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…
Ah. A fourth Fool in a row! Those who know me well will understand why I laughed as I turned these cards over. I always pull with a general weekly reading in mind: but sometimes the tarot sits me down, stares hard and bids me listen. It’s one of those weeks…
The message is a really simple one for any and all of us, though. Whatever journey or new endeavour you are currently embarking on – take the Fool’s open, curious and trusting energy with you. The Nine of Swords is a clear warning not to stress and give yourself a hard time while you’re learning. Why? Because it’s all going to work out OK. That’s what the Sun comes out to tell us.
Well! Anything about this look familiar? For the third week running, the Fool, and the King of Wands also returns from last week.
I’ve certainly considered the possibility that there is a message we are not fully taking on board (and I very much include myself in that ‘we’ – no reader is infallible!) in connection with the energy those two cards presented last week. However, given that the Fool has reappeared for a third time here, I’m inclined to think we’re more likely looking at a pattern, an unfolding story as we move into the new phase that the Fool brings.
I’m also struck that for the second week in a row, our final card is a naked figure. I think we’re being prodded quite strongly to shed the metaphorical clothing that we don’t need any more. If we are protecting ourselves by hiding, dressing ourselves up in the ways we think others want to see us, then we are not really engaging with the vulnerability we may need to be in touch with at the moment.
I also wonder if this is why the Six of Wands has joined this week. To remind us that we’ve come to where we are on the back of our previous achievements: we’ve done well, we can remind ourselves that we’re extremely capable. We have it within us to shine. It’s the bravery to step into the new that we need to summon next.
Well. Here’s an interesting thing. Back in July we had the King of Wands show up immediately after the full moon to herald Leo season – and now here he is, immediately after another full moon, as Leo is about to give way to Virgo.
I think he’s here to invite us to look back over the past month and consider what we’re taking with us as the moon begins to wane (and what we’re leaving behind). Given that his fiery energy relates strongly to enthusiasm and passion – ask yourself what you have been doing to pursue your passions this last few weeks. Have you been decisive, charismatic, driven? Or has his shadow aspect reflected where you’ve been at? If so you may have been in self-destructive mood, looking for others to blame for issues or lack of progress.
Why does this matter? Because here is the Fool, for the second week running. The energy around us is still strongly aspected for beginnings or leaps of faith. This Fool, in her tattered clothes, shares with the King of Wands a willingness to go against the grain, stand out, defy convention. She acts in her own interest and invites us once more to be brave enough to do this too – but, as with the King, her shadow aspect warns against the blithe avoidance of personal responsibility. Adventure by all means, but be wary of using your passions as a means to ignore reality!
And the Star – well, I always do a happy sigh when this card arrives. It’s a joyful, expansive card, full of happiness and possibility. She is unselfconsciously naked, comfortable in her skin and connected to the world around her. If we can channel that Wand fire and the Fool’s fresh energy in positive ways this week, the Star promises us that good things will follow.
Look at where the fox is lurking, set back from the remainder of the blades, on the Seven of Swords. On this occasion I think we are the fox: we’re invited to consider what we are holding back, and why. Are we stuck, like the rest of the swords, half-submerged in the ground?
The craftsman in the Eight of Coins is engaged in a repetitive process. Work, work, work. Sure, practice makes perfect: but sometimes we need a little play to offset the work. Are we using habits as an excuse to avoid doing other things?
And then there’s the Fool. Blindfold and about to head down the rabbit hole, he is off on a new adventure. There’s always a leap of faith involved where the Fool is present: a push to step into the unknown.
So, this week we might have to challenge ourselves a little. We might be clever, we might be skilful, but we can get into a rut where we make excuses as to why that means we should stay exactly where we are, doing the same things, over and again. The Fool says: no. Come with me. Let’s explore.