Tuesday, January 31, 2012
How Can I Be The Best Candle?
This post is part of the wonderful TarotBlogHop created by Stephanie Arwen Lynch, and thus the bunnies. If you've hopped here from somewhere else, just follow the links to dance the bunny-hop through the whole line.
(Click on the bunny to see who hopped to me...)
Tarot BlogHop, Imbolc 2012:
How Can I Be The Best Candle?
February 1st is the Festival of Imbolc, the feast of the Goddess Brighid, and the first day of Spring in Ireland and many other Celtic countries. We are coming out of the darkness of winter, and of all Her symbols, the most characteristic icon of the energy of Brigid is the Flame. She is the Goddess of the Hearth, and Her three faces may each be represented by a different kind of fire: the forge-fire of "smithcraft", the making of all kinds of things; the poet's "fire in the head" of creative inspiration; and the healing fires of love, compassion, justice, and the warmth and light of physical good health. So, of course, we who honor Her are sparks of Her Flame, trying to spread Her light in the world as was suggested by Portia in The Merchant of Venice: "How far that little candle throws its beams; So shines a good deed in a naughty world!" (The Merchant of Venice Act V, sc. i) And so, today, in honour of the Goddess Brighid and the Festival of Imbolc, we consider the question, "How can I be the best candle?"
The card above is one I created for the Utah Maninni Project, the first time we did a Maninni Deck in the Salt Lake Pagan Community, in 2000. I was actually thinking of the three faces of Brighid when I did this card, so the three groups of three candles each represent the three fires of Brighid, poesy, smithcraft, and healing. I saw the imagery of three threes as representing in each case my Self, the Goddess, and the World--as in--"I, through the Goddess, give this light to the World". I didn't, of course, have quite the precognitive power to foresee this TarotBlogHop, but I was actually thinking along the lines of "how can I bring Brighid's Fire into the world, in my own small way?" The answer came to me in an odd way, for a Pagan, because as I was thinking of it, a quotation that seemed to answer the question for me landed, complete, with a "plop" of finality, in my head--and the quotation (here's the odd part) was from a Christian pastor. The quotation I 'heard', and which I have no doubt whatsoever was sent to me by the Goddess, is a famous aphorism of John Wesley, founder of Methodism (and we are discussing "methods" here, aren't we?) Here's the quotation:
“Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can.”
I remember thinking how coincidental it would have been for my card had the quotation had nine lines, rather than seven, but things don't always come out quite that serendipitous. However, it resonated with me as it has done since the first time I heard it, many years ago as a Catholic high school student. And today, for this blog hop, I am thinking of all the layers of meaning here. A Christian pastor--as a good candle, I don't hold prejudice towards any religion or teaching, but take and reflect Light wherever I find it. An exhortation, filled with the word "all"--a candle doesn't shine only in certain corners of the room, but shines its light everywhere, because it is a candle. So, shine wherever I am, to all the corners of my current "room", no matter who else is there, because I am a Light and that is my nature. And, of course, the resonance of certain words...look at the quotation, the way it appears on the page, and start with the word "good", and simply look straight down from there. If your display is similar to mine, you will get the hidden message "good--means--ways--places--times--people--ever"...And that one hits me over the head like the very anvil of Brighid's Forge. "Good" means ways, places, times, people...either "ever"yone, or FOR"ever"....So. I will be my Self, shed my Light, everywhere, for everyone, not because of who/what THEY are, but because of who **I** am. I am Brighid's candle. I will shine. You?
And hop on, now, to see who is hopping next in line to me...
Monday, January 30, 2012
Holding It All Together
This card was created by a Utah Pagan Community member known as Patric, who left our community four years ago to live overseas. Here is his description of his card:
Sunday, January 29, 2012
This card was created for the Utah Maninni Three Tarot, the theme of which was "The Goddess Utah". All the suits, therefore, had some connection with the natural world of the state of Utah, and the Suit of Cups was represented by Utah's lakes and rivers. This card was created by Cue Bee, the alias of a well-beloved member of our community, who has, unfortunately, passed beyond the veil. Here is his interpretation of his card:
Saturday, January 28, 2012
Here I Stand...
He straddles the path on the brow of the hill, and no one can move him--All those other wands assailing him can't even touch him. He is steadfast in knowing where he needs to go, and he cannot be stopped.
Today, you stand at the summit of your path, but there are interruptions and irrelevancies trying to distract you from where you need to go. But notice that none of the rods assailing the traveler are even touching him--they may not even be actually trying to do that--he just thinks they are....He is not letting himself be distracted by irrelevant arguments, because he knows they don't have anything to do with his journey. So--
Don't you let yourself be distracted either---You know where you're supposed to be going on your journey. Let yourself go where you intended to go, and let yourself ignore things that don't matter. The guardians are at work. Don't let yourself be distracted from your path. It's important.
Friday, January 27, 2012
We Circle Around...
Thursday, January 26, 2012
It is the week before Imbolc, and today's draw gives us the Daughter of Cups, Brighid of Ireland, in the octave of Her feast day. Calm, serene, as eternal as the standing stones which surround Her, she is a reminder to us today of the persistence of the sacred. Every year, the festivals occur, the remembrance of ancestors, of great Truths, of Deities and Saints, of landmarks and milestones of human life. Today I will begin to think of Brighid, Goddess of Poetry, Smithcraft, and Healing. Today I will give thanks for Her gifts. Today I will begin to work towards my Imbolc celebration, honoring Her in my preparations. Today is a day to connect ourselves to the Eternal Persistence of Spirit. Today we all are connected. Reach out, share, focus on that which is sacred to you, make this day matter. The calm serene gaze of the Eternal is looking upon you with Love. Take joy...it is there for you.
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
This card has the feel of eternity on it--she is the center of her own universe, thinking of her eternal marriage, in Utah, the center of the world...And of course, she's right. The Celts used to say it this way, "Where is the centre of the Earth? Right here, where I stand!" And for all of us today, this is the middle, this is the center of the earth, we are all there is. Today is the first day of the Waxing Moon of Rowan in the Celtic Tree calendar, the tree of protection and divine guidance. So--I can say it no better than the card does. Thou art God. Thou art Goddess. The world is yours...What are you going to do with it, today?
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Drawing The Threads Together...
Well, your TarotWitch is intrigued. Random draws from five different decks produce my daily card for you, and twice in a row we have art and ideas from Taliesin. Maybe I better see how the laddie is doing...For now, though...
In this deck, which was themed, "The Goddess Utah", the suit of Earth was represented by "The Green Goddess". Tal chose one of our native Wolf Spiders to be his eight, and I like the right-angled Antelope Island view he placed it on (they're all over the place out there). Let's see what he tells us about it:
I'm a spider-person myself, and I love these guys, when I am not surprised by them. I think this card has a message of remembrance (and I don't think it's an accident that it made me think of Taliesin today.) Whom/what have you forgotten? What do you need to recall, whom do you need to call, how are you keeping the web together today?
Monday, January 23, 2012
Better Than Expected
Sunday, January 22, 2012
Sometimes We Forget The Past...
January 22, 2012: Six of Cups, Utah Mannini Two Tarot
Six represents the evolution of three, and the threes are all the triad of beginnings, like the three legs of a cauldron, so sixes represent what has been built on that foundation. With cups, however, we have a tendency to forget that the vessel is actually containing and shaping the flow of water/emotion/transcendence/intuition, and that when we started, we needed to approach the raw materials of the situation when they were in their natural state, before putting them into the cup(s). So, I think the original description of this card as submitted by its creator, Sandy Elphin, will accurately reflect what this card is telling your Tarot Witch today:
"This is a simple cut-and-paste job of some images I found on a free site. I chose to use something that was pretty cut and dried, the cups all sitting in a formation, like most people probably think about their lives. We have a tendency to look back on the past a little too much and think of it as much better than the present is. The formation is quite regular, the cups all marching in an array behind the leader--all except the one at the base of the figure, which for sixes represents "number one". It's all spilt all over the place, but no one is paying attention. The convoy of cups is marching on, and leaving that stain on the tablecloth for someone else to worry about. The card is trying to show that number one, the past, is often pretty messy, but we forget about that, and number two, thinking too much about the past can even "leak" and make a mess of our present too. The card is a reminder that the important day is the one you are living right now."
There is only one place where I would disagree with Sandy's interpretation...well, maybe not disagree, exactly, but offer an additional perspective. I do agree that with the realm of emotion, dwelling on the past can be counterproductive. It is important to feel what you're actually feeling right now, and not to wallow in things that have "flowed" past you, out of your reach. BUT--I would definitely not leave that stain on the tablecloth, and why isn't someone helping that poor first cup to get up on its stem again and join the parade? Past emotions that involve other people are something for which we are responsible. Making amends, apologizing, setting things right, these are the things that make it possible for us to go on without drowning in a whirlpool of our own making. So, yes, concentrate on today's cup. Be here now, and do what you are feeling and thinking for today. Be present in the moment, drink from today's cup. But--clean up your mess first, 'k? Thanks!
Saturday, January 21, 2012
Here Come Da Juuuuudge....!!!!
January 21, 2012: Judgment -- Utah Mannini One Tarot
This card was created in 2000, for the very first Utah Mannini Tarot Project. It is a view of Antelope Island from the shores of the Great Salt Lake, with a fustercluck of cherubim and seraphim fighting for position on the island. And that does bespeak the very heart of the way we use the word "Judgment" right now in our culture..."judgmental" is a nasty word, the idea of fundamentalism that people will be "judged" by an angry God for being gay, or atheists, or pro-choice, or many other things...yes, all that is there. And that is even more prevalent in Utah, where people often feel as if the LDS Church has everyone under a microscope, "judging" constantly, as is evidenced by the repeated forays of clean-cut young men to one's front door to "preach the Gospel", even after one has asked that they not come back.
So--Judgment...hmm....what kind of a message is THAT for today, ferpetesake? Didn't I have enough to do today without worrying about the Universe judging me?? Geeezzzzeee...
But wait just a minute....slow down. This is a Tarot Witchery site, so try thinking like a Witch. Don't fall into the lazy linguistic trap of giving this word, judgment, only one meaning. To judge, my dears, is to choose. It means to discriminate--another word that has gotten universal bad press over decades of common usage, but actually has quite a magical meaning. Judgment--discrimination--they both mean, to think, and to select, and to make decisions based on free choice. I choose this, and not that. I discriminate at the grocery store between those nice fresh smooth juicy-looking peaches and those that are overripe or still hard and green. And I look at the idea of judging others for their choices, and I realize that I myself have to choose how I will interpret that word, and this card. Everyone chooses. Everyone says, "this, not that." And the idea here is to do that with thought, and consideration, in a focused manner. This card, today, tells us that a choice will need to be made, and that we need to exercise the faculty of judgment in choosing. What do I choose in this instance, and why do I choose it? What do I judge will be the best choice for me and mine? If we exercise the faculty of "right judgment" when we make choices about our lives, we will be far too busy and focused to spend our time either 'judging' anyone else, or worrying about whether we are being 'judged'. Fact is--here come da Judge, and for your own life, dearie, that's you!! Get on with it, eh?
Friday, January 20, 2012
Hurry Up And Waite....I Know You, Rider... ;)
January 20, 2012: The Hanged Man--Rider-Waite Tarot
I ran across the folder for my old Rider-Waite deck yesterday, and it so wanted to be here, so here's today's draw. It's the beginning of the year, we're on the edge of Spring in some places, it's the beginning of tax season, it's the time when we begin looking at the yard and the house with an eye to spring cleaning--it's all beginning again, hurry hurry hurry let's get started.....NO.
The energy of the Hanged Man is contemplative, still, in a listening posture. Really think about it--do you think hanging upside down like that is comfortable? Of course not-- but it does radically alter your view of life, dunnit? The winter is passing, the cold and snow may be leaving, the holidays are over with their attendant glitter and glisten, and life is just becoming so daily again. So of course we want to hurry madly towards the next new thing. Spring, Easter, flowers, bunnies, grass, no more ice on the roads--hell yeah! But--not so fast....
Today's card is reminding us that there is no unimportant moment, no useless experience, nothing that 'doesn't matter'. Indeed, sometimes thinking something is insignificant makes us miss its real resonance. So, for today, in accord with this card--slow down. Stop. Think. Don't be in a hurry to get from here to there--just be here. Now. Be Here Now. Be in your present moment. What is important? What just happened? Why? What is going on RIGHT NOW? What might you be missing, if you don't Pay Attention?
There. Just hang there. Tomorrow is a dream. Yesterday is a memory. But today is a Gift. That's why they call it the Present. Odin got the runes, hanging there. What are you getting?
Thursday, January 19, 2012
Two-Fer--Thanks, SOPA/PIPA NOT....
January 18, 2012: Six of Earth--Utah Mannini Three Tarot
Here's the description and interpretation of this card by the creator, Astara Blackthorne:
Card Formation: This is a petroglyph in Sego Canyon, of six human figures. It has gotten much discussion over the years, because the eyes on some of the figures look the way people say aliens might look. As such, to me it becomes a symbol of both the past and the future, which fits the meaning of this card. I also think the cave art of Utah and the history of primitive peoples here are a wonderful manifestation of the Goddess Utah. One of the things that is unique about this representation of the six of earth is that this is very very ancient art. So, we might think of it as that which endures through time, and the meaning of the six of earth is about what is built on the foundation.
Card Interpretation: This card is about the second level of achievement of a goal....three on three. It is significant, if you get it in a reading, of some way in which you need to alter what you are doing to take the next step in your process. It is as if the Universe were saying, "ok, so now that's done...now what?" You must always think, when drawing this card, of how many different ways there might be to continue on the foundation you have erected, and you must choose the one that has structural integrity, and will enable what you are building to endure through time.
January 19, 2012: Ten of Wands--Utah Mannini Two Tarot
Here is a card from the second of our three Utah Mannini Tarot decks. Interpretation and card discussion by the card's creator, Marina Wells:
Ten of Wands by Marina
The Ten of Wands is about carrying thoughts with you, and getting to a place where you can set them down, and deeply consider them, in peace and quiet, so that they do not burden you but can be brought to becoming useful ideas. This card is created from a photo I took the weekend after my grandmother died, when I went up to Mirror Lake, which is a special place for me where our family used to camp. I just sat and thought about Granny, and then the sun started to set and I took some pictures.
I cut this one so that there were only five trees showing, because I wanted to convey that thoughts are things. The reflection of what you think about into your life is as real as any material thing could ever be. We make our lives with our thoughts. And of course even if it is upside down it is still the same picture. You might want to think about that.
So, yesterday we get structural integrity, and the idea that what we build endures through time, and today, we remember that thoughts are things. So--what are you thinking about today, and how is that thought, enduring through time, going to affect your future? Hmmmm......
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Sadness, In Its Place....
A bleak, featureless landscape, holding scarcely a single object to look at in its desert blankness...only a wound in the bare sand, dropping a single tear. And before it, three swords, in an interesting configuration--most cards which represent threes, especially swords, balance them, making some kind of a symmetrical figure, but in Haindl's card, one sword stands slightly apart from the other two. If you see this as a progression from the preceding card, the Two of Swords, which is "Peace" and shows two swords reminiscent of the twin pillars of the High Priestess, then the image conveys even more directly the idea that one's peace has been disturbed, that things are out of balance. And when that happens...what then?
To correctly interpret this card, one must look at the entire image. Unfortunately, swords, as Rachel Pollock explains in the companion book she wrote to this deck, are man-made objects with no resonance of Nature, as are stones, water, and fire, the elemental representations of the other three suits. Swords are not only the one tool used in this deck which is man-made, but also, as Pollock points out, are the only tool created entirely for use as a weapon, whether of defense or offense. Spears and arrows and knives are all used for hunting, or as tools. But "A sword was possibly the first weapon designed entirely for human combat. Bows and arrows, like spears, were used for hunting. Axes and knives served as tools. Swords existed only for heroic noblemen to battle each other." So one sees the end result of human conflict in this image: Things are out of balance, a tear falls from the torn fabric of creation, and even the I Ching hexagram, "Retreat" echoes the image of the one sword moved away from the others--sometimes we just need to step aside, to mourn, to let ourselves feel the way we feel.
So, for today, let's think about this. Haindl says that this card represents as much mourning that covers societies and generations as it does the "mourning" of an individual's loss. When I read that this morning, I began thinking of the state of our world. The economy sucketh, there is war and conflict, the political picture in our country is ever more bleak, and the general state of affairs doesn't say much for the positive aspects of human nature. And yes, I do believe, sometimes we do need to step aside and think about these things. Martin Luther King's birthday was celebrated yesterday, and I found myself thinking of all the ways in which that for which he worked tirelessly, for which he even gave his life, has yet to come to pass. So--what does this card give us as an avatar for the day? How does it help us to "dwell" on the sorry state of affairs? What kind of energy is here, that we can use, so we don't spend the day sitting in mourning?
Well--that's just it. I see a threefold message in this card. The first meaning is the obvious one. There are, on both the cosmic and the individual level, things to mourn for. So...feel what you feel. Be real. Accept, embrace, be one with, your feelings, your thoughts, your state of mind. Acknowledge them. What you shove to the back of the closet sneaks out the cracks and comes barreling in the front door, usually at the worst possible moment. So--be real with yourself. Know where you are. And then--second stave: decide on action. Maybe you need to write that sympathy card. Maybe you need to apologize. Maybe you need to remember Aunt Mary and light a candle. And maybe you need to vote, or contribute to a cause, or take personal action in honour of someone or something that matters to you. So--first Be. Then, Act. And thirdly--?
Thirdly, move on. Don't pretend whatever you are mourning didn't happen. It did. But once acknowledged, it is only a thing that happened. And you are more than that. You are a force, an energy, an avatar of life. So...let the wheel turn, let the season of mourning pass, and come forth into the spring once again. That which passes, returns to life anew. And so will you.
Turn, Turn, Turn (the Byrds--lyrics by Pete Seeger)
To Everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)
There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn)
And a time to every purpose, under Heaven
A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep
To Everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)
There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn)
And a time to every purpose, under Heaven
A time to build up,a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones, a time to gather stones together
To Everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)
There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn)
And a time to every purpose, under Heaven
A time of love, a time of hate
A time of war, a time of peace
A time you may embrace, a time to refrain from embracing
To Everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)
There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn)
And a time to every purpose, under Heaven
A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time for love, a time for hate
A time for peace, I swear it's not too late
Monday, January 16, 2012
Slow DOWN, Already!
January 16: Nine of Rods, Tarot of the Old Path
Ever hear the expression, "Too much of a good thing"? Well, that's the situation facing you when the Nine of Rods shows up in your Path--or, might we say, blocks it? Too many responsibilities, but you love what you're doing. Too many distractions, but they're all so interesting! Too close to the end of this project to get sidetracked like this, but maybe this new information is important...you get where we're going here? Nowhere, fast, because we just ran into a thicket of blooming trees and we can't see the path....
Well. Hmm. Let's think about this...The Charge of the Goddess reminds us, "If you find not what you seek within yourself, you will never find it without." Inner stamina is the watchword here, and the remembrance of your own inner resources. When we're "busy", we're usually outwardly-focused, and sometimes we don't even pay attention to that Inner Child whose voice is clamoring for attention. So s/he has a tendency to toss all the toys out of the playpen so we keep tripping over them, in an effort to force us to stop and Pay Attention to what is really going on.
When you get the Nine of Rods, you're being told, "Your wonderful ideas and hard work have gotten you this far, but there's something you're not realizing. Before you take another step here, sit down and think. You're almost there, you're going to do it, but you need to take a deep breath and slow down, and make sure you have all the details in a row." This card has somewhat the resonance of the Hanged Man, who says, "All things come to him who waits," and reminds us that before we get DONE with something, we need to make sure it is COMPLETE, and FINISHED. Otherwise, we'll just be doing it all over again. So--sit down, right now. Breathe. Look around you and see where you are, what you're doing, what is bringing itself to your attention. You can't see the forest for the trees, here. So, do that. Pay attention. It will make the last steps of the journey so much easier--and you might not fall on your face!
Sunday, January 15, 2012
January 15, 2012: Knight of Wands --Daniel's Bootstrap Tarot
Today's draw is a card from a "private deck" created by my dear friend, Daniel Webster Christiansen, founder of the Utah Mannini Tarot Project. It is the Knight of Wands, and a more telling imagery to illustrate the intent and meaning of this card has scarcely ever crossed my path.
The Wands in this deck are Fire, and Daniel describes this card as "Fire of Fire". This is a Priest of Voudoun, fully invoked, so being ridden by the Orishae. He's not there any more, but the Deities are. He's immersed himself in the Doing, and the Being, of manifesting his Will...Daniel calls it, "Ecstasy. The ultimate immersion in Doing..." And of course, for me, to Do is to Be, and to Be is to Do, DoBeDoBeDo.... So here we are with a day, and a day in which the Knight's sword and spear are not hanging on the wall, but are fully engaged, fully involved, in the Work. So--what are you Doing today? What/whom are you Being today? And do you know what you are Doing and Being is really by your Will, or are you Doing the Will of others? Time to check it out, and time to engage...FULLY!
Saturday, January 14, 2012
January 14: The Lovers -- Tarot of the Old Path
A beautiful day in the neighborhood--'would you be mine'? There they sit, Adam and Eve as ever was, luxuriating in the Garden. Look at all that fruit! And each single one of those fruits and flowers has been carefully chosen for its arcane and traditional symbolic meaning: From Den Elder, in his writeup on this card from "Tarot Passages", we have the following analysis: "The fruits on the tree are supposed to represent the Tree of Life with its seven fruits. Apples, love and immortality; Cherries, are connected to Love Spells, remember the song... 'I gave my love a cherry'? Grapes, also connect to fertility; Lemons, connect to purification and a mundane use of being a germicide; Oranges, love and lust and wedding nights; the Orange might be a Peach, then it would represent love and fertility; Pears, too are love and lust; and what might be a Strawberry, which is considered a love food, that is - an aphrodisiac. Also note the little dove flying above the tree - purity and peace. Then there's the healing flowers surrounding the pair: Bluebells for constancy, orange blossoms for purity, white lilies likewise, and of course, forget-me-nots...and there's that bright shining Sun, glowing down upon them, telling them this is IT, this is THE ONE....so, for you, and me, today, here, now, what is this card about? Even the akashically-tattooed angel isn't saying much--and this card is just so luxuriant and romantic and lazy, that if you're not in that space, you might find it hard to relate to this one. So, how about this take--step back from the literal meaning of "lovers" and let's think about it symbolically and philosophically--even "witchily", eh? Opposites melding, union of disparate elements to produce a whole greater than the sum of its parts--take joy in the beauty of life, make yourself a place of repose with all the luxuries and comforts, so you can have a place to go when life is too much--maybe the concept of looking for someone or something with which to share. Unity in diversity, passion for life, appreciation of beauty, focused concentration on the Other, and above all, knowing that Love is there for you to take--just reach out your hand....
Friday, January 13, 2012
January 10, 2012: Ace Of Rods (Tarot of the Old Path) Love, love, love all the "new beginnings, springtime" imagery here...bright, rising Sun, brand-new butterfly, blooming Rowan staff, all bespeaking new beginnings, fresh starts, and all that wonderful "It's the New Year" stuff that we crave, especially in the dark of winter when everything is dead, cold, or worn out. So--let's get on it, let's begin it...but let's also look at WHERE this amazing new beginning is taking place...yep, Stonehenge as ever was. Maybe the oldest known site for those who cherish old ways, as well as an avatar of mystery (where DID it come from, and who set it up, really?) So--yes, new beginnings, but please remember you can't cancel your past. Whether you are building on solid foundations of long experience, whether you are trying to remember not to make the same mistakes, or whether you are going to try a new take on an old set of problems, in any case you still need to recall that there isn't any part of your past experience that you can simply refuse to acknowledge. You get to transmute it, you get to decide how you'll use it, you can wrap it up in a blanket and put it on the back shelf of your "closet" if you need to. But in your new beginning, please remember that it has shaped and formed you to this very minute. So...new beginnings, fresh start, built strong and steady on old roots. Works.
January 11, 2012: Nine of Stones, Haindl Tarot
The Nine of Stones is a lovely layering of images...the Nine Stones, set on a USA western desert background in the shape of the Kabalistic Tree of Life with an I Ching hexagram centering the top row...lovely reiteration of unity in diversity here. And this card is a lovely beginning to the year, as well, because it bespeaks financial security, having all one's ducks (or stones!) in a row (or several!) and reiterates the notion of cosmic balance and the union of opposites to produce beneficial results. I notice here that the central stone, at the bottom, looks more fully "rounded" than do the others, and several ideas come to mind here--one is that the central stone is at the bottom, and that humility rather than arrogance is a more likely tool with which to produce gain, either material or of other kinds. The other idea was the concept of diverse kinds of "material gain", not just money. Stones aren't coins or pentacles, the more traditional objects typifying "earth" in the Tarot. No, stones are bedrock, foundation, they are natural objects, and they don't look at all pretentious, nor do they need an explanation as does an arcane symbol like a pent. Nope, stones just ARE--and "material gain" can mean a better world, more care for Nature, more food for everyone, fewer poor and homeless--I don't think this card's message, for your Tarot Witch, is just about money. It is about bringing "gain" of all kinds to our material world, so we can all live better. I like this.
January 12, 2012: Three of Coins, Utah Maninni Tarot ONE
This card was created, in 2005, by Borilar Elrond, who was a member of the Utah Pagan Community at that time (and still is, under another name.) It portrays the lightning of the West Desert shimmering behind the triangle of balance, and the copper coins which mark the corners are joined by three distinctive stone faces...the imagery here is Kabbalistic and also refers to Mormon legend and history, and it all bespeaks "balance in the face of disruption." Here we have a structure being assailed by the forces of Nature, and serenely withstanding the onslaught. So the three of coins reminds us that not everything in our lives will come to us smoothly and in an orderly fashion, but we are charged with maintaining our balance when circumstances become unbalanced, and giving ourselves the foundation we will need in order to maintain our structure in the face of difficulties. There's a reason the coins here are pennies...not only is copper a Utah product, but the penny is America's smallest denomination of currency. To remain stable in the face of difficulties, start small, begin at the beginning, and build on that.
January 13, 2012: Temptation, Tarot of the Old Path
I will be using this deck in a Tarot Circle this evening at Stealth Coffee, so I chose it for today's daily draw--and I am giggling with delight here. It's Friday the 13th, and I draw, "De Debbil" (this card is the Devil in the traditional Tarot). What could be more perfect? The Devil is about all those things you shouldn't do, but do do...all those times you fall to your bad self and don't live up to your own, or others', expectations...and on a day which has centuries of "bad ju-ju" what could be more telling than to draw the "avatar of evil"...and prove that it is, in fact, no such thing! The "Devil", or "Temptation", either one, has a side we seldom consider--the concept of choice. The Devil, or Temptation, either one, is not likely to get you in a head-lock or trip you to fall headlong on your way to the bus. Temptation, the 'wrong way', the 'I-know-I-shouldn't' thing--they seduce us, they tempt us, they suggest, but they don't waylay us. We have to CHOOSE. We have to decide whether, this time, we will take the left-hand path and do something we know might be dangerous, wrong for us, against our ethics, forbidden by law or shibboleth, or just stupid. And drawing this card on this day reminds me of an old adage, "things are not always what they seem". The Devil is the purveyor of fear. "Don't go there, it's dangerous"...and do we really know that for ourselves? IS the number 13 bad luck, or is it a lovely avatar of the mystical? If the "left-hand path" is so evil, why do so many Traditional Witches (including yours truly) follow it by preference? IS it dangerous to become a Witch, or is it perhaps a Gift of the Blood? Is it "wrong" to leave one's religion of birth and walk one's singular path, or is it perhaps necessary? All I want to say in interpreting this card for you today is--one man's Devil is another man's Horned God. Do your own deciding. Look, research, make up your own mind, CHOOSE FOR YOURSELF. That is thinking like a Witch, and that is the Way of Wyrd. Go, pay attention. Live your life. The Devil you don't know may be more dangerous to you than the Devil you do.
Monday, January 9, 2012
Today's card is the Hierophant, from the Utah Maninni Three tarot deck. The card design and the information below is by Katie Herrin.
Building: An old type country store commonly found on many Utah roads, owning to the great distances between cities in this once largely uninhabited state. It is symbolic of the safety that we seek and find in structure. However, even structure must, at some point, be left behind as can be seen from the path in the back of the building. We don't need to enter the wilderness unprepared, as the products found within the shop give us the tools we need to go forward into the unknown.
Sign: Written above the door to the building in the Deseret Alphabet, harking back to Utah's past, is a sign that reads "Mercantile"; an obvious sign but written in cipher to demonstrate that sometimes the most obvious signs are unrecognizable.
Porch: A place to contemplate the future and find the comfort of family and friends, the porch stands to either side of a narrow path, large enough for only a single traveler. It reminds us that our lives are our own. It also reminds us that there are always excuses to not move forward; family, friends, priest, distractions of every sort. On the heels of comfort comes stasis and stagnation.
Three Windows: The three windows offer a glimpse into the store, a peek at what lay within, tempting the traveler to enter, with the promise of filling all the traveler's needs. If the traveler is not careful, he may become trapped within the structure, like the figure in the window. We must remember that answers do not come pre-packaged.
Man with Broom: Standing on the porch outside is a man with a broom. He wears a smile on his face and nods to all who enter his establishment. Like all proprietors, he takes great pride in his store, offering his blessing to every customer. The traveler must be wary, however, that he does not visit so often that he gets to be on a first name basis with the owner, if he does, he may become trapped by the comfort of stasis
General Card Meaning: Upright: Learning, Structure, Sureness of purpose, Awareness Reverse: Stagnation, Dogma, Thick-headedness, Arrogance
Today, you are invited to think about "Teachers". What are you learning, what do you need to learn, what will be your best teacher in the circumstance you find yourself facing today? What is it to be your own teacher? Whom can you learn from, and whom/what should teach you how not to do it? The Hierophant is about learning, but also about learning how to learn. Even a "bad" teacher can teach you something. The Full Moon of Birch is "Inception", the beginning of this year's Lunar Wheel of Life. What will you Learn, and how will you teach yourSelf?
Saturday, January 7, 2012
Look to the Stars....
January 7, 2012: Today we have drawn the Star, and the cards are from both the Utah Maninni Three (the Goddess Utah), and the Haindl Tarot. The Star may be said to be the avatar of one's personal interaction with one's deck and one's divination--in a very real sense, you are the "star" of your own life and therefore when the Star appears in a reading, it is all about you. I enjoyed comparing the two interpretations of these cards, the first by Aaron Sorenson, who created the Star Card for the Utah Maninni Three deck, and the second taken from Rachel Pollock's book on the Haindl Tarot. I believe they work very well together. My own interpretation follows:
Maninni Star: (for the sake of information, I have also included the reversed interpretation as given by Aaron) Media: Digital Photograph, words added in Paint. Taken at the Midsummer Campout, which is the connection to the Goddess Utah. Definition: The Star is a card of hope, may the Goddess bless you and bring hope and healing from unexpected places. The light of The Star shines to illuminate your path as you walk with the Desert Goddess through the trials; the desert winds will bring change, the fires will cleanse and the waters will heal. Allow time to run its course and see The Star as the Goddess' favor shining upon you. Reversed: The Star shines hope into dark places, but be cautious; just out of the light lies a deeper darkness. Stay closely on the path to receive the Goddess' blessing for hope and healing.
Haindl Star: The meanings for the Star are as direct as the picture. They speak of optimism, hope, openness. They say that you either already have these qualities, or that you can have them. Sometimes the Star comes after a period of troubles or a Tower-like upheaval in life.The Star is a card of renewal. You have a chance to start over in some long-standing situation, or a new beginning becomes possible. The Star may require that you go back to basic principles. If life has become over-complicated, then the card says to discover what really matters. What do you actually want? What has worked in the past? Can it work again? Have you cluttered your life with unimportant commitments, or with desires that only seem important? Has a relationship gotten bogged down in too many minor arguments, too much, "I did this, you did that"?
The Star says to find the most basic elements, the bare rock of reality and the flowing water of feeling. Notice that these recommendations go in a different direction than Justice, for example, which calls for a careful examination of history. The Star goes back before all the history to find what truly matters. Both cards are valid but at different times. One reason to do readings is to get a sense of what approach to take in a given situation or as situations change.This return to basics involves a cleansing. If you have suffered or feel wounded in some way, you may want to look for a way to wash away the pain. This may mean a ritual, done alone or with friends. Or perhaps it will mean finding good things in your life, especially things that give you a sense of simplicity and hope. The appearance of the Star means renewal. We need to allow ourselves to experience it.The Star means humility. It says to avoid acting out of pride or arrogance toward others. Humility does not require the attitude,"I don't matter. What happens to me is not important." Instead,humility tells us to recognize ourselves as part of something greater. This is the underlying basis of the optimism of the card. We can believe more easily in a future that does not depend entirely on our own efforts. When we see the Star, we know that life is on our side.
Today is only today. But today is all there is, today. In a similar fashion, you are only you. But you are all of you, all that you are, and who and what you are is the central meaning of your life. It is time to look clearly at your own Shining, at the way you fit into the grand scheme of things. It is time to remember that you Matter, to the Universe, to your friends and family, to your Self. You ARE what you ARE. You are essential. You have the right to Be, and the need to Become.
"You are a child of the Universe. No less than the trees and the stars, you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy." (taken from "Desiderata" by Max Ehrmann)
Friday, January 6, 2012
Father Knows Best
January 6, 2012: In the calendar of the Christian Church, today is Epiphany, the feast which commemorates the visit of the Three Kings, otherwise known as the Three Wise Men, to the Infant Jesus. It seems fitting in an ecumenical sort of way today that our daily Tarot draw is Brahma, the King of Wands in the Haindl Tarot. Brahma is the avatar of Wisdom, representing not only the equivalent of the Holy Trinity in Hindu theology, but also all four directions, the four Yugas (periods of eternal Time), and the innumerable gifts of the Father God--Brahma, in this deck, is called the "Father of Wands in the East", and in the East is the rising sun, the new Day, the beginning of life. An Epiphany, in other words. And, perhaps not so coincidentally, (do those with the Sight even believe in coincidence?) this day is also in the three-day arc of the Full Moon of Birch, the bursting forth of new beginnings. Indeed, every omen of this morning works together, indicating gifts, richness, beginnings, new life, achievement, and the sacred and holy in each and every manifestation of Living. There is no better way to interpret this confluence of omens than to simply say, "The All-Father, the Wise Man, is looking out for you, as you begin this day, this year, this Lunar Cycle, your own life, fresh and new each and every morning. Go forth, then, and BECOME!"
Thursday, January 5, 2012
Keeping It In Balance
Four of Wands
Herbert Haindl was a visionary artist, and his cards are paintings he has created. In this card, the four wands are alternating upright and reversed to illustrate the Hermetic axiom, "As above, so below." There are several other interesting symbols which are used throughout the entire deck, which reappear in certain spots in different parameters. Among these are the bubble and the eye. I can do no better, if you use this deck, than to point you to the masterful and thorough interpretation done by Rachel Pollock in the book that was published at the same time as the deck was released. Here is a portion of her chapter on divination of this card in a reading:
"In the painting, Kathedrale. a tree grows in the center of the broken church. The trunk of the tree appears like stone, as if new life grows from the ruins of the human construction. The bubble, too, indicates new possibilities...The eye, too, reminds us of Aeon,with the ancient eye looking out from behind the clouds. This eye has not quite opened, not quite emerged from the stone.Though the hand coming down signifies a gift, it also recalls the hand in the Wheel of Fortune. That image symbolizes the need to take our fate in our hands. Here we should realize that if a hand reaches out to us with a gift, we need to extend our own hand in order to take it. If life gives us new opportunities,we need to act, in order to take advantage of them.
For readings,the meanings of the Four of Wands includes the idea of new life, new possibilities. The card tells us to look out for opportunities,and to make sure we take action at the right moment. More broadly, it signifies a feeling of renewal in a person’s life. This is a feeling of excitement, of growth. If action is necessary, so is humility. The powerful Fire energy can lead to arrogance. The spears pointing down remind the person to keep a sense of balance. Otherwise, the possibilities can be lost."
My own interpretation of this card in a Witchy sense includes a correspondence to the "as above, so below," the concept of Paying Coin. Here, the Air cards, which symbolize thought and ideas, are represented by Fire, reminding me of the concept of the "spark of inspiration" or that light bulb going off over the head of a cartoon character when he/she finally "gets it." But Four is about balance, always, and I am also, here, irresistibly reminded of the rune "Gyfu", which is an X, four lines reaching in the four directions, as a crossroads, leading one in any direction one chooses--but leaving the other three directions unexplored. Gyfu can be taken as a gift, or a curse, and Haindl's Four of Wands reminds us that energy moves both ways. We will pay Coin for the decisions we make, we will choose something but that means we do not choose something else, we will walk one path down the crossroads, but the other paths remain unexplored. In a reading this card may be an illustration of this truth--remember, you are choosing here, and therefore, by Naming your choice, you are also Naming all the things it is not. Make certain you are ok with that.
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Something A Little Different
January 4, 2010
10 of Coins (Earth Suit)
(This card is dedicated by EarthHaven Coven to our beloved Brother, our Man in Black and Elder of the Ced Tradition…Roy “Cuchulainn” Moorman Born Nov 18th 1957 Died March 1st 2010
The card is a modification of the 10 of Coins from the Ced Tarot Deck, concept conceived and designed by Griffin Ced, Magister of EarthHaven Coven and Father of the Ced Tradition.
Illustrated by Arnett Taylor, from the Clan of Tubal Cain.
This version is made specifically for the Utah Maninni Three Tarot Project.
The Utah Maninni Three Project. “The Goddess Utah”) How this card represents a part of the Goddess Utah is that this card is representative of Home, Hearth, Family and its Legacy being passed on. The Ced Tradition follows a family structure, headed by Tradition Clan Mother and Magistra Rita “Morgan” ap Ced, at Ced’s Mother Coven, EarthHaven, in SLC. Within the Goddess Utah EarthHaven Coven, as the oldest publically known Coven in Salt Lake City and perhaps all of Utah, is rightly seen to be a Hearth of one of the established families of Goddess Utah.
Description of Card:
The Card is set as the Sun goes down and a Silk Moth (psychopomp) flies in the winds of change. Below the sky, the wealth of the Hearth, Home and Family is depicted with the family assembled at a rich feast, with both the youngest and the oldest sitting at the table. The bald head of the old man sitting at the head of the table could indicate him as Father Time, Saturn himself who always presides over the passing of family legacies.
In the foreground we see the Guardian or Man in Black standing ward at the threshold of this happy family scene. In the background we see the Castle; a Home structure that is defendable and expresses physical as well as financial security. However, this is a liminal transitional period where the Legacy is to be passed on and as such the home, hearth, family and related events must be well guarded.
In the Ced Tradition the circle with the cross is the symbol for Earth, and its color is White. Within the card ten such white crossed circles illustrate the ten coins of earth. This color choice for earth goes to our quarter system and basic cosmology as well as the system of magic we work. In Ced we view “Earth” not in the elemental sense, but rather as the expression of Spirit within Manifest Life and therefore represented by the color association of that Spirit, it being the color holding the most manifest quality of Light, that being White.
White being the Ced color for Earth, it also becomes the color associated with the Suit of Earth and for this reason the frame around the card is white. The upper left and lower right medallions within the frame depict the number 10. The upper right is the symbol for Virgo and the lower left is the planetary ruler for the Virgo Decan that this card is associated with. The top centre medallion depicts the symbol for Mutable, the quality associated with this specific card’s Decan. And of course the lower centre simply states Coins, the name of the Earth Suit in the Ced Tradition.
As this card of Earth is mediated through the Ced Tradition of EarthHaven, it seemed correct to call this card the Ten of Coins. The Coin being associated with finances of course, but also associated with the incurred cost of action and karma or cause and consequence which is central to the ongoing building and manifestation of a Family Hearth and Legacy.
The Home, Hearth and Family could be interpreted in a myriad of ways. The Home could be any structure, vessel, lair, cave or enclosure that holds the financial security of a tribe, family or group of some sort. An upright and/or well-aspected card shows all the positive qualities associated with the concepts presented within this card . A reversed or ill-aspected card would emphasize negative qualities. The instability of the transitional state latent within the card, opens the possibility for the hand of fate interfering in an unexpected manner. For example, gambling problems in the financial arena or an unexpected or unhappy event that could unsettle the harmony of the family, such as a fatality.
This Minor Arcana Card is associated with the Mutable Decan of (Earth) Virgo.
20-30 degrees Virgo.
Virgo = Mutable Earth.
Planetary Rulership of Virgo = Mercury.
Planetary Rulership of Decan = Venus.
Uniting these associate qualities lends this card the quality or expression of Venus within a Mercury ruled Mutable Earth Arena/Context.
Associated Decan interpretations:
Financial security, money and home are predominant themes. However, this decan is artistic and more loving and friendly or less self-centered than the other decanates of Virgo. Uninterested in routine, this decan needs a creative outlet. The Picatrix interpretation is that the third Decan of Virgo is associated with slothfulness, old age, loss and even depopulation.
Additional Card Interpretation;
The strong House or Household focus, especially the economic aspect, in conjunction with the slothfulness, old age and even loss, leads me to view this card as one of an established and secure legacy being passed to support the family’s interests in a positive manner. The Decan influence of Venus within a mutable earth Mercury setting leads me to see this card as also having aspects of artistic expression and even inspiration or insight that liberates this castle, home or hearth from the black and white world view that imprisons the fate of so many. There is life here and riches of one sort or another within this happy family.
The mutable aspect of this card indicates transition, which is further confirmed by the numeric influence of 10. The quality of this number expresses the completion or end of the first Decad numeric sequence, as well as the beginning of the next Decad set. This repeating of Decad sequences (0, 10, 20) expresses the repeated return to the fulcrum point of zero, between the end of each numeric Decad sequence and the start of the next Decad set.
This brings to the 10 of Coins card, as with other cards associated with 0, 10 or 20, a liminal quality rightly interpreted as an association with a threshold of some sort. For this reason there is a Moth depicted in this card, as the Moth is a psychopomp. With this card having such a strong sense of the Hearth, Home and Family, along with a strong transitional threshold quality, it is only fitting to place the Guardian of the Threshold as the foreground focus. Protection and warding of the wealth associated with the hearth, home and family is extremely important in transitional periods, such as the completion yet liminal point in time this card depicts.
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Seven Lights, Seven Directions
From Anissa Ward (Melusine): "I attended Aspen Grove's Yule when I was home from school for Winter Break, and forgot my camera; but I found this photo on the witches meetup. It was perfect for the Seven of Desert Fires, and it did the thing I wanted to do in my card, which was recognize the Goddess Utah in a particular way...to acknowledge that for over 20 years, to my knowledge, there has been at least one group holding a public celebration for every one of the eight Sabbats here in Utah. As I am no longer in Utah, and the people here in Seattle don't really believe there can be Pagans in such a repressive culture as Utah is seen to be, it's important to me to be able to acknowledge that. I started attending Quickbeam when I was a little kid, and things have only gotten better since.
Upright: It's hard to fit all those tealights on the mirror without coming very close to the edge. The seven of fires indicates a change of direction. Your Will has been focused on the original idea, but things have mutated, and now there are new angles to consider. What might you be missing if you don't step back and reevaluate the situation?
Reversed: If you turn a candle over it goes out, doesn't it? You're getting lost in the trivia, and you've lost sight of what you originally Willed to accomplish. Too many details, not enough focus. Unclutter yourself."
Seven fires seems a bit excessive, but sometimes we can't see the forest for the trees, and we keep planting more and more trees, because they take so long to grow. You're becoming distracted by details, and that's making most of your efforts useless. If you really want to create something in accord with your Will, you have to focus long enough to figure out just what your Will is. Sit back, in front of your ONE fire, and think about the real issue, the underlying energy of the thing you are trying to achieve. Then go forth, ignoring the distractions, and do that thing. Your fire will begin to burn far more brightly if you tend it a bit.
Monday, January 2, 2012
Fire to Fire...
Here is the description of this card as submitted by the artist, followed by today's interpretation:
Card Meaning: I like the symmetry of this. I have been around the community a very long time, and these two fires were both lit in honor of the Goddess Utah at community Sabbat rituals, one at a CUUPS Samhain and one at a Quickbeam Beltaine at Just Past Bluffdale. Two fires, two festivals, exactly across the wheel from one another, both representing the power of the Goddess Utah as She has influenced our community for almost 25 years of public paganism. The 2 of fires is about balancing your passion, as the festivals of Beltaine and Samhain balance one another across the wheel. And there is not any reversal, because the reversed meaning is in the card itself.(card and description by Patric).
The Suits for the Utah Maninni Three deck were the Elements of the Goddess Utah, who was our theme idea, so the Two of Desert Fires is the equivalent of the Two of Swords. There is in the card the same idea of balance and opposition...and the context of "a choice must be made, and neither side bespeaks itself more strongly than the other." Bealteine fire and Samhain fire--across the Wheel from one another, and seeming similar, yet could not be more different in attribution. Will and Emotion do not always make good bedfellows...a clear head might be needed here, not the "head filled with smoke" that is spoken of in the Rune Poem of Amairgen. Do your fires burn for fertility and growth, or is this flame the consummation of the issue? Take a really good look at the situation in the cold hard light of day, and let yourself be led by the illumination which will guide you where you really want to go.
Sunday, January 1, 2012
It's All In The Cards...
This is the beginning of publicizing an ongoing endeavor that has been private Craftworking for some time. Daily draws are a part of my life, but this is going to be the year that I begin becoming a Taroteer in earnest. Draws and interpretation to be shared with the world from a Witchen perspective.
Cards for these daily readings will be drawn from the three cycles of the Utah Mannini Tarot Project, a tarot deck created by the Utah Pagan Community in the years 2000, 2005, and 2010, and from the Haindl Tarot, my personal deck of choice, as well as from other decks I may be dealing with at any given moment (I own 23 Tarot decks, so the word here is "variety"!). The card for this draw is from Utah Mannini Three, created in 2010. Enjoy!
This card was created from a photo and pen-and-ink drawing focused on the red-rock country of Southern Utah, in the Arches:
Emperor meaning: When we see the Emperor in the arches we think of time, wisdom, grand authority and grounding. He sits atop the mountains and in the arches carved away through natural forces and over long periods of time, he's been there done that so to speak. Listen to his advice. He is strong, powerful and scrutinous; though comforting and practical he is an elder to be learned from. He calls to us from inside, take a moment to recognize your own strength as a leader and take charge of your life! (Work and interpretation by Lissa Snellman)
Here it is the first of January, 2012, so what better time to begin? And today's draw is: The Emperor. The avatar of care in spending, husbandry of resources, owning your "shit", however you define that, and Fathering those things that you consider important. And what better way to begin the New Year than with the Emperor's circumspection, taking a close look around at all there is to hold, to have, to do, to attain? If there were ever a denizen of the Tarot Universe that practically screams "NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS!!" it is this guy. SO--look about yourself. Regard your circumstances. What is there to care for? What is there to attain? What is there to pay attention to? What is there to achieve or to adjust? All of it falls into your hands. It's a new beginning. It's a new year with no mistakes in it yet. And his Lordly energy will do what is possible to make sure there are none....Hail the Emperor! He marches to his throne under the New Year's Sunrise. Go on, join him. He's waiting for you!