Clarity. Control. Works. Sometimes the card descriptors do all the talking.
I’m not an astrologer, but I know that when there are eclipses on the cards, people can feel themselves unsettled, upended. In the early hours of Monday morning this week there is a total lunar eclipse, on the heels of the partial solar eclipse of April 30th. These cards, I think, speak of the aftermath of those events: a shaking down of that unsettled, nervous energy into something more tangible. The silt slowly sinking down again as the water clears.
So, this week – let’s embrace that which enables us to see clearly. Let’s see if we can find moments where we feel like we’ve got it together. Let’s make use of those insights in a practical way to move ourselves forward.
This week I’m drawn to the Two of Swords at the centre of the reading. You know how sometimes situations are described as being ‘on a knife edge’? It’s not just because of the potential of a nasty cut: the thing with a sword specifically is that it could go either way. Both of those edges are pretty sharp. So, sometimes we find ourselves balanced precariously on a dilemma, reluctant to commit in either direction.
What’s interesting here is that the Four of Wands suggests that the cause of our indecision is something that once seemed certain: it’s a card of stability, commitment, partnership. Things that we thought we could rely on, until we found ourselves blindfolded and unsure, but also things we might have been unwilling to let go of owing to their familiarity.
It’s the Three of Wands that gives us our way out of the tricky position in the centre. Out over the water there’s a star of hope and the promise of something not yet fully understood in the distance – but something we can see, and maybe long for. A place we can make plans to visit to discover more about what lies over there. This isn’t necessarily a ‘grass is greener’ situation: more an invitation to branch out, test our wings a little, see what’s out there. We don’t have to make a permanent move: an exploratory visit to new territory is just fine for now. Let’s see what’s out there.
Last week I talked about the inner voice: this week, the subconscious in particular is at the centre of our reading. Robert Place describes the fish as its messenger, and there is the Knight wading into the water – itself a metaphor for the unknown and unseen – vessel in hand, ready to bring back whatever is required from the depths. It must be said that his pose is pretty cocky, and the tarot knights are known to act rashly on occasion: perhaps he thinks he can simply swipe the fish and be on his way.
We might do well to be a little less brash about whatever inspiration or insight we need to dive in for this week. Flanking the Knight we have the Six of Coins, representing generosity, sharing and trust, and the Five of Staffs representing the flow of creative energy. Whatever is waiting in our unconscious requires openness, honesty and clarity to bring it to bear. We should watch carefully how we communicate and interact with others, making sure our behaviour stems from our authentic feelings.
I feel like I bang on a lot in these readings about the importance of intuition and learning how to listen to your inner voice… you know, the one that gives you those nagging little tugs at the elbow, says something is off here, or maybe you should do that thing you’re unsure about, or…? There’s a reason I bang on, of course – or should I say, there’s a reason the cards often see fit to remind us? It’s important, that voice, and in a noisy world that surrounds us with the distraction of endless voices and opinions – our own truths can get so muffled we don’t hear them clearly, if at all. So there it is at the centre of our reading. We need to be in reflective territory.
And the rest of the reading? We don’t authentically know ourselves unless we acknowledge every complex aspect of what makes each of us who we are. Wholeness, health and good fortune are inextricably linked with decay, temptation and challenge. Offensive behaviour can come from a place of deep vulnerability or old wounds: apparent saintliness can be deeply manipulative. Self-understanding requires us, as the Seer, not to romanticise what is reflected in the still pool holding our gaze. Let’s try to be honest with ourselves this week.
Oh hello, Temperance. Last night’s daily pull and here it is again. The new moon is in its early waxing stages and the theme so far seems to be the need to find balance.
I like the approach of the Spacious Tarot to the Five of Swords – “it asks what battles you are fighting, and if they are worth your energy.” Does winning that point with someone else really mean that much to you? Are you so committed to picking yourself to pieces that you have to analyse and criticise your every move? Think very hard this week about whether you might better spend that energy on cultivating a state of equilibrium. Where the flames and the ice meet in the middle, all that is no longer required can simply drift away as smoke.
And when the smoke disperses? Mental clarity. Lucidity. In balance there is energy you can use with intention to see afresh. Imagine what you could cut to the core of with that bright new blade. Hold that image and keep it with you this week.
Sharp intake of breath time. Just look at that for a spread! We haven’t had three Majors show up for a while, and certainly not with a roar like this.
Look at the commonalities in these cards. The colours, the imagery, the symbolism. You don’t need to be a seasoned tarot professional to feel that, do you? A week after the Spring Equinox and the energy is powerful and palpable. We have all the inner strength we require; we can be decisive and clear, knowing that we are firmly rooted in this power; and we can move to enact that which we desire. Maybe we’ll need to be fierce, to stand tall in order to do that – but we are absolutely capable. The sun is shining on us this week.
This feels like a good spread for the Vernal Equinox!
Out of the still, contemplative depths of winter we emerge at this halfway point towards a new flourishing of earthy, embodied energy. At the centre of our reading, the sun is greeted by the Magician: a reminder that we can harness our will, inspired by the budding seasonal energy, to achieve what we want to this week. A psychic/energetic spring clean, if you like, allowing for the Ace of Disks (reminding me today of the words of Dylan Thomas – “the force that through the green fuse drives the flower”) to set new actions in motion. It’s a week for doing, for being, and for feeling present in the here and now.
This week’s reading feels like a lesson in recovery.
The Knight (aka King) of Wands is all fire: warm and charismatic at his best, but not without impulsivity. When fire blazes uncontrolled, however, we all know how quickly it can lay waste to that which surrounds it. The result of these “scorched earth” experiences (either as a result of our own behaviour, or other people’s) is the despair of the Five of Swords. The companion notes to the Zillich deck describe the broken ram’s horn as symbolising “no rational thought or emotional comfort can get through” to the defeated figure. Sometimes, however unintentionally, we make a mess of things and coming to terms with it is hard, hard work.
And yet… Look at the ram stood proud beside the Queen of Discs. Recovery is possible, rooted firmly in nurturing and tender care of the self or of others. It takes patience and generosity – we may need to extend forgiveness and compassion not simply as a gesture, but as a process over time – but it can be done. If we ground ourselves in love, we can thrive again.