Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Too Much Of A Good Thing?

May 9, Ten of Coins, Daniel's Bootstrap Tarot

It's a mandala-fest! In the words of the card's creator, Daniel Webster Christensen:  "Mandalas are used in almost every religion to serve as a symbol of the faith and of the cosmos, (aka frame of being). So mandalas on top of mandalas, surrounded by mandalas, is that overwhelming unity of world views, all trying to define (and frame) the same ground of being. For the reference, the mandalas used in the art are:
background: tibetan sand painting
center: generic spiral
top of ring: Celtic, (moving clockwise): Islamic, wheel of Hekate from Greece (also symbol of the ATC), zodiac, crop circle, rose window from Chartres, zen buddhist circle, and the Chartres labyrinth. 10 is completion bordering on overabundance. Coins are Earth or the frame of being." 

So we are looking here at completion, overcompletion, complexity, and a state of complacency bordering on confusion. Sometimes when things get finished, they are so tightly wound you can't see the details for the pattern. Ten coins tells us that today something we have finished is so densely packed that we are too busy looking at the form to see the substance. It's not about what it looks like--it's about what it means. Try going there, even if you have to spend a few of those coins. Break the pattern--the devil--or the divination--is in the details!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Two-Fer Tuesday....

May 8: Our Animal Totem for today is "Frog." Frogs are only vocal during the mating season, in late February and March. The Celts thought that the croaking Frogs were invoking the spring rains, which cleansed and renewed the face of the Earth after winter; regenerating and transforming it, watering the sleeping seeds so that they could burst into life. In a similar fashion, water at healing shrines could wash away illness, purify the body and stimulate health. The Celts often identify frogs with the spirits that they believed inhabited such shrines. There is an ancient healing spring at Acton Barnett in Shropshire England, where the spirits of the well appear as Frogs; the largest of the 3 is addressed as the Dark God. The association of the Frog with creation appears all over the world; it is thought to resemble a foetus. The Sheela-na-gig (Old woman with Vulva) may be derived from early images of a Frog goddess. Depictions of a frog or toad goddess with a human vulva have been found dating from the earliest times. The vulva represented an opening to the underworld womb of the earth goddess. Both Frog and toad are associated with the goddess of death and regeneration, the mirror image of the birth goddess. The power of Frog is concerned with cleansing and purifying, and with the free flowing of emotional energies. Frog may be telling you not to try and conceal your feelings, but to allow yourself to experience them fully, whether joy, anger, sadness or grief. Tears are water too, and have a power of their own. Emotional blockages and dammed-up passions may cause problems later on, and even can lead to physical illness. Frog teaches you how to nourish your emotions, and how to maintain the flux of your energies. The famous story of the Frog that turns out to be a prince teaches us not to judge by appearances - the ugliest exterior may conceal a soul of pure goodness. In a society where the surface is accounted supremely important, we can easily forget, and fall into the trap of being superficial.
And our Tarot Card for today is from the Tarot of the Old Path, and is "The Guide". This card is's "Temperance" or "Alchemy" in other decks. Here, I see a distinctly different slant to the interpretation of this card.

We have the waterfall, the stream of life-giving water flowing from a point in the distance, which appears again and again in this deck. It seems to be coming directly from the sun, which also gives life. It could be setting, or rising, depending on one's perspective. The Great Mother and Father stand watchfully, their presence shadowy, yet prominent.

In the pool at the bottom of the card, a man with what seems to be an anxious expression on his face looks hopefully at the Angel, who is pouring a steady, measured stream from one chalice to the other. He holds a prone, extremely pale woman. One of her graceful hands barely grazes the water. A leg, however, is more immersed, as is one of his. Apparently, she is quite lifeless. He kneels on the bank, and one cannot tell if he is lowering her into the water, in hopes of reviving her, or if he's come upon her and is taking her out. The Angel has dipped its toe in the water as well, but appears comfortably balanced on the bank. The red triangle, which in some traditions represents Spirit, is in the centre of the Angel's chest.

From this card, I get a sense of the suspension of time itself. Everyone seems to be waiting to see what happens next, except the angel, who steadily pours, and the woman, who looks as if she's beyond it all now. I get the feeling that the man has either just asked the Angel (or is about to) for assistance, to please do something to restore this woman to him, somehow.

I also get the impression that he has asked the Goddess and God to come to his aid. And, yes, they have come, although whether or not they will choose to intervene on his behalf is in question. Clearly, this is a man in need of some guidance.

Sometimes, the Gods alone know, and only they can provide the guidance necessary in such a troubled, confusing circumstance. They can intercede if that is what's best, and many times, I believe, that's precisely what they do. But the way it's done is usually a mystery to us, and so we have to go on faith alone. I also think this is a lesson being illustrated here.

I see the angel as indicating the path of the flow of the soul, from one vessel into another, the concept of reincarnation in action. I feel that this card is reminding us of the ongoing flow of life (the river), the unexpected calamities of life, as the body of the woman, and the nature of life, in the respect that all things must change.

Is the angel symbolically advising the man not to mourn , for the love he feels he has lost will flow again for him in a different vessel? One door closes, another opens. I see the Great Mother and Father watching him carefully, observing how he is dealing with this, so they will know what to do, in order to provide the appropriate form of guidance and protection that he will need.
Will the man pay attention? Or is he so distraught that he will ignore the guidance given?

" Help. Please. What do I do NOW?" The plaintive cry. It echos through time, as time itself remains suspended.
For us, today, the combination of the Frog and the Guide tells us that life is unexpected, but that we can keep our balance. Let yourself Go with the Flow, and know there is Guidance even in the most turbulent times. Be real. Be your Self. The Gods, and the Guides, are with you.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Head On!

May 7: The Animal Totem for today is "Boar." Wild Boars roamed freely through the forests of Britain and Ireland, as evidenced by the many places named after them such as Boarhill, Boarhunt, and Wild Boar Fell. The Celts venerated the Boar and Pig as sacred animals connected with prophecy and magical powers; swineherds were considered magicians and were highly honoured. Some grades of Druids were called "pigs" and the flesh of certain red pigs was chewed in a divination rite called Imbas Forosnai. Though the Celts loved pork, the meat was reserved for special feasts, especially Samhain and Yule. This may have been because of its association with death and the underworld; joints of pork were buried with nobles for use in the afterlife. When Boar charges into your cards he issues a challenge that must be met with all your resources. Boars prefer to run in straight lines, going directly to their goal without veering to the right or left. They are capable of bursts of great speed, short lived, but incredibly powerful while they last. Don't vacillate - go straight to the heart of the matter and tackle it head on. Use the magic of Boar, and you will find that you are capable of far more than you can possibly imagine. In the story of Mannanan's pigs, the meat will only cook in the cauldron if a truth is spoken for each quarter. The cauldron is a vessel of transformation, and the pork is spiritual sustenance, which can only be gained through truth. To lie or take the easy option is not the path of the hero, who must show both personal and moral courage when faced with a difficult trial.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Fire Tends To All--Tarot BlogHop, Bealteine 2012

You've gotten here, I hope, through the Tarot Blog Hop, from the writings of Alison Cross  Welcome to the home of the TarotWitch, the next stop on your journey. Have a seat, have a cuppa, bask in the warmth of my HearthFire, and let's talk....
This is round three of the world-famous "Tarot Blog Hop", an interactive set of essays and spreads by many Taroteers all around the world. This Sabbat's topic, linked with the Festival of Bealteine, takes its focus from the primary symbol of that Festival, the Bealteine Fire. And the topic tells us that The Fire Tends To All. So---what do we mean by that?

I decided to think about this blog draw in a rather less literal way--I usually create spreads in harmony with a concept that is generated by the question posed. But this time--no. This time I decided to simply work in harmony with the element itself--Fire. I had various reasons for this....

For one thing, we do not usually think of fires as "tending"....indeed, most of us think of fires as something that need to be tended. I have heard, often, from my father who was a "woodsman before being a woodsman was cool", the catch-phrase, "Fire is a good servant but a bad master." It wasn't until I fully grew into myself as a Witch that I began to question this idea. I had read much by then about the elements, and in so doing had come across the Celtic idea of fire as not being part of the Triad of Land, Sea, and Sky, because it was instead a living Being. If Fire were considered to be a living Being, should one see it as a "servant" at all? Or, perhaps, should one see fire, in every context, as a companion, as someone working WITH one on the Journey?

I have adopted this view in my journey with Fire, and it occurred to me in the idea of this Hop that if Fire is, indeed, a living Being, then it is sentient. And if it is sentient, then it can, indeed, "tend to all". And if Fire is a living Being, a life force, the "spark" of Life that is celebrated on many levels at Bealteine, then how better to discover in what way "fire tends to all" than simply to ASK?

My draw, therefore, based its format on the concept of getting information from Fire itself. I simply called Fire by its name--and it occurred to me that I could use that to generate cards. In the presence of the Living Flame, I drew one card for the alphabetic position of each letter in the word "fire", and related these positions to the position of cards in the Major Arcana of the deck I was using, Tarot of the Old Path. So--F.I.R.E. gives us the numbers six, nine, eighteen, and five. And therefore, in order, the name of Fire corresponds to these four cards: The Lovers, The Wise One (Hermit), Illusion (The Moon), and The High Priest (Hierophant). And so, then, from Fire's own Being, from the very Name of Fire, how does "the Fire tend to all"?

F: The Lovers: First, Fire draws us together. as knows anyone who has ever been on a camping trip. The glow is compelling, and the warmth is essential to our comfort, our balance, our ability to participate fully in the moment. Look at the Lovers, the primal union of opposites, and think of the way it is to sit with others around a campfire. We forget our differences, we see the glow in one another's eyes, we huddle closer for warmth, and we get to know one another without boundaries or barriers. The Lovers represents connection, and the Fire tends to that connection wherever it lives. The only Fire represented on this card is the Fire of the Sun, but the Fire of passion is clearly represented in the way they look at one another. So here Fire represents that warmth and light that connects us to the Other, even, and especially, the Other who is not-like-me. And this, in our community and in our society, this communion with the Other, is a kind of "tending" we ALL need.

I. The Wise One (Hermit): Interesting...first we are reminded that the "Fire tends to all" in assisting us in connection with the Other, and then we are told that the Fire reminds us to take ourSelves apart and ruminate in solitude. Hmmm....

Well, not so odd, really. Notice that our Wise One bears his OWN fire, right there under his cloak. Anyone who knows me will know how this idea resonates with me, and how I have repeatedly been known to tout the concept of needing to tend one's own Fire before one attempts to share oneSelf with anyone else. Perhaps the Fire is reminding us that this solitude and contemplation is the road to Wisdom, and that without permitting ourselves to be Tended by our own Guides, without caring for our own Inner Fire, we will have nothing to share. And Fire tends to us, to permit us to glow from within. And it is thus that we become---well, Wise Ones. I love it that the letter representing this card is "I"! Could Fire have made its message any more clear?

R. Illusion (The Moon) In typical esoteric fashion, the Universe, with Hir famous sense of humor, has given us, in the draw generated by the very Name of Fire, a card that is wholly (holy?) Water. And so, in this watery realm, how is the Fire tending to us? Well, if you look at the name of this card in this deck, and really look at the picture, you'll get an idea. This card in this deck cautions against, in the words of Lawrence Ferlinghetti, "mistaking any thing for what it may not be". The card reminds us that the light of the Moon is an Illusion--it's a dark, cold rock hurtling through space, lit only by its reflection from and interaction with the Sun. So, then, Fire reminds us, it is warmth and light that will "illuminate" the situation for us--Fire tends to our awareness by casting Light on situations and issues so that we will not be drawn into false impressions and actions because we have mistaken illusion for reality. Fire sheds Light. And that is another way it Tends to All.

E. High Priest (Hierophant): Here sits the final avatar of the Fire's journey with us, the place where our study, companionship with others, self-care and avoidance of illusion may finally take us. The High Priest is the representation of one who has attained self-knowledge, arcane wisdom, and the ability to share with and teach others. The Fire has brought us to the threshold of wisdom and understanding, and reassures us that if we continue to act in accord with Light, Warmth, and Illumination, we too may achieve this place of awareness, and we too may be able to pass down the illumination the Fire has accorded to us.


And now, why don't you continue your journey by Hopping over to the Blog of Donna L. Faber, here...Happy Hopping! And Blessed Bealteine!

And if you need to find your way back to the 'Hop, here's the Master List...