I turned 50 back in July.  I have to say it’s been more of a shock than I expected.  I figured all the hype about becoming a Crone or 50 being a big transition age was just that – hype.  Once again I have been proven wrong.

The biggest shock I had upon turning 50 is the realization that I have somehow manage to shed almost 30+ years of civilizing.  I joke that the women in my family don’t domesticate well but it’s kind of true.  None of us has ever been a “traditional” female.  Quite possibly because most of us have had the unluck to marry men who have proven to be abysmal partners for one reason or other.  Clearly this is some type of familial pattern; a cycle that needs to be addressed and changed.  Anyway, I’ve gotten off point here.  The point is that apparently 50 year old me has a lot in common with 13 year old me.  Now that I no longer need to “dress for success” or anyone else’s approval, I have gone back to my favorite look – jeans, boots and plaid shirts.  How ironic that I loved this look long before Supernatural became popular.

I’ve also experienced a shift in attitude.  Not that I was ever shy about expressing my opinions but I did occasionally manage to tone things down depending upon the company.  Now I just don’t give a shit.  It’s as though that poor, weak, fragile filter that prevented me from being completely unrated was demolished, destroyed, damaged beyond repair.  Don’t misunderstand, I rarely intend to be insulting, rude or obnoxious but somehow I’m sure I come off that way when my mouth gets ahead of my brain.  At the same time I realize this is the result of not having to worry that I’ll offend someone who good opinion I might need later on.  The truth is I am a lousy diplomat.

For many years I felt as though I identified most with the energies of the Queen of Swords and Queen of Wands.  Now I realize that Queen of Swords persona was exactly that – a mask I donned when the occasion called for it.  Now I fully embrace my Queen of Wands energy but it means that sometimes I bash people into submission (or as my mother likes to say, I use “truth” as a weapon).  What I have also discovered is my connection to the Queen of Pentacles.  I can be a caregiver.  I’ll be the first to admit that it’s not my favorite role but when I have to make a choice between doing what might be sensible and/or more convenient or doing what I believe is right, then I’m willing and able to make sacrifices.

 

So, turning 50 has proven to be quite a mind-blowing experience all around.  I’ve realized that I don’t need things to be happy (in fact, much to my shock, I’ve realized too many things just makes me feel overwhelmed).  I’ve learned that I don’t want to bend to the wills of others.  I want to run my own life and follow my own passions.  I’ve learned that I’m tired of letting the perfect get in the way of the good.  I’m sure there are lots more things I’ve learned but this was a good starting point.

Just to make it interesting for any readers out there I decided to ask the Tarot what message I can offer to any others going through a similar experience.  I drew the Page of Swords from the Tarot of the Secret Forest.  At first I thought the youth was playing a cello or similar instrument but looking closer I realized he is holding a sword and shield.  The minute I saw this card I heard the phrase “relearn your own mind; stay true to your inner music”.  I’m interpreting this to mean that turning 50 gives us a chance to reconnect to who we really are without the obligations of motherhood, career, marriage and societal expectations.  We’ve been able to moved beyond all that and now we can pick up our instruments and learn how to dance and sing our true songs, our soul songs, again.
 

Blue Rose Devil

Blue Rose Devil

Blue Rose Tarot
Created by Paula Gibby
Published by Soul Guidance

The Book says: Yes, we create our own Devils. We, ourselves. Without any help from anyone else. We can do this trick with no hands. All we have to do is experience a willingness, no matter how fleeting, to give up. To abdicate responsibility. To refrain from thinking. That desire to offer up those gifts that are our most magical and filled with light (our Inner Power and Free Will) creates the vacuum for the Darkness to come in. An invited guest that, once firmly and comfortably ensconced, is very difficult to oust. These days we call it “selling your Soul to the Devil”. And nothing could be more true. Many a rational mind will repel from such a notion. The idea that we each create our own personal Devils or Dark Spaces, is an unattractive idea. It is far more comforting to entertain the notion that Darkness/Evil/The Devil exists as a separate Entity that wreaks havoc upon innocent travelers who have the misfortune to fall victim to him or his followers. But as much as we may like this to be so, it is not. This does not mean that we cannot fall victim to the Darkness of another being, another traveler who has forfeited himself to his darker nature. We certainly can. However, no matter what we may suffer at the hands of another Fool’s “Devil”, it is nothing compared to what we suffer when we succumb to a Devil of our own making. In the first case, we can lose much. We can lose life, limb, a loved one, our sexual innocence, our property. We can lose little or we can lose much. But what we do not lose is ourselves. We do not lose our own Souls. We know this because spiritual “forward progress” can still be made. The Journey may become more difficult or the path may divert into a harsh terrain not previously envisioned or anticipated, but the Soul can continue forward. If it wants to. And that is the key. For even if you think you have observed an innocent Soul succumb to the ultimate Darkness because of the pain or evil inflicted by the Devil of a fellow traveler, this is not the case. Think again. For what has in actuality occurred is that, as a result of that victimization, the innocent Soul experiences a loss, translating to an emptiness, translating to a fear, translating to a need of such proportions that he now creates his own Devil.

TarotBroad’s Buzz: This card is one of attraction that seduces and imprisons, losing yourself in the false enchantment and false promises of an illusion. The masked man is the dream lover who seduces us from reality and promises a happily ever after that will never arrive.  He is the male counterpart to the Spider Woman we saw in last week’s Transformational Tarot Devil.   It is a trap into which we fall.

The image of this Devil reminds me of Charles Boyer in Gaslight – a seductive, sociopathic husband who tries to drive his wife insane. This is the abusive lover who undermines our self-esteem and cuts us off from our friends so we are isolated, vulnerable and dependent upon him. It is the parent who cuts away at our sense of self-worth and confidence so that we feel unable to break away and create our own life. This Devil is everyone in our lives who is supposed to love and nurture us but who undermines us and creates a sense of helplessness and dependence.

The key to liberating ourselves is realizing that we allow ourselves to remain in this trap. We accept the false illusion and give up our power. We allow ourselves to become or to remain weak, convincing ourselves that we will be happier this way. Anyone who has ever given up their dream to maintain the status quo or who has forced themselves to conform when they have wanted to rebel has been trapped by this Devil.

What is important to remember that we can climb that fence, break down that barrier and reclaim our power if we so desire. We have all seen or heard of amazing stories about people who have overcome amazing obstacles to achieve happiness in their lives. One example who always stayed with me is Liz Murray, the young woman whose parents were drug abusers, one (or possibly both) died of AIDS, she and her sister were homeless and yet she still managed to stay in school, get good grades and get accepted to Harvard. What a tribute to the human spirit and our ability to overcome anything.

For every abused child who becomes a child abuser there are hundreds who do not fall into this trap. For every child raised in poverty who becomes a life-long welfare recipient, there are hundreds who manage to get decent jobs and live productive lives. So while poverty and hardship are indeed major obstacles, they are only permanent traps if we allow them to become so.  It is our choice.  In the words of Sarah Connor in The Terminator movies “no fate but what we make”.  We can only remain imprisoned if we allow it.

Wheel of Change Devil

Wheel of Change Devil

Wheel of Change Tarot
created by Alexandra Gennetti
Published by Destiny Books, 1997
ISBN #0-89281-609-0

The Book Says: When the Devil is a part of your reading; you are in the midst of an intense situation. Perhaps you are experiencing (possibly in excess) the pleasures and pains of living, in yourself or in those around you. Possibly, when you draw the Devil, the situation calls for more emotional engagement. Maybe it is a time to examine your attachments and learn the lesson of moderation. Look around you and really see the part you play in the natural world.

TarotBroad’s Buzz: This card explores the wildness and untamed energy of The Devil. This is the god of the wild woods who invites us to come dancing beneath the brilliant moon. His wicked grin promises fun and merriment, freeing yourself from the strictures imposed by society and everyday life. His drum will transport you to another place and time; a world free from the expectations of others and daily responsibilities. But be warned because once you have “danced with the Devil in the pale moonlight” you will never be the same. It may become easy to walk away from life’s burdens and lose yourself in his wild dance.

Think of Dionysus’ Maenads and their divine madness. They would lose themselves in the worship of the god and attack any who invaded their revels – be it son, husband, father or lover. For this god of the wild wood is a demanding and possessive god. He can take over your life and you can lose your will in his celebrations. He can liberate your spirit or enslave your soul. He is one of the guardians of the mysteries of drunkenness and madness. It is in his honor that rebels and pioneers in the 60s explored mind-altering, psychotropic drugs and how they affected their perceptions of the world. But we must be cautious of crossing that point of no return and losing ourselves in the heart of madness. This Devil is our guide to the brink of self-revelation and freedom, but if we are not careful we can become prisoners of his revels.

Transformational Tarot Empress

The Sorceress
Transformation Tarot
Created by by Arnell Ando
Published by US Games ISBN:1572815396

The LWB says: The divine mother, anima or feminine principle. Fruitfulness, fertility, growth, universal love, passion, nurturance and happiness. A deep connection to nature. For the artist, realization of creative projects. It can also mean a level-headed, intuitive businesswoman or politicial activist for human rights and the preservation of our natural resources.
Reversed: An artistic void. The oppressive, controlling aspect of the mother persona.

TarotBroad’s Buzz: Looking at this image I am struck by its seeming portrayal of Eve eating a piece of fruit while a snake slithers along the tree trunk next to her. At first it seems to symbolize the Biblical story of man’s fall. However it can symbolize something else as well – woman’s choice to take control of her life and grasp her future with both hands. The Biblical story always makes it seem as though Eve was naive and simple, falling prey to the snake’s sibilantly seductive words. What if Eve realized that if she ever wanted to be independent and have control over her life she needed to take this step. Perhaps the snake simply reaffirmed what Eve already suspected.

For me, this card symbolizes a woman claiming her power, becoming the woman she was meant to be. Whether she is mother and wife or single, independent career woman or some combination, she is at home in her skin. She owes no one any explanations and feels no urge to explain her choices or apologize for who she is. This Empress grabbed the fruit from tree and took a bite, knowing it would change her forever but welcoming the opportunity to acquire knowledge, wisdom and self-awareness. Instead of abject fear this Eve seems serene and confident in her decision.

This Empress offers a glimpse of a different type of feminine power. She may be a wife and mother but capture in this moment in time she is alone, independent and confident. She is willing to accept the consequences of her decision and knows that sometimes in order to acquire knowledge and experience, sacrifices must be made. Instead of Adam’s obedient wife, I see a goddess. She is fiercely free and enthusiastically embraces her path in life. Maybe she has more in common with Lilith than previously suspected.

Celtic Wisdom Decider

Celtic Wisdom Tarot
Text by Caitlin Matthews, art by Olivia Raynor
Destiny Books, 1999
ISBN 0-89281-720-8

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.

Mansions of the Moon Magician

 

Mansions of the Moon
ZADOK (dahogue@nctc.net)
Self-Published

The Magickian shows a man with a long beard, wearing a hooded cloak sitting on a throne. He is shadowed in shades of red, giving the appearance of being viewed through a bloody lens. He is intently focused on the crystal ball sitting before him. A skull decorates the top of the throne and another one sits on his right side. Two torches sit in sconces on either side of the throne but they add no light to the scene. At the forefront of the card sit a silver chalice, a dagger, a crystal tipped wand and a pentacle – symbolizing the 4 elements.

The Author says: Mainly traditional symbols. Spelling – Crowley’s spelling to separate stage magicians from ceremonial Magicians.

TarotBroad’s Buzz: This card is a dark, atmospheric one. This Magickian is certainly focused and has all the tools needed to accomplish his work. But this man treads both sides of the path equally. He is as comfortable working “dark” magick as he is working “light”. He understands that it is intention and action which makes something “dark”. And he is also willing to take that step if the needs arises. This man does not subscribe to the Wiccan Rede but is more comfortable with Crowley’s “Do what that wilt be the whole of the law”. He also accepts and acknowledges the consequences and complications that come with this belief. This man is no lightweight. In fact he reminds me of a medieval alchemist seeking power and knowledge through the arcane magick he works. His will is strong and he does not accept failure easily. His intellect and strength of will has taken him through rough patches. And if we approach him correctly he will help guide us through them too. This card is powerful and a bit unnerving in its intensity. This card is as far from a stage magician as George Bush is from a scholar 😉 (sorry I couldn’t resist).

Wheel of Change Tarot created by Alexandra Gennetti
Published by Destiny Books, 1997

The Magician shows us an androgynous looking young man wearing a blue tunic adorned with braided trim and golden stars. He has long black hair and wears a golden band across his forehead. Part of his face seem to be in shadow or covered by a veil. The Magician has four arms, each holding one of the symbols of the elements – a sword, a torch, a disk/wheel and a cup. He stands in an archway with two pillars on either side of him. The bottom of the pillars are wrapped by golden vines. Above the Magician’s head we see that the area above the pillars is decorated a deep-blue with stars and planets floating through space. The letter T A R O also appear linked together in a variety of ways. Behind the Magician we see a winding road leading towards a mountain in the distance.

The Book says: The Magician refers to Hermes, who was the messenger of the gods. Hermes represents the power of communication between distant and opposing forces. This communication is expressed in the living surface of the earth and in the human will, the word of God through which masculine creative energy is expressed. This card in its simplest form represents discipline and the implication of the will on living humanity. The power of the will is linked to the ability to predict outcomes. For example, when we head off to a job we dislike ;it is because we know that it we will be paid, thus allowing us to eat and live a comfortable life. Pulling the Magician implies a specific knowledge of the workings of the world or perhaps a specific situation. This card implies a need to self-control or suggests that you are using this control in your circumstance.

TarotBroad’s Buzz: This card suggests the confidence, skill and focus needed to achieve our goals and balance our responsibilities. The multi-armed Magician is obviously at ease dealing with the varied elements and their spheres of influence. He is balanced within himself and able to use this balance to achieve external success. I would think it isn’t easy controlling the actions of 4 arms at one time – so obviously this Magician is able to exert the self-control needed to accomplish the task. He also serves as the one who guides us through the gateway. He helps us communicate with what lies beyond the gate and has the skills and abilities to aid us in moving back and forth freely. The Magician is the wonder worker who can show us amazing things that will awe and inspire us. He is the courier between our spirit and our divine power. He shows us how to speak with our higher self and learn how to use our wits and skills in accordance with divine will.

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