Cards symbolism

4 of Cups close and personal

July 8th is the International Tarot day, a day to celebrate the beauty of the Tarot without the constriction of a trademark and to recognise the Tarot as a tool of spiritual development.
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 grand event, the theme of the day was detective work. A forensic analysis of a card, taking clues and putting them together to understand a suspect.

With that in mind, a team of 37 International tarot “sleuths” were given a card to interrogate in order to shed light on their secrets.

They investigated suspects from the most wanted list of 22 Major villains from the Major Arcana Tarot world, and suspects from the Suit of Cups , Suit of Wands , Suit of Pentacles  and Suit of Swords.

I was assigned a card from the watery world of Cups. When I saw my assignment I had a kind of “meh” reaction. How boring was my assignment, why I had to investigate such a wet blanket?
Little did I know that my perception of my suspect the 4 of Cups was totally outdated!

Armed with clues from different sources, I embarked on a journey as an enthusiastic Inspecteur Clouseau (well, I am French aren’t I). Despite my apparently boring suspect I had to interrogate, I put all the clues together to draw a forensic profile of my case!

Below is the transcript of what the 4 of Cups revealed.

4-of-cups-and-crystals
Possible meaning of the mysterious 4 of Cups,

When I finally located my suspect, from the Green Witch tarot, I was presented with a red-headed young maiden, sitting in a room, lost in her thoughts, her elbows on a table with 3 silver cups in front of her. A pot of dittany sat on her table; above the young maiden, a beautiful dragonfly hovering. The young woman does not seem to notice me (with my silver cup as an offering to talk to her) or anything else around her.

I felt that the maiden was dissatisfied with something, that the excitement of whatever she had come to enjoy before was now somehow lost. Her body language is of apathy, tinged with boredom, and I felt that although she had probably achieved so much (the 3 cups on her table), she was seeking more, and was questioning her life at the moment, reassessing her direction, and wondering where her “vavavoom” had gone.

I was concerned that she did not seem to realise that more excitement and fulfilment was within her reach and that inspiration surrounds her.

Meaning of the symbolism around the maiden.

I started to look at clues around her to construct her psychological profile.

I noticed straight away the 3 silver cups. Silver is the metal associated with the Moon and I discovered later on that indeed, astrologically speaking, the Moon was heavily involved in the whole picture. Cups are also associated with the Holy Grail . I noticed that the young maiden was touching one cup, as if trying to find inspiration or deep spiritual contentment or, maybe as a reassuring gesture? The cups in front of her were not identical in size or design. It made me think that she has had fulfilment and joy before from different directions and now, life was perhaps a little less exciting or a tad uneventful.

Also why 3 cups? My feelings informed me it was possibly linked to the Mind Body and Spirit and that she had found satisfaction on all levels before coming to a low ebb.
Had she been in love before or, the centre of attention as a bride perhaps (3 of Cups), but now the honeymoon was over and routine had set in and with that a sense of ennui ma chère?

The dragonfly above her crown chakra makes me think that somehow, inspiration and transformation is within her reach and needs to fly free if only she could concentrate on the future instead of looking or relying on the past. Joy, happiness and fulfilment are not lost, they could still be found again in a different way. The dragonfly is a divine messenger (another one) trying to reach her.

I noticed that the young maiden was glancing at the pot of Dittany placed on the table. Of course Dittany is a therapeutic herb used for healing and stomach complaints, but it is also a magical herb that was made famous in Harry Potter. Love potions with Dittany have been made since antiquity. If only she could reach the plant and prepare a potion, perhaps her spirit would be ignited again, her love of adventure and excitement would be revived.

Her red hair reminds me that passionate people (red-headed people are supposed to be more passionate with a zest for life?), have more problems adjusting to quieter times than other people. The fire within needs to have ways to express itself otherwise boredom and apathy will consume them, something I felt may have happened to the young maiden.

 

4-of-cups-shadowside-and-meaningjpgShadow side

I thought that although clues were great to give me an idea of what has been happening, I knew that looking at the other side of the maiden’s personality (her shadow side) could also help me bring the case together.

Karl Jung linked the shadow side to creativity, armed with that concept I figured out that if the young maiden could free herself emotionally, kicking herself in the legendary “derriere”, she could let her creative energies flow more freely. Her passion (red hair) would then reignite once again and she will be able to use her intuition once more and realise more of her dreams.

New opportunities are within her reach and there are signs around her (the dragonfly and the Dittany plant) that life has new and exciting opportunities to take. She needs to open her eyes.

If the young maiden persists and wraps herself deeper into a world of inertia, then apathy will increase and she will find herself trapped in mind body and spirit, which in turn will lead to deep sorrow, poor health (mental, physical and spiritual) which will be the realm of her cousin: the 5 of Cups.

Which way will she go?

 

Astrology-and-4-of-CupsElement traditionally associated with the 4 of Cups and astrological association.

I was determined to unravel more clues to understand better the maiden, so I turned my search to the stars (astronomy and astrology) and found some very interesting clues.

To start with, the cups are associated with the element of water.
Water takes the shape of its recipient and is fluid. The expression “going with the flow” could be a great fit for the suit of cups/water.

Like any element, water needs to be in balance, a little stream of water in the countryside is beautiful and supports life. A river bursting its banks and flooding people’s homes is a catastrophe.

In the Golden Dawn system, the 4 of Cups is Moon (High Priestess) in Cancer (the Chariot).
Now things were taking shape, the silver cups were definitively a clue that the moon was involved in the emotional tides the maiden experiences. She, as a woman is ruled by the moon, but her emotional side lies in tatters due to her inability to move on. She retreats into her shell (Cancer).

Interestingly, the Celestial tarot attributes the 4 of Cups to the constellation of the Serpens, which is divided in two parts (two sides of the Chariot?) but is treated as one constellation (blending the opposite side of the head and the tail of the serpent which in turn can be interpreted as the black and white Sphynx in the Rider Waite Smith depiction of the Chariot). So far the clues were fitting together nicely.

The 4 of Cups can be seen as the serpent or snake (which incidentally, is a great symbol of healing as found in the caduceus of Hermes, symbol of our modern medicine and pharmacy), that will heal the wounded maiden. She needs to acknowledge her feelings of boredom in order to tackle them and to move on. Stagnation is never an option, as it can lead to difficulties and hardship (her cousin the 5 of Cups).

I started to feel that the maiden had so many allies and more so within herself, her own soul!

4-of-cups-and-numerologyNumerology connection of the 4 of cups.

Whilst writing my thoughts about the planets and astrology, my attention turned to the number 4, a number associated with the four seasons (Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter), four elements (Water, Fire, Earth and Air), four suits of the tarot (Cups, Wands, Pentacles and Air) and four directions (North, South, East and West). It is the number for solid foundations and grounded energies.

Also, we often see someone which is not imaginative or spiritual as square (4 sides) minded or Cartesian.

We also talk of the 4 corners of the earth (despite the earth being round as we know, but try telling that to the creationists). And in French we often say “enfermé entre 4 murs” (lock between 4 walls) when someone stays for a long period of time indoors.

Cancer (The Chariot) is the ruler of the fourth house in Astrology and it is ruled by the Moon (number 2 which is linked to the High Priestess). I thought that it was déjà vu as the Moon/Cancer had been so prominent with the maiden.

The great ruler of number 4 is the Emperor, which I feel is probably the father of the maiden. As a number 4 the Emperor emphasises stability, strength, order, rigidity and control.

The Emperor has 4 children: the maiden from the watery world of cups, one departed child from the world of mental agility aka the Swords, one very grounded in his ways from the world of Pentacles, and one who is travelling and partying from the world of Wands.

Hum, perhaps the maiden’s past choices which she enjoyed were not approved of by her father leading her to feel bored and deflated? Could she feel that regardless of what she was trying to achieve it was never enough for her father, leading her to apathy, why bother? Perhaps some of her siblings were a little more exciting to be around or were they?  Could it be something else?

Certainly, the constrictions of the four walls of her room (where I first met her) could create a false sense of security, giving up on what else could be out there?

I started to build an image of the maiden and her motivations in my head.

4-of-cups-and-mythologyMythology or folktales attached to 4 of Cups

Mythology or folklore is something that we sleuths can use to go deeper into archetypes in order to understand better any suspect from a tarot tribe.

I certainly thought of Aesop’s fable of the Heron, which did not want to eat what was presented to him, waiting for something more exciting and more to his taste but nothing came and he starved.

But, I knew that one particular tribe, the Mythic Tarot had a tale to tell about the 4 of Cups. And what a tale it was, the myth of Psyche and Eros.

Psyche was renowned for her beauty and this was not unnoticed by Aphrodite which after all was the goddess associated with beauty and love. Enraged, she commanded her son Eros to kill Psyche. Instead he fell in love with her and hid Psyche in a valley, visiting her only at night.

Psyche never knew who her husband was, physically (never seen him as he always visited her under the cover of darkness and disappeared at first light) or emotionally. She grew bored and asked if her sisters could visit her to alleviate her loneliness. She was warned by Eros that her sisters will try to make her discover his true identity and if she did, he would leave her forever. Psyche promised Eros that she will never try to discover his true identity.

Alas, after a few visits from her jealous sisters, she was told that her husband was a monster that will devour her and the baby she was carrying. She was told that she should kill her husband before he kills her.

Poor Psyche was credulous and she agreed to kill her husband, but when she put a lamp to see his face, she recognised the love god Eros. The legend says that a drop of scalding oil fell on Eros and woke him. When Eros realised that Psyche had broken her promise, he flew away from her.

Psyche searched for her husband everywhere, praying to the gods and goddesses until finally she went to Aphrodite in her temple. The goddess treated her cruelly and told her to perform impossible tasks. Psyche was successful in completing all of them.

Eros missed his wife and pleaded with Zeus to make Psyche immortal. Zeus gave his divine consent to this and consequently, a baby girl named Voluptas (Pleasure) was born.

The story of Psyche and Eros is an allegory for the soul troubled journey through life.

If Psyche had not been so adventurous, she would have had a charmed life but, very stagnant. For her own growth and happiness, she needed to find out who her husband was.

The maiden was probably in a similar predicament; a charmed life in the countryside with everything she could wish for but, with an ever growing feeling of boredom. As opposed to leaving all behind and finding fulfilment in other realms, away from her father (the Emperor).

After researching the myth of Psyche and Eros, I wondered if the maiden had lost a love or if the love of her life was not what she had expected or, if indeed, her life was great but something was missing? Could it be that a sense of foreboding was something she needed to tackle in order to feel alive again? Would she go to her cousin the 5 of Cups and finally let go?
So many questions and yet the answers were within her!

crystalsCrystals associated with the 4 of Cups via astrological connections (Moon in Cancer)

crystals for 4 of cups

After diving into the myths and folklores, I decided to investigate the crystal kingdom as I had heard on the grapevine, that crystals and stones have great power to heal not only physical ailments, but emotional and spiritual ones too.

The connection with Astrology and crystals is an ancient one, and planets have specific stones attributed to them. As I discovered, Moon in Cancer is the Astrological link associated with the kingdoms of crystals, plants and herbs allies and flower essences’ realms.

The traditional semi-precious stones associated with the Moon and the sign of Cancer are the Moonstone, Aquamarine, Labradorite and Pearl. Of course I was aware that more stones were also a good match, but for now, decided to investigate only these four (in keeping with the numerology).

Moonstone is as its name indicates, is the stone dedicated to the moon that pull the tides of our oceans. It is a great stone to help with dreams and aspiration.
Go with the flow, feel the tide of emotions, acknowledge them, reflect on past emotions and move on, I will ease the transition for you…whispered the Moonstone when I held it in my hand.
What a simple but powerful message!

Aquamarine is of course linked to the sea and can be a good match for the sign of Cancer.
It helps in the release of old patterns, to go with the flow and to restore peace of mind. Soothing and calming on the mind and spirit.

Another great stone that could help the maiden in the 4 of cups, is Labradorite, with its shimmering colours, a stone to help with grounding (number 4). It can give a sense of purpose and help to develop new ideas that can be explored with enthusiasm and joy. A great stone to promote positivity and protect against negativity!

Last but not least, the pearl, coming from the depths of an oyster. Precious and born in the ocean.
Symbol of spiritual transformation, self-acceptance, it is said to lift the spirit and promote emotional calm. It can help focus the attention on goals or tasks ahead.

As I wrote notes on these four beautiful stones and wondered if the maiden could wear a necklace with any of these stones to help her lift her apathy and move forward?
Perhaps I could suggest this to her when I meet her again?

 

herbal-flowers-4-of-cupsHerbs, flowers or essential oils connected to the 4 of Cups via the astrological connections (Moon in Cancer)

Since time immemorial, people have turned to the wisdom of plants and flowers to help heal emotional, spiritual and physical problems. I knew that looking in that direction would provide some remedies to the maiden’s predicament.

The realm of the Herbal Tarot associates the 4 of cups with burdock roots. It is a plant that helps people to feel grounded (which number 4 stands for), and to ease emotional turmoil. It is often used in spells to ward off negativity and restore a positive outlook in life. If one feels stuck, taking some Burdock tincture will help to remove the apathy and inaction, looking at the present time instead of dwelling on the past.

Herbs for 4 of Cups

Other plant allies such Aloe Vera for emotional burn out, Chamomile for emotional upsets, lemon balm for anxiety and parsley for digestion, could help the maiden to heal and to let go of the past in order to move on and create a more exciting future.

Another direction was to look at flower essences which, like the Bach Flowers remedies are specifically for emotional and/or spiritual problems. Hornbeam seems to be the remedy that the maiden could take to ease her “Monday morning” feeling. Of course, honeysuckle could also be added to help release the past.

I thanked the plant and flowers kingdom for their wisdom and healing and wrote a note that I then put on the maiden’s table for her to realise that nature has some solutions to her temporary loss of interest in life. The maiden did not seem to notice that I had left a note on her table, telling her that help was at hand.

If she reads the note, then I am sure she will be able to think about what she can do and who knows, she will probably try a few ideas and move on.

 

kisspng-magnifying-glass-magnifier-icon-a-magnifying-glass-5a706cd86e2449.8088875315173173364512

 

I reported back to headquarters with my forensic profile of the maiden in the 4 of Cups. This maiden was in no way or shape capable of villainy as she was stuck in her own mind.

What a journey it has been and I was so glad that my assignment turned out to be an interesting discovery of the rich symbolism that the maiden unwittingly made me discover.

However, I’m hoping that my fellow sleuths may have rounded up a few culprits from the realms of the Major Arcana , the Suit of Cups, the Suit of Wands, the Suit of Pentacles and the Suit of Swords .

Enjoy and Happy International Tarot day 🙂

Oephebia and the kitty monsters 

facebook group: Tarot and Kitties

Tarot musing

International Tarot Day 8th July 2018

To celebrate International Tarot day (8th July 2018), let’s take a card and zoom in to find as much as we can about the card.

 

celTarot

magnifying-2681372.png
Your assignment if you choose to take the challenge will be to do the following:

MercuryPossible meaning of the card,
MercuryMythology or folktales attached to your assigned card (when possible),
MercuryNumerology connection (when possible, as the court cards have none),
MercuryElement traditionally associated with your card,
MercuryAstrological association (ruler, planet etc.),
MercuryMeaning of the symbolism found in the card,
MercuryShadow side,
MercuryCrystals associated with the card,
MercuryHerbs, flowers or essential oils connected to your card.

You don’t need to write a big essay, a few sentences will be enough evidence 😉

You may discover that once you start to write, more info will be channelled in the process and a few sentences will be more like a paragraph, it is cool too 🙂

Here an example with the 2 of swords. 

International-Tarot-day-2018

If you want to investigate a card, please contact me on my Facebook page, so I can choose at random, a card for you to interrogate.

If you have a blog, please write up about your card and let me know so I will add your link to a blog I will write about the International Tarot day 🙂

If you do not have a blog, do not despair, you can send me your research. I will include it in a blog with a credit to your website if you have one.

If you are not too sure about having your research published, but just want to share what you have done, please go to Tarot and kitties page on FB and send me a private message.

Studying cards like you are using a magnifying glass is a great exercise to deepen your perception of the cards, particularly the ones you do not feel comfortable with.

Once a month, select at random, a card and do this exercise. Sure, it can take time and effort to investigate a card, to go beyond keywords, but the reward will be a deep understanding of the Tarot 🙂

Have fun and let’s celebrate the beautiful tool that the Tarot is for self-development and spirituality.

Oephebia and the kitty monsters

tarot spread

Mother’s Day

Here in the UK Mother’s day is celebrated in March whilst in other countries it is celebrated in May.

Regardless of the date, it is a day to celebrate and remember the woman who carried us for 9 months in her womb and gave birth to us.

pagan-altar-1034856

But to me Mother’s day is also to celebrate the biggest mother of all…Gaia or mother Earth, our beautiful planet.

Without Gaia, there would be no life on earth, we must remember that our planet is in need of love, not only on Mother’s day but every day.

We need to nurture, protect and be compassionate to all of Gaia’s children from the plants/flowers’ kingdom, the animals’ kingdom and the environment.

If Gaia thrives, we all thrive.

sheep-384608

It is also to celebrate all mothers….humans and animals.

Animals usually have very strong maternal instincts (most species) and humans so often interfere with the love of an animal mother and her baby.

Some of us are mothers to human children, whilst others are mothers to animals and people who are not genetically linked to them.

They all share a theme in common, the love given to another being 🙂

Mother's-day
Inner Mother Spread

To celebrate Mother’s day, the Inner Mother spread I have created is quite fun to look at …well you guess it…your inner mother, regardless if you have children or not J

Position 1
My idea of motherhood
Position 2
Shadow side of motherhood. What do I need to avoid?
Position 3
How can I release the energy of my inner mother?
Position 4
How can I tap into my creative powers?
Position 5
How can I nurture others around me?
Position 6
Which area of my life is more suited with my compassion?

As usual, have fun 🙂

Happy Mother’s day to all.

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 🙂

tarot spread

Tarot readings for pets

The UK is seen as a nation of animal lovers and many households have at least one pet.

I have seen many times people using the Tarot for their pets or consulting tarot readers because their pets are feeling unwell.

If your pet has changed its behaviour or is off food, is unwell etc…Obviously, the first course of action would be to consult a veterinarian first. They are the professionals that can diagnose an illness, conduct tests and can give your pet the most appropriate treatment for their condition.

If you are unemployed, or on a low income, there are still brilliant vets that can help your pet such as the PDSA or the Blue Cross (here in the UK).

Once you have had a diagnosis by a vet, you may want to consult a complementary therapist, such as an animal communicator, an animal healer, a feline/canine/equine/bird behaviourist or a homeopath to help your pet in a more holistic way (mind-body-spirit).

However, when your pet is in good health, and with no apparent behavioural problems, it can be fun to do a reading for your pet 🙂

Paws-in-my-heart-spreadHere is a little spread I have designed for you and your pet.
1 – How do you feel emotionally?
2 – How do you feel physically?
3 – How can I make your life better?
4 – How can I relate to you better?
5 – How do you feel about the vet?
6 – How do you feel about people or other animals?
7 – What do you want to tell me?

The questions can be changed to fit with your pet’s circumstances and more can be added.
It is a canvas 🙂

To help with interpreting the cards (example from the Cat’s Eye Tarot) we could define:

Elements-for-pet-readingsWands as activities (or lack of) your pet may need to do more or to do less; playing, going to the park, obedience classes, outdoors activities and confidence in new situations etc.

Pentacles as food, comfort, security, health/body, routine, toys and sleeping arrangements

Cups as emotional ties and security, rest time, interaction with guardians, with other animals, fear (thunder and noise for example), bereavement and emotional problems.

Swords as mental abilities like learning new tricks, stubbornness, communication with guardians, communication with people and other animals outside the home but, within the home too, trust issues and behavioural issues.
Court-cards-for-pet-readingsPages could be seen as the interaction between your pet and young children, or young animals. Also, could represent your pet at this moment in time, the youthful energies that they may display or not.

Knights could represent your pet as they mature, how they protect their territories and start to establish themselves at home and the outside world.

Queens could be translated as the emotional side of your pet with you or other humans in the home. The emotional attachment displayed by your pet. The security and affection your pet needs.

Kings could be seen as the vet, or any professionals your pet encounters such as a groomer, trainer, behaviourist, pet sitter etc. How your pet behaves with professional people generally speaking.
Major-arcana-for-pet-readingsMajor Arcana can represent the message and the energies your pet may want to convey to you. Also the principles of life you may need to implement to give your pet the best home possible.

Like with all tarot readings, the most important thing is to follow your intuition!
Have fun 🙂

Oephebia

 

Cards symbolism

Easter revisited with the Tarot

This week-end it is a celebration:
Easter in the Christian World
Eostre which predates the Christian celebration
Pesah or Passover in the Jewish faith
Regardless of religion and belief, Easter is also a bank holiday in many countries in the Western world.
The story of Jesus, the last supper and the resurrection is the root of Easter for many Christians.
As with all stories, from fairy tales, mythologies to religious texts, there are many archetypes that appeal to the collective unconscious and transcend languages.
The language of images is universal and very powerful. The tarot is an ancient language of symbols and imagery that has adapted quite well to the modern world.
Let’s look at the story of Easter linked with the Tarot.
As per any story, we have the protagonists: Jesus himself, his disciples, the villain (Judas), the conqueror (Pontius Pilate), then the central theme of the story: the last supper, the betrayal, the trial and crucifixion, death and resurrection, and finally the moral of the story with the ascension.

Jesus

Jesus can be seen as the positive aspect of the Hierophant, the guy who founded a new faith that has had a lasting legacy on the world. King of Cups is another card that could define Jesus, a healer, a compassionate being, and of course the King of the Jews.
The fish around the neck of the King of Cups is also an early Christian symbol, although its origins predate Christianity and was used by the Romans, Greeks and Pagans.
6 of Pentacles is a card that can also define Jesus, giving to the poor, compassion for people who are destitute or sick.

Easter-the-last-supper

Jesus was celebrating Passover (4 of Wands – celebration) with his disciples (here the Hierophant comes to mind, not because of the church, but because of a group of people sharing the same ideas etc. Conversely the 6 of Wands could apply here too), and they shared a final meal together (10 of Pentacles for the tradition of Passover and 10 of Cups for celebration). Of course the cup that Jesus drank from, the Holy Grail is the Ace of Cups.

Judas2

Amidst the disciples was the villain Judas, who betrayed Jesus for money.
The betrayal is the 7 of Swords and Knight of Swords, when Judas went to negotiate with Pontius Pilate (Emperor/King of Swords Rev). Judas can be seen as the Devil card, disguising himself as a friend to Jesus. His sole motivation was greed. The kissing of Jesus by Judas to help the Romans recognise him is the 5 of Swords and the Moon rev (deception).
The trial of Jesus was the Justice card reversed and the Tower (as Rome thought that Christianity, the new religion, would be crushed. So the Tower here can be seen from the perspective of Rome crushing its enemies, stopping their expansion which is also the Wheel of Fortune reversed).
Cruxifiction
Jesus was condemned to die on the cross. His agony is depicted by the Hanged Man (remember the halo around the head of the Hanged man, he choose to sacrifice himself to gain insight into spirituality which is also the case with Jesus, who knew that he needed to go through such a horrifying ordeal in order to save humanity). The physical pain is depicted by the 3 of Swords and 10 of Swords.
The spear of destiny can be seen as the Ace of Swords.
Although Strength is another card that could apply here as Jesus’ faith and trust never failed even when suffering unspeakable pain and horror.
Death is another obvious card as the final result, but in the death card, hope for renewal is present with the sun rising between the towers. Death was not the end of Christ.
After Jesus died on the cross, Joseph of Arimathea (the Hermit par excellence) asked Pontius Pilate his permission to collect Jesus’ body to be interred. The 5 of Cups oddly, can apply to this situation, as Jesus was wrapped in a burial shroud (like the figure in the card) and appeared to be dead (the 3 cups in front of the figure in the 5 of cups), but Christ’s resurrection can be seen as 2 cups which are still upright.
Jesus was interred but rose from the dead (Judgement card). Jesus after the resurrection can be seen as the Magician (see the Magician card as the direct link between heaven and earth, Christ himself), the Ace of Pentacles (the resurrection of the body as pentacles stand for physicality/body) and the World (Jesus sacrificed himself for humanity).
The first person to see him after his resurrection was Mary Magdalene, his companion which could be seen as the High Priestess as she was probably one of Christ’s disciples. The Queen of Cups can apply to her also as she is supposed to have washed Christ’s feet on the cross, giving him comfort and love during his agony.
Ressurection
The ascension can be seen as Judgement again, for obvious reasons but also the Star, giving hope to humanity that one day, Christ will come again on earth (the World).
Of course all the above is a simplified version of the story of Christ and Easter and other tarot cards could be used to illustrate the story.
It is just an exercise to think and feel the tarot outside its box (literally), to apply archetypes from one system to another and to see that there is an ancient and universal set of images and symbolism that resonate with all humans, regardless of race, creed, religion or language; the Tarot. The cards are full of wisdom and are a depository of mankind’s psyche.
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Happy Easter, Eostre, Pesach or whatever you are celebrating this week end 🙂
Oephebia
All cards are from the Radiant Waite Tarot, US Games

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Cards symbolism

The Empress tarot card and Spring

First day of Spring in the Northern hemisphere and we are greeted with grey skies, wind and cold temperatures. Still the magic of Spring and the awakening of Gaia is palpable, the trees are adorned with buds and flowers, I saw some bees awakening from their winter slumber. Nature is slowly emerging from the darkness of Winter 🙂

Talking about awakening, Spring always reminds me of the Empress card, nature in its glory, abundance and plentiful, new lives coming to the world in the animal kingdom, warmer temperatures and a sense of renewal, a sense of creativity and inspiration.

I have analysed and compared the symbols found in the Empress card from three different packs (Original Rider Waite, Herbal Tarot, Sharman Caselli Tarot)

This analysis reflects my own understanding of symbolism and should not be taken for a widely accepted truth. It is a personal reflection which gives food for thought regarding the wonderful tool that the Tarot can be.

rider-waite-empressRider Waite Copyright US Games

This pack is one of the most well known in use today.

When we look at this card, we can see a young woman sits on a throne surrounding by nature. Trees and wheat are portrayed prospering and a gentle cascade from a river adds to the serene environment.

Here we have the setting of the essence of the card: Mother Nature in all its glory, as growth and abundance are very present in the card, in the form of trees and wheat.

The Empress card is linked to the myth of Demeter in the Greek mythology. She is the goddess of fertility and of cultivated soil and when her daughter Persephone was abducted by Hades (God of the underworld); she searched the world to find her. To shorten a long story, while her daughter was with Hades, the earth went barren, the crops withered, no plants or fruits blossomed as Demeter was grieving the lost of her unique child. After negotiation with Hades and Zeus, Persephone was allowed to spend eight months with her mum and four months in the underworld (as she had eaten four grains of pomegranate, the sacred fruit of Hades), thus creating the cycle of the seasons. Nature was in its full glory during the time Persephone stayed with her mother, with abundance of crops, flowers, trees and fruits. When she had to leave her mother, nature has to die or “sleep”, as everything withered during her absence therefore creating winter.

The young woman looks peaceful and content. She seems very comfortable in her surroundings. Notice the crown with twelve stars representing the twelve astrological signs. The twelve signs are divided in four categories: the four elements (fire, water, earth and air). The four elements are part of Mother Nature and the young woman understands that they need to be in balance and complement each other to preserve harmony and peace of the natural world. She wears the crown on her head (the crown chakra which represents spirituality). The water flowing behind the Empress represents the source of intuition and creativity.

Look closer at the young woman and notice an orange cushion behind her back. She wears a flowing dress and a necklace made of seven pearls. A shield with the symbol of Venus stands by the throne.

Another aspect of the card is revealed: the fact that the Empress is probably pregnant. The dress is comfortable and not restricting in anyway. The orange cushion adds extra comfort to support her back gently as she needs extra tender loving care in her condition.

Orange is also the colour of creativity (a mix of red (passion) and yellow (intellect)), which tell us that the Empress is a card for creative ideas from conception to birth (a life or a project). This concept is reinforced by the shield of Venus. Venus is the goddess of love, beauty but also the arts and ultimately creativity.

The necklace with seven pearls represents the seven chakras in the body. When they are all in harmony with each other, the body is well balanced and healthy. As the Empress is balanced and in harmony with her surroundings, one can assume that she is attuned with her unborn child and with her own body.

The Empress is the archetypal mother, the gentle force that nurtures, protects, encourages growth and abundance in our life. She is the energy of Venus giving us love for our fellow human beings and as importantly, love of life and the understanding of our place in nature and to preserve the harmony and balance of our natural environment.

herbal-empressHerbal Tarot © US Games Systems

As its name suggests, this Tarot pack links each of its card with a plant and its spiritual and medicinal properties.

When we look at the Empress, we can see: a young woman resting on some rocks, she wears a yellow dress with a blue collar and she is pregnant. She holds a sceptre in her left hand. Pine trees and a river are seen in the background. A tall Dong Quai plant stands before the Empress.

Here the myth of Demeter has not been emphasised. The Empress seated on rocks , illustrating the natural seats of nature. Her yellow dress, with a blue collar suggests that this Empress uses her warmth, joyful energies and mind (yellow) to heal and nurture people and nature (blue). The sceptre in her hand (like in the Rider Waite) reminds us of her absolute status, the Queen of nature. The gentle river (as in the Rider Waite, Shaman Caselli ), shows that our creative energies can gently flow and be developed. The Dong Quai plant is the epitome of creative energies, fertility and bringing to fruition projects or life. This herb is used as a tonic to regulate women’s cycles, help fertility and treat the symptoms of the menopause which is part of the theme of the Empress card.

The young woman looks serene. She wears a crown of twelve stars and no necklace. The shield of Venus stands beside the Empress. She has four buttons on the collar of her dress.

Like with the Rider Waite, this Empress still rules the natural world as the crown shows. The energies of the seven chakras (Rider Waite) have been replaced by four buttons on the Empress’ collar. The four buttons can be seen as the four elements which are under her ruling. The balance of the four elements is absolutely essential to preserve the balance of the natural world and the cycle of the seasons. The creative energies embodied by the shield of Venus (Rider Waite) are emphasised with this Empress.

Overall the Empress in the Herbal tarot still symbolises life rich, full of ideas, creativity and growth. The symbolism remains the same as the Rider Waite with the addition of a Dong Quai plant. A beautiful card showing us the gentle help we can benefit from in the natural world.

shaman-caselli-empressSharman Caselli Tarot © Giovanni Caselli 2001

This pack is part of the Beginner’s guide to Tarot (Juliet Sharman-Burke).

When we look at this card, we see: a young woman sitting on cushions in the middle of a wheat field. She wears a pink dress with embroidered red roses and leaves. At her feet lays a cornucopia (horn of plenty) filled with fruits and pomegranates. In the background, a cascade of water falls into a river. Verdant trees, poppies and gentle hills complete the tranquil scene.

Here the myth of Demeter remains significant with this Empress, the pomegranates and the poppies. The cornucopia shows an abundance of fruits. The sea of wheat with its gold colour is another hint of plentiful and joy. The pink dress worn by the Empress shows us her gentle side, as pink is the colour representing feminine principle and procreation (this Empress is pregnant), whilst the red roses and accompanying leaves on the dress talk of passion (red) and the natural world (green). The cushions have the same meaning as the Rider Waite; they give extra comfort to the Empress.

The young woman looks serene. She wears a crown fashioned from twelve stars and a necklace made of ten pearls. No shield of Venus is represented.

Like with the Rider Waite, this Empress still rules the natural world as the crown of stars show. However the necklace has now ten pearls instead of seven (Rider Waite). This could mean that each pearl represents a planet (Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Pluto). The ten planets stand for the principles (Sun equals the character of ego for example), which need to be balanced in order to lead a fulfilling life. Notice the absence of Venus’ symbol (shield in the Rider Waite), with this Empress. However, the energies of Venus are embodied with the red roses on the Empress’ dress, as roses are the sacred flowers of this Goddess.

With the Sharman Caselli Tarot, the Empress still symbolises the plentiful, the beautiful and creativity. The symbolism remains the same as the Rider Waite with a few variations. A beautiful card showing us the abundance of Mother Earth.

Oephebia

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Colours and Tarot

Colour black and the Tarot

Today is 20th January 2017; an historical date in the making

For some people it is a black day  as Donald Trump is going to occupy the White House for the next 4 years (here some of you will notice a reference to the High Priestess with the black and white colours)

If you love dolphins, today is a black day too as the infamous cove in Taiji – Japan has over 200 & awaiting their fate (a life of captivity or being killed for food)

Perspective is what will make a black day for some, and a wonderful day for others

The colour black often generates an impression of doom and gloom (unless you are a Goth, then black is the only colour)

Seriously though, let’s have a closer look at the colour black and why it is found is some tarot cards. Let’s discuss the Rider Waite tarot as it is widely available worldwide.

Black represents nothingness and chaos. Symbolically the colour of mourning and Death

Black is also the colour of mysteries, the night, the intuition, the unknown, the primitive instincts and the unconscious

In Christianity, black is seen as the colour of renunciation of the vanities of the world (black being traditionally the colour of the devil and temptation), hence the black cloak of priests and nuns.

In ancient Egypt, black was seen as the colour of fertility because it was associated with the womb of mother earth

Black is also linked with evil (yep the Devil card) or what Jung calls our dark shadow.

Black represents horribleness and disaster, we used terms like black magic, blackmail, black market etc. to emphasise the ideas of forbidden deeds or evilness…..the Devil card often indicates all the excesses our human nature is capable of (sex, drugs and rock and roll kind of thing).

Colour black in the tarot

The Devil card in the Rider Waite is depicted with a black sky emphasising the idea of chaos and evil, notice the couple chained as they have surrendered their free will to the Devil.

Although a dramatic card, the devil is not about hairy monster hidden under the bed, but rather a card showing that sometimes we are imprisoned because of fear, or beliefs and we do not realise that we can walk free and ditch the wrong love, the wrong job, the wrong people and move on!

Another card, The Tower talks about chaos and disaster with a menacing black sky and lightning destroying the ego.
The card which influence the Tower (number XVI) is the Devil (number XV).

The free will that could still be used with the Devil is now totally redundant and the Tower will act as a messy spring cleaner, removing the illusion found in the Devil.

A black day for the two figures plunging to their death or a massive headache 😉

A skeleton with a black armour and a black banner is also found in the Death.Card.Although bearing a name which makes people uncomfortable, the Death card is actually showing that a cycle has come to an end, and it is time to embrace the new and to move on.

The skeleton with his black armour could be seen as a knight in shining armour, rescuing the damsel in distress (you) and taking you away from a situation which is stagnant (the card before Death, is major arcana 12, the Hanged Man).

In that respect, the colour black is about the mysteries of what may come, our primitive instincts (we are creatures of habits and sometimes changes is very unwelcome) and our strange anxiety about the unknown!

The five of cups (Rider Waite) shows a figure in mourning, wearing a black clock, showing us that sometimes we can be stuck in our own feelings instead of looking to the future.

I call this card the drama queen of the tarot as sometimes we feel so wrapped up in our emotions and feelings (like the figure with the black cloak) that we have forgotten a simple fact, each situation is a moment in time, nothing stay forever (good or bad) and changes always come. Something or someone may have been removed from your life, but it is the cycle of life. There is hope for the future (the two cups behind the figure) and time to look at some colours and ditch the black 😉

Oephebia