Monday, December 16, 2013

Monday, December 16, 2013: Daily Draw

Monday, December 16: Card of the Day...The Eight of Wands from the Haindl Tarot

The word "Swiftness" on the card, combined with the I Ching hexagram 35, "Progress", denotes spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical development and progress. The fiery spears, rising irresistibly from the red flowing blood of Mother Earth, tipped with the fiery magma of Her Heart, are soaring into a sky of blue indicating limitless possibility. And numerologically, this day is a 3, indicating the balance of the three legs of the cauldron of becoming...the firm base of focus, intention, and effort which is at the heart and root of all personal progress. Have a lovely, swift day, soaring strong and swift into your own personal sky, never forgetting the foundation which supports your flight! Bíodh sé!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Tarot Blog Hop, Mabon 2013-- Divine Mythos, or Mythic Divinity?

This is an entry in the wonderful Tarot Blog Hop, this go-round celebrating Mabon 2013. You may have gotten here from the work of Margo Benson, or, if you're hopping backwards, the realm of Tierney Sadler...or you may simply have stumbled on the TarotWitch by accident. In any case, it's divine to see you here, and we hope to dispel your MythConceptions--or, perhaps, give you some new ones! Pull up a chair, kick back and listen to our story...hope the experience will be simply divine, dahling!

"Myth" is one of those words that gets bad press from convoluted definitions. In our modern culture, we've redefined the word "myth" to mean "something foolish and/or untrue", or, sometimes, simply "it's a lie". Ancient cultures, such as the one(s) from which sprung the Tarot, knew better. The original meaning of a "myth" was "a sacred story delivered by word of mouth", simply because stories of the ancient heroes and gods were either a) ancient enough to have been derived from pre-literate cultures, or b) too sacred and arcane to be put down in writing, and only transmitted mouth-to-ear in sacred surroundings. Our meaning of "a falsehood" derives from the rationalist societies of the 1840s, and that meaning will not serve us here. Because for the Tarot, the very word "divination", describing how we use the cards, refers to the knowledge of the arcane, that transmitted by divinity or from divine or spiritual sources...and therefore, the "myths" of Tarot are thought of as arcane, sacred truths, relevant directly to the person who is receiving the "myth" in a given reading. So--how does that help us create our focus for this Blog Hop? Well...let's see about combining several sources of divination, and see what kind of a myth reveals itself to us, and what it might mean.

One of the sources of much myth is the "sacred science" of numbers. Certain numbers were thought from very early times to have arcane significance, and many times divination was created from interpreting sequences of numbers. Over time, certain specific numbers have been credited, in their very simplest forms, with divine or mystical resonance even when standing by themselves in circumstances having nothing to do with the arcanae. So--what would happen if we picked out those specific numbers, and created a myth therefrom? Let's find out.

The numbers that seem to leap to mind as "mythic", even in mundane circumstances, are seven, eleven, thirteen, nine, three, and twenty-one. Soooo....what kind of story links these numbers to one another, and to spirit, as defined in the context of the Tarot? The numbered cards of the Major Arcana might be a good place to start here. Here are the cards as they fall in the order we have named them, and here is the story that links them together:

What is the scene of our mythic journey? Well, for this particular Blog Hop, it seems appropriate to discuss the story of Mabon. He, the "Son of the Mother", was stolen away from between his mother and the Wall at the age of only three days. And his discovery by the knights of King Arthur in the "Seeking of Olwen" seems a pretty logical context for the mythic journey we are creating numerologically, particularly when we look at the numbers in the sequence given above. I listed the numbers by their degree of connection to "luck", or "Fate", and they came out in this order: 7, 11, 13, 9, 3, 21. What kind of a mythic journey, focused on the finding of Mabon, might we make of this series? Hmm...let's look.

The seventh card of the Major Arcana is the Chariot, which is a great place to begin our myth. The Charioteer represents the Seeker, or in this case, the Seekers, the knights of Arthur setting out on what they hope will be a long and productive journey. Let's go with the meaning of "journeying" and call that the setting of our myth. Mabon is the goal, and our "chariot" of seekers knows not where to look nor where to go, nor how to get there. Will the other numbers/cards reveal the truth of the myth?

The first stop on this mystical/mythical journey is the number 11, which can mean either of two things, both relevant. In some decks, 11 is the meaning of "Justice", and in others, it represents "Strength". Seems, somehow, important how these two ideals might intermingle. On this particular journey, Strength is certainly going to be a factor--none of the Seekers has any idea what the Journey will bring, how long or arduous it might be or what kinds of obstacles might be encountered. And Justice is at the heart of the journey--the successful fulfillment of the knights' wish to assist their companion Culhwch in winning his bride, Olwen, depends in part on the discovery and liberation of the child/youth Mabon, who was kidnapped at the age of three. So--both Strength and Justice are necessary components of the successful outcome of this journey.

The next card in our numerical series is 13, which just might be the scariest card in the entire deck--Death. Of course, no one wants to think of Death as a component of any tale we are either telling or living--but perhaps that attitude, in and of itself, is the reason why the Death card and the number thirteen are important to our myth. "Death" is a word with more than one interpretation in the Tarot, since it is the overall term for the ending of any kind of a cycle so something new may begin. And in the search for Mabon, it was clear that the Seekers feared, and had to contend with, the idea of Death, since there were myriad assassinations, acts of treachery, and deadly guardians placed on their path by Ysbaddaden Chief Giant, the father of Olwen, who earnestly desired them to fail in their task. In this case, "death" has to be applied not only to the defeat of the various obstacles the Seekers encounter on their journey, but to the end of the long-mourned absence of Mabon himself, which successfully ends the quest. In other words, the "Death" of the many obstacles and interferences in the quest is the "Birth" of Mabon as a warrior, priest, and king. And mythically speaking, so is each and every death a new birth, of something. Even the number 13, when added as one does in numerology, produces the number 4, which represents Foundation. So--kill the obstacles and interferences, and the path is made clear to lay the foundations of one's new endeavor. That kind of death, the kind that produces life, that we can live with.

And next? Next we see the number 9, the Hermit. How on earth does a company of knights on a journey of passion and power need to interact with a Hermit? Well--let's take a look at what that card really represents. The Hermit is the inner, Silent Self, the place people go within to find rest, peace, time for thought, new ideas--wait a minute here. In this tale, Mabon himself, the Hidden Prince, may represent the Hermit--stolen away, concealed in a place which is never fully revealed even at the end of the tale, and able, somehow, after all those years of concealment, to have taught to himself the arts of warcraft, seership, and rulership--yes, indeed, the hermit makes sense here. The card represents the holt of safety and silence which made it possible for there to be a successful outcome in the journey. As the Tarot goes, it is almost always necessary for the querent to spend some time in the company of the Hermit--the silent source, shadow, the Self.

And next, we see the number three. This one hardly needs any explanation...the Empress, Modron, the Great Mother, seen in the deck as being eternally pregnant with possibility, and the source of the Great Son, Mabon ap Modron, Son of the Mother, is certainly part of the mythic journey. After finding the Son, the knights would be able to give relief and joy and honor to the Mother, without whom the journey could not have been undertaken in the first place.

And the final card? Twenty-one, the Universe--the beginning and the end, the source and the result, all things coalesced into the final pattern of completion and achievement. Somehow this isn't even slightly surprising in the context of sacred myth, for we are taught to understand that every sacred journey, the Fool's Journey as illustrated by the Tarot, will end, somehow, in a vision of completeness and achievement provided the insights of the preceding cards are adopted and practiced.

Mabon is found, Culhwch and Olwyn are wed, the knights' journey is successful, and the goal is achieved. And maybe the word "myth" might have a new meaning, one representing the arcane journey of the soul, driven by Strength, Justice, acceptance of the Death and rebirth of circumstance and situation, the Hermit's contemplation, the honoring of the Source of all life, and the achievement of Universal Truth. Not a bad paradigm for life, is it? And maybe Mabon might be your "time of balance", at the Equinox, when light and dark, beginning and ending, the Sun, Moon, and Earth are all in balance for a moment, and everything, from that point of equilibrium, has the opportunity to begin anew.

And your own journey may continue with the work of Tierney Sadler. or perhaps you'll journey backwards to the realm of Margo Benson, but in either case, enjoy the ride! And should you lose your way, there's a Master List to get you back on course. Happy Hopping! And Mabon Blessings on your Journey, wherever it may take you!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Tarot Blog Hop for Belteine--Tarot Traditions

Welcome to the 2013 Belteine Tarot Blog Hop, in celebration of the "first of May", called everything from "May Day" to "Maypole Day" to some things, particularly the ones by Jonathan Coulton and others which celebrate music, dance, and traditions of weddings, free love, and springtime. "Tradition", as our friend Tevye sang in "Fiddler on the Roof". And so, thinking of Tarot, this is the 'Hop' wherein our wrangler, Arwen Lynch, asked us to consider the following question: "What traditions are important to you in reading Tarot?" You may have seen Morgan Drake Eckstein's answers prior to this blog, and you'll enjoy reading Joanna Ash's contribution next, if you're following the 'Hop in order. For me, the idea of Tarot participates in all kinds of traditions. Here are a few:

1) First things first--preparing the deck. I am something of a "tarot-a-holic", currently owner of over 100 decks, all of which have had their seasons of being my "standard" deck, from the Voyager Tarot which was my very first one, to the Sirian Starseed Tarot which I just purchased. Currently my primary deck is the Haindl Tarot, which has so deep a resonance on so many levels that I haven't even begun to get all of it yet. But each and every deck, once brought into the house, gets the traditional "cleansing" so it can "bond" with me. So--sage, a sprinkle of salt and water, in order to empty it of all other energies but my own, and then a particular "first card ritual" where I teach the cards to know my voice and speak to me.

2) All my readings are done without my knowing what the question the querent is asking pertains to, I prefer to let Spirit speak, and if I know the issue, my own innate desire to counsel and help has a tendency to get into the way. So I don't let the question be spoken, and what happens is usually that the person has a much easier time relating the cards to their own issue than they might have if I had been interpreting it.

3) I do not read for other people on the Dark Moon. For me, this is a time when energies turn inward, and this is the only time I can read for myself without my logical mind getting in the way. So a "Dark Moon reading" is a pretty regular component of my personal Craft practice, and it is always for me, never for anyone else.

4) I don't use anyone else's layouts. I see the cards as a living oracle, conveying to me, through the Sight, insight into the energies surrounding a person and their own issues. Therefore I let the energies present in the querent dictate to me what spread to use..and I use only ones I have created myself. That is another way I know the cards are speaking to me.

5) After each and every reading, the cards are cleansed, so that the energies of the preceding reading are laid to rest and do not partake of the new endeavor. I use incense and a bit of a cleansing oil to do this, so it can be done even if another reading is waiting in the wings.

6) Usually, I prefer not to be paid for readings, as I consider the insight I receive and convey to the querent not to belong to me, so I have no right to "sell" it. But it has been  pointed out to me that for this kind of spiritual insight, an "exchange of energy" is necessary. Having become a house reader at our local Pagan Community Center, Crone's Hollow, I now feel as if the payment made by the customer at the counter is their payment for services rendered by the Crone's Hollow Staff, and I am a member of that staff and happy to render that service. This feels more to me like an 'energy exchange' rather than commercializing the gift of the Sight.

7) And finally, after a day spent reading for others, I do take a traditional cleansing "ritual bath" to release the energies brought to me and left with me by various querents. I also cleanse my cards and other divination tools in order that each and every time I use them I will be getting a "clean start".

And those are some of my "Tarot Traditions"...what are some of yours, and won't you enjoy learning about Morgan's ideas, or those of Joanna, depending on which way you're Hopping? And if you should get lost, there's a Master List, here. Have a wonderful May Day, and a fun Hop....and, maybe, since it is a Sabbat, you might think of getting a reading!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Dancing Between Light And Darkness---Oestare Blog Hop 2013

Welcome to the new round of the Tarot Blog Hop. If you have come here from Annick's blog, well come! If you're dancing in reverse and have stepped in from Krysten's blog, likewise, well come! We're dancing with sun and shadow this round, and either way, the dance goes on...

The equinox is the point of equal day and equal night, that moment when all is poised in balance between contradictory realities. Kind of like life, isn't it? Nothing is all of one thing or all of the other, and everything sometimes whirls in the maelstrom until we can't tell one from the other...but everything also, occasionally, takes that moment of hesitation, that pause before movement, that instant of being able to stand on both sides of the hedge and see both angles of declension at once. And so, this date gives rise to the concept of a spread in which each card is read in both the upright and reversed position, showing both contradictory, but both important and congruent, sides of the question. So---what better vehicle to use for such a question than the traditional "Five Elements/Five Directions", representing the Whole Self, Mind, Will, Emotion, Body, and Spirit. This reading is done with the Celtic Ogham cards from Liz and Colin Murray's Celtic Tree Oracle, and five questions were asked to generate both upright and reversed meaning for each card:

Mind: What do I need to Know?
Will: What is my True Will?
Emotion: What Feelings must I Notice and Heed?
Body: What must I Do?
Spirit: How must I Evolve?

And here are our answers, in light and darkness.

Mind:  What Do I Need To Know? Response -- Luis, Rowan: Protection of the Heart

Upright: You need to know what is going on in your life, and keep your wits about you, because you need to protect yourself from misdirection, aggression and misunderstanding. Gnothi seauton--know thy Self.

Reversed: What you think you are being told may not be all of the truth. You think you know, but you do not. Look deeper. Be protected from deception.

Will: What is my True Will? Response -- Muin, Vine: Prophecy, Intuition.

Upright: Your True Will is who you ARE, not what you WANT. And the card tells you that, intuitively and through the use of the prophetic gift that is part of your psyche, you already know what that is, who that is, who you are. Trust in the knowledge you bear within your Self is your strongest ally in knowing your True Will, your destiny.

Reversed: You are letting yourself be distracted and looking for too many external verifications of your ideas, rather than simply trusting in your Self. What you know, you know.

Emotion: What Feelings must I Notice and Heed? Response -- Uilleand, Honeysuckle: Hidden Secret

Upright: Your feelings are hidden from everyone but yourself, and you must remember that they are your Inner Guides, and that no matter where they take you, remaining true to your own inner peace and intuition will make your Path shine brighter in front of you. It doesn't matter if you don't understand how you feel--don't overthink your heart, just go with it.

Reversed: You have a tendency to hide your feelings even from yourself, denying or rejecting certain feelings as "inappropriate". This is a denial of who you are. Don't do it.

Body: What must I Do? Response: Eadha, White Poplar: Rebirth and Healing

Upright: You have been walking a road not your own, and you are doing things others wish, not what you need, want, and Will to do. It is time to be reborn, time to heal the hurts of the past and remake your Self and your Journey.

Reversed: Fear is the enemy here. There is nothing you can lose that is of as much value as that which you will gain by embracing change and a new direction.

Spirit: How shall I Evolve? Response: Straif, Blackthorn: No Choice, Simply Move!

No difference in interpretation between upright and reversed for this card. It simply means that there will be disruption and upheaval in the new direction, something like what happens when you do a massive house-cleaning, throwing things away, rearranging furniture, and making an entire new environment in which to live your life. This isn't fun, it isn't easy, and it is disruptive. But the end results are so rewarding that many of us have a habit of doing it once a year. Spring is here, Oestare is a new beginning, and now it is your time to grow. Go for it!

It sounds as if there's quite the dance in store for you, change, rebirth, new directions, and a nice clean house, or its equivalent, at the close of the day. And if you're continuing to dance through the Hop, Krysten's blog will be your next stop, or Annick's blog if you're dancing in reverse. And if you've no idea where you want to go next, there's a Master List available to assist you. Happy Hopping!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Tarot Blog Hop Master List

If you get lost on the Imbolc Tarot Blog Hop, here's a list with links to help you get back on track.

Imbolc Blog Hop--Hey, World, I'm Pregnant!

This is the Imbolc/Groundhog Day/Candlemas round of the Tarot Blog Hop, a collection of readings and interpretation by a group of tarot specialists on a particular topic. You may have gotten here from the blog of Donna L. Faber, or you may have arrived in reverse from the writing of Krysten Barnes. In either case, welcome aboard!

Here is what we're all talking about this time: This Hop is done in honor of either the Goddess Brighide/Bridget, or the lovely Ground Hog who is part of the cultural lore in many countries...either way, the festival has the same resonance. "Imbolc" or "Imbolg", the name of this festival in Celtic countries where it originated, means "in the belly" and refers to the season where sheep and goats are carrying their young, the first domesticated mammals to be born in early spring, and therefore are, or will soon be, lactating. Whether you are honoring the Triple Goddess Brighid in your own festival, or simply looking to Nature and Spring to emerge, the concept here is the same--the topic for this Hop is, "What is "in your Belly"? What do you wish to give birth to, to nurture, during this new season? What is the Poet, the Healer, the Maker, within you longing to do, to Become?"  You may not celebrate Imbolc, Candlemas, or Groundhog Day at all. But, oddly enough, on this particular festival, with the emergence of Spring from Winter's blast, each and every one of us has something "in the belly", something in gestation, something we came out of the Dark of Winter holding, something to which we will give birth as the Spring comes forth. Doesn't matter if, like me, you're way way too old to have progeny--you're giving birth to something. And maybe, at this point in time, you don't know exactly what that might be. So--let's take a look and see "what's in the cards" for your new arrival. What's in the belly for you, and how do you propose to birth it and raise it and bring it to maturity?

Well, let's see what the oracles will tell us. Since this festival is one which is celebrated in many different cultures for many different reasons, I am going to "mix and match" my divination tools in order to get different perspectives on the question....We'll begin, in honor of Brighid, with one of the Celtic Ogham runes, and then, in respect for the traditional nature of the Blog Hop, use a Tarot card, and finally, for the inclusion of those for whom this is not a religious festival but simply a seasonal attribution such as "Ground Hog Day", we'll use a playing card, interpreted in the manner of Irish Gypsy lore. And three different questions, one for each tool. Since I am myself honoring the feast of Imbolc at this season, my questions and interpretations will relate to the three faces of the Goddess Brighide, the Poet, the Smith, and the Healer. So--let's see what the cards have to tell us.

1) What am I creating/birthing at this season? (The Poet's Card)

Our card, from The Celtic Tree Oracle by Liz and Colin Murray, is Huathe, the Hawthorne. It answers our question, thus: "You have need to nurture yourself within, to protect your inner realm, because you will be giving birth to new ideas, new words, new thoughts. The Hawthorne, in the Ogham, represents a period of restraint, of concentrating on nourishing and nurturing the Inner Self. You will not be able to bring forth Poesy, Creativity, new ideas and concepts, unless you cherish and nurture your Self first." So--we may not have gotten a specific answer to WHAT we are creating or birthing, but we are being told that it is an Inner Child, and that it will come forth from us in its own due time if we simply wait for its gestation to be complete.

2) What shall I be in the process of Making? (The Smith's Card)

Here, from the Haindl Tarot, we have the Hanged Man, whose position in this reading might, at first, seem a bit odd. We had just asked, "What will we be making?" and the answer seems to be "Nothing. Hang there and wait." But there is another possible interpretation of this card. Don't forget that when Odin "sacrificed himself to himself" on the World Tree, he didn't understand what he was going to receive--but his period of stillness gave birth, albeit through sacrifice, to the Runes, and he "made" an entire system through simply hanging, waiting, and then thinking. This card goes well with the preceding card, to remind us that "Crafting" or "Making" does not have to be done with the hands but can be done with the mind. We have a great tendency, we humans, to believe that a person, including ourselves, who is sitting and thinking and not doing something visible and physical is "wasting time". This card is telling us that the opposite is true--in this case, in order to be in the "process of Making", we will need to "Be Still".

3. What will I be Healing by this New Birth? (The Healer's Card)
Using a deck of playing cards, I received the Ace of Clubs. All the Aces represent New Beginnings, and the Clubs in particular represent material enterprises, so this card in this position represents the "healing" of a material difficulty, and this healing will be the direct result of that to which we are about to give birth, which will be some kind of creative process obtained by waiting in stillness and listening to the Inner Child, and then using the faculties of speech, creativity, or writing to produce Poesy of whatever kind.

I cannot help thinking, looking at these three cards, of the process of giving birth, by words selected after long and silent solitary thought, to relationship healing with someone with whom we have had "material difficulty". At least, that is what it is saying to me, and I trust perhaps you have an interpretation of your own. Hopefully you will be able to gestate and birth that which speaks to you, and the Season of Light will illuminate your efforts.

From this blog, please go on to the blog of Krysten Barnes, if you haven't been there yet, or to Donna L. Faber's blog, if you're going widdershins. And if you get lost, there's a Master List to give you a hand at any time. Happy Groundhog Day, Happy Imbolc, Happy Candlemas, and happy birth day!