Wow, two biggies in the same day – and reversed yet. How fun! Okay, smart aleck-ness aside, I found it interesting to draw these two cards the day after Thanksgiving. Yesterday my focus was on food and family. Today I’m getting the sense that my focus needs to be on me.
The High Priestess reversed has shown up for me several times since I’ve begun using this deck. I find her sweet, caring, concerned face sitting atop a pancake syrup bottle to be quite quirky and adorable. In her reversed state I think she’s reminding me that I need to look deep within myself to find the answers I seek. Once I find them I’ll be able to add more sweetness and richness to my life. She also speaks to me of concern and kindness. This process isn’t an endurance run or triathlon, it’s a lifelong process. The only way to win is to do the work. Getting to the finish line first defeats the purpose if I haven’t fully absorbed the lessons learned along the way.
I have a tendency to be very goal oriented – when I wrote papers for school I sometimes took shortcuts i in order to complete assignments. I never cheated but there were definitely times when I short-changed myself. I always received excellent marks on my assignments so my work was fine but I know there was information I missed because I was rushing. I don’t want to replicate this process when it comes to my life and how I want to live it from this point forward.
Instead of The Tower’s usual meaning, this image gives me a different sense of this card. It shows a woman trapped in a 4-tiered gelatin mold. She seems happy enough but is she truly happy? Perhaps she just hasn’t explored the possibilities of life beyond the gelatin mold. Or maybe she’s starting to see that there is life beyond the gelatin mold and is happy because she can finally start to free herself and explore that potential?
In my case, I’m well aware of life beyond the gentle but firm trap of the gelatin mold. In my case it’s the prison of family obligation. I love the people for whom I care and don’t want to see anything happen to them but I’m well aware of just what a prison that creates for me. I think the reversed Tower is letting me know that I need to keep my sights on the fact that eventually this situation will change. It will be painful and an adjustment but not really a surprise. So I need to start working on what the newly released me will do with my time and energy. The only way I’ll know that is to spend some time chatting with my inner High Priestess. Mrs. Butterworth’s – take me away!!
Me, me, me – it’s all about me. Well what I really mean is that it’s about the deepest me, the spiritual me. Strength is my Sun sign card and the Queen of Wands has always felt like the Queen that is the truest me (I’m a Leo sun sign). As both these bad boys are reversed today I’m taking that to mean I need to tone down their energies a bit. Both of these cards can sometimes be very assertive, energetic and even exhausting. Or perhaps the message here is that I’ve been channeling the energies of these cards at a high level lately and it might be good to relax a bit.
It’s funny that the image on Strength is a box of Scribbo pads – the ultimate abrasive cleaner. In some respects I think that describes one of my approaches to life. Sometimes I’m an abrasive cleaner, especially if I think someone is being disingenuous. One of my pet peeves (actually it may rise to the level of compulsion) is hypocrisy. I cannot abide it in myself or in anyone else. I have been known to scour away at the veneers and layers of falseness to get to the truth underneath. Needless to say this can sometimes make me quite unpopular with family and friends. I suppose my good qualities outweigh this one because most do stay on good terms with me.
The Queen of Wands reinforces this abrasive cleaner aspect in my personality. She does not suffer fools and does not have enough tact to hide that fact. She wields the scepter/broom that beats you into submission or sweeps away the bullshit, if necessary. She almost appears to be challenging you to join her if you dare.
To me, the reversed nature of both these cards tells me that I have a two fold message. On one level I need to do some scrubbing, cleaning and sweeping in my own life. It’s part of my continuing journey to clear away what doesn’t serve me anymore. I think I’m doing well but now is not the time to give up. On another level I think both these cards are reminding me that I can be a bit kinder and gentler about it – especially with others. Now is a time for welcoming in and enjoying rather than scrubbing away and baring it all.
The first thing that struck me about both these cards is the figures on them being engaged in physical labor. What it brought to my mind is that kind of drudge work that no one really appreciates but which must be done to keep up the home or the car or one’s life. It’s work that we have to do for ourselves not because it will garner praise from others.
This ties in perfectly with inner work that I’ve done recently. I’ve become a SARK fan over the last few months. Her breezy, irreverent and fun approach to things appeals to me. A recent blog post detailed her journeys through magical manifestation. I LOVED it!! Her approach is so simple it’s almost amazing – act as if. She describes how she and a few intrepid fellow adventurers began meeting for lunches during which they each described their lives as they wanted them to be (I’m simplifying a bit – you can see the original post here). SARK eventually realized that all of them had manifested their wishful thoughts.
So I decided to give this a try with a few friends. We can’t always manage to meet for lunch so we’re going to use email, instant messages and phone calls to do it. So far I’ve written one magical manifestation exercise and it was fun. I realized that sometimes just acting as if you’ve already achieved something can make it easier to manifest.
In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry is able to produce a powerful Patronus charm and protect Sirius Black and himself from the Dementors because he had already seen himself do it. He knew he could do it so he was able to accomplish it. In Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (the Gene Wilder/Peter Ostrum movie), Charlie finds the Golden Ticket because he believes he will. In his deepest soul he is sure that he is meant to find one and he does.
Sometimes it so easy to fall into the pattern of focusing why I can’t accomplish things that I undermine myself. This Magical Manifestation approach avoids all that because it focuses me on what I’ve done. If I focus on actually doing what I already know I can do, then it will happen. It’s magical work at its most basic. And these cards are the reminder that most of the work I need to do to manifest these miracles in my life is within myself, behind the scenes as it were. It doesn’t need to be shown to the world because the important piece of the puzzle is the outcome. I’m now convinced the outcome of this exercise in magical manifesting will produce miraculous results. To paraphrase Eminem, “I am whatever I say I am.’
I started using the Housewives Tarot yesterday (the Full Moon was Sunday and I decided it was time to swap decks). I thought the Housewives would be appropriate because we’re nearing Thanksgiving and it seems to fit the feel of tradition and home that permeates the air.
Today I drew the Page of Cups which shows a small boy with a big grin watering flowers that bear the faces of older people. The book talks about tending our emotional relationships and nurturing them. In this case I think the Page of Cups is reminding me that if I don’t tend to such matters – nourishing and watering the relationships I value in my life, then I’ll find myself much poorer for the experience.
The 7 of Cups reversed shows a well dressed woman pondering seven cocktail glasses that are arrayed before her. She seems to be considering her decision – which drink will she choose? This card reminds me that I don’t have a lot of choices right now. And the ones I do have are not as tempting as which cocktail I’d like to try. I think it’s showing me that I need to think before making a choice, especially because the options are very limited.
Together I see a bigger message from these two cards. The Page of Cups is letting me know that even if my choices are limited, I still do have some options. Or perhaps what the 7 of Cups reversed is telling me is that I FEEL as though I have no options but that may not be the case. Perhaps what the message of these combined cards is that I have some choices (no matter how I feel right now) and I need to cultivate, tend and nurture them so that they will expand and provide even more options. Even little seeds can grow into big trees if the conditions are right.
It’s also just as important for me to tend to my own emotional needs. As I’m sure it is for many caregivers, I’m finding it gets easier and easier to put my desires and needs aside to care for someone else. Part of me hates doing that (I have a well-developed selfish streak) but with things as they are right now it’s unavoidable. So even if I don’t have a lot of options available to nourish and nurture my emotional side (all those lovely cocktail glasses) that doesn’t mean I should ignore it altogether. I need to do what I can to sustain and tend to my needs too. A challenge but one I’m sure I’ll eventually figure out.
Elopement of Skill (aka 8 of Wands) shows the reclamation of Etain by Midir. In Irish legend, Etain is the second wife of Midir. His jealous first wife changes her into a fly and after some mishaps she is swallowed by Etar and reborn as her daughter. Midir realizes she is his true love reborn and pursues her despite the fact that she is married to another. Despite all efforts to stop him, Midir reclaims Etain and they escape rising through the smoke hole and becoming swans.
The Courtship of Battle (3 of Swords) shows the first meeting of Nessa (mother of King Conchobar of Ulster) and Cathbad the Druid. According to legend, Cathbad was part of a raiding band that killed Nessa’s foster parents. Nessa vowed revenge and pursued the assailants. Cathbad manages to entrap her at her bath and coerce her into becoming his wife. (although some version don’t report a marriage but rather an assignation) This union would eventually produce King Conchobar – a legendary Arthurian-style king of Ulster.
So considering the message of these two cards what I take away from this reading is that I need to focus on reclaiming my true self; finding the me I’ve lost over the years. Instead of focusing on the heartache and betrayal that may have helped bury this me, I need to let those feelings get washed away and emerge reborn and spiritually cleansed. I have the energy and skill needed to manifest this but I have to change my mindset otherwise it will continue to hold me back. I can achieve great things as long as I refuse to focus on what was lost. What is gone cannot return and we can’t turn back the clock. It’s time to look to the future and let go of the past. As Raul Julia’s character says in the 70s movie Gumball Rally, “What is behind me is not important”.
The Warrior of Battle is Fionn mac Cumhail, ancient leader of a traveling band of Irish warriors. He was a figure of respect and fear. He and his band lived outside the bounds of “normal” society. In some sense they were outlaws in the truest sense – the lived outside the laws that governed those around them. They did not recognize the bonds of family, kinship or sovereignty. He was gifted with prophetic insight thanks to his Thumb of Knowledge, possessed poetic inspiration and amazing fighting prowess. He reclaims his father’s honor by regaining the magic Crane bag which was taken by his father’s killer and served as the emblem of the fianna. The fianna still live on in folk tales commemorating their defense of the weak and defeat of tyrants.
The Dedicator shows the Goddess of Sacrifice from the Gundestrup Cauldron processing an offering. This image is a reminder that we often have to be willing to sacrifice in order to achieve our goals in life. The question becomes what is being sacrificed and is it worth it? If a man or woman sacrifices time with family in pursuit of career success, is that worth it? Only the person involved can answer that. How many times have we realized too late that we sacrificed our todays for tomorrow. We didn’t enjoy what we have and what is available for some delayed gratification. Sometimes it proves a worthwhile sacrifice (such as putting certain things on hold to pursue an advanced degree) and sometimes they are not.
So what I need to know is when to fight for what I believe and what is right for myself and balance against the inner sacrifices I am willing to make to achieve them. I think what I need to fight for most is myself, my goals and my dreams. Sometimes I’m too willing to sacrifice what I want to expediency, to the needs of others, to common sense. Now is my opportunity to stop that and reclaim my own magical Crane Bag. Perhaps I’ve already passed through the cauldron of transformation and now I can focus more on what awaits rather the sacrifices that need to be or have been made
Once again I drew The Decider (Magician) and this time he is accompanied by the Queen of Battle. This is especially significant to me because in the Celtic Wisdom Tarot The Decider is The Dagda and the Queen of Battle is The Morrigan – my personal patron and matron deities. I’ve often felt drawn to the energies of both of them. They are symbols of strength, change, transformation, knowledge and power.
I appreciate many of the legends of The Dagda that highlight his humorous aspects. He is often a figure of fun who manages to trick his enemies into underestimating him and emerges triumphant as a result. The Morrigan can be intimidating and imposing but she also forces me to try harder, overcome obstacles and not fall victim to pity parties. I respect and honor these traits in both of them.
On Samhain, Irish legend has The Dagda mating with The Morrigan – symbolizing the union of the father god with the lady of sovereignty. I have often joked that this mating is reflective of my own marriage. I can certainly come off as the bitchy, vicious warrior queen and my hubby is known for having an appreciation for the absurd and no problem making a fool of himself on occasion.
They remind me that what I need to focus on is what I want to do. Yesterday I read a SARK blog post about miracles. It reminded me that in order to truly live magical and fulfilling lives we need to believe in our own magic. If we use our energies to feed the self-doubts and negativity in our lives then that’s what we will keep attracting. If we decide to focus on the amazing and wonderful aspects of the world then we can make those miracles happen.
Filed under: Uncategorized
The Decider shows a youthful man standing in a clearing surrounded by pine boughs. This is The Dagda, the Irish father god. He offers abundance, wisdom, magic and even humor. One of my favorite stories of The Dagda involves him being seen as a joke by his enemies. They mock and underestimate him but The Dagda ultimately triumphs. For me this offers the lesson that just because others may mock our efforts and view us as jokes, as long as we have faith in ourselves and believe in our skills we can emerge triumphant.
This is a key message for me right now. Instead of focusing on controlling external factors and outcomes I need to focus on believing in myself. It’s time to strengthen my determination and faith that I can achieve whatever I want; I can emerge triumphant. I have the power and ability to create the magic needed to make my dreams reality.
This is reinforced by the Foundation of Skill (6 of Wands) which shows the Irish smith god Gobniu. He was skilled at crafting swords, spears and other weapons. His magic was in forging such implements from the raw materials and tempering them with fire and water to produce amazing weapons. His magic was so powerful that it only took 3 blows to create a weapon of superior strength and power. The Soul Wisdom Question for this card is “What is your true skill in life?’ This is the key to resolving this entire situation for me. Once I grasp what my true skill is then I will know how to channel and focus it in ways that will benefit me and hopefully the community at large.
One would think that by this time in my life I would know the answer to that question, and yet I don’t. I know there are things at which I am skilled but that doesn’t necessarily reflect my true skill in life. There are also skills I possess but which I would not wish to pursue as a life calling.
Actually I do know the one skill I possess that I might enjoy pursuing as a career – teaching. I have learned that I truly enjoy facilitating workshops and training sessions. Based on the feedback I receive and the vibe I get when I’m on a roll, I happen to be good at it too. Perhaps that is something I need to explore further – pursuing a career as a college teacher or professional trainer. I think that might be fun.
Today I began working with the Celtic Wisdom Tarot by Caitlin Matthews. I have a strong fondness for this deck because I love the theme of Celtic myths & legends (especially when they are done by someone who knows her stuff) and the artwork (although a bit rough around the edges) draws me to it.
Today I simply asked my guardian spirits for some guidance. In response to my request I drew the Courtship of Knowledge reversed (aka 3 of Pentacles) crossed by the Combat of Skill (aka 5 of Wands) reversed. Once again I find myself in a world of blocked, untapped energies. That isn’t a bad thing (maybe they’re finally reaching a place where I can tap into them and utilize them to my best advantage). However it can be a frustrating thing for me.
So if I consider what they are telling me I would see the Courtship of Knowledge card reminding me that I need to continue opening lines of communication with my spirit guides; getting better acquainted with the divine. I know I have been sadly neglecting my spiritual life lately and this card is a reminder that needs to change. It’s in my best interests to do this not to satisfy or impress anyone else.
The Combat of Skill reminds me that things are not always what they seem. This image represents the story of the sons of King Eochaid and their quest to become his successor. While on a hunt/quest to decide their fitness to rule, each brother is confronted by an ugly hag who requests a kiss. Each denies her until the youngest son, Niall (Eochaid’s son with his concubine Caireen) agrees and embraces her. She then turns in to a beautiful woman – the Goddess of Sovereignty and grants Niall the right to rule after his father. This tale is a reminder that what is worthwhile is not always attractive and alluring, at least not at first. It also reminds me that if I don’t face my fears I’ll never conquer them.
So if I want to overcome the challenges and obstacles that block me I need to face my fears and regain some connection with my spirit guides and the divine. I’m sure this will prove to be a lifelong process but I have to remember to keep moving forward.
Celtic Wisdom Tarot
Text by Caitlin Matthews, art by Olivia Raynor
Destiny Books, 1999
The Decider (Magician) shows a young man standing in the middle of a wooded glade. He holds a pinecone to his chest with his right hand. His left hand is outstretched before him as though reaching for something. He wears a saffron colored long-sleeve tunic with braided trim at the neck and sleeves. His hair is dark blond and cut short. He is framed by boughs of pine branches and pinecones. A radiant light seems to emanate from him. Above his head we see a man’s head framed by two stags drawn in a stylized Celtic fashion.
The Book says: This is the Dagda, The Great God of the Druids. The Decider governs willpower and intention, and the druid is his exponent. The Decider of Will sets the Soul on its journey. His unfailing song supports the Soul, reminding it of its true intentions it steps upon the path of its destiny. What is manifesting itself in your life now?
Keywords: Willpower, empowerment, initiative, accessing the imagination creatively, plans ambitiously manifested, concentrated effort, discrimination, competence.
Reversed: Weak-willed, indecisive, insecure, manipulating others for one’s own ends, plans unrealized, ineptitude.
Soul Wisdom – The Decider of Will sets the Soul on its journey. His unfailing song supports the Soul, reminding it of its true intention as it steps upon the path of its destiny. What is manifesting itself in your life now?
TarotBroad’s Buzz: This image reflects many of the things I consider integral to the Magician. The young man appears very comfortable in his surroundings and seems confident with his abilities. He holds out his hand as though expecting something to follow his will and come to him. The radiance surrounding him suggests that he radiates a sense of his own self-worth and value. He is the Dagda, the Great God and possessor of great knowledge. In addition he projects a sense of inner strength and will, indicating that he not only possesses this great knowledge, but he knows how to use it. He is youthful in appearance but that merely indicates that he still has the energy and enthusiasm of youth. His knowledge and his will are ageless. This card speaks to me of getting in touch with the world inside yourself and the world around you and learning how to use these energies to improve your life. It is also a reminder that even if you possess all the knowledge in the world, if you don’t have the strength of will and the ability to use it then it is useless.