as you don’t allow x to interfere, as it’s want to do.’ or ‘everything will be alright once you face y within you/at your job/in your relationship/etc.’
I once did a reading for a person who was very worried about the outcome of a situation, and the reading confirmed a few of those worries, as well as some advice on grounding in order to resolve the worries. I gave the client a list of grounding techniques that I personally found beneficial, and directed them to some resources, only to be met with the response that they were fine because they carried a grounding stone with them.
I am by no means saying that a grounding crystal won’t do the trick, but crystals, like Tarot, are a tool. A tool won’t do the work for you unless you are putting it to use, and carrying it around with you isn’t necessarily the way to put it to use.
Consider hematite, whose properties are to draw in and transform negative energies into neutral or positive energies, grounding, mental stimulation, courage in women, balancing, calming, protection, and is helpful with self-confidence and self-worth—just to name a few. These are the energetic properties of the crystal, that which works on a vibrational level. This is different than say an herbal tea that we ingest, in which case would be working in the physical world and having an effect on our physical bodies. However, because the use of spiritual tools in a metaphysical manner is energetic, then it requires our energies to meet it part way, to direct it, so to speak, and be the operator of this tool.
Thus, if one believes that simply wearing a crystal without the intention of working on the issues the crystal is meant to be addressing, then the energy of the crystal is directionless, and thus might not be as beneficial as one might think. If you have an emergency carrier of fuel in your car so you don’t run out of fuel, it doesn’t mean your gas tank won’t run dry. It means that if it does get too low, that you, the wielder of the tool—the carrier of fuel with an emergency supply of gas in it—will have to direct the tool toward the fuel tank and pour it in. This might not be the best analogy, but I think it gets the point across: just because you have a tool, doesn’t mean it will do your bidding without your influence.
This isn’t just crystals, obviously, but with any action. If you write a book, it won’t publish itself. You have to do the work to get it published, however that might be. If you self-publish it, you have to get it into the hands of the right audience, you have to direct its energy. Furthermore, you have to channel your energy into the right avenues in order to put your book in the right hands.
If you’re using meditation as a healing mechanism, while simply stilling the mind and remaining in stillness does absolute wonders for the mind and body—there is no disputing this—in order to meditate for a specific purpose such as discovering a past life, a life purpose, meeting a guide, etc., the meditator has to direct their meditation toward their goal. Thus, the meditator is required to meet their goal half way via meditation in order to achieve it.
So what does ‘doing the work’ mean?
It means meeting the energy you’re wanting half way. In the example of grounding, it means that while yes, you might have hematite to help you to ground, you need to also be making the mental efforts and putting in the exercises to practice grounding, and recognize that the hematite is just something to assist you in achieving the goal, but you are the one who has to operate the tool.
In metaphysical circles, the Law of Attraction is used as a method of understanding this. The LoA states, by many people and in many ways, that we are the co-creators of our realities. The very simplified and shortened idea is that when we put ourselves out there, then the energies of the Universe will meet our energies. It’s kind of like at an old bar job I had—on Christmas and New Years, any tips that we made, our boss would match, thus doubling our tips. It’s kind of the same idea. If you put in the work to ground yourself, then you’ll bring grounding energies to you. If you put in the work to ground yourself, then your hematite will be that vessel of grounding energy for you.
In my personal situation, I have been working on stress-release, as well as healing past wounds. I’ve been working on letting things go in order to make way for better things. I recognized that holding onto past hurts was hindering my ability to make new connections. I have been working on letting those go, and new connections have, in fact, made their way into my life.
I have a whole other post about my theories and thoughts on co-creation, the Law of Attraction, and energetic return coming up at some point, both arguing for and against many of the popularized ideas regarding this subject matter. However, what I will say is that our mentalities affect how we see the world, and thus affect what opportunities we witness. We all have the ability to heal our mental and emotional wounds, and there is no right or wrong way about it. For some of us, it’s medication, and that’s ok. For others it’s therapy, and that’s ok. For some, it’s meditation, and that’s ok. For others it’s nutrition and exercise, and that’s ok. The important thing in all methods of healing that is prevalent in all of the above mentioned is that the individual is putting in the work themselves. One can’t just buy a treadmill so they can strengthen their cardio. They have to actually use it. They can’t just go to the doctor and get the prescription for the antidepressants. They have to actually go to the pharmacist, pick them up, and take them as prescribed.
Likewise, you can’t get a Tarot reading, assume the reading itself is your dose of medicine and call it good. No, the Tarot reading is the prescription. You have to actually get the damn meds and take them.
If you’re interested in using Tarot as a deliverer of medicine messages, I strongly recommend you check out the Tarot for the Wild Soul podcast. She has some truley beautiful healing messages every month. You can check out the link above, or you can read my review of the podcast here.
As I noted in my previous post, it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything.
In an effort to get a website up with lots of content, I definitely burnt myself out, which obviously worked against me. As a result, I have two Tarot series left unfinished, and I felt that anything I wrote about would just be….forced and inauthentic. And that just isn’t fair to you. Of course, neither is taking an unannounced hiatus.
I’m tentatively back, though I’m going to try and just post when I feel the need rather than on a schedule, for now anyway. I don’t want to make any promises that I don’t keep.
I don’t remember which book it was, but in either Rise Sister Rise or Light is the New Black, Rebecca Campbell expressed that we move in seasons. We don’t have to be all go all of the time all year round. We can acknowledge when our ‘winter’ time is and rest when that time comes. It turns out, my winter time is during the summer, which makes perfect sense because who wants to be inside writing on a computer when they can be outside in the sun????
Autumn is my favorite season of the year, and the time I always feel most inspired. I live in the northern hemisphere, and thus, am currently enjoying the early onset of autumn with it’s warm winds, orange and yellow leaves and the emergence of red berries on the hawthorns. I love it so much.
And with its arrival, I’ve felt more and more inspired to write. So, hopefully, here I am.
With me are a couple of new additions: I have some new oracle decks (which is kind of a big deal since I’ve never had any interest in oracle), and a few new ideas I want to talk about. So hopefully, you’ll be in for a treat, and hopefully, I’ll stick to things and actually write regularly!
But for those of you who have stuck around, I appreciate you so much. I am so grateful to you.
Likewise, I know there have been a few newcomers to my blog, especially with the nearing of NaNoWriMo! I’ve seen an influx of visitors to my #30DayTarotWritingChallenge page. I hope you find some help with your writing projects! Let me know how it all goes!
Thank you again for all of your patience and support, and I am so luck to have you all as readers.
In the meantime, until my next post—catch me up! What’s new in your tarot and/or writing world?
I wanted to share this post from Book of Eucalypt because I do think this is important, especially when we’re considering Tarot. While Tarot isn’t Paganism, it is closely linked with it, though itself doens’t have a specific spiritual path.
One of the issues with it which is addressed in Queering the Tarot is the bionary lanugage within it: Queens and Kings, Emperor and Empress, never mind the portrayal of haromony between man and woman in cards like the Lovers, the Devil, and the 2 of Cups.
While the idea of masculine and feminine don’t necessarily only correspond to men being masculine and women being feminine, but rather adress the energies, it is easy to simply see it in a heteronormative way. The more we spend time considering these things, the more we can broaden our understanding and bring in the complexity of life into our readings, thus only creating a more accurate and realistic art.
This article is going to be speaking of Witchcraft within the Pagan umbrella because, due to my personal practice, it’s all intertwined. As a polytheist, I don’t separate the two. With more and more of us discovering that we don’t fit within the binary of standard gender – that is, we don’t associate with our […]Non-Binary Paganism — Book of Eucalypt
Good morning readers!
Some unexpected bills have come up, and I am in need of drumming up some money to make it happen. Thus, I have a question to ask you:
Anyone want a Tarot reading?
I would love to hear from you if you do. I have my email reading available via my Etsy site, or you can Contact Me for face-to-face readings (if you’re in North Yorkshire or southern County Durham area) or Skype readings.
Not sure? Check out my reviews on my Buy a Tarot Reading page at the top.
Let’s sling some cards!
Happy belated Solstice! Happy Winter solstice to those in the southern hemispheres and happy Summer solstice to those of us in the northern hemisphere.
This week’s Media Review, during which I reviewed Queering the Tarot by Cassandra Snow, didn’t have any spreads included in the book. So, in celebration of the solstice, I decided to do a spread that I found on Instagram.
I recently started following Seed of Shakti, and they posted their Summer Solstice: Embracing Your Radiance spread. The card formation is a V, starting with Card 1 in the center, then moving up to the left for Card 2, up and to the right of Card 1 for Card 3, then up and to the left of Card 2 for Card 4, up and to the right of Card 3 for Card 5, and so on until there are 7 cards.
For my spread I used the Neo Tarot. There is also an eighth card in my spread, since it fell out while I was shuffling.
As a shuffled, I asked a question or requested a card for each position. I didn’t stop shuffling and then lay out the spread, but rather shuffled until a card fell out while focusing on each position, then continued shuffling for the next position. I found this to be quite effective.
I am my own subject for this reading (don’t worry, I gave myself full permission to share!).
The Fool is open-heartedness, and a new journey. When I woke up and did this spread on the Solstice, I honestly felt like something new was dawning. I felt refreshed. I personally connect to the Summer Solstice deeply (despite my birthday actually falling on the Winter Solstice). It’s always been my favorite day of the year, I think perhaps because it’s the longest.
It is a day of inspiration. Last week I had a week somewhat off from blogging, and took a while to let myself rest and re-examine what I’m doing. Yesterday morning, when I woke up on the Solstice, I felt confident in moving forward for the first time in a long time.
The Fool offers new beginnings and an openness of what’s to come, and that is exactly what I felt. The Fool, this delightful being, confirmed this.
While the Hierophant is generally seen as the teacher or the guide, I see this card as a two-way street. I think it’s being the teacher and the student. It’s a matter of looking at the lessons that can be learned and ingesting them so they can be passed on. Of course, this isn’t always applicable to everyone. Sometimes it is just being open to being taught. Sometimes it’s looking at institutions/organizations which can teach you, or involve conforming to a certain way of thought.
When I first flipped this car over, I saw the two-way street. My first thought was circular breathing, but in a teaching sort of way. When you have learned enough, when you know a subject enough, then you can teach it. I thought about breaking down the lessons I learned into smaller, bitesize wisdoms and sharing them.
One of the best ways I’ve experienced this was when I worked as a writing tutor. I worked with folks from just about every background—adults living in their cars trying to get their GED, high school students taking college classes, students having just arrived from somewhere in Asia learning English, people who were working the same job for 40 years and are forced to learn a new trade, people who were differently abled regarding vision or hearing, and people who were on the Autism spectrum. This experience taught me so much while I was helping them to learn and develop their own skills of communication to get them through their studies.
I truly believe I am about to enter into this role again, in some way.
I’m very work-focused. One of the problems I know I’ve been having is that I’ve been working too hard, so hard in fact that I lost sight of the goal. I also got pretty lonely. I need to adjust myself and remember the goal, and use that as my motivation to prevent burnout. However, the work is there for the garden. I am trying to make sure it grows.
This looks like my hard work will pay off. It’ll result in accomplishment, something having been built.
The 10 of Pentacles is about legacy, creating something that will last. Sure it’s financial gain on some level, but given that the Pentacles, in my book, represent the spirit realm as well as the physical realm (the Pentacle itself having five points—one for each element plus Spirit, and a circle that shows how they all work together to elevate), there is a ‘level up’ aspect to the 10. There will be spiritual fulfillment, and that is what I personally believe is important.
The 9 of Pentacles is usually someone in their fruiting garden, enjoying the labors of their hard work. This is a nice time of rest and enjoyment, a time of giving yourself a pat on the back. But I think it’s also a point of complacency. There is still a further step. What do you do with the fruit and veg? You eat it, share it, store it for the future, make it last. Thus, while the 9 of Pentacles is a great card to get to say that you’ll be accomplishing your goal, it’s also the reminder that you can’t stay in the garden forever. You have go on to the next step.
I need to remember that when I reach a goal, not to be complacent. In fact, I need currently to remember not to be complacent.
This is one of those ‘difficult’ cards that people generally dread. It looks gloomy. But I think it’s a matter or reminding you to keep your head up. While things look rough and gloomy, they’re generally not that bad, or rather, even if they actually are that bad and you have hit rock bottom, you can look up and see that there is support. Traditionally, the 5 of Pentacles depicts two people, sick and injured, in the snow, barefoot, looking down as they make their way. What they don’t see is the glowing church window above them, signaling sanctuary at least through the worst of the storm. That is the support that is there for them at that time.
The message from the Sun is telling me to keep my head up. Just keep looking up. Remember that there’s help if I know and remember to ask and look for it.
Slow down. That doesn’t mean that I’m necessarily moving to quickly or that I shouldn’t be working toward my goals, but rather, I don’t need to be thinking as far ahead as I am. I need to see things as they are, moment to moment. Of course have the goal in mind, but just look at the next two steps opposed to the next ten steps. Things will happen at the pace they do, but in order to fully be present for what I’m trying to achieve, I need to slow my roll.
This is another of the ‘difficult cards.’ Many books, when you read about this card make mention that it’s unclear as to whether the querant is the one having been beaten, or the one who has beaten the two who walk away. I actually had never considered this aspect with this card until I started reading more books for reviewing.
This card has always been about humility, remaining humble. It doen’t do to get cocky.
My main deck has been the Spiral Tarot by Kay Steventon, for the last 15 years. The depiction of the 5 of Swords is someone on a raft with all the swords, while the other two are in the water. The message behind it is that while the cotrious one is on top, the waters under his feet make the raft unsteady, and he could just as easy get knocked into the water himself.
This is humility. Don’t get cocky.
Pentacles rule this reading. Pentacles, as I mentioned earlier deal with the physical realm, but also the spiritual realm. If we are not well in our bodies, then it is difficult for us to be well in our spirit (this is not, of course a rule–there are many wonderful people who are chronically unwell and still are beautifully spiritual or well in spirit), and vise-versa.
This reading is about looking after myself on both matters in order to move myself forward. Sure I want to be financially successful, but I want to be healthy. I to be connected to the natural world, to the needs of my body, to sort my weight out, to sort my diet out (after living as a student, generally your diet doesn’t come out positively), and so many other things. This reading reminds me that this is important. This needs to be something of focus to me. Meditation, eating well, exercising will all help me in my career. I can’t think if my brain isn’t nourished, for a start. I can’t feel good about what I’m doing if my spirit isn’t nourished, either.
A recurring number in this is 5. 5’s are the number of transition, which is why they tend to be difficult when they come up in the cards. It is a number of shifting from the lower to the higher, into something better. Thus, when this transition comes up, we feel uncomfortable. But, the Hierophant rules ove the 5’s. There are lessons to be learned, and, returning to the idea of the HIerophant being cyclical, the 5’s are transitioning from student to teacher.
The numbers, when all added up bring me to 44, which reduces to 8. This corresponds to the Strength card. Strength has to do with finding the inner muscle to bring you through a situation or lesson. It is about ignoring brute force, and instead moving forward with the power of character. This means courage, this means compassion. The woman in Strength sooths the lione not because she is physically strong, but because she is using her inner peace to connect with the beast and work with it rather than against it.
This is the fifth and last installment in this Weekly Tarot Card series: 4 of Wands defintion. The next series will begin on Monday. However, if you’d like to get caught up on the rest of the week, you can use the following links:
Starting the week, we spent some time developing our own personal meanings before breaking down the components of the card. Each of these components is like a puzzle. They all fit together to create a certain picture, but that picture is specific to the puzzler. It is up to you to make your own connections as to how these pieces fit together. What has the puzzle told you so far.
The 4 of Wands is about structure, but it’s about bringing forth the element of Fire in a structured manner. Considering that the element of Fire is about creation and passion, then this is beyond having started your creative project, but about that moment when you know it’s self-sustaining. It’s been put in motion and has gotten to a place where you can take a moment to celebrate this success. The danger behind this is that it might make us complacent, and thus we will be unprepared for what’s to come. This is a pat-on-the-back moment, but the work isn’t done yet (as we’ll see with the 5 of Wands).
The astrological association of Venus in Aries brings together the masculine and feminine. Biologically we can consider that it takes the masculine and feminine parts to create a baby. However, from a metaphysical standpoint, There are the masculine and feminine parts to all of us, and it takes both aspects to work in harmony in order for our goals to be achieved. Furthermore, as Venus is the representative of the Empress and Aries is the representative of the Emperor, who are both seen as parent figures, it can bring in the element of family into the definition of the card.
In some depictions of the 4 of Wands, the two figures seen are a man and a woman being married. However, A. E. Waite intended for the two figures seen in the card to be two women, which equally be representative of a wedding, but with Waite’s depiction is more likely to be a celebration.
This is a time for celebration. It could mean the expansion of family or of a creative project. However, structure has been established, and there’s no turning back. The reminder is to keep moving forward!
Celebration, community, harmony, harvest, regarding past works.
What does the 4 of Wands mean to you? How do you define it with the exercises and information from this week?
Not all writing prompts can be formulaic. As a writer, I am a creative person, and it is because I was using a formula for writing prompts simply to help make production faster that I got burnt out, and had to take a week off.
This week I thought I would do something a little bit different. Instead of a prompt per se, I’m providing an exercise/prompt.
I once responded to a competition which gave a photo for a writing prompt and the instruction to throw away your first two ideas for the story. This was a brilliant approach, and it created diversity in stories for the anthology that was created (which included my story).
I want to do something a little along those lines.
If you have a deck of Tarot cards, pull a card to represent your character. Spend a few minutes getting the idea of your character before you move on. However, if you don’t have your own Tarot deck, then spend some tiem creating a character, taking a character you’ve already created, or using a character already in existence from something you like. You can always change them later.
Put your character in this position: the world around them is crumbling. Ask yourself, is this literal, or metaphorical? Is this personal, or literally the whole world? Once you’ve answered these questions, delve into as much detail as you’d like. Whatever the answers is, your character is in distress.
Your character knows that there is one person/thing that will always have the answers. Not just suggestions, but true answers that are 100% correct. In this time of need, your character goes to them.
Your character implores what to do. The person or thing says nothing, only reveals a single image, and continues to say nothing. That image is the wheel of Fortune.
This is the fourth installment of the Weekly Tarot Card: 4 of Wands symbolism. You can read the first three installments in the following links:
Now we’re delving deeper into the components that make up the 4 of Wands, the symbolism. To do this, we’ll be considering some of the more common images used in the 4 of Wands. There are many different symbols and ways to understand each Tarot card, and there will be things that are missed out in this post. However, this should be a good starting point for you. If you have any additional images that you’d like to include, talk about them in the comments. It’s through community that we learn best.
The color green is a representative of fertility and creativity, thus, creation. It also can represent healthiness, prosperity, and the Hearth chakra. Green also represents the element of Earth.
The color red corresponds to the planet Mars, which is the planet of sexuality and passion. Likewise, the color red also is a color of sexuality and passion. Passion can be defined positively and negatively—it can be excitement in a productive way, or it can be anger. Red is also the representing color for the element of Fire, along with the color of Orange.
The sky in the Rider-Wiate 4 of Wands is yellow. Yellow skies represent good omens. They are like the sun shining down on the scene below in such a way that all that can be seen is the sun’s beaming energy. However, the color yellow can also represent the element Air.
When we are looking at the Tarot rather than specifically Astrology, we can see the combination of the Empress and the Emperor in this card. Because Aries rules the Emperor, and Venus rules the Empress, as the Thoth Tarot 4 of Wands says, we have completion.
Aries is the sign of new beginnings. It is the first sign in the new year, and is of a fiery energy. It doesn’t just start a new project, but it bursts through with gusto. Aries is a sign of charging forward into new things. This is also a masculine sign.
Venus is the planet of beauty and of romance. She is a feminine planet, and the ruler of love.
The combination of these two equate to a union of masculine and feminine, of energy and beauty.
The garlands are a symbol of celebration, but also of the seasons. Depending on when the celebration is, only certain flowers will be included. Thus, there is the meaning of renewal and of the cycle of the seasons. This gives the reminder that while this celebration is warranted, it too will pass.
In the Rider-Waite 4 of Wands, there is a castle in the background. The Castles in the Tarot represent goals. The important thing to note in the 4 of Wands is that while there is celebration, it is not at the castle. It is still in the distance. The finish line has not yet been crossed.
Similarly, a river present in a Tarot card represents motion and fluidity. Rivers might slow or be quick in places, but they don’t stop moving. Thus, this continues on with the reminder that the goal has not been met yet, this is just a small victory along the way.
Again, these are just the broad strokes for the symbolism in the 4 of Wands. There are so many beautiful and intricate decks out there that bring new dimensions to the cards. When you consider your observation exercise from Monday, what stood out to you that you didn’t see here? What stands out to you that speaks differently than what was mentioned above? Share your thoughts in the comments to start a discussion.
I have been eagerly awaiting my copy of Queering the Tarot for ages. Things take a little bit longer to come out in the UK if it’s an American print, so it just heightens the anticipation.
And this book did not disappoint.
I cannot tell you HOW IMPORTANT THIS BOOK IS—yes, with all caps, all italicized, all bolded, and all underlined. It’s that important.
Queering the Tarot is a book about reclamation. Reading cards has always belonged to the most oppressed, from the extremely persecuted Romani people to modern-day readers from all walks of life. Yet, even now, you’ll be hard-pressed to find any people of color, queer people, disabled people, or people who don’t look wealthy in a traditional tarot deck. I wrote this book for all the people not represented in the aforementioned history of books on the tarot.p. 5
Tarot is an art, and as an art, it belongs to everyone. The beautiful thing about the Tarot is that the main tool for the art of reading tarot is art itself. Each Tarot deck is an artistic representation of the cards that have been in use for centuries. As readers, we choose which art we want to represent our style of reading.
What is the art of Tarot reading? How we connect the images to one another to create interpretation, and the words we use to express those interpretation.
Queering the Tarot is a book about how to use our words to be inclusive regarding an artform that historically has been used to depict the white and wealthy, the able-bodied and straight. Of course there are exceptions: in Death there is the depiction of people from all walks of life; in the 6 of Pentacles there are the beggars and the givers; there are depictions of the religious (who were privileged in their own way), and the poor/sick/injured (5 of Pentacles). The latter are depictions of those in a low point, and don’t empower those who are permanently differently abled, or those who are any other race other than white, or, as the book’s main focus, of the LGTBQQIP2SAA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Trans, Bi, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Pansexual, 2-spirits, asexual, and androgynous) community.
Queering the Tarot spends the entirety of the book (with the exception of a forward by Beth Maiden of Little Red Tarot, an introductory message and a closing message from Snow) focusing on redefining the Tarot, card by card. Almost each card has at least one full page, with the exception of the Empress and Emperor whose roles cross and intermingle, and thus share a page.
…[S]ome cards make more sense to queer as a set or a series. The empress and the Emperor are two such cards. Traditionally, these cards are seen as Mother and Father, each presenting the best and worst of those archetypes…Most readers, at least at the professional level have figured out how to read around gender in the court cards, but this pair presents a different challenge…To truly queer these two, you have to be willing to throw out any gendered notions of them—not only to acknowledge same-sex relationships, but also to acknowledge the experience of transgender people, including those who don’t identify on the binary.pp. 17-18
Other exceptions include the 2, 3, and 4 of Wands, the 8, 9, and 10 of Swords, the Ace, 3, and 3 of Cups, etc. There are many more series of cards that are defined together because of their intertwining relationships to each other. When writing about the 5 and 7 of Swords, Snow says,
These two represent oppression both large scale and personal. They represent pain, theft, and the feeling of drowning or being trapped in your misery…I’ve chosen to queer these two cards together because I tend to think of them as two different faces of oppression or trauma.p. 104
Along the way, Snow talks about the difficulties that LGTBQQIP2SA+ go through in various forms, from family life, to social life, to self-expression, to acceptance, to simply understanding themselves. Through each of the cards, Snow navigates the experience of being a LGTBQQIP2SA+ person, and provides insight via the Tarot to those who might not be of this community and thus doesn’t understand full or at all.
However, as she points out at the book, this book isn’t for the latter mentioned. It is for the LGTBQQIP2SA+ community, for those who have been left out and under-represented in text and in art. This book is for them to know themselves and to use their Tarot art of help others know themselves as well.
Queering something, then, means taking what our society has given us and finding our own way, outside of that society’s limits. They put us in a box, and we still find ways to create and prosper and make it the most well decorated box you’ll see. Queering erases the narrowness and small-mindedness of normal. It embraces the beauty, the mystery, and the vastness of our differences. It welcomes everyone who needs a safer space, and it takes responsibility for helping those people heal. Tarot is supposed to help people heal, after all.p. 2
Do you need to identify as queer to get the most from this book? No. Although it’s tremendously important for me to address the needs of the overlooked LGTBQQIP2SA+ community, this book is for any unique soul who has felt wronged, left out, marginalized, different. Which is most people. This book is meant to guide you as you learn tarot, but it’s primarily meant to make you ask questions, encourage you to sit with your cards, and learn to let the deck speak to the beautiful, powerful, hurt, confused youthat you are.p. 5
This book is straight forward, there’s no tricks, no spreads, no insight to the elements, numbers or symbolism. It is simply an in depth dive into the cards to show their inclusivity, and the importance of keeping that understanding at the surface of our reading.
I’ve already said it. This book is insanely important for any reader who has even the slightest inkling of reading for others. I would even go so far as to say this is just an important book for any one to read, even if they don’t know what Tarot is. Tarot, after all, is a collection of archetypes found in our daily living and in the important lessons we encounter. These archetypes are found in the stories we tell and create: the movies we watch, the books we read, the people we meet daily. The Tarot Exists in Real Life.
Thus, to better understand the experiences of all the souls around us, we all need to expand our reading and understanding to meet and accept those souls for the plight they’re one, and look at everyone with compassion. This book, I believe, helps to highlight those areas where we, as a society, can improve.
I know, this is “just” a book on Tarot cards, but I assure you, art is never just color on a canvas. Art says something. Words say something, and any words put to paper is an art, regardless of its subject matter. It is a choice of stylistic expression. This book is an art, talking about art, and the art is a medium of self-express and understanding.
This book is important.
This book is important.
This book is important.
Do I need to say it again?
Go read the book. Trust me. You want to do this.
***** 5 Stars *****
This is the third installment of the 4 of Wands Weekly Tarot Card. Today we will look at the 4 of Wands suit and number. You can read the first two installments in the following links:
Yesterday we looked at how the 4 of Wands can help you as a map to your goals through meditation. Today we start breaking apart the 4 of Wands suit and number in an effort to look at the broader representations of the card. I often think that the number and the element of a card are like looking at the colors that make up another color. By knowing yellow and knowing blue, we can put them together and make green. In this case, the colors are the element of Fire and the number 4.
The element of Fire is our inner drive. It pushes us forward, makes us move whether we want to or not. It is adrenaline, it’s anger, it’s passion, it’s lust, it’s creative force. Cars use combustion to run, and electric cars use electricity to run. These are both related to fire. Electricity doesn’t cause water, air, or rocks. It causes fire.
Thus, consider the things which get us up and moving, that is, things that propel us. I don’t mean responsibilities like needing to go to that job you hate, but things that get you excited, that which makes you act without thinking. It’s the idea that makes you jump up and say, “This is what I have to do, right now,” and makes you giddy with excitement. When you talk about it, people see your eyes light up, and hear that this is more than just a mere interest, this is a sould-driving passion. This is the Fire within you.
However, Fire isn’t always a positive force. It’s whatever makes you move, and sometimes anger, hurt, fear, jealousy can make you move. People go blind with rage, they go silly and possessive with lust. These are the negative aspects of Fire.
The Fire within all of us is like a camp Fire: once we have the spark going, it’s our responsibility to maintain it and keep it safe. It can do so much good for us while it’s contained, but if it strays from a safe position, it can destroy.
The number 4 is a number of structure. Structure comes in many forms, whether rule, laws, and systems, or physical structures of buildings, cities, kingdoms, or foundations. While the 3 represents the first shape with the triangle, the 4 is the first structurally sound shape with the rectangle. It provides not only strength, but also the ability to be build upon.
Before moving on, consider how it is that the understanding of the element of Fire can be infused with the number 4. What does it mean to you? Look at what structure looks like in terms of Fire. Consider what Fire looks like in terms of structure. How do they differ? How many different perspectives can you develop of these combinations? Relating back to the color metaphor, consider the various shades of green there are based on how much yellow or blue are added to the combination. What are the different hues which can be made from the combination of Fire and the number 4? Share your thoughts in the comments below to start the discussion.
This is the second installment of the 4 of Wands Weekly Tarot Card. You can read the first installment, ‘Observation and Description’ here. Today, we will look at the 4 of Wands meditation.
To prepare for this, pull out your 4 of Wands from your deck or decks, and something to record with. This could be something to write with or something to record audio, whatever works best for you.
Find yourself a quiet space where you won’t be disturbed for the duration of this meditation. Allow yourself at least ten minutes for the meditation, plus a few more to record your thoughts.
Breathe in, finding that quiet center in yourself. Imagine the goodness of fresh air filling your lungs with white light. As it passes through your throat chakra, your heart chakra, and moves down into your belly, the chakras grow brighter.
Breathe like this for a few moment until you feel yourself calm and relaxed. Notice if there is any tension in your body. Your neck? Shoulders? Legs? Hands? Toes? Mentally go through your body and release your muscles. Breathe.
Feel the warmth on your face from the sun. Smell the scent of freshly cut grass, and hear the rustle of branches as a light breeze blows through them. You can hear the laughing and chatter of a group of people not far away. They sound like they’re having a good time.
Look to the left, what do you see? What do you feel?
Look to the right. What do you see? What do you feel?
You can start to make out what the cluster of people are saying. They’re raising their glasses, toasting, and you hear your name. It is in your honor. You are the reason they are here, and they are happy. Their joy is infectious, and you can feel it.
They are celebrating your creation, your brain baby. What is it? What is your passion, your creative pursuit that is the purest of passion that you want to come to fruition? What does it look like to reach stability? Is it a building? Is it a team coming together to create it? What does the stable aspect of your passion look like?
This is what they’re toasting, and this is what you see before you.
Spend some time exploring this, whatever it means to you. Does it mean touching it? Reading it? Shaking hands? Signing documents? Explore the group of people there, what do they have to say? What thanks are they giving you? What praise? What advice?
Spend as much time as you’d like here. When you’re reading, take a few deep breaths to bring yourself back into your body, and open your eyes.
Spend some time recording what you observed during your meditation. What did you think? What did you feel? Did it give you a pathway to making your creation something stable? Did you struggle to envision your passion in fruition? Consider why that might have been. Is there anything blocking you from creating that vision?
This meditation is just as much about getting into the 4 of Wands as it is about creating a vision of your goals so you can map them out. If this was helpful, use it while brainstorming a plan of action. In readings you can use this card as a signifier to help you ask for directional guidance, as well. Yesterday’s observation and today’s 4 of Wands meditation are designed to help you create your own experiences with the card. Tomorrow we will look at the element and number of the 4 of Wands, giving you two points of guidance to enhance your understanding and definition of the card.
If you’d like to look at more Tarot Meditations, visit the Meditations Page.