Week 41 – Where does my life turn? (#TarotReading #MarseilleWaiteTarot #52WeekProject)

I came across this quote by Nisargadatta Maharaj (1897 – 1981) in a meditation app I use “When I look inside and see that I am nothing, that is wisdom. When I look outside and see that I am everything, that is love. And between these two, my life turns.”. The concept appealed to me and I decided to do a 3 card reading based on these statements.

  • Where am I nothing? 5 des Deniers Rx
  • Where am I everything? Cavalier des Deniers
  • Where does my life turn? 9 des Deniers
5 des Deniers, Cavalier des Deniers & 9 des Deniers from the Marseille-Waite Tarot by Emmanuelle Iger

Wow! These cards rather took me by surprise. They feel very on target for my life right now. The 5 des Deniers Rx shows that I’m nothing on my own; that no one is an island. We all need support and assistance at some point in our lives. I think the 5 des Deniers Rx proves to me that I was wise to finally admit that I did need help, and to reach out for that help. My stubborn insistence on being a “rugged individualist” was causing more harm than good. Learning and accepting this finally gave me some wisdom.

I am everything in my search for meaning, for physical and financial satisfaction. I like that this Knight’s eyes are closed. He almost seems to be using the coin in his hand as a tool to help him find what he seeks, not as his goal. He takes his time and isn’t charging thoughtlessly ahead. He ponders, considers, and carefully plans his next move. His passion and excitement for exploring new ground is balanced by practicality, and a realistic understanding of circumstances and probabilities.

As exhibited by the 9 des Deniers, my life turns on my desire to be in my home, surrounded by my things, and living my life. Right now, from the perspective of financial stability and possessions, I seem to be in a solid position. However, the reality is I am a prisoner of these very things. I do own two homes, but one needs to be sold. I can’t do that because of the situation with my brother-in-law. My home has been beautifully renovated and gives me a sense of comfort and deep personal satisfaction whenever I am there. Unfortunately, I don’t get to spend a lot of time there right now. I think this card reminds me this is the final goal, and is one that will be achieved. It just may take a little bit more time and patience.

This reading is giving me a sense of hope because it shows that I am on the right path; that I’m doing the right things both for me and for my brother-in-law. I will eventually achieve my goal although it may be a slower process than I would like. I will eventually be able to live with “my things about me”, to paraphrase Maureen O’Hara in The Quiet Man. Patience is not usually my strong suit. All three of these cards being Earth cards suggest that this will be a slow process, but there will be progress.

Week 36 – The Will-Fate-Fortune-Destiny Spread by Mary K. Greer (#TarotReading #ShiningTribeTarot #52WeekProject)

The Will-Fate-Fortune-Destiny Spread by Mary K. Greer from 101 Tarot Spreads by 20 Modern Tarot Masters Vol 1 by Sheilaa Hite
  • My Current Will – The Lovers Rx
  • My Current Fate – 2 of Trees
  • My Current Fortune – 8 of Birds Rx
  • My Current Destiny – 5 of Stones
Shining Tribe Tarot

My current will, as represented by The Lovers Rx, is to not focus my energies on a relationship with anyone else.  I’ve already had a relationship with someone who was perfect for me and I lost him.  Part of the process of learning to live without him is realizing that by the very nature of our relationship I changed for him and he changed for me.  There are things I might have explored or pads I would have taken except I knew he had no interest in them.  It seemed unfair to try to subject him to participate in activities he wouldn’t enjoy.  He was always kind enough to extend that same courtesy to me.  I think what the lovers reversed to showing is that right now my conscious intent is to learn to love myself and to reconnect with the Divine side of my own nature.  Isn’t there a saying that before you can love someone else you need to learn to love yourself.  I think this car is showing that my focus right now is on learning to love myself more.

The 2 of Trees suggests that my current fate is to continue exploring my creative energies and outlets.  I think it will also be beneficial to find new people that can help me break through to the next level with regard to creativity.  People who can help me learn and expand my knowledge base.  Once again this is a message that has come up for me several times in the past few months so I think it’s reinforcing and reaffirming that this is the path I need to explore moving forward.

According to Rachel’s companion book, the 8 of Birds Rx can indicate the need to find a voice and unlock the doors in the self; a process of recovery and the release of blocks to creativity.  I think the appearance of this card reinforces the idea that happenstance is exactly how I’ve been processing things lately.  I have often found that synchronicity regularly applies in my life.  I discover new creative outlets or find a book I’m supposed to read exactly when I will be open, and ready, to utilize it.  I connect with specific people who can help me with a certain area in my life at just the right moment.  The very fact that I’ve been getting messages from my Tarot readings that help me with this process shows how this energy plays out in my life.

I’m headed to face my inner demons.  These ghosts like figures on the 5 of Stones strike me as scary until one is able to face them and receive their message.  Rachel describes this as a card of internal healing, and finding one’s personal values; recognizing your own power.  All of this has been part of my journey since losing my husband.  At the center of it is facing my own fears about being alone, and having to deal with things by myself.  At the same time, it also indicates that this is an opportunity for me to relearn what brings me joy outside of my relationship with my husband.  I realized in the last couple of months that our relationship was very much a closed unit.  We were very happy together but we also didn’t need anybody else.  Now I have to be open to new relationships because I’m learning that there is truth to the saying that no one is an island. This is especially true as it pertains to the situation with my brother-in-law. I’ve recently really realized that my own refusal to ask for help has resulted in me bearing additional burdens when I didn’t have to. As Dumbledore once told Harry Potter, help is always available at Hogwarts to those who ask.

This reading seemed to reinforce elements in my life that have already begun to manifest and have been coming into play. I see it more as a reaffirmation that I’m moving in the right direction than giving any earth-shattering revelations. It’s as if the Tarot gave me a cosmic “atta girl”. And I’ll take it!

Week 32 – The Message of the Swans Spread (#TarotReading #WheelofChangeTarot #52WeekProject)

Yesterday, I went for a walk and sat at a gazebo that faces out over the lake.  I noticed two swans enjoying the sunny afternoon.  I have always considered swans to be magical, otherworldly creatures so I had to take a picture.

I’ve taken many pictures of the swans that occupy the lake over the years.  My mother-in-law’s house overlooks a small arm of the lake and the swans are regular visitors along with a heron, ducks, and geese.

I don’t know if these are the same two swans but there have been swans visiting these waters for at least the last 15 years, possibly much longer than that.  So, today, while I was trying to think of what question to focus on for my weekly reading, it occurred to me that I am regularly visited by many different critters.  I decided it might be time to see if they have any messages for me, starting with the swans.

What message do the swans have for me?  8 of Swords, 3 of Wands Rx, 3 of Disks Rx.

8 of Swords, 3 of Wands Rx, 3 of Disks Rx – The Wheel of Change Tarot

The shattered window on the 8 of Swords shows me that I need to actually break that glass. I need to shake things up to force those that should be doing more to fix my brother-in-law’s situation to take action. It feels like I’m an exhibit in the Star Trek episode The Cage. I’m behind glass with people walking past and staring. They comment on how wonderful I am; how devoted caring for my brother-in-law, but no one’s listening to me scream on the other side that I can’t do this anymore! Attempts to break the glass have been futile because their gas lighting me into believing the glass isn’t really broken. It allows them to leave feeling virtuous, but having done nothing to change or help the situation. It’s time to smash that glass; make noise so they understand things can’t remain this way anymore. They must be forced to see this situation more clearly, to see, as symbolized by the window, that it’s broken and I must be released. To hear me shrieking that I’m exhausted and need things to change!

The Three of Wands reversed shows me that expressing and exploring my creative energies is dependent upon shattering that glass; shaking up the status quo. It’s reversed because until I dramatically change the current situation, I’m stuck in stasis. It also reminds me that I can’t, shouldn’t, do this alone. I need to have allies, family and Friends supporting me, advising me, and working with me as I go through this. I need to find ways to nurture and replenish my spark so it doesn’t get extinguished.

The 3 of Disks shows that if I want to dig down to the next layer, and explore uncharted territory, I’m going to need help; it’s going to be a team effort. As it stands right now all the work I’m trying to do is actually benefiting someone else and not me. That needs to change. Otherwise I’m just digging myself a hole from which I can’t be extricated. I think it’s also a reminder that despite the seeming activity on the part of those responsible for resolving the situation with my brother-in-law, a lot of it is futile and pointless action that resolves nothing. It’s another trying to make it look like they’re busy and doing things when they’re actually not. Connecting back with the broken window in the 8 of Swords, they’re comfortable with the status quo because all responsibility falls on me. I have to take steps to make the situation untenable for them as it currently exists.

Despite my tendency to try to be a rugged individualist, this reading points out that’s not going to serve me well right now. I need to break free of that pattern and that tendency; find ways to accept input from others that will help me transform my reality. I’ve been dealing with stuff by myself for too long and it’s wearing on me. The only way to change that is to be willing to ask and accept assistance, suggestions, and support from others that I trust. Thinking about it, I often see the swans together. They’re a collaborative; a partnership. Their message to me is that I need to start creating some collaborations of my own.

During a slight bout of sleeplessness early this morning, I came across this video. I was blown away by how perfectly the imagery in this video suits the message of the 8 of Swords card in this reading

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.