tarot spread

Affair of the heart

Valentines-kittyRecently I have worked with a wild animal who was seriously ill, and I simply did what I always do when healing. I have sent this animal unconditional love, no strings attached, no ifs and no buts, just love in its purest form.

Animals are very receptive to the energy of love because they have this ability to love unconditionally.

It does not matter what you look like, what you do, how rich or poor you are, your religion or background, your physical state, they will love you as you are.
Anyone with a pet will tell you that 🙂

valentines-day-with-cherubHowever, unconditional love is something humans cannot display most of the time and we need to be reminded of romance once a year 😉
Traditionally, 14th February is the day for romance and love and this day is commonly known as Valentine’s day

What was intended as a beautiful day to celebrate love has been turned into a commercial circus and millions are feeling the pressure to buy some roses and chocolates together with a present and a card whilst millions of women are expecting to be wined, dined and romanced on this day.

The expectation creates tension and anxiety and competition on social media; who will share the biggest bouquet of roses or the most extravagant Valentine’s proposal, when in reality love should be celebrated everyday with little gestures of tenderness and respect to our partners, but also to people, animals and the planet.

For those who are single, seeing Valentine gifts, cards, flowers and ads is a reminder that they are not in a relationship. As Tarot readers we certainly see our fair share of people coming for a reading regarding relationships and love. The quest for love and happiness is as old as humanity.

For the newly single, Valentine ’s Day is a painful reminder of what was there before and what has now gone.

Personally I do not celebrate Valentine ’s Day, the love I have for my beloved is shown and expressed every day and has been for the last 25 years 🙂
Arrow-of-loveStill, regardless if you are going to celebrate Valentine’s in style or will give it a miss, it can be fun to check the pulse of your relationship by doing a reading for you and the love of your life.

Arrow of love spread

Position 1 & 4 : The past – how you met your partner, your situation at the time.
Position 2 & 5:  The now – what is happening between the two of you. The strength or weakness of your relationship
Position 3 & 6 : The future – what you want to achieve with your partner
Position 7 & 8 : Your common ground when you met, what you brought to the relationship at the beginning (positive and/or negative)
Position 9 : Your relationship right now, the strenght or weakness of your relationship, what is happening at the moment around you guys.
Position 10 : Your common goals for the future, what you are hoping to achieve as a couple, what steps you want to take to consolidate (or not)  your relationship.
Position 11 : What is likely to happen with your relationship – the outcome 🙂

 

Key-to-my-heartAnd if you are single, well a little peek into the future to find out more about a potential partner could be fun to do on Valentine’s Day 🙂

Key to my heart spread

Position 1  : This card reveals if a new relationship will enter your life soon. Also this card shows your frame of mind regarding the possibility of a new romance.
Position 2 :  This may reveal the character of your future partner, showing their qualities or faults, their background and even their possible astrological sign!
Position 3 : Compatibility between you and a new partner. Are you going to complement each other or not?
Position 4 : Love or lust. In other words, will it be a long lasting relationship or more of a physical passion.
Position 5 : How this new relationship will evolve
Position 6 : The outcome of the relationship. Will your true desires be fulfilled (or not).

Spread the love 🙂

valentines-day-2045468

Oephebia and the kitty monsters

 

 

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Tarot musing

Learning the Tarot. Self-taught versus courses.

Recently when providing Tarot readings at a private party, the host asked me how I came to learn the Tarot as he was interested in finding out more about the skills involved.

This innocent question triggered a kind of timeline review on how I came to travel on a path of such rich and complex archetypes that is spirituality and widely known as the Tarot.

Back in the late 70’s in my native France, the only Tarot available was either the Tarot de Marseille or l’Oracle de Belline. I was fascinated by the images in the Marseille deck, so I bought a book and a Tarot deck and studied for years on my own!
Looking back, it is clear to me that my first steps into the Tarot was a tenuous journey as I had no support whatsoever to guide me, to teach me, to push my dormant abilities, it was a kind of wilderness; a lonely and difficult journey.

Today there are hundreds of Tarot decks (and for us Tarot addicts, it is heaven) and anyone can pick a deck and start doing readings and establish themselves as a reader. A few hours spent memorising keywords attributed to the cards, learning one spread or two and voila, Gypsy Rose Lee is here to tell you what your future will bring.

Self-taugh-versus-coursesSo, is it really important to spend hours, weeks and months even years learning the Tarot?
Is it fundamental to know the mythologies entwined with the cards, to understand astrology and numerology, to learn about the rich symbolism of the arcana? Is it really essential to practice and practice in order to help oneself and others in the process?

In other words, should one learn the Tarot? And if yes, is self-taught better than learning from a course?
If doing a course, how? Tarot workshops? E-learning? Tutor/mentor?
This is pretty much down to each individual.

Regardless, any Tarot course should be seen as learning a new language, learning the subtleties of this new language in order to be fluent and to do so, one needs time, willingness to learn, passion and practice.

A good Tarot course should also serve as a self-development course, you will acquire 78 friends who will never let you down and will guide you on your life path.
With knowledge comes power and responsibilities, both to oneself and to others 😉

Also, the financial aspect of learning the Tarot is something to take into consideration as prices range from the affordable (£39 for an online Tarot course, or £15 per lesson private tuition) to the very expensive (£250 a day for a one to one Tarot tuition or £995 for a 10 weeks (2hours a week) foundation course + £1,995 for a 10 weeks (2hours a week) advanced course by the same tutor, total for this course a whopping £2990).

But let us keep money out of the equation and rather examine the various pros and cons of learning the Tarot, self-taught versus courses.

Please note that the list of pros and cons is not exhaustive 😉

self-taught

Self-Taught

PROS

CONS

*Learning at your own pace, no rush, no timetable, no pressure to go physically to a class. You can choose to learn with books, online videos, blogs etc.  You can learn at a time suitable to you, day and night.

*Knowledge at a press of a button.

*If you are not focused on the task ahead, you will learn sporadically or even give up.
*Also, as there are many blogs, videos and books on offer, one can feel overwhelmed and can suffer from information overload.
*You can choose to learn about some aspects of the Tarot more in-depth, such as mythology, or numerology, astrology as a standalone and then integrate them with the Tarot. *You will need to spend time researching about the mythology and other subjects.
You may want to invest in specialised books on the subject as well, which can cost in the long haul.
*If you want to become a professional Tarot reader, you can establish yourself at any time and you can begin doing readings. *Although you may be a professional reader after studying the cards, you may find out the trials and tribulations of being a professional reader the hard way.
*You can join the many groups online and learn as you go on your journey, at your own pace.
*Some groups also concentrate on certain aspects of the cards or, have challenges to help you think outside the box J
*There are often Tarot meet-ups when you can meet like-minded people and exchange readings etc… and make new friends in the process.
*Online groups can be a rich source of knowledge.
*However, be aware of the Queen of Swords in some groups, the holier than thou Tarot gurus who will make you feel that your knowledge or interpretation of the cards is not to their standard!

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tarot-workshop

Tarot Workshops

PROS

CONS

*Learning with a professional reader.

*This is a great way to dip your toes into the Tarot pool to see if you can make sense of the cards and learn a few things in a suitable environment.

*The standard of workshops varies from reader to reader. Be aware of workshops promising that you will learn how to read the 78 cards in a couple of hours. *Workshops are appetizers, not the main course!
*Workshops are usually fun and are a great way to meet like-minded people.
The personality of the teacher will make the experience a great one as well as a fun one!
*Sometimes in a group, you will have people with different levels of knowledge and you can feel that you are not as “good” as some others, which can create a sense of inadequacy.

*The best is to choose a workshop for your level with the Tarot (beginner, Intermediate or Advanced).

*After a workshop, you can decide if you want to push your knowledge further by embarking on a course to delve deeper into the magic of the Tarot.
If you had good vibes with your teacher, chances are they may have a course you can enrol to.
*You may have enjoyed the workshop because of the Tarot itself, but not so much the teacher. If so, look for a teacher you will feel comfortable with. Energies are a funny mix, one must be totally at ease with their teacher or mentor.
*You may decide to do a few workshops with different teachers in order to see which teacher could be the best for you.
Workshops vary in prices and locations, it is always good to try two to make up your mind.
*Workshops are easy to enrol, but you may want to draw a line on how many you want to do. There is no quick ways of learning the Tarot, practice and dedication is what is required if you want to achieve a good level with the Tarot.

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online-tarot-course

Online Tarot courses

PROS

CONS

*Like with self-learning, usually you can learn at your own pace with the added bonus of having a teacher supporting you.
*A good course will have a set of exercises for you to do and you will get feedback on how much progress you are making.
*Although you will have a teacher, the learning will be done on your own, following the course lessons and the structure of the course.
*You will need to be organised and regular with your lessons if you want to see some progress.
*Time will be the essence concerning your exercises.
*Usually you can choose your level with the Tarot and enrol on a course which will push you to the next level (beginner, intermediate, advanced, master). *You can enrol to the right level for you, but some teachers will insist that you start from beginner to whatever levels they provide, in order to monitor your progress.
*The written lessons provided by the teacher are yours to keep forever for future reference.
*So when the course is finished, you can revisit some of the lessons at your own pace.
*A good rapport with your teacher will help you to fill more at ease and will help with your progress.Make sure you have detailed information about what you learn, how many lessons and how many exercises.
*Some written lessons are very basic and can be found for free online.
*If a course has no exercises to do which can be monitored by a teacher, it is not worth your financial commitment (better the self-taught route).
*If the modules of a course are not detailed prior to your enrolment, be aware, the chances are that the course will not be up to standard!
*Choose a reputable Tarot school or Tarot organisation or a professional Tarot teacher with experience.
*Do not hesitate to ask questions before departing with your money.
*Try to see if there are testimonials about the course and what other people think about it.
*Make sure that the course will cover what you want to learn from it (the cards, spreads, techniques for reading the cards etc.)
*Remember that promises of learning the Tarot quickly is something to avoid.

*Sometimes, learning with a school is a bit rigid as they have their own sets of rules for learning.
*Choose a bona fide Tarot organisation for learning, although saying that, sometimes it is not a guarantee of excellence!
*The Tarot is very complex and you will see that we are all eternal students of the Tarot.

 

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tarot-tuitions

Tarot tuitions

PROS CONS
*Learning in a structured and relaxed atmosphere with a reputable Tarot reader and teacher can help you to develop your skills.

*Private tuition is excellent for your skills and awareness to blossom under the watchful eye of your tutor.
*On average one lesson a week is good as it gives you plenty of time to integrate the principles of the cards, time to practise, to do your exercises etc.
*Lessons can be done face to face or via a webcam in the comfort of your own home

*In order to benefit from one to one private tuition or mentoring, you will need to be at ease with your tutor.
*They will need to be approachable and knowledgeable about the Tarot; and patient.
*If a mentor is not willing to go the extra mile for you to progress is not worth your while.
*You will need to put aside time regularly for your lessons, so you will need to be organised.
*The dance of the diaries might be a bit complicated if you and your teacher are very busy.
*You will be able to develop your own style of readings with the encouragement of your tutor.
*You will be able to ask questions and to discuss reading techniques from simple spreads to more advanced layouts with your mentor.
*Passion for the Tarot is something that can be fuelled by the right Tarot tutor.
*Prior to enrolling on a course, try to have a conversation with your tutor to discuss your needs. Try to feel your tutor, are they passionate about their subject? Do they instil in you the desire to learn?
*In order to achieve a good level with the Tarot, your mentor will need to teach you the cards by encouraging your thinking process, by instilling a desire to push further your abilities, by challenging you with the cards, so you will need to be prepared for some constructive criticism.
*A tutor without passion and going through the motions will be the most disheartening experience you could have with the Tarot IMHO.
*The course litterature provided by your teacher should be concise and precise with lots of information and of course, concrete examples of readings with techniques.
*A set of exercises should be the norm and a good mentor will encourage you to develop your ways of thinking about the cards.
*Fun is usually part of the process and we all learn better when having fun.
*If you are looking for a quick way to learn the Tarot, mentoring won’t be the right platform for you.
*Usually, mentoring with the Tarot involves a deep knowledge of the cards and this knowledge is passed on from the mentor to the student. It is an organic process that takes time. J
*Be aware of mentors insisting on you learning keywords by heart and not allowing you to be yourself with the Tarot. We all learn differently.
*Choose a reputable Tarot mentor/tutor as this can make your experience of learning the Tarot a good one or a more difficult one.
*A good mentor/tutor usually is someone with many years of experience reading the Tarot in different environments.
*Read testimonials online about your mentor/tutor and what they have to say.
*A good mentor/tutor will let you to be you during the course, and shouldn’t be rigid about your way of learning or reading.
*Be aware if your mentor/tutor wants you to follow a certain set of rules and procedures about the cards and readings.
The first rule of Tarot: there is no rule!
*You can start from point of a total beginner and achieve an advanced level with a Tarot mentor/tutor.
*If you know the Tarot already, you may want to learn further techniques to read the cards or, you may want to practice your skills under supervision.
*A good Tarot tutor/mentor will be able to tailor lessons specific to your needs.
*Some Tarot tutors ask potential students to do their beginner tutoring and go through their modules to achieve a higher level.
*Although, there maybe a financial incentive attached to this for the tutor, it is not really suitable if you have already achieved a certain level with the Tarot.
*If you want to become a professional Tarot reader, your Tarot tutor/mentor will be a great source of knowledge and experience in guiding you through the ups and downs of the profession.
*That is why you should choose someone with experience and reputation.
*Some Tarot mentors/tutors see students who want to become professional as potential competitors and are reluctant to impart their experience and knowledge. If your tutor is not open to the idea of sharing their knowledge, look for someone who is more open and suitable to you.

full-moon-icon-png-clipart-image-iconbug-com-vtPFtR-clipart

Hopefully, after reading this blog, you will have a better understanding about the various avenues and cul de sacs towards learning the Tarot.

Something we must bear in mind, variety is the spice of life and what is suitable for one may not be for someone else.

Use your intuition, reflect on why you want to learn, what you may want to achieve (self-development, learning more about yourself via archetypes, or career change; training to the best of your abilities) and above all, have fun whilst learning, it keeps the mind young.

Oephebia and the kitty monsters

 

 

tarot spread

New Year’s Tarot spread

This is the time of the year when we can truly look at the previous year and take account of what has happened, the trials and tribulations we endured, the blessings and joyful moments we had, the goals we reached, big and small. In other words, to integrate life’s up and downs and to look with hope in the year ahead 🙂

At the beginning of each year, traditionally,  we make a list of New Year’s resolutions which most of the time will be gone by the end of January if not before.

Personally, I like to look at the year ahead and to have projects and goals I would like to achieve or more generally, a direction I would like to focus on.

With that in mind, I created this fun spread which can be used as a general spread, or for more specific areas of life such as family, love, career, spirituality, creativity etc..

New-Year-spreadCard 1 : Main lesson of last year
That which was more challenging to integrate, what you needed to focus on most of the time.

Card 2 : What I need to get rid of
What you need to let go of on the shore of 2017 and not to carry  any more.

Card 3 : How to let go of what no longer serves me?
What has become a burden and practical steps to let it all go.
This card is significant as it is a little something from the universe to help you unburden yourself.

Card 4 : New Year’s gift to me
The gift/blessings/energies that the Universe (or deity you believe in) wants you to be equipped with for the new year.

Card 5 : Main focus of the year
What will be your main direction/intent for the upcoming year. Which area of life is in need of  TLC.

Card 6 : What I must do this year
Here there is a sense of duty and urgency with this card. What would be the pillar for your goals/expectations to be achieved.

Card 7 : Goals to achieve this year
What would be a great focus of intention laying the foundation for the future that could spread further than 2018.

Card 8 : Advice from the universe for this year
This card is significant as it is linked with card 4, so pay attention to both to see if they complement each other or seem in opposition. If in opposition, it will mean that challenges will be keenly felt, which sometimes is needed in order to achieve.

Card 9 : Main energy of the year.
With this card you will be able to feel intuitively what the year will bring 🙂

Have fun using this spread, I did with very interesting trends in which time will tell!

Bonne Annee – Happy New Year 🙂
Oephebia and the kitty monsters

tarot spread

Day of the Dead Tarot spread

This is my favourite month of the year, Autumn is truly around, leaves on trees are changing colours, the air is full of magic and nature is preparing for the big sleep.

October is by far an exciting month as it is of course the month of Samhain or Halloween.
Halloween is very special to my heart as it was on an Halloween night that I kissed my beloved for the first time (and he did not turn into a toad) 24 years ago 😀

Another festival which is close to my heart is the Mexican Day of the Dead which is a festival honouring our dear departed and ancestors. It is a joyful celebration of the dead, to remember those who went before us.

It is said that the veil between our world and the spirit world is at its thinnest around Samhain.  With that in mind, I have designed a little spread to reach our ancestors.

Day-of-the-dead-spread
1 – Advice from my ancestors (here take it as what you need to know or to do to improve your life)
2 – What I need to banish, to let go, to remove from my life, what is no longer serving me.
3 – What I need to embrace, to welcome in my life, to attract to me.
4 – Ancestral traits I need to tap into.
What qualities from my ancestors (immediate ancestors or from many generations ago, in other words, your tribe),  I may want to use.
5 – What is holding me back? What is not working, not good for me etc….
6 – Blessings from my ancestors. What is the message from beyond the veil from your ancestors to you. What is essential to acknowledge and to be aware of.

I did a reading using this spread with very surprising results, which I am still meditating on.

Have a blessed Samhain and enjoy the Day of the Dead.
I know I will 🙂

Oephebia and the kitty monsters

tarot spread

Tarot deck interview

You know the feeling when a new tarot deck is on its way to you, a deck you have been drooling over for a while.

The anticipation and the excitement of getting your paws on the new deck, to caress it, to feed your senses, feeling the cards underneath your fingers, sensing the energies and looking at the artwork. What a treat eh?

But sometimes, although we love the artwork, the theme of the deck, the artist etc… the energies during your first reading with your new deck are not as strong or totally off.

Rings a bell, right?

Before working with a deck, it is a good idea to ask a few questions to your new deck and to get a feel of the energies of the deck, how it combines with your own energies.

Here is a spread to do just that (I know many tarot deck interview spreads are on offer), but I created mine because I know what I am looking for with a deck for myself personally or professionally 🙂

Tarot-deck-interview

1 – Main energies of the deck
2 – Best way to approach the deck
3 – Areas of life best suited with the deck
4 – Lesson or challenge from the deck
5 – Best advice from the deck
6 – Friend or foe?

I have used this spread with my trusted Rider Waite (energies in synastry), my Everyday Witch Tarot ( very good vibes) and the Star Tarot (jury is out on this one with position 6 : Kings of Cups/Moon).

Happy interview 🙂

Cards symbolism

Two of Swords tarot card

July 8th is the first International Tarot day, which is a day to celebrate the beauty of the Tarot and to recognise the Tarot as a tool of spiritual development that goes way beyond its media portrayed fortune telling image (such as in James Bond’s Live and let die, when he encounters Solitaire and her Tarot of the Witches)!

It is a day for the Tarot community to showcase what a wonderful tool the Tarot can be to empower us in our everyday lives.

To celebrate such a wonderful day, full of events and activities, many of us Tarot lovers will be participating in a fun project by writing a blog on a specific card.
I was assigned a complex card (as complex as our human psyche), the card in question is the Two of Swords 🙂

Let’s go and rock and roll and demystify the Two of Swords!
tarot-two-of-swords

Traditionally, the card depicts a woman wearing a blindfold, holding two swords crossed over her chest (the heart chakra, centre of feeling and emotions) and sitting on a stone.

The card above is from the Druidcraft Tarot and encompasses perfectly the dilemma of making a decision to go in one direction or another (being stuck between a rock and a hard place type of thing). We all have been there.

Notice that the woman is semi-naked, which means she is innocent, naïve, vulnerable and pure.  She probably feels the coldness of the metal from the swords on her heart chakra (cooling down her emotions).
Swords are a symbol of absolute truth and belong to the realm of air.

The woman tries to calm her internal storm without the chattering of the external world (hence why she has blindfolded herself).  However, her red cape indicates that her consciousness is more instinctive and emotional (passion) and requires action. She tries to keep the status quo (notice her almost perfect stillness). Here we have the eternal conflict mind versus heart!

She sits in front of a tree (perhaps an oak tree, symbol of wisdom) almost like she wants to feel the tree, to feel its wisdom. Presumably she could be asking the tree for its support and counsel.
After all, she cannot see, but she can hear the whispers of the leaves in the trees, she can feel the air around her and maybe the coldness of the swords against her skin. She can feel her connection to the land. When one of the five senses is not working, the others tend to compensate. In other words, she feels all the emotions related to her situation.

Perhaps by sensing the trees around her and by visualising each possible path available to her, together with their possibilities and pitfalls, will she know which path to choose.

However, one cannot stay forever in between. As time progresses, she will presumably grow tired and the weight of the swords will soon become too heavy for her to maintain her perfect stillness. She will need to make a move by going one way or another, in other words, by reaching a decision and sticking to it (end of procrastination…hooray).

Often in a reading, this card implies that the querent (the person receiving a reading) has to make a decision and sometimes there can be two alternatives. Which can confuse the querent even more, leading them to a standstill.

Negotiation and compromise is also another meaning of this card. Facing fear and withdrawal from life is yet another theme. The Two of Swords may depict a situation when one is caught in the middle of a dispute and one is asked to take sides, leading to emotional conflict for the mediator.
Withdrawing in order to reach a conclusion is the help this card offers. Calming the storm of conflictual thoughts by going inwards (using meditation and/or visualisation) is what can help reach a level of peace of mind and spirit.
two-of-swords-and-numerology

Numerology is an ancient system that attributes numbers to meanings and connections to the spiritual realms. Ancient civilisations used Numerology thousands of years ago and it is still in use in today.

The Tarot has 78 cards divided into 22 major arcana (22 is considered as a master number in Numerology which means it is almost a mythical number linked to the cosmos) and 56 minor arcana. All cards are numbered in the Major and Minor arcana apart from the Court cards found in the four suits of the Minor Arcana (Cups/Water, Wands/Fire, Earth/Pentacles and Swords/Air).

The High Priestess bears the number 2 in the Major Arcana.  The High Priestess influences all the twos in the Tarot (2 of Cups, 2 of Wands, 2 of Pentacles and 2 of Swords).

Number 2 is a feminine number and it is linked to the Moon. Two is the number of duality; opposite and relationship, interaction with each other and receptivity and sensibility.

Certainly the opposites of life are clearly shown with the High Priestess (the traditional black and white pillars). The Moon is also traditionally depicted with the High Priestess for the emotions and the feminine.

As we have seen, the Two of Swords is a card for internal conflict of life and certainly the conflict of emotions (feminine) and the mind (masculine).

The essence of the number 2 is to bring opposites together and to create harmony through creativity and receptivity which is why in the Two of Swords the internal conflict has to be resolved in order to integrate opposites in life, to bring harmony and peace of mind.

The world we live in today is the world of the Two of Swords; with conflicts seen in many countries, where unity and togetherness are nowhere to be seen and division and separateness are rampant.

 

two-of-swords-and-astrology

Many cards in the Tarot are linked to Astrology, as planets and sun signs give extra information on the energies of the cards.

With the Two of Swords, the element attributed to it (and to the whole suit of swords) is the element of Air. The Celestial Tarot has assigned the Two of Swords with the constellation of Lupus. It was recognised as the constellation of Lupus, the Latin name for the wolf, around the 16th Century when the translation of Ptolemy’s work identified it with the wolf!
The myth of the wounded centaur (Chiron) offering a wolf as a sacrifice to Ara (the heavenly altar) is behind the name of the constellation.

Wolves have certainly been the subject of myths and attributes such as savagery, primitive and guttural feelings from time immemorial. The popular image of a wolf howling at the moon is part of many folklores around the world and of course, the image of a man becoming a wolf during a Full moon (lycanthropy) is an ancient myth which became popular with horror films and literature.

But wolves have also a more caring side and the myth of Romulus and Remus suckling a she-wolf became the legend behind the founding of Rome.

But what does all this have to do with the Two of Swords I hear you say?

As we know, the Two of Swords has a link with the High Priestess as we have seen with the numerological aspect of the card.

The High Priestess is ruled by the Moon (lo and behold, the Moon is heavily portrayed with the wolves in popular imagery as we have seen). The Moon has an influence on the wolf (constellation of Lupus), animal instinct/gut feeling/emotion versus logic/coldness/intellect. Anyone who knows anything about wolves will tell you that they are very intelligent creatures, with a strict social hierarchy and that they hunt together for more effectiveness for the good of all.

We have seen with the numerological connection of number 2, that togetherness and harmony is the best attribute of the number 2 and it is what needs to be achieved with the Two of Swords.
So the circle is completed, everything is intertwined, the Tarot, Numerology, myths and legends, and Astrology. 🙂

So to resume, the Two of Swords is a card of internal conflict: emotions (Moon) versus logic (Swords/Lupus Constellation), being stuck in no man’s land, immobilised with procrastination. A balance needs to be achieved.

Ta da! Balance is a powerful word in this example and it leads us to the realm of the Justice card (scales) often represented as a blindfolded woman holding a set of perfectly balanced scales.J Of course Justice is also linked to Libra in Astrology. Libra people are well known for their diplomacy, their listening skills, their sociability, and their dislike of conflicts, and sometimes their procrastination too.

Now you know where we are heading right?

We have seen that with the Two of Swords a need to resolve internal conflicts (or sometimes, external) has to be made. Justice holds an upright sword (the sword of truth) and asks us to see the truth as it is, to be strong and honest with ourselves.
Only by being truthful to ourselves (without ego in the picture) and finding the right balance, will we resolve our internal conflict/chattering and be able to move on with our lives and restore our internal harmony and peace. Phew!

But it is easier to say than to do…
However, there are a few things that we can do to help restore the balance and harmony within ourselves.

Let’s have a look at the help mother Nature can provide 🙂
Tarot-and-herbs-Bach-Flowers

The Herbal Tarot has associated the Two of Swords with Passionflower.

Passionflower is a well-known remedy that has been used for a very long time to help treat anxiety and nervous disorders amongst other ailments.
Its calming properties can soothe an over-active mind and even help with insomnia and depression, lifting spirits and rebalancing the mind, body and spirit.

If we find ourselves in the Two of Swords situation, the best would be to take some Passionflower Flower Essence to help rebalance our energies and achieve a peace of mind by removing tension (in the body as well).

Another great Flower Essence to take is Scleranthus, part of the 38 Bach Flower Remedies, widely available worldwide.

Scleranthus is a brilliant remedy that helps to restore the quality of balance and decisiveness that can be lacking when we are faced with the Two of Swords situation.

Sometimes faced with crippling indecision and emotionally going from one extreme to another whilst in the middle of an internal battle is not something we want to be stuck in. Scleranthus will help to restore our inner point of balance, helping us to connect to our soul and our own direction.

NB: please note that all flower essences are usually made without any chemicals, using natural methods and with no additives, colouring and other nasties.

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Now that you are a little more acquainted with the Two of Swords, perhaps you would like to know more about the Ace of Sword and the Two of Swords and many of the other cards?

Have a look at the blog hop beside the Two of Swords, namely the Ace of Swords by Spirit Art and the 3 of Swords by the Everyday Medium.

Enjoy and Happy International Tarot Day J

Oephebia and the kitty monsters

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Cards symbolism

Wheel of Fortune tarot card

July 8th is the first International Tarot day, which is a day to celebrate the beauty of the Tarot and to recognise the Tarot as a tool of spiritual development that goes way beyond its media portrayed fortune telling image!

It is a day for the Tarot community to showcase what a wonderful tool the Tarot can be to empower us in our everyday lives.

To celebrate such a wonderful day, full of events and activities, many of us Tarot lovers will be participating in a fun project by writing a blog on a specific card.
I was assigned a great card the Wheel of Fortune 🙂
I thought it would be interesting to compare the symbolism of the Wheel of Fortune in two different decks: the Radiant Rider Waite and the Druidcraft Tarot !

 

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Radiant Rider Waite Tarot© US Games Systems Inc

This is another version of the original Rider Waite pack. The colours are brighter and the drawing is more defined.

When we look at this card, we can see:

A bright orange wheel adorned with four letters on each of the cardinal points, four Hebrew letters and four strange symbols, stands in the middle of a blue sky with clouds.

The Wheel is made of three circles and from the smallest circle in the centre eight lines are connected to the Roman and Hebrew letters. An orange coloured creature with a human body and the head of a jackal is supporting the wheel on his back. A snake is following the wheel down, whilst a blue sphinx sits on the top of the wheel holds a sword upright. Four winged golden creatures each holding books are depicted on each corner of the card.

Here we have the setting of the essence of the card: rapid changes and the beginning of a new cycle, transformation, fate, fortune and destiny.

The Wheel can be seen as the Sun and its influence on the changing of the seasons, which may explain why the wheel is in the sky. We cannot control the changes of the seasons: only embrace them and adjust to them. We have to do the same when the Wheel is turning, we should accept the changes as part of a natural cycle or perhaps as our destiny. Resisting changes will only make things more difficult for us and will lead us to the Death card where everything will be removed anyway before rebirth.

Also, the blue sky can be seen as Heaven and the higher spheres of spirituality. The fact that the wheel is a fiery orange may be connected to divine love. Interestingly, in the Tarot the clouds often represent God in its ethereal form (particularly with all the Aces of the minor Arcana and the Lovers).

Another subtle hint of the divine is the name of the card itself: Wheel of Fortune. The word Fortune derives from Fortuna, the name of the Roman Goddess of fate, chance and luck.

Wheel of Fortune close upRadiant Rider Waite Tarot© US Games Systems Inc

Now when we look at the four Hebrew letters called the Tetragrammaton, we are presented with the name of God (Y-H-V-H).

The letters arranged clockwise form T A R O, the name Taro(t). The letters, when formed anticlockwise give the name Tora, the Jewish sacred book of Divine Law (also seen in the High Priestess).

Starting from the South cardinal point and clockwise, the name Rota also appears which means “wheel” in Latin. Another name can be made starting from the East cardinal point and anticlockwise: Ator (Hathor), Egyptian Goddess of the sky, often represented as a divine cow with a solar disc (the Wheel?) on her head.

The strange symbols found underneath each letter are alchemical.

Starting just below the letter T is the symbol of Mercury, God of communication, trade and thieves. This symbol is used today in Astrology to represent Mercury.

Beside the letter A stands the symbol for sulphur and beside the letter O is the symbol for salt. Mercury, Sulphur and Salt are the three components or principles of the philosopher’s stone. Mercury represents the spirit, whilst Salt is the body and Sulphur is the soul.

A fourth symbol can be seen above the letter R which represents water. This symbol has been in used by alchemists since the 17th Century. It is also used in Astrology to represent Aquarius (which incidentally is an air sign).

The Western and Hebrew letters together with the Alchemical symbols are connected by eight lines from the smallest circle to the middle circle. These two circles can be seen as the Mind and Body: the beginning of life, the transformation of the fertilised egg into a human being (which will explain the Alchemical symbols for transformation) and the realisation that the Mind and Body are linked together and they will undertake several transformations (from innocence to wisdom and babyhood to old age,) before death and rebirth (the third circle with the name of God).

The eight lines can be seen as two sets of four as they each connect four letters (Western or Hebrew). Number four represents the four elements, the four seasons and the four evangelists. Four is the number for solid foundation (Mind and Body). However number eight is made of two circles, one representing the material and the other, spiritual; unifying these two principles. Number eight is also considered as a symbol of spiritual rebirth, which will be attained when the spirit will be with God. The third circle with the Western and Hebrew letters can be seen as the spirit joining God before rebirth and transformation.

The blue Sphinx sitting on the top of the Wheel, above the letter T and the alchemical symbol for Mercury is thought to represent Horus, the Egyptian sky God whose name means “He Who is Above” (very appropriate here). Interestingly, he was worshipped together with his consort Hathor whose name appeared on the wheel itself. He can be seen as the mystery of life and the guardian of truth as he holds a sword. Blue is also the colour of heaven and healing, one can expect that changes brought by the Wheel will transform oneself. Additionally, the Sphinx can be seen as the mind.

The orange snake is thought to be Set or Seth, God of chaos, destruction and decay. Set could be linked to the body.

The orange creature with the head of a jackal is Anubis, the God of the dead, embalmment and cemeteries. He accompanied the souls of the dead (the same role was given to Mercury in Greek Mythology) to be judged by Maa’t, Goddess of truth (found in the Justice card). Anubis can be connected to spirit.

Alternatively, it always strikes me that Anubis with the Wheel on his back looks a bit like a snail (and it is not because I am French). Snails are a lunar symbol and stand for the cycle of death and rebirth, their spiral forming shell represents the eternal evolution of life and possibly fertility (the snail is found in the IX of Pentacles), rebirth after death. Another hint to the eternal movement of the Wheel of destiny.

The three Gods (mind, body and spirit) form an upward triangle which in turn represents fire. Fire in this case can be seen as one’s conscious, one’s will and the mental attitude one applies faced with situations (Horus on the top of the Wheel). If the card is reversed, the triangle will be inverted representing water and one’s unconscious.

These three Gods battle all the time to control the wheel. When Set for example has the upper hand, one experiences setbacks, loss or sudden “bad” luck or stagnation as the wheel has become “stuck”.

When Anubis has the upper hand big changes are on their way and one will have to adapt to the changes. The same applies with Horus on the top of the Wheel, transformation will happen because of rapid changes and one will have to apply his/her will to make the most of the changes.

Wheel-of-Fortune-4-beastsRadiant Rider Waite Tarot© US Games Systems Inc

The four winged golden creatures are thought to be the four beasts of the book of revelation 4:7 “And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle”

Christians attributed the four creatures to the Evangelists: Matthew with the Angel, John with the eagle, Mark with the Lion and Luke with the bull. Perhaps the books the creatures are holding are the Gospels?

Another alternative is to see the four golden beasts as the four elements. The Angel being air and the sign of Aquarius, the Eagle represents water and the sign of Scorpio, the Lion is fire and the sign of Leo and finally, the Bull is earth and the sign of Taurus; all of them being fixed signs in Astrology.

We need the four elements to survive on earth and we experience the seasons which bring us back to the Wheel: the never ending cycle of life which brings transformation in all levels (mind, body and spirit) after death and resurrection.

So we cannot deny that fate is at work with this card, and we will have to embrace our “destiny” with whatever change coming onto our path and play an active role in doing so.

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The Druidcraft Tarot© Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm

This is a beautiful pack inspired by Druids and Wicca. When we look at this card, we see a young woman by a cave, wearing a blue dress and a purple shawl. She draws a circle in the sand using a wand and holds a pendant in her left hand. The sea can be seen in the background and the whole scenery is peaceful.

As with the Radiant Rider Waite, here we have the setting of the essence of the card: the beginning of a new cycle (the circle drawn in the sand), transformation (the cave), fate, fortune and destiny (the woman).

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Arianrhod statue

The woman represents the Welsh Goddess Arianrhod meaning “Silver Wheel that descends to the sea”. She was the symbol of cosmic time and ruled over the tides. She was also a Moon Goddess and was seen as the Mother aspect of the Moon, connecting the womb (which is also represented by the cave) to death and rebirth (the essence of the Wheel of Fortune). Another aspect of this Goddess is that she was connected to reincarnation and Karma as she carried the dead to Emania (the land of death) which was under her rulership. She was responsible for the souls to be reborn from the otherworld to Earth. Arianhrod was sometimes also seen as the Celestial Weaver, spinning the wheel of life and destiny of humankind.

The colours of Arianrhod’s dress and shawl seems to reflect her divine origins as blue is the colour of heaven and purple is the colour of secrecy and the mystery of reincarnation or transformation. In the Radiant Rider Waite, the colour orange encompasses the divine.

With this pack, Anubis, Horus and Seth, the three Gods found in the Radiant Rider Waite, have been replaced by a single deity who symbolises the principles of the carrier of souls (Anubis) and the mystery of life (Horus). The destructive aspect of Set may be found with her flail and to a certain extent the sea.
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The Druidcraft Tarot© Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm

The flail is an ambiguous symbol here as it can be seen as a tool for punishment and flagellation; as seen in some extreme forms of religion where people “punish” themselves with a flail, self-inflicting wounds to their body to expiate their sins. If so, perhaps the flail plays the same role as Seth in the Radiant Rider Waite, bringing destruction and pain to people?

On the other hand, the flail and the crook were the symbol of Osiris in Ancient Egypt. He was the God of the Afterlife as well as rebirth. He was the father of Horus (the sphinx on the wheel in the Radiant Rider Waite) and was Isis’ husband, (interestingly enough Isis is thought to be part of the High Priestess card as she is represented by the veil behind the young maiden in the card. The High Priestess has a scroll on her lap with the name Tora. The name Tora is also found in the wheel of the Radiant Rider Waite). Most importantly, Osiris was Seth’s brother (our link to the Radiant Rider Waite) and was butchered by Seth and resuscitated by Isis (rebirth). So the flail may be an indirect link to Egyptian mythology which is part of the Radiant Rider Waite as well.

Osiris was often represented with a flail and a crook in each hand together with his arms crossed on his chest, forming the letter X. This letter is also the roman numerical symbol for 10. Now, ten is the number attributed to the Wheel of Fortune which in the Tarot represents the end of a cycle before a new beginning can take place or a zenith or nadir experience (good or bad). It seems that even the number has a resonance with the principle of the Wheel, changes, fate and fortune, new beginnings etc.

The principle of life, death and rebirth is represented by the Goddess herself but also by the cave. Caves have a double meaning in term of symbolism. A cave represents protection, the womb and the mystery of life. It is the passage way which connect Earth to Heaven. From immemorial time, caves have been the centre of initiation, the sacred and a protective place. However, caves are also the symbol of death and represent the tomb and the gate to the underworld, where the soul will dwell for a while before rebirth. The cave in this card has the same role as the alchemical symbol found in the Radiant Rider Waite, they both stand for transformation.

The sand on the beach is a subtle hint of eternity and the passing of time. Sand is also used in hourglass to measure time. Sand therefore can be seen as a symbol of infinite and multitude. Sand moves all the time, because of the tides, wind, creatures etc, so in a way the sand is in perpetual movement like the wheel itself in the Radiant Rider Waite.

The sea in the background is another symbol of the dynamism of life. The tides represent transition, when the sand is half immerse and half exposed, so it can be seen as the transition between life, death and rebirth. Conversely, in Welsh tradition, Arianrhod had two sons; one of them was called Dylan “the Son of the Wave” because according to the myth, as soon as he was born he went to the sea and swam like a fish and disappeared into the waves. When he was killed by his uncle, the myth goes on that all the waves of the British Isles wept for him. Dylan is sometimes referred as the Sea God.

The sea plays the same role as the Wheel with the Hebrew and Western letters in the Radiant Rider Waite; the divine, the changes and fortune, as the sea can easily kill (here the sea is linked to Set the Egyptian God of decay and chaos in the Radiant Rider Waite) and crossing a ocean can be perilous with an uncertain outcome, like the Wheel.

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Sterling silver wheel of the year pendant

The pendant in Arianrhod’s hand represents the Wiccan wheel of the year. Wiccan people are close to Mother Nature and observe the rhythm of the seasons. They have eight festivals corresponding to the various progressions of the Moon and the Sun (seen as the Goddess and the God), and the seasons for the year. The pendant has the same role as the eight spokes seen in the Radiant Rider Waite’s wheel, the change of seasons, the eternal movement of time (life and death and rebirth) and the divine.

Arianrhod is casting a circle (no beginning and no end) on the sand. In Wicca tradition, a circle is a potent symbol of protection and security. During some magical rituals, usually a person can call upon the four Archangels or the four elements, (which we have encountered in the Radiant Rider Waite in the form of the four creatures at the corners of the card) to assist and help the magician standing in the middle of the circle.

Another hint of the magical purpose of the circle is the fact that Arianhrod held a wand in her right hand. This is another important tool in the Wiccan tradition. Wands are usually made of wood, and trees in ancient Celtic wisdom were seen as the messengers of the Gods, because of their deep roots buried in the earth and the top of the trees reaching high up into the sky, the connection between heaven and earth. Interestingly enough, the Magician (who is thought to represent Mercury/Hermes) in the Radiant Waite Tarot holds a wand towards the sky and points with his finger down to earth, meaning that he knows how to transform the divine spark into something concrete or material. Arianrhod is effectively transferring her divine powers into the physical realm and she is in fact spinning the wheel of life.

In conclusion, although both cards look dramatically different on an aesthetic point of view, on a closer look it seems that some of the symbolism are interwoven and are common in both ancient Egypt and Celtic culture. The principles of birth, reincarnation, rebirth, fate, luck and changes are universal themes in cultures around the world.

We as human beings have to ride our “fate” with faith and understand that changes are a necessity in life to avoid stagnation and bring new beginnings. A very hard lesson sometimes!

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Now that you are a little more acquainted with the Wheel of Fortune, perhaps you would like to know more about the Hermit (card number 9) and Justice (card number 11) and many of the other cards? Here you can find the master list of the blogs regarding the Major and Minor Arcana.

Have a look at the blog hop beside the Wheel of Fortune (card number 10), namely the Hermit by Fables Den  and Justice by Celestial Recognitions
Enjoy and Happy International Tarot Day 🙂

Oephebia and the kitty monsters

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