Self-confidence in my ability to excel professionally! I tend to assume I won’t be able to master something enough to be able to really excel, which is a real confidence killer. I think I’ve missed many opportunities by not believing I can do something.
Position Two: Old way of doing things
King of Wands
Rather than assuming I’ve got it figured out like the king, I tend to assume I don’t. I assume others know more than I do and that any mistake I make will make me look like a fool.
Position Three: New way of doing things
Four of Wands
I love Huszka’s Four of Wands. It’s about awakening and stepping into the sun. Being comfortable and letting good things come.
All wands! This made me think of the work and excitement I’ve been putting into planning for my tarot business. It’s a little scary, but I’ve been doing much better at pushing through my self doubt and feeling confident in my ability to create something good — maybe great!
This morning I was particularly sad. I’m taking a break in communicating or spending time with someone, which is something I need to do while I figure out what I want or what to do. But that doesn’t make it easy. I’m sad! I miss them! This ache was, for some reason, rather acute this morning.
I wanted to do a reading but wasn’t sure what to ask, so I decided to do a four card open reading. Then I couldn’t decide on just one deck, so I decided to consult two of my tarot “friends.”
Ostara Tarot’s Message
Ace of Coins, The Hierophant, Four of Wands, Seven of Coins
The Ace of Coins says to me that there is an opportunity for a new beginning. In this scenario, I’ll consider that beginning as encompassing most of my world: work, family, relationships, home. While this can be a good thing or lead to a sense of stability and joy (Four of Wands), it is not an easy thing. I am having to question many of my currently held beliefs (The Hierophant), and it’s not quick work (Seven of Coins). The colors in this spread seem very mellow. This feels like it emphasizes the slow nature of the work I’m doing right now and reminds me that many wonderful things grow out of slow processes. This wait is part of what makes the end result so valuable or special.
The Ostara description of the Ace of Coins mentions the garden as growing “organically” — things will happen as they unfold. I can tend my proverbial garden, but I can’t make a rose a watermelon or make a sprout flower overnight.
The Hierophant represents not only belief systems, but larger systemic structures. I can search for outside wisdom and inspiration during this time. For example, I’m reading my new book The Language of Emotions by Karla McLaren and it is already giving me so much to think about as I process my emotions in this situation. The Ostara depiction is my favorite Hierophant because there’s a book and pages. A plant grows out of the Hierophant’s head here — another hint at organic unfolding.
The carrots in the Four of Wands offer a similar hint.
The Ostara depiction of the Seven of Coins with the little raccoons snuggled in their tree reflects the need to patiently cultivate the world around me. The coins seem to magically grow out of the tree, representing where true treasure lies.
Here, the Ostara Tarot is reaffirming the slowness of this transition in my life. It is what it is. I should use this time well.
Gypsy Palace Tarot’s Message
Two of Wands, Nine of Wands, The Empress, Ten of Pentacles
I’m feeling trapped in a “stay or go” cycle of questions in my mind. Huszka’s depiction of the Two of Wands warns us that if we wonder for too long, stagnation and decay will set in. While I wait for the things that need to unfold organically, I can throw some fire energy into other things, like planning for my tarot business and being a good partner to my sweetheart.
I think in this situation, the Nine of Wands can represent not only my current sense of defensiveness but also my questioning and restructuring of personal boundaries. Particularly emotionally. This is one of the things that I feel will unfold as a combination of organic, subconscious happening and concerted, conscious work. Right now I feel like the grumpy woman guarding her fenced-in property!
The Empress reminds me to be nurturing and compassionate, which I think I’m doing a pretty good job of lately with myself. With others it feels tricky because of my unsureness about where and how to set boundaries. Before, I’ve always put others before myself, so it feels strange to put myself first and to leave others be on their own. I look forward to striking some kind of balance between the the Nine of Wands defensiveness and the Empress’s outward love and nurturance.
Where the Ostara Tarot gave me the Ace of Coins, The Gypsy Palace Tarot shows me the Ten of Pentacles. In fact, the Ace is the first card in my spread, and the Ten is the last! Perhaps here the Ten may indicate the end of an old cycle of being and thinking. One that worked for a while but isn’t functioning in a healthy way anymore. It can also represent a hopeful peek into the future: a joyous Ten of Pentacles representing success and fulfillment.
Each deck gave me one major card and a combination of coins/pentacles and wands. No swords, no cups. Much of what is happening feels like emotion and thought, but perhaps this spread indicates these are actions that are unfolding organically around and within me. The two major cards symbolize, broadly, love (The Empress) and beliefs (The Hierophant). I feel that these two things are really at the core of what is happening in and around me right now. I am full of love, but I just have to figure out what I really believe is the best way to share that and to protect my heart.
Balance! I am much closer to emotional stability than in the previous days. Much less angry, a little less sad. A little more forgiving. Having to live, at the moment, with some contradictory feelings and thoughts. I’ve done a good job of handling these contradictory feelings today and not letting myself spiral out of control trying to bring everything into alignment. That just isn’t happening at the moment, and I can’t force it.
Position Two: How can I strive to be my best tomorrow?
Four of Wands
Family and happiness! Keep working to get back to this place. I’ve laid some of the groundwork on my end tonight. Tread carefully, but move in the right direction — toward connection and renewal.
I decided tonight to do a New Year’s spread. I drew three cards for “wishes” for the new year, and I drew the shadow card to be realistic about what might be challenging in the year ahead.
Queen of Swords, Queen of Chalices, Six of Swords
I think the Queen of Swords and the Queen of Chalices speak to my wish for a better balance and synthesis between my logical, thinking mind and my emotional self. I wish to, like the Queens, master these elements within myself and use them for positive self growth. The Six of Swords is a wish for this journey to be smooth. A wish to continue moving on toward better lands and leaving unpleasant ways of being and understanding behind. The Queens indicate the strength I’ll need to make this journey and to seek out new lands which are unknown (and therefore kind of scary!). My overwhelming wish for this upcoming year is strong, definite personal growth. A more balanced and happy self that looks forward to good and doesn’t feel trapped in my mind or drowned in my emotions.
In my Messages for 2016 spread, I drew three Queens. Two more Queens here. I’m getting the message loud and clear that 2016 will be about internal mastery and change.
Four of Wands
I did this same spread for my sweetheart before doing my own. And guess what his shadow card was? The Four of Wands. We are currently sharing a struggle and trying to reset the four posts of familial bliss and easy happiness that the Four of Wands represents. This is no easy task, and it is casting a large shadow indeed over the coming new year. Hopefully this shadow doesn’t loom too far into the year.
Many blessings to everyone in 2016! See you next year 😉
Continuing through Susannah Conway’s workbook, I’ve done a spread for the year ahead. I don’t subscribe to the idea of future-telling, but I do like the idea of a little message or tidbit to keep in mind for each month of the year ahead. So I’ve gone through and created a short message from each card, focusing on the particular messages in the little white book for the Ostara deck.
January – Queen of Coins
I love that this card came up first, especially since it is one of two cards that I chose to help guide me in courage through the year ahead.
“Cherish home and family, focus on and nurture the world immediately surrounding me.”
February – Justice
“Be mindful that all actions have consequences. Choose wisely.”
March – Seven of Coins
“Enjoy the little things. Don’t miss out on these small things by being distracted by impatiently expecting ‘more.'”
April – Four of Coins
“Protect what is mine, but don’t neglect those around me. Share and be generous.”
May – Wheel of Fortune
“Appreciate the good in my life, and don’t let any bad events take me down. Remember that I control my emotional reaction to what happens around me.”
June – Queen of Cups
“Be imaginative and trust my intuition. Continue to be kind and empathetic, but don’t let myself be emotionally drained by others.”
July – Seven of Swords
“In seeking independence, don’t isolate myself. I can be my own person within community.”
August – Knight of Coins
“Hardship can bring valuable lessons. Don’t quit.”
September – Eight of Swords
“Be careful not to get stuck in my own head. Look realistically at situations and seek additional perspectives.”
October – Four of Wands
“Celebrate with family. Be happy.”
November – Queen of Wands
“Trust my creative vision. Be passionate.”
December – The Empress
“Appreciate the abundance of good in my life. Embrace my creative powers.”
My passion is my journey to a becoming a healthier, happier person. I have experienced pain, and I am ready to move forward.
In the Animism Tarot, the swords appear to be under the water, pointing toward the sunrise. So the swords are still present, but they are submerged and provide direction to something beautiful and warm. A sunrise also symbolizes a new beginning. Creator Joanna Cheung says, “The journey is almost over, and your destination is close.” Keywords include both fortitude and tranquility, strength and peace.
Swords are air, but both this depiction and the traditional RWS card are filled with water. The water (emotion) can successfully carry the mental anguish symbolized by the swords. In the traditional card, the ferryman uses a pole (wand) to push the ferry along. This represents the drive to create change and move on.
Position Two: How have I expressed it?
I have expressed this by reevaluating my worldview and creating spiritual practices that feed my soul. As I quoted in my first encounter with the Hierophant, Paul Quinn says in Tarot for Life: “Our task is to keep the ones [the ideas] that expand out spirit and retire the rest. … the Hierophant represents not only what one has learned or must learn, but also what one must eventually unlearn to nurture the heightened consciousness beckoning in the World card” (62, emphasis in original).
I am learning tarot and meditation, both spiritual practices with communities and long histories, in the hopes that these will facilitate my journey. In the traditional RWS depiction, the Hierophant raises his hand with two finger pointed up and two pointed down, symbolizing “as above, so below.” I am expressing my passion for forward movement on my journey by acknowledging the spiritual elements of my life and incorporating them into my daily practices.
Position Three: How can I express it more fully?
Four of Cups
While many interpretations of the Four of Cups are about dissatisfaction or the need to reach out for an offered opportunity, I also like the interpretation that states that the man in the traditional RWS card is not dissatisfied, but is content with the three cups that already sit in front of him and is taking care of himself by not accepting a fourth cup, which might be too much for him to take on at this point in time.
I can live my passion of creating my true self by not taking on too much. I can appreciate what I have and recognize when to say, “No thank you.” This will allow me to dedicate more energy to the task at handn.
Position Four: What blocks me?
The High Priestess
I can be blocked when I stay in my own head for too long. Introspection has its place and is certainly valuable, but there comes a time for action. I am blocked when I become trapped inside myself and won’t or can’t turn my intuition and thoughts into action.
I am free when I am able to “let go” in the company of my family of choice. Their stable love creates an environment where I am occasionally able to forget myself and really be the person I am journeying toward.
I nurture and celebrate success in others, and am beginning to do the same for myself. This card can also represent a balance of fire energy: enough to keep the fires burning bright, but not so much that they rage out of control. I am nurturing this sort of control or moderation in my journey.
Position Seven: What does nurturing ask of me?
Joanna, creator of the Animism Tarot, says, “Ferocity and gentleness, freedom and control, passion and compassion: there is balance here, one that requires a delicate touch, one without fear, but with understanding. With balance, comes peace.” Nurturing asks that I temper my passion with compassion and be confident in the knowledge that I do not have to be aggressive to achieve my goal.
The Strength card reminds me that “nurturing” with my dominant air qualities is not actually reflective of true strength. Knowledge and power are most effective when wedded to compassion and gentleness.
Position Eight: What does it give me?
Queen of Pentacles
Joanna says, “She is balanced in life, understanding the value of hard work as well as the importance of simple pleasures.” Through nurturing both myself and others, I will reap the benefits of this labor and be able to to partake in the simple pleasures that life offers by recognizing when to stop and smell the roses — which is in itself a form of self-nurturance.
Position Nine: How can I bring together my passion and my nurturance?
Two of Pentacles
The Two of Pentacles is a card that speaks to balance. This card acknowledges that balancing acts are not always the easiest: life comes with ups and downs. While the Four of Cups in this reading spoke to not taking on more than I can handle, this card may say, “But you must handle the balance between your passion and nurturing. Don’t neglect one in favor of the other, and work to tend both of them.” This card also implies that this juggling act doesn’t inherently have to be tedious or boring: I can make it joyful if I choose to approach it with a good attitude.
Rachel Pollack in Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom says it perfectly: “The card implies that whatever has been built up (including relationships between people) has reached a point where it can grow by itself, and the person can step back from it without it collapsing” (246). Yes! For me, it is definitely the relationships. When I can exist so comfortably in a relationship with someone that I’m not constantly doing “work” or feeling self conscious, it is indeed magic.
Position Two: How does magic act in my life?
Queen of Wands
Queens are water, and wands are fire. I would say that magic acts a bit like both of these seemingly contradictory elements. It can act quickly and unexpectedly like fire, but it can also act smoothly and soothingly like water. The Queen of Wands is also considered attractive, and this magic in my life shows me very attractive ways of being in or seeing the world.
Position Three: Where do I look for it?
Four of Wands
I absolutely look for magic in the loving bosom of a stable home. While the number four denotes structure, fire (wands) cannot be easily contained. So this can speak of an expansive, joyous stability. The “warm fuzzies” of stability. This lack of constraint can be seen in the Animism Tarot’s depiction of the Four of Wands as two joyous hummingbirds. While they make their home in the (stable, wand-like) branches, they also fly through the air and feel the warm glow of the sun on their wings.
Position Four: How do I find it?
Page of Cups
This card represents contemplation and imagination, a newly emerging consciousness. She notices synchronicities and feels intuitively. This page is not bogged down by the pressure to make decisions or organize her desires. She happily ponders. Paul Quinn in Tarot for Life provides this Mark Twain quote to open the discussion of the Page of Cups: “One learns through the heart, not the eyes or the intellect” (199). I can find magic by quietly and contentedly watching what emerges from my subconscious. Don’t judge or feel the need to take immediate action. Allow this magic to manifest itself without accidentally squashing it or altering its course. Like the happy otter in the Animism Tarot swimming alongside the flower watching and enjoying its magic.
Position Five: How do I use it?
Five of Cups
At first I wasn’t sure what to make of this card in this position, but I think it’s actually a very cool card here. It offers a realistic view of using magic in my own life. I have absolutely suffered loss and grief. And that will surface from time to time, but in the traditional RWS depiction, two cups remain upright. My life isn’t over or all sorrow. There is hope and goodness. I can grieve when I need to, but when I don’t I can use the “magic” in my life to turn around and take joy in the two full cups. My life can be full and beautiful even if some of my “cups” have been spilled, and if I use the magic in my life to good ends I can have that full and beautiful life.
I think the Animism Tarot depiction is wonderful for this. The Marbled Salamander sits in his cave. “Rain falls softly as he finds solace in the shadows. He mourns for his losses, and there have been many. But as the rain starts to fade, the sun slowly rises.” The sun after a storm is quite magical, just as joy after great sorrow is.
The elements that showed up are the cups, wands, and pentacles. It feels like tarot might be saying, “You may have assigned The Magician the element of air, but if you want to emulate her, you’d better make sure you’re including these other elements.” Additionally, they were all Minor Arcana cards, which could serve as a reminder that I need to remember the grounded, earthly, downward facing arm of The Magician rather than getting stuck in the clouds. Her power is in manifesting her magic in the world around us. Not in thinking about or seeing the spiritual alone.
Since today is an anniversary, it’s a good time for reflection about the past, where I’m at now, and what’s coming. However, I decided to try a “body, mind, spirit” spread rather than a “past, present, future” one so I can be sure to assess each of these parts of myself as I look forward to another year with myself, with my sweetheart, and with my family of choice.
This card can represent “peace in the domestic sphere” (Wen, 133). The physical environment my body inhabits should become a more organized, clean, and peaceful place. I will have more time to dedicate to this physical part of my life, and I am approaching this change with motivation and excitement (wands = fire). The number four indicates stability, which can speak to my actual physical body as well as my physical environment. I need to spend more time caring for my body by:
making sure I eat (I have a tendency to not eat much when I’m stressed)
eating better (cereal and chocolate covered granola bars is not exactly a balanced diet)
moving my body (exercising regularly)
I love this card. I think it’s really beautiful. The woman looks so content and relaxed, like she has all she needs and can recline and enjoy the birds and the sunshine. And I absolutely love Huszka’s entry in the little white book for this deck.
Position Two: Mind, The Hanged Man
This card in the mind position could indicate that I need to use my intellect (swords, air) during this time when I am emotionally (cups, water) strung up and not sure where to go. Or maybe it means I need to stop trying to think my way out of this emotional quagmire and just be here even though it’s not the most comfortable place I’ve ever been. In Tarot for Life, Paul Quinn says the halo around the Hanged Man’s head “shows that it is an illuminated perspective, rather than a changed situation, that brings him peace” (93) or could also represent “the light at the end of the tunnel” (95).
The Hanged Man can be seen as allowing his subconscious to take over. I need to reconnect with the spiritual and pause long enough to do so! Tarot is already a major help in that department. While the Hanged Man seems stuck when we see him, change is happening within. I should be patient during this time of transition rather than trying to reason my way out of it as quickly as possible.
In this version of the Hanged Man, she is not upside down, but she is suspended naked next to two dresses. This is two different types of discomfort: her feet are not on the ground and she is nude (vulnerable?). Both clothing and the ground are close at hand, but neither are accessible.
Position Three: Spirit, the Lovers
My depression, anxiety, and c-ptsd can make it difficult to connect with others. The Lovers may symbolize prioritizing tending for the relationship with myself, with my sweetheart, with my family of choice, and with the world around me. In addition to caring for these connections, the Lovers could also symbolize my need to create connections between my conscious and unconscious, or my light and my shadow. If these aspects of my spirit can be connected or in communication, perhaps their contradictory features may not feel so jarring in my life. Accepting all parts of myself.
I like this card a lot as well. The way I see it, the white figures and creature on the ground could represent the physical world, the yellow and blue figures and creature in the air could represent the mind (emotion and thought), and the balloon can represent the spiritual realm. Both the body and the thoughts/emotions are holding onto the balloon string. I need to work toward connecting my body, mind, and spirit, and be open to the lessons of the universe and to the good that can come to my spirit when I connect with others.
I found this reading to be a great affirmation about the path I’m on 🙂