It feels like a lot of people are struggling recently. Much-reduced daylight hours, a lingering pandemic and 18-plus months of uncertainty have created some deep undercurrents of change and questioning. This reading seems like a reflection on how those things are affecting us all.
We have, this week, to contend with the mental and emotional challenges that beset us on both sides: anxiety and a tendency to give ourselves a hard time on the one hand, the feeling of stuckness – plus the resulting desire just to stop the world and take some time out when things get tough – on the other. What we are encouraged to try to keep at the centre of it all is ‘virtue’ in terms of our sense of purpose, our honesty (with ourselves and others, regarding our needs and limitations) and our strength of character.
In essence, we might need to give ourselves a loving pep talk this week; gee ourselves up a little. It’s good to acknowledge the difficulties we face, and we shouldn’t try to pretend they don’t exist, but it’s also good to be reminded of our own agency. There are things we can do to take care of ourselves (we were reminded of that last week!) and we may need to help ourselves out by spending some time on those things now. We’ll thank ourselves for it later.
Ooh, a proper five-weeks-till-the-Winter-Solstice reading!
The clocks have changed, the hours of darkness are already much longer and many of us may be feeling it now – the urge to cosy in, hibernate and rest. No wonder Endurance is at the centre here, keeping the fire going to retain heat and warmth. In the absence of the light, we need the reminder from the Sun of Life to keep it within our hearts: to nurture ourselves carefully over the coming winter, mentally and physically, until it returns. We need now to attend to those things we’ll require (the literal and metaphorical firewood, if you like) to get us past the solstice and emerging into the new year alert and ready like the Lynx.
So, if you don’t already know what you need to do and to provide for yourself over the coming weeks – spend some time thinking on it this week. Prepare to take gentle care of yourself during the long nights ahead.
This week is about finding balance, between people and within ourselves.
The King of Swords is the master of rationality. Too much so, sometimes – he can be cold, ruthless even, when ill dignified. There are limitations to the value of judging all matters from a purely factual, intellectual standpoint.
The Queen of Wands on the other hand is fiery, creative, determined and exuberant. She gets what she wants, and she operates on feeling, not necessarily fact.
These two, whether as aspects of ourselves or external figures in our lives, can complement each other of course, but equally they can find themselves at odds. Is it to be heart or head this week? Temperance tells us: both. Don’t overfill one cup to the detriment of the other. Look for a position that allows you to hold both without tension.
Well, what else would I read with on Halloween but the Dark Wood?
This week is about the necessity of self-care (and care for others) to making progress, which carries through nicely from last week’s very introspective, emotional reading. Here is the Queen of Pentacles – sensual, embodied, representing the manifestation of all things physical – to remind us to fully embrace what our senses tell us, to nurture ourselves and others, to cultivate pleasure.
We need to be thriving physically in order to pursue the Three of Wands’ call to action. What is it we want? What are our desires, the things we feel in our blood? They are within reach when this Three appears: it shows us that we can begin to make them happen.
The Four of Swords however – particularly in this deck – brings a qualification. We may have paused for rest, but we need to be prepared for how our narratives may change as things progress. Look at the woman here. Is she really sleeping, sword held ready? Does the man arrive with a kiss or a threat? How will things play out when we begin to channel that Wand energy towards achieving our desires?
It’s quite a charged reading, looking closely at the cards, isn’t it? The sensual Queen, the eroticism of the vampire, the tension of the scene in the Four of Swords. Whichever areas of our lives we focus our attention on this week, they should be those which make our hearts beat that little bit faster, I think. The things that make life worth living.
Ah, the Three of Swords, the card everyone loves to be afraid of. We’re not fond of difficult feelings, are we? But still they come, and if we are wise we’ll spend some time with them this week when they do.
It feels like the thread linking these cards is evolution and rebirth. Judgement is described in ‘Notes from the Pagan Otherworlds’ – the book that accompanies this deck – as the place where “we fully meet ourselves. We come face to face with the mistakes of our journey and our limitations… Life has checked and then checked itself again since the beginning of time.”
Every so often we need to stop, to consider both how it is that we got here and what we went through to do so. Partly as a reminder of how far we’ve come, but partly as a learning exercise to understand what we can do differently in the future. That’s where the Three of Swords comes in, because inevitably along the way we’ve had to endure some tough stuff (oh hello there, global pandemic). We do ourselves a disservice if we fail to properly process the hard times and how they made us feel: a stiff upper lip has severe limitations as a survival tool.
Ultimately, it’s easier to find the way forward if we’re not weighed down with sadness, grief or suffering we’re carrying because we haven’t fully dealt with those feelings. This week, then, we are called to take a little time out if we need it, like the wandering moon beneath the Eight of Cups. If we use that time wisely and are gentle with ourselves, we can emerge renewed and ready to rejoin the path.
Is it acceptable to start a tarot reading with “oofff”…? Because wow, that’s quite a pull!
We are squarely in relationship territory this week. You can see how the Devil and the Lovers are almost flipsides of each other. Where there is intimacy, trust and connection (mental or physical) there can too easily be a slide into obsession, fear and co-dependency if we do not acknowledge the reality of our basic needs.
I think the World, firmly in the centre of these extremes, has two messages for us. In a literal, visual sense it tells us not to allow the darkest aspects of the Devil’s realm to become our universe. We cannot function effectively if we are tied up in fear and shame.
Secondly, the World is a sign of a new phase, often heralding the fulfilment and success achieved in the one coming to an end. Reading left to right, we have a clear sign that if we can learn the lessons of the Devil and release ourselves from unhealthy forms of attachment, a more fulfilling period in our close relationships will follow. It’s a powerful reading, but I think a hopeful one.
Back from holiday to an interesting spread for the coming days!
Let’s get the Tower out of the way first, shall we? This isn’t necessarily the cause for panic that people sometimes think it is. True, it usually signifies a bolt from the blue, a moment of external intervention beyond our control; but sometimes it comes to clear the way for better things, to sweep away what we haven’t quite managed to shift for ourselves.
We might not be able to to avoid it, but how then do we prepare ourselves for the shock of a Tower moment? The Lady of Vessels (aka Page of Cups) tells of the importance of trusting and working with our intuition, and the King of Coins (aka Discs or Pentacles) is about mastery of our environment, home or work. So… we need to be pretty switched on this week, keeping a keen balance between practical considerations and our inner voice. If we can manage that, we will be able to cope when that lightning bolt arrives.
This reading speaks strongly of insight. The Two of Wind – aka Swords – is a pause, a moment of calm and consideration before deciding what comes next. The Magus is our Will, our ability to move in the external world to make whatever it might be, happen. Strength is our inner voice, the heart connection that not only tells us what it is we truly desire (not what we think we should want), but reminds us that we’ve got this, however tough it gets.
So, not to embroider when it isn’t needed… this week, think, plan, act and have faith in yourself. Trust that you know what you need and how to make it happen. You might not feel like it all the time but you, friend, are a badass. Go get it.
Look who’s back! I don’t think I’ve known a card recur like this any other time for as long as I’ve been doing these weekly readings. I guess we really are at the beginning of something significant just now.
The thing is that beginnings are daunting, aren’t they? Trusting in the future, believing that we have the power to turn the wheel in our favour – literally weaving our own fate. Interestingly, the Wildwood tarot explicitly identifies The Wheel with the autumnal equinox, coming up this Wednesday: I’ll let you decide for yourself if you think that’s a coincidence…
But, back to beginnings. When we embark on something new – committing to stepping out onto the rainbow – it’s natural to feel vulnerable. The Four of Stones feels like really quite a powerful message that we are protected in our endeavours: that even if we struggle to find our feet straight away, there will be a safe place for us to go to recharge when we need it.
Perhaps it’s the imminent full moon, but these cards resonated really strongly with me tonight and the ultimate message for me is – it might be challenging, but it will be OK.
No Fool today! Something quite different in store. This week is about finding middle ground: a careful, considered alchemy is required.
The two Sword cards are perhaps the least challenging in a suit full of potentially difficult mental and emotional issues, and that’s certainly a welcome thing: but if we are wise, we will not rely too heavily on the breathing space they signify. They should encourage us to use that space to think on the areas in our lives where balance is needed, because their respite – however propitious – is usually temporary. There is always something around the corner!
That’s where Art (or Temperance in many decks) comes in. It’s is something of a ‘coming together’ card – a sign of things falling into place – but not necessarily without our input. We can capitalise on its positive influence by employing a little subtlety. Look for those instances where a pinch of this, a little more of that, might smooth out the mixture: think about what’s liminal, in-betweenish, for you at the moment and look into that space more deeply to see how you might best navigate it.
It feels to me like there’s magic in this reading. A pause to recalibrate and a chance to conjure something quite special out of the stillness. Let’s see what emerges from the crucible…