Week 10 Get a Clue Spread (#TarotReading #DarkWoodTarot #52WeekProject)

Get a Clue Spread by Nancy Antenucci from 101 Tarot Spreads by 20 Modern Tarot Masters (Volume 1) + The Hermit, 6 of Pentacles Rx and Page of Cups from The Dark Wood Tarot by Sasha Graham

The Hermit is telling me that what I truly know is how to be alone; how to handle things by myself. I know how to explore new territory in a search for answers and knowledge. I truly know how to rely on no one but myself. I know how to shoulder a burden and continue moving forward despite the cost. It’s a very short trip from self-reliance and solitude to isolation and loneliness.

The 6 of Pentacles Rx shows that I’m clueless about asking for or accepting help. As The Hermit shows, I’m comfortable, maybe too comfortable, going it alone. Asking for help has often seemed like a devil’s bargain to me. Often this is because when I have asked for help in the past it is either reluctantly or begrudgingly given or, after promising to help, people don’t follow through. At his often left me feeling like a character in Oliver Twist with my hand out asking “please may I have some more”. I’m clueless about accepting that people will be honest when I ask for help, and if they’re unable to do so will let me know. I’m clueless about accepting did people really do want to help when they offer. This is definitely a learning process for me.

The Page of Cups is showing me that what will help me transform my cluelessness into awareness is listening to my heart, my inner voice; being kinder and gentler with myself. It also shows me that I need to relearn how to be more heart centered, and focused. I need to reconnect with my emotionally vulnerable inner core, which is something I’ve never been comfortable doing.

Overall, this reading reminds me that while self-reliance and independence can be positive traits, they can also become negative traits when it makes one unable to ask for or accept help. It also reminds me that sometimes you have to be willing to be emotionally vulnerable in order to establish positive, healthy, reciprocal relationships. Reality is that always giving or always being the one who helps creates an imbalance in relationships. Denying people the opportunity to provide support and assistance can create resentment and strain, and may even eventually damage the relationship. If I want to avoid this I need to work at establishing a more balanced give and take in my relationships.

The solitude and isolation of The Empress (#TheEmpress #Tarot)

The Empress from Lol Scarabeo’s The Secrets Tarot

I was looking at this card today and struck by how lonely and isolated the Empress appears to be. Despite the fact that she is surrounded by the trappings of her empire, she’s alone. The expression on this Empress’ face seems to emphasize a sense of distance and a lack of connection to what’s around her. This made me realize that despite the fact that she is seen as a symbol of abundance and fertility The Empress is almost always alone. I realize most of the figures in the Major Arcana are alone, but I never got a sense of them actually being lonely before. I think it’s the expression on this Empress’ face that brought it to my attention.

I suppose it makes sense that the Major Arcana figures are alone in their cards because, in truth, if it represents our life journey that is something we have to experience alone. Like Dorothy in her journey through Oz, we may be accompanied by others but they cannot complete the journey for us. I firmly believe that humans learn best by experiencing things first hand. So, allowing others to complete tasks for us would defeat the purpose. At the same time, we may discover, after having completed a particular journey, that the outcome was nothing like what we expected. Perhaps that explains the rather wistful, almost melancholic, expression on this Empress’ face.

The Lady – The DruidCraft Tarot

The Lady in the DruidCraft Tarot shows a similar introspective expression. Perhaps she is focused on the changes her body is going through, or wondering how motherhood will change her life. She does not seem very involved in external things going on around her. She reminds me of Mia Farrow’s character in Rosemary’s Baby. There’s a scene when Rosemary is trying to seek help from her OB/GYN and instead of helping he calls her husband who is the source of some of her concern. I think Farrow does a great job of expressing the vulnerability and helplessness a heavily pregnant woman must feel. All of her concerns are brushed off as being the result of pregnancy-induced hallucinations or paranoia or hormones. She’s treated like a child who is incapable of making an intelligent decision about anything. She is living in an unfamiliar building, completely isolated from people who might be able to help her. Perhaps that’s the shadow side of The Empress’ energies – in order to be that fecund and fertile one is also extremely vulnerable. Perhaps this is why I have never found myself drawn to The Empress’ energies.

Of course, I suppose when humans lived a more tribal lifestyle a pregnant woman would not have been isolated. She would have been cared for and honored by the tribe. But in modern American society, where we are so quick to enshrine rugged individualism as admirable and something to emulate, a woman at her most vulnerable is instead isolated and her pregnancy treated as an illness. I suppose I can’t blame these Empresses for looking less than thrilled. Or perhaps the very nature of motherhood is isolating, not from other people but from oneself. If The Empress represents the archetypal mother and raising children, when done well, requires all of one’s focus, this has to create a distance from the person one was before motherhood. I know when I finished menopause and looked back over that time in my life when I could have had children if I chose to, I realize I don’t recognize that person. Perhaps Mother Nature gave us hormones to make us more willing to compromise in order to protect and raise the children. Once that’s not a concern anymore, we revert back to a more independent, individual sense of ourselves. Or maybe I’m delusional. The truth is I’ve never understood the urge to have children so a lot of this is theory on my part.

Week 3 Tarot Reading – Enthrall Me (#TarotReading #SecretForestTarot #52WeekProject)

So this week I decided to do a little more exploration into The Moon card from my previous reading. In my interpretation I talked about finding something that would enroll in mesmerize me. During a conversation with a friend this week, she asked me what that might be. I realized I don’t necessarily have a clear idea at this point. So, I did what I always do I turned to Tarot to clarify things for me. And these were the cards I drew

I think the 2 of Cups reflects the loss of my husband, the loss of being in a loving, supportive, committed relationship. For so long, my life was focused on being part of a duo now it’s time to move beyond that to become a partner to myself. It reminds me of the book Imagine a Woman in Love with Herself. I think that’s what I need to become enthralled and mesmerized with – falling in love with myself. I need to learn how to be loving and supportive to myself and that’s where I need to focus my energies right now.

The 8 of Swords reversed ties into this by showing that in order to manifest this self-love I need to break free of the brambles in my path. They won’t hold me back unless I allow it. The best way for me to overcome them is to see the situation more clearly and improve my mindset. However it’s hard to see that right now because I feel as though I’m surrounded by brambles and can’t possibly find my way through. It’s rather like the original legend of Sleeping Beauty – the castle in which she slept was surrounded by an impenetrable fence of thorny brambles which presented all but those brave enough to even attempt to break through. Of course, in this situation the brambles aren’t physical they’re psychological and I’m not in need of someone else saving me. I can save myself as long as I believe in myself.

And last, but not least, we come to the Queen of Swords who shows me what will help me continue to nurture this energy. Once again, I am struck by the fact that this is a swords card, which means it’s about my mindset and my beliefs. I have the tools and the skills to cut through all this bullshit holding me back, but I have to actually use them. I can handle being alone but I also need to accept that there will be a learning curve, and cut myself some slack. I have to be realistic about what I can do alone and what I need help to achieve, and be willing to ask for that help when necessary. For me, the Queen of Swords here is about being smart and realistic and not thinking that I can tough it out.

I find it interesting that this reading starts out focusing on my emotions but then focuses on my state of mind. At the end of the day, if my mindset is negative I’m not going to be happy. It’s okay to have bad days but I need to be careful not to lose myself in the bad days. I do have faith in myself and I have the confidence that I can forge a new path going forward. It won’t be easy but I’m up to the challenge. In fact, I’m looking forward to the challenge.

Full Moon in Aquarius (#TarotReading #FullMoon #Aquarius #SecretForestTarot)

I did this reading to tap into the energies of the Full Moon in Aquarius. I wanted to focus on what I want to change in my life and how to achieve that. Using the tarot with the secret Forest I drew the 9 of Swords, The Hanged One, and The Emperor reversed.

The 9 of Swords is showing that I want my current nightmare to end (still caring for my brother-in-law). I want to reclaim my life and be sure my brother-in-law is settled in his new life too. I want my responsibilities and obligations to stop preying on my mind, and causing me stress and restless nights.

The Hanged One is showing I can achieve this desire by looking at it from a different perspective; looking for an unexpected option. At the same time, being calm and patient is important. This is the time to tap into my Libra Rising and Capricorn Moon; to stay rational and grounded rather than my usual fiery and impulsive response.

People who know how to subvert and work around bureaucracy will be the most helpful in dealing with this situation. Taking the “by the book” approach will be like trying to pour honey in Winter – slow and frustrating.

So, in order to create the change I want I need to be a little patient and calm, but not passive. I need to be willing to explore alternative options to resolving this situation because taking a “wait and see” approach will just lead to more stress and restless nights.

#ChattingwithTarot – 6 of Pentacles Rx, The Star + 5 of Pentacles (#Dreamkeepers #Tarot)

Okay, clearly my ancestors are trying to shake me from some bad habits which they also possessed.

Their message “Life is filled with give and take; with giving aid and receiving it. Being willing to accept help is not a sign of weakness. It shows you’re mature and self-aware enough to realize you can’t do it alone. It’s a sign that you are healing and able to be vulnerable enough to risk rejection. It also shows that you retain hope of gaining more autonomy and freedom. The truth is people are often willing to help if you’re able to ask. So stop being so stubborn!”

#ChattingwithTarot – 10 of Pentacles, 2 of Swords + 5 of Swords (#Dreamkeepers #Tarot)

Today’s chat with the ancestors was a bit of a scolding; a chiding if you will. They’re reminding me that lately I feel like I want to climb out of my own skin; I want to escape from all the stuff in my life – responsibilities, possessions, obligations.

The small figure climbing out if the town in the 10 of Pentacles is facing the blindfolded figure on the 2 of Swords. This suggests she has no clear idea what her next move should be. My ancestors are reminding me that in addition to having a plan, I need to find balance in my life. This is been a recurring theme for the past few months, at a minimum. I think they’re getting a little frustrated with my lack of action in this area.

I think the 5 of Swords is showing me that I sometimes feel trapped in a no win situation but that only remains true if I continue to resist making changes. I keep viewing this as an all or nothing scenario but that isn’t true. If I can make changes in baby steps it should reduce my frustration levels and my need for flight.

#ComparativeTarot – The Devil (Bohemian Gothic, RWS, Transformational & Whimsical)

The Devil – quite a scary concept isn’t it. How often over the years have humans blamed their aggressive, inappropriate, unhealthy behaviors on some external construct? “The Devil made me do it” is often claimed in a joking manner but perhaps there is some truth to our belief that the evil, wicked things we do are because of the influence of some otherworldly entity but is this true? Does human belief in such an evil figure give it power and strengthen its hold on our psyches? Did we create “The Devil” so we could fob off the blame on something or someone else; a scapegoat? Are we so unwilling to face the darkness in our own souls that we would prefer to allow “The Devil” to claim it instead? These are probably much deeper questions than I can answer right now. Who knows, over the course of my Tarot After Dark blog posts I’ll probably express my opinion on some of these issues but that’s all it will be – my opinion. I have no expertise or additional insight and knowledge that grants me the power to find the answers for anyone but myself. I’m curious to learn where it will lead me.

So, I’ve been missing my Comparative Tarot essays and decided that I’d commit to writing one each week to share with any and all interested readers. Each week I will randomly select a card and then pull matching ones from three other decks. My goal is to include one RWS clone, one deck with a darker sensibility, one lighter more approachable deck and one collage or less traditional deck. This week I’ve decided to use the Bohemian Gothic, classic RWS, Transformational and Whimsical Tarot decks. Let’s explore what insights these diverse decks can offer into one of everyone’s favorite “bad” card.

The first thing that struck me looking at these cards is that one figure appears to be dominating or controlling the other(s). The black-winged figure in the Bohemian Gothic Devil is administering something in a syringe to the other. The recipient is resting against the “devil” and even hugging her close. The “victim” fully embraces her victimization or is she even a victim? The reality is that we can easily blame drug dealers for a loved one’s addiction but what caused them to take that first step? Very few are forcibly addicted to drugs or alcohol. In my experience, they seek them out in an effort to escape the reality of their lives. So is the drug use a cause or an effect? Self-medicating is quite a common extra-curricular activity in the US.

The RWS and Whimsical Devils both show figures that are physically chained or manipulated. They appear to be at the beck and call of whoever is at the other end of their chains.  However, a closer look reveals that those restraints can be easily removed. How fascinating because it implies that, once again, the “victim” is complicity in their enslavement. They could easily take control and free themselves from the restraints but chose not to do so. It makes me wonder about the allure of giving up control to another; to be void of responsibility for one’s actions. We see the reverse quite often when followers seek out rigid and strict religious movements. There is no need to consider what behaviors are acceptable or unacceptable – the church leaders will clearly define that for you. The bound people on the Devil cards show us the flip side of that scenario.  They can indulge in whatever depravity or “debased” behavior they desire because their master told them to do it. Quite a bit of psychological research has been done in this area and the results reveal that in most cases people are willing to do cruel, inhumane things as long as an authority figure told them to do it. Clearly being truly independent and free thinking is a rarity.

The Transformation Devil is quite a bit different in imagery but similar in message.  It shows a woman in a black dress standing behind a web, framed in red-orange flames.  Outside the frame are black & white figures, some being restrained by horned demons. Is the woman a prisoner of the web or the ruler of it?  Is she trapped or the entrapper? Perhaps she’s both.  Let’s face it, nothing in life is as black and white as we would like.  Perhaps she was trapped by her own addictions and indulgences and now seeks to trap others because misery loves company.  Or is she the only truly free figure in the card?  She may be framed by the web and flames but does not appear to be part of them or imprisoned by them. Could she be like a Crossroads Demon in the TV show Supernatural – not necessarily seeking out victims but coming when called and promising to fulfill one’s desires at the cost of one’s soul?  Sometimes I get the sense we do not value our souls as much as we should and as a result are willing to lightly trade it away for the promise of materials possessions.

Although the images on these four cards are very different their messages are similar. They remind us that in most instances our enslavement is the result of our continued choices. We have the ability to break free and move forward but that requires a strength of will and willingness to take responsibility for one’s life that many do not truly want. We may prefer the blame self-destructive, addictive and violent behaviors on some external devil but the truth is that human’s need so external influence to engage in atrocious behavior. What The Devil in the Tarot reminds us is that we do not have to remain enslaved. We have the ability to free ourselves if we also possess the desire and will to do so. It may not be easy. Let’s face it, regardless of how or why we became enslaved or addicted once we become so it can be almost impossible to free ourselves without some assistance. Even if you can’t cut those strings or pull away from that addictive devil by yourself, you can seek help once you realize that you want to free yourself. The Devil is frightening and seductive but it’s also a wake-up call. If you want to take those chains from around your neck you need to do whatever it takes to be truly free. That message is clear throughout these four very different takes on this intimidating card.

#TarotDaily – Temperance Rx + 5 of Discs Rx (#AllHallows)

What do you need to grieve? How might you give yourself the permission you need to do so?

I need to grieve the lack of balance in my life; the loss of freedom and the ability to pursue my interests. There is little equilibrium between obligation and desire; between what I must do and what I want to do. It’s still difficult for me to accept. I know I’m doing the right thing but it’s certainly not my preferred thing.

I just need to move forward and reconnect with people the best way I can. I know I’m on the outside of the flow but that’s not so unusual. So, I need to find different ways to accept support and friendship; to keep connected to others. Facebook would probably be one easy solution but I despise FB so much, that isn’t really an option. I do have the telephone, email, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and MeWe, but none of these are the same as spending time with friends and loved ones but it’s better than nothing.

I know what will help me grieve and move forward. The challenge now us actually doing it.

#TarotDaily – Chief of Stakes Rx + The Fallen Tree Rx (Sacred Bridges)

TarotHunter’s Salt Rounds:

  • You’re trying to hold on too tightly; refusing to give up any control over things in your life. This may lead to a rude awakening because you’re deliberately ignoring the negative consequences of this decision.
  • You feel as though your life is a shambles and will never be rebuilt. You don’t see yourself as having any control over your life and find it difficult to explain yourself to others. Seeking outside support might help improve this situation.
  • You have managed to fight and claw your way to the top and have discovered it isn’t what you hoped it would be. It is proving unfulfilling and stultifying. You thought achieving these goals would dramatically reshape your life. It has but not in the ways you’d hoped.

#TarotDaily – The Star Rx + 6 of Wheels Rx (Sacred Bridges)

TarotHunter’s Salt Rounds:

  • You’re feeling hopeless, as though nothing makes sense anymore. You feel as though you have no support system that can help but is that reality or perception? As difficult as reaching out might be, there is always help available for those who ask.
  • Despite how dark things seem at the moment it helps to remember that people are always working to help each other; to change things for the better, even if it goes unseen right now.
  • Believe in the goodness of people. It can be so easy to loose faith in humanity but focusing on the small kindnesses people do every day can help. Remember the unsung heroes, helping because it’s the right thing to do not for recognition or glory. Remember that you can be that unsung hero to others; helping make their miracle happen when all hope seems lost.

https://youtu.be/c56Sj7kMbLk