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.”
I was self-confident today. I didn’t doubt myself or think about who I “ought” to be. I was me, and I was comfortable and happy with that!
Position Two: How can I strive to be my best tomorrow?
Queen of Wands
I can be passionate and excited, but careful not to burn others. When I get excited about something, I can get hyper-focused and forget to be gentle. This doesn’t mean I should stifle my passions. It just means that I should not dive so far into them that I lose sight of how to communicate and connect with others.
This reading is a little abstract for me, but I’ll do my best! I think I’ll look at it like where I’m at in my own life cycle.
Position One: What turns the Wheel?
Queen of Wands
Position Two: What outer change will come?
Page of Wands
Adventures will come my way. I may not know what exactly they will be or when they’ll come, but they’ll be available. I just have to choose which ones to tackle!
Position Three: What inner change is possible?
Six of Wands
Victory! While I’ll never feel totally “fixed,” I contain the possibility of victories on my journey of self-healing. The Wheel of my journey rolls on, but I can celebrate the victory of a full turn, a new revolution.
Position Four: What new situation will I face?
Knight of Cups
I’m entering a new era of my life that calls for emotional action. For a long, long time I’ve been very reserved. I’ll be experiencing similar situations, but the new cycle I am in calls for me to offer up more of my emotional self. My action doesn’t have to be fast or reckless. The RWS Knight of Cups isn’t galloping away at high speeds. But I do need to be moving forward.
I like the depiction here of the hippo diving. She’s exploring emotional depths.
Position Five: What rises?
Folly rises. Silliness rises. I’m letting loose my inner prancing llama! (Or trying anyway, there’s a series of smaller ups and downs in this process.)
Position Six: What falls?
This card keeps showing up in kind of negative positions, which has me a little confused. But I’ll go again, then, with the shadow meaning: too high of expectations / ideals. These overly high ideals are falling away. Not all at once, but they are.
Position Seven: What is at the center?
Ten of Wands
Hard work is at the center! Hard work and motivation. The Wheel isn’t going to turn itself. Well, maybe it would, but I might not like where it would go. I’m pulling the strings I have control over to help guide it.
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.