Reading: Through The Shadows

I received Barbara Moore’s Tarot Spreads: Layouts & Techniques to Empower Your Readings for Christmas. Today I decided to try her “Through the Shadows Spread” to further explore my current heartache.

Reading 2016, Jan 3
Prisma Visions Tarot

Position One: My truth

The Star

I do understand that my current heartache is temporary. I was thinking just earlier today that time is the only thing that will really sooth the sharp pain I feel right now, but that at the moment I have to experience this. There’s no getting around it. So I do believe that better things will come, but it’s like I’m outside without my glasses on. All of the stars are blurred and practically invisible. I can’t imagine what this better future would be. I’m mired in pain at the moment with no clear Star perspective other than the not quite helpful adage of “this too shall pass.”

Position Two: My deepest inner fear

Four of Chalices

While usually I lean more toward the more upbeat interpretation of this card, that is not so in this position. I’m afraid I’m doomed to sit under this tree having my cups kicked over by inconsiderate passers by. I’m trying to be strong and content, but every time I fill up a few cups and start to feel stable (the number four), something happens. Perhaps I’m minding my own business and someone kicks my cups down. Or perhaps I invite someone under my tree to proudly show them my cups and they are indifferent or dismissive. It’s a lonely place to be, and sometimes I feel like I am doomed to relive this over and over. This deck’s depiction of the Four of Chalices reflects this feeling very strongly for me.

Position Three: Familiar, external fear, distraction, or illusion

Ace of Swords

I often fear that I’m being unreasonable or overly harsh in wielding my sword-element powers. In this situation, this has crossed my mind from time to time, but honestly I believe I have been wronged and that I am not being unreasonable to feel this way.

Position Four: Unknown, external fear, distraction, or illusion

Nine of Chalices

Satisfaction and happiness with life are things that I have sneaked awfully close to but which remain unknown to me as constants. Or constant enough for me to trust in them as something I deserve or will have again. It feels like an illusion that is too good to be true, and it is something I fear I won’t be able to have.

For all three fear positions, it seems appropriate that they’re chalices and a sword. My thoughts and emotions can get so twisted up and confused that I feel horribly lost and frightened.

Positions Five & Six: Lighting my path

Two of Pentacles, Seven of Wands

Life has its ups and downs, and I can create my own steady rhythm including when to let some balls drop. If I keep this in mind I may feel more in control and less lost. I may be in a very challenging time right now, but I must trust myself to get through. I must not doubt my strength or my value. I find the depiction of the Seven of Wands in this deck particularly beautiful.

Position Seven: Nature of my path

Strength

Ah, my friend Strength. As difficult as this path is, the nature of this path is self-confidence and self-trust. Believing I am strong and valuable and not wavering on these points. Without holding to these beliefs, I will surely collapse on this path. It would be too unbearable to find some healthy way out of this situation and I’d be gobbled up by depression and sorrow and make a mess of my life over someone who clearly doesn’t value me as much.

And Strength isn’t always inherently from oneself alone. I can draw strength and encouragement from my sweetheart as I trudge down this painful trail.

XIX. The Sun

The Sun
Efflorescent Tarot

Card Meaning

The Sun symbolizes clarity, joy, simplicity, knowledge, and openness. When considering the third row of the Major Arcana as a whole, the Sun is significant: from darkness (in the Devil and Tower) to light (from the Star, to the Moon, to the Sun). What was in shadow in the light of the Moon is now clearly seen.

The Sun is a card of self-confidence. It can represent a harmonious joining of our eternal selves and our mortal selves or the discovery of our own inner Garden of Eden. When we have made the connection between our inner light or eternal self and our mortal self, how could we be anything but confident? To know that such beauty and power lies within us is empowering and joyful indeed! The joy of the Fool has been transformed into a joy bred of self-knowledge and experience.

I love this statement by Paul Quinn in Tarot for Life: “‘Light is above us, and color around us,’ observed Goethe, ‘but if we have not light and color in our eyes, we shall not perceive them outside us.’ The brighter our inner Sun, the more apt we are to see the Sun in the world (as within, so without)” (128). Quinn also relates the card to our inner child and says this is not a refusal to see that which is painful or bad in the world — but rather the knowledge that goodness burns brighter and will outlast these things (129). One of the keywords the Animal Wisdom Tarot assign the Sun is “radiance.”

The Sun
Gypsy Palace Tarot

As card 19, 1 and 9 make us think of the Magician and the Hermit. The Magician reminds us of the “as within, so without” adage, and in the Sun, the Hermit has climbed out of his cave radiant and whole. 1 + 9 = 10 (The Wheel of Fortune), which indicates that even though the Sun might seem like the end of the Fool’s Journey we still have some changes in store.

As the sun in the sky is a source of life, the Sun card might lead us to ask “What is sustaining me and supporting me right now?” And if we are full of Sun energy ourselves, what are we doing to help sustain others?

A shadow of the Sun could be being a little too cocky, perhaps in assuming the world revolves around you. Another shadow could be false cheer, only as an outward performance. An opposite or reverse of the Sun could be refusing to see the light and good of things, keeping your own light from the world, or having low self-esteem.

Elemental Association

If I were to assign an element to the Sun, it would be fire, air, and water. Fire for joy, air for knowledge, and water for spiritual harmony.

The Sun
Animal Wisdom Tarot, Animism Tarot

Personal Reflection

Honestly, the most Sun-like part of my life is practicing tarot. I’ve tried many things (all kinds of hobbies, not only spiritual practices) and enjoyed them, but nothing has gotten me so fired up and excited and sure that I can be awesome at something as tarot has. I’m loving every second of it. I have the privilege of staying at home right now, and I spend probably four hours a day usually studying tarot. And the time flies! I mean seriously flies. I already have plans in the works to set up an online reading business, but I’m waiting to learn more and save up for starting costs. Even so, I think about it every day. I look into logos and LLCs and how others do email readings and all kinds of things. Tarot makes me confident in a way I don’t think I’ve ever been. I feel empowered and good at something and wildly enthusiastic! Tarot is my Sun-place, and hopefully that will eventually leak out into other parts of my life that could use a little more self-confidence.

Reading: The Star

Reading 2015, Dec 2
Animism Tarot and Gypsy Palace Tarot, A Reading for the Star from Rachel Pollack’s The New Tarot Handobok

This reading called for 1-3 cards for each position. So I decided to use the two decks with my favorite Star cards and to pull one card from each deck per position.

Position One: Hope

Three of Pentacles & Ace of Cups

Teamwork and a new emotional beginning. Perhaps these are good places to pin my hopes. Not so much in very specific ideas (the Star has told me a couple of times already I’m too idealistic), but more in the process itself. Opening myself up to accepting help and cooperation and feeling hopeful about this new emotional beginning.

Position Two: Guidance

Six of Cups & The Lovers

Generosity and connection. The guidance here may be, “Give more of yourself to those you trust. Foster a closer connection, strengthen that trust into something more solid. And don’t forget to include generosity toward yourself.”

Both cards are sixes, speaking to harmony. A true harmony is not possible if I am always holding something back.

Position Three: Peace

The World & Knight of Cups

Slow down and appreciate the interconnectedness of everything. Take time to make myself whole. Be the dreamy Knight of Cups and take in the World with love and wonder.

Position Four: Healing

Knight of Swords & Three of Swords

Healing actually takes a great deal of courage. As I’ve spoken about a few times recently, even when I know change is possible it can be difficult to take the steps necessary to make it happen. The unknown is scary, and the “bad” present suddenly looks like a safe bet. So it takes courage to change, and at the same time I will always carry some degree of hurt and trauma with me. As much as I would absolutely love there to be a final threshold to cross and be able to yell, “I’m all better!”, that’s just not going to happen. There will always be damaged parts of myself, but I have to be brave and to mend those parts that can be put back together or remade.

Animism Tarot message

A major theme of connection: teamwork, generosity, and the universe. All followed by courage. Connection is vitally important, but there’s an acknowledgment that it’s not always the easiest thing to accomplish.

Gypsy Palace Tarot message

Love is a major theme: love as beginning, love as connection, love as slow and dreamy-eyed, and love as pain. Again, love is important, and the acknowledgement that it’s not always easy either.

Overall Reflection

This has been such an interesting spread, especially when I looked at the two decks’ cards separately. Such a similar message!

 

XVII. The Star

The Star
Efflorescent Tarot

Card Meaning

The Star is hope, calmness, and peace. After the rubble has settled from the crash of the Tower, we see a Star letting us know we’ve made it through. It can also represent healing and wholeness.

Visually, this card is very similar to Temperance, but the woman in the Star is naked suggesting a comfort with one’s true self. Additionally, the woman in the Star card pours the water out into the pool of water and onto the ground. She gives freely and trusts that her energies will be restored. Paul Quinn in Tarot for Life reminds us that our human wells do sometimes run dry. When that happens we need to pause and replenish.

The Star
Gypsy Palace Tarot

As card 17, 1 + 7 = 8, which is is Strength. The strength needed to love our true selves, and the strength needed to make it through the fall of the Tower.

The Star can also speak to our wishes and dreams. I think Huszka’s representation illustrates this beautifully. I also really enjoy Joanna’s depiction of the Ibis, wings spread, beneath a waterfall and gazing up at the bright stars. The Animal Wisdom Tarot’s peacock (“The Illuminator”) reminds us to take pride in who we are.

A shadow of the star could be ideals that are too lofty. An opposite or reverse of the Star could be refusing to see the light, despairing, or keeping our energies bottled up.

Elemental Association

If I were to assign an element to the Star, it would be water for the spiritual and emotional calmness it represents.

The Star - animals
Animal Wisdom Tarot, Animism Tarot

Personal Reflection

So far, the only times I’ve seen the Star in a reading it’s been telling me I’m too idealistic about certain things. So even though it hasn’t shown up in its more warm and fuzzy meaning for me, I love the imagery, symbolism, and meaning. Things might still be a little dark, but not fearful or destructive. More curious and exciting. We wouldn’t be able to see the stars at all if it weren’t for darkness.

I particularly like the meaning of healing. Healing is possible, and it can be beautiful like the Star rather than always painful or uncomfortable. Rather than focus on the darkness surrounding me, focus on the beautiful light. Which takes self confidence and strength. It can feel incredibly vulnerable to let myself feel hope.

Reading: The Wheel of Fortune

Reading 2015, Nov 18
Animism Tarot, A Reading for the Wheel of Fortune from Rachel Pollack’s The New Tarot Handbook

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

Love.

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?

The Fool

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?

The Star

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.

Reading: Dealing With Anger

I’m having a craptastic afternoon, so I found a spread I’d like to try out. It’s from tarot in a teacup.

Reading 2015, Nov 15 (2)
Animism Tarot

Row One: What is the root cause of my anger?

The High Priestess, The Star, The Sun

The High Priestess is about the subconscious. While I try to be conscious of the baggage I carry around and how it affects me, I can be dragged under when it reaches up from my subconscious and catches me unawares. The High Priestss also indicates my tendency to immediately retreat inward when I am angry. I retreat from the world, including those around me. However, I’m not exactly listening to my inner intuition or unconscious. Just fleeing. When I have retreated so far into myself, I lose clarity (The Sun) or any glimmer or sense of hope (The Star). This makes it difficult to climb out of the deep hole of anger I’ve fallen into.

The Star can also indicate my tendency to have high ideals. When they are not met, I can become angry. Both my total withdrawal (The High Priestess) and my overly high ideals (The Star) block my ability to think with clarity (The Sun), so I become trapped in anger.

Row Two: What I need to do to heal/resolve my anger issues.

Page of Swords, Page of Pentacles, The Hermit

Pages are not active (like, for instance, knights), and the Hermit speaks to conscious introspection. These cards seem to be saying, “Stop!”

The Page of Swords says, “Stop and evaluate your state of mind.” The Page of Pentacles says, “Stop and evaluate the situation that surrounds you.” The Hermit says, “Stop and look within yourself. Be honest and learn from what you see.” Just stop. Evaluate, and then choose a different way to move forward rather than staying put in such an ugly emotional/mental place.

Pages also represents earth. So they can also be saying, “Stay grounded. Don’t float away on your sea of anger. Stay here.”

Additional Insights

Four major cards and two court cards! This may speak to this as a larger developmental / spiritual issue for me. Of course it affects my daily, more “mundane” life, but it’s something I need to tackle on my Fool’s Journey (majors) in order to make real progress on my family (court cards) aspirations.

Reading: Strength

Reading 2015, Nov 14
Animism Tarot, A Reading for Strength from Rachel Pollack’s The New Tarot Handbook

Position One: How am I strong?

The High Priestess

I am strong at taking quiet time to retreat from the world and allow inner contemplation and exploration of my unconscious.

Position Two: How am I weak?

Three of Pentacles

I am weak at allowing others to join me and help me on my journey. I can often be too fiercely independent.

Position Three: When do I need to be strong?

Queen of Pentacles

This card keeps coming to me in positions of encouragement! I need to be strong in being a part of and taking pleasure in the world around me. Balance my High Priestess strength with the Queen of Pentacles.

Position Four: When do I need to be weak?

Seven of Wands

I need to be weak at being defensive. My defense mechanisms are often impressively overactive. Like the little hedgehogs in this depiction, I see a large and scary shadow coming my way, and my spikes go right up. But maybe the shadow is deceiving.

Position Five: What strengthens me?

Six of Swords

I am strengthened by the journey I am on away from the person I used to be and toward a healthier and happier me. As I reach different milestones, they give me the strength to keep going and remind me that change is possible. “Old” me will always be a part of me, but I can bandage her wounds, feel compassion for her, and bring her along on the journey.

Position Six: What weakens me?

The Star

This is the first time I’ve ever encountered the Star. I think perhaps what would fit here is the shadow of the Star: sometimes I can become disheartened and upset when my ideal outcome doesn’t occur. Of course, this is pretty often because such is life. This idealism weakens me by making it difficult to go with the flow. Or a reverse meaning: pessimism. When my depression starts to get the upper hand it’s awfully hard to see the stars shining.