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.
We must continue to be diligent with work and learning, but there are chances this week to look outward – maybe to make plans and to feel confident in expanding our horizons a little. The Sun promises us that there are brighter days ahead. With the background of unsettling events globally, isn’t that a nice uplifting reading to receive?
Death arrives to make way for new beginnings, signified by the waxing crescent moon – which may also be a sign to watch for developments this week that reach fruition in the first stage of the next lunation, after the start of March.
It may be time to let go of feelings, plans, situations or things which no longer serve us. Change is inevitable: that is not to say it’s easy, of course. The Emperor’s role here is to inspire how we respond when change happens. He embodies considered presence, authority and leadership. He tells us, essentially, to have the courage of our convictions in the face of uncertainty or discomfort.
So: stand firm in your power, as much as you can, this week. New beginnings will always come around.
Two hefty Majors for the week of the full moon… feels like a big shift coming.
I want to begin with the Ten of Coins though, which has a slightly different feel in this particular deck. Robert Place christens it the Miser, linking it with selfishness and holding tightly to resources. It feels, after two years of pandemic living and all that has entailed, as if many of us have been doing something along these lines: turning inward, holding a little tighter to what makes us feel secure, maybe out of fear.
That brings us neatly to the Devil, who here holds us – in all our faces and forms – captive, chained to the fiery scales of the dragon. This card invites us to consider what we feel bound to. In the context of the Ten, what unhealthy attachments, habits or patterns of thought are we clinging on too tightly to, in order to try to feel safe? What aspects of our fullest selves are being held back?
Judgement promises us a wake-up call in this respect, and a loud one at that (who could miss that enormous angelic trumpet?). It’s a card of revelation but also, clearly, of resurrection. Things we thought dead may be revived, things we thought ailing may be healed. It’s a card of hope, transformation and progress. Maybe it is here to tell us to hold on a little less tightly.
When the Three of Swords arrives we are very often in the territory of painful growth. It’s a card that speaks of sorrow – often born of conflict between heart and head – but also how fine the line is between our experience of agony and ecstasy. We are asked to weigh carefully the cost of opening ourselves to the whole glorious gamut of human experience, against the discomfort of the consequences when we willingly wear our hearts on our sleeves.
Flanking the High Priestess on the opposite side is the Three of Cups. In some ways we might view this as the opposite of the Three of Swords: collaborative, celebratory, nourishing, supportive, a testament to the positive power of friendship and connection.
So what of the Priestess herself, there at the centre? It feels like she is the mediator of a choice. To hold on to our sorrows alone, or to seek the support of those who lift us up? To hide from the risks of engaging fully with the world, or to choose company?
The thing about the High Priestess, however, is that she tends (I find) to show up in readings with a gentle rebuke: you know the answer to that question. Why are you asking the cards? She offers no glib solutions. Her realm is in stillness and silence. She is the open space in which you find your true self, if you look closely enough. So in this case, she counsels us to look within this week. If we are hurting, or torn between licking our wounds alone vs placing trust in others, our decisions should be reached in contemplation, not in haste.