I’ve had this deck for several months and yet I haven’t opened it, haven’t touched it, until now: I don’t know why. Somehow today seemed like the right time and I felt compelled to use it for the weekly reading.
Looking at what it’s offered us, I can see why. Here is Death once again (the Journey) at the centre, after its appearance last week too. This is a time of strong currents of change. We heard this message last week, and here it is again in a different, more powerful form – two strong major arcana cards to push the message home. If we weren’t listening before, can we sit up and pay attention now?
The Ten of Vessels shows us an abundant flow of positive feeling: all our cups are filled. This is what we are aiming for – this vital, refreshing energy – but trust in the cycles of change and renewal we are all subject to will be essential in order to get there. This isn’t always going to be comfortable. Accepting death as a natural corollary of life and progress can be a challenge. Likewise, the lessons of the Great Bear (aka Judgement) do not come easy. After Death has stripped away what is no longer needed, how do we weigh the version of ourselves, of our lives, that is left? Are we ready to emerge into something different, to forgive ourselves for our failings and difficulties on the path to where we are now? Are we ready?
That might all sound like a bit too much existential angst for a Bank Holiday Monday. Fair enough. Consider, though, the world we find ourselves in as we tentatively move away from lockdown restrictions towards a version of ‘normal life’ that is both comfortingly familiar yet distinctly, perhaps irreversibly, changed. We are reshaping ourselves and our surroundings as the longer term impacts of the previous 18 months – on us as individuals and on the collective – begin to make themselves known.
Change is not often sudden and explosive (we have the Tower to tell us when that’s coming!), rather it is incremental and steady: the flow of a sparkling waterfall subtly reshaping the rock below. And yet, so often, those tiny increments carve out huge shifts over time. Harder to recognise, perhaps, but hugely significant. This week, the Journey and the Great Bear ask you both to acknowledge what is changing for you and to do the work necessary to fully align yourself with that process in order to reap the emotional rewards.
Don’t mind Death. He turns up sometimes to clear out things that are no longer required – that great big scythe is pretty effective.
This week, I think he is here to signal an end to some things that have been holding us back (the Eight of Swords). Often this card indicates a mental prison of our own making – the barriers that we put up around ourselves because we’re afraid to act, or we’re telling ourselves negative stories about who we are and what we are capable of. However, it can also signify malign external influences in the shape of people who – consciously or otherwise – are interfering with our ability to make progress.
Death is here to say: no more of that. A period of frustration and inaction has to come to an end. Instead it’s high time we consider the application of our personal will towards what we want and how we intend to get it (the Two of Wands). No need to plunge headlong in just yet – the Two is still near the beginning of the Wands journey – what’s important is the creative impulse, the focus on the goal. Know where you’re going. Know that you are free to do what you need to in order to get there.
There’s potential for things to get a bit heated – competitive, fractious, argumentative even (7 of Staffs aka Wands). If you feel this happening, step away for a while to give your mind a rest and collect yourself (4 of Swords): you don’t have to bite. Instead, aim for clarity. Master your own thoughts and communicate with confidence (King of Swords).
OK. This week is about grounding the mental within the material world.
We start with the Sister of Wind (aka Page or Princess of Swords). Things may have been difficult, mentally, of late: there are those times, aren’t there, where everything feels like a battle? There has been so much change for us all to assimilate, and that’s tough work.
What I love about the Eakins’ take on the 3 of Earth (aka Discs/Pentacles) is that it feels like a reassuring hand on our shoulder. “The work you have chosen is the right work… the skills you are using are the right skills. All things material are moving into alignment with you… You will continue to succeed as long as you do not lose your sense of heart or spirit.”
And if we keep on doing what we’re doing, with right intention, and try not to live in our heads too much? The Six of Wind offers perspective. Maybe we will feel a little lighter and be happy to lay the sword down for a while.
A new deck to me, this, and what a lineup for its first weekly reading!
There is movement at the centre of things this coming week. The Eight of Wands is also sometimes known as Swiftness: here in all its colour and brightness it feels very much like a sign that things are going to start to become unstuck, which will be welcome to any of us waiting on news of someone or something.
Either side of this movement lies encouragement, I think. The Priestess reminds us of our inner reserves of wisdom, of knowing (even – or especially – when we feel quite the opposite). Fortune meanwhile… well, the turning wheel of life can sometimes feel like it’s going too fast, sure. But look at the balance here, and those cats, especially the black one. This time I feel like maybe luck is with us. Here’s hoping.
Last week we ended with the Ten of Cups: this week we begin with it. A nice bit of continuity. This time I think it reminds us that we are part of a wider web, all of us, and we don’t have to manage everything alone. We shouldn’t be hesitant to draw on the network of love and support that surrounds us.
Why? Well, something new is afoot with the Ace of Discs (this card has popped up recently in daily readings too – making its presence felt). New things can be daunting, of course, but at the opposite end of the suit we have the Knight (aka King) to show that the harvest will be worth it, if we embrace the change. I like the sound of that.
Hmm. Some pause for thought needed here to assimilate the message. Maybe because there’s a nudge in it for me personally, or maybe it’s just the Moon doing her thing (or both)?
I think there are two points we should take from the Moon at the centre of this reading. Firstly, a literal nod to the new moon in Aries coming tomorrow: a new cycle begins with the start of another lunation. Secondly, the symbolism of inner work, the metaphorical dark night of the soul where those things that we hide from the daylight become illuminated by the lunar glow. Not always a comfortable process, facing those things that dwell in the dark, but one I think we’re being encouraged to attend to this week in whatever form is appropriate.
The flanking cards provide some further context. The Six of Swords is often a card of moving on, progressing mentally, crossing the Rubicon: in the Thoth context, I tend to think of the focus as leaning more towards the assimilation of new knowledge, perhaps after the trials of the Five, and the establishment of what we might see as right mental order. A calm that comes from clarity. I think this tells us that we may have learnt some hard lessons or found the previous lunar cycle mentally quite challenging – but that we should now be ready to leave those challenges behind.
And if we do that, following the path that our inner work beneath the Moon has laid out for us? The Ten of Cups offers us a warm flush of emotional ease. Not that we should consider our work done (when is it ever?) – there’s a Mars influence in this card that tells us we must keep moving – but we may find that this new moon cycle is less painful, more nurturing, than the previous one. And I don’t know about you, but I’ll take that gladly.
Ooh OK… a three Majors kind of a week. That’s a sit up and pay attention spread!
Look carefully at our horned figures at either side. We have the Emperor – logical, rational leader, proponent of order and ethics – on the one. On the other, our old friend the Devil: a slightly less straightforward character. I tend to view the Devil as dealing with our instinctual, animal selves and how well we are able to integrate those parts of us into our whole person. Are we honest about our basic needs, our desires, our darker impulses? Do we deal with them in a healthy way? Do we have hang-ups, fears and inhibitions or do we go too far in the other direction?
Either side of the Star, then, we have the logical vs. the primal. Now look at what she’s doing in the centre. See how she pours her vessels in a kind of circular motion, connecting the land and the water (the material and the spiritual, in metaphorical terms). She bridges the gap between two states of being, and she does so while shining a light of hope and encouragement.
So. This week, we may struggle with the balance between order and chaos. We may feel we should act in one way, whilst our inner voices tell us what we actually want or need is entirely different. But the Star offers us balance: she tells us to maintain our faith, and to keep going. When she shows herself, things are going to be OK. We just need to remember that.
This feels like a week about resources: mental, practical, emotional.
The Ace of Swords urges us to part the clouds and see clearly. Maybe there are new insights and ideas, or maybe we will just get out of our own way for long enough that the things right in front of us will begin to make sense?
The Nine of Coins (aka Discs/Pentacles) always feels to me like such a lovely, grounded card in this deck. Here is a tree that is healthy, mature and ‘fruiting’ generously. Fruit like this does not come on demand – we have to nurture it, wait for our patience to pay off – but its generosity is worth the wait.
The Ten of Vessels (aka Cups) is distillation: it is about connectedness, “the many connected to the one” as Place puts it. It is the emotional payoff from being brave enough to trust in the process of connection: the way individual vessels create something new together. It’s not without risks and unpredictability, but perhaps this week we need reminding that it’s a risk that can pay off.
Two cards, then, full of the practical and emotional harvest we can expect from trust and patience: and one that tells us new ideas or insights will result. Should be an interesting few days!
Back after a recovery week… and what an interesting reading to come back to. Anyone else feeling a bit of a Spring Equinox rush in these cards?
Here is heat and power and dynamic energy, fizzing to be used and directed. There’s a little risk too – Brother of Wind (aka Knight of Swords) can be hot-headed, impetuous, quick to jump. If you act decisively this week, temper any anger with the controlled foresight and strength of the Father of Fire (aka King of Wands). Pick your battles, and if you do so successfully – the Sun will be there to shine on you.