As we reach the Winter Solstice this week, here is a reminder of the cycles at work around us with the Waning Gibbous Moon (as it is right now and will be on the Solstice itself) at the centre of our reading.
Preceding the waning three-quarter moon we have the Three of Pentacles. What this tarot’s creators refer to as, er, a ‘stone totem’ is a symbol of the potential for creation and actualisation. Threes are a move towards making something happen, a foundation upon which to build: we are encouraged to consider the groundwork we have done prior to the Solstice for physical or material changes to come in the approaching new year. It’s possibly stretching the metaphor a bit, but think of how gardeners ‘put a garden to bed’ for the winter – as the days grow shorter they protect tender plants, tidy and make ready for the cold months. So it is, hopefully, with us.
What comes after the Solstice is the chance to enjoy the fruits of that groundwork. As the days begin to slowly lengthen again, we should be our own King Of Pentacles – a provider and skilful manager of resources. We may need to be careful with our energy to protect those resources, both physical and material – it is midwinter after all, and new challenges are not in short supply at the moment – but this King tells us we are capable of that. Spring will come and we will get there if we use our energy wisely in the meantime.
The Eight of Cups is lit by a solar eclipse, echoing the recent eclipse we saw on the new moon. It reminds us that the month began with a watershed, a need to leave behind what is no longer required. Have we, it asks, fully processed this in order to move onwards?
The Hanged Man and Two of Swords, meanwhile, tell us we are squarely moving into the territory of inner work as we approach the Solstice. They speak of considering our perspectives, of carefully examining what we see, how and why. Look at the reflection in the water on the Two and ask yourself – are the dark figures around her real, or imagined? What if the stillness she seeks in order to find clarity requires a radically different perspective, a turning on her head?
This week, consider how your own perspective needs to change. Are you operating on fact or feeling, and are you entirely sure which is which? Can you see both sides of the issues that are foremost for you at the moment? How will you find the place of stillness you need in order to know whether you are on the right path?
Another Ace for this week’s new moon: one that speaks of creative potential and the opportunity to renew (or discover!) our sense of purpose, to operate from what lies within our hearts.
There are qualifiers to get us there, however. The Nine of Staffs speaks of necessary sacrifice and of purifying flames. We may have to experience the discomfort of very consciously letting go of things, ideas, even passions that no longer serve us. The Lady of Swords tells us to communicate this eloquently where needed: to use whichever medium will most appropriately deliver the message.
So this week, be prepared to speak your truth, even if your voice shakes. Your heart will thank you for it.
Hmm. A short and sweet reading for this week, I think.
A short-term phase is coming to a close (Four of Wands) and there is a spark of potential, inspiration, even passion in the air: something new and illuminating (Ace of Wands). What is it? You’ll have to wait until after the new Moon early this coming Saturday to find out.
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.