Azazel, Angel of Death – Mansions of the Moon Tarot

Mansions of the Moon Azazel, Angel of Death

 

Mansions of the Moon Tarot
ZADOK (dahogue@nctc.net)
Self-Published

The LWP says: Traditional meaning – pale horse of revelation, Biblical imagery.

TarotBroad’s Buzz: This card shows a fairly dark, somewhat gloomy image of death. The skulls, black candles and horse’s head all give it the appearance of some type of dark mass or dark ceremony. The hooded figure, with it’s small gray head is ominous and eerie. The wings may be the wings of an angel or may be a cape of feathers. Either way this figure does not inspire hope and faith but rather fear and awe.

Maybe because it is so full of Biblical imagery, I don’t find much comfort or relief in this vision of Death. It reminds me of smoky, incense filled churches with voices intoning hymns for the dead. It brings to mind warnings of damnation and the need to ask for forgiveness and repent before it is too late. Once the bowl is broken it can no longer be fixed – once you have died you cannot make amends for your faults.

This card is about transformation, releasing and letting go. But it also visually and symbolically shows the fearful aspects of death – the pale horse upon which Death rides, the skulls, etc. But when we are finally able to peer into the cowl and face death head on – we see the humanity hidden there. And suddenly maybe, just maybe, Azrael, the Angel of Death is not quite so fearful and terrifying anymore.

The Liberator – Celtic Wisdom Tarot

Celtic Wisdom The Liberator

 

Celtic Wisdom Tarot
Text by Caitlin Matthews, art by Olivia Raynor
Destiny Books, 1999
ISBN 0-89281-720-8

The Book says: Change, transformation, renewal of blockages, clearing the way for liberating change, letting go of old habits, regeneration, change of consciousness.
Reversed: Fear of change, stagnation, illness, impasse, stuck in old habits, clinging to outworn ideas, enforced removal.
Soul-Wisdom: The Liberator of Devotion releases the Soul to unconditional love and liberation if we can humbly face and befriend death. What do you need to let go of?

TarotBroad’s Buzz: Something about this image reminds me about the lady on the Land O’ Lakes box. She holds a Land O’ Lakes box bearing her image, which holds a Land O’ Lakes box bearing her image, etc. Only in this image we see the Sheila na Gig, symbol of rebirth and regeneration, bearing the image of the Cailleach Beare, symbol of release and clearing away. And within the Cailleach is the seed of the Sheila, bringing new birth, new hopes and change into our lives.

The Sheila seems so welcoming, as though she understands our weariness and our need for change. She offsets the cold and somewhat forbidding image of Cailleach Beare. The Cailleach’s fearsome visage may be frightening and unwelcoming but if we can face the changes she brings and accept her gift, we may find ourselves transformed and liberated in unexpected ways.

There are always two sides to any tale – light has darkness, spring has winter and death has life. Accepting this and working with it, instead of trying to go against the tide, can be liberating and allow us to release what no longer serves us and move on to a new phase in our lives.

Death – Wheel of Change Tarot

Wheel of Change Death

 

Wheel of Change Tarot
created by Alexandra Gennetti
Published by Destiny Books, 1997
ISBN #0-89281-609-0

The Book says: When this card is part of a reading reflect first on the skeleton, or framework of the issues you are dealing with. Try to see the elemental nature of your situation by stripping away the outer layers of the problem or situation. Get at the bones of the matter. When you have done this, you may recognize parts of the situation that can be pared away or given up in order to facilitate growth. These things will symbolically die, thereby fertilizing the soil of the present situation so that new circumstances can arise. When you complete one thing you are given room to try something new. This is a card of endings, completions, letting go. All these things imply a loss, but the loss may be of something old that you are finished with anyway and that you just need to cut out of your life pattern. When this card arises, you may be experiencing the fear of losing something that you don’t want to give up or something comfortable that you are afraid to do without. The Death card implies a big change, with the result that you must give up life in the way that you know it. Every moment of our lives is a moment of death, as we give up the past to step into eh present. This is the manifestation of the spiral path of life, on which we walk into and out of death in every moment.

TarotBroad’s Buzz: This card adds a beauty and majesty to death that is sometimes missing from other decks. Death, draped in its white cloth, almost seems to be dancing and celebrating that passing of this woman’s soul. Death knows the secret – just as the sun is setting on the day (or this woman’s life), tomorrow it will rise again. Everything about this image is beautiful; there is nothing fearful or frightening. Even the vultures take on an otherworldly beauty. The skeleton’s wrap spirals around its body and the way the edge floats in the air behind it gives the impression of something floating free, being raised higher and soaring to the skies. Death’s scythe may have descended and ended someone’s life on this plane. But it has also freed that person to cross over onto another plane. There is beauty in the darkness as well as in the light. There is a beauty to the cycle of death and rebirth. I think we may dread death because we don’t really trust that there is anything beyond it. But this card offers us hope. There is something beyond Death. It is merely a crossing, a passing, a transformation from one phase of existence to another. Maybe on the other side of that river is paradise, an Otherworldly garden of delight and joy. Or maybe it is a transformation to a different type of life. I remember reading a romance novel once where the heroine has a car accident and awakens in the South before the Civil War. She eventually realizes that she is can’t return to her own time and she no longer wishes too. And in the last chapter it returns to modern times and her sister, who is remembering the heroine and the car accident that killer her. To me this was an intriguing idea and this card brings it back. Death is the guide, the guardian and the catalyst. It forces us to face and deal with issues we might prefer to avoid. But if we never make those changes and cross that river, then perhaps that is when we are truly “dead” in the way that we fear.

What work am I starting? Strength R, 9 of Swords R + 8 of Pentacles (DruidCraft)

Green Man Tree Oracle Ailm

When Ailm appears in divination, a new thing is coming into being. Someone may be pregnant or about to give birth, or you may be starting a new project, full of energy and the initial spark of enthusiasm. Your creativity is strong here, and you may find yourself on the brink of discovery, an epiphany waiting to happen.

Spiritually, you may be at the point of initiation, waiting in pregnant pause for that step over the threshold into a new life. It is possible that you are being presented with opportunities for new knowledge and understanding, or beginning a course of study, whether spiritual or mundane. An idea you’ve received may be at a point where incubation, persistence, and endurance are necessary, nurturing its growth for the birth to come, or it may be ready now to bring forth into manifestation.

Linked Concepts: Birth and death as beginnings, the cycle of life, origination, inception, conception, creation, children, pregnancy, initial understanding, epiphany.  (Ogam:  Weaving Word Wisdom by Erynn Rowan Laurie)

What work am I starting? Strength R, 9 of Swords R + 8 of Pentacles (DruidCraft)

DruidCraft Strength DruidCraft 9 of Swords DruidCraft 8 of Pentacles

I’m not sure why but this reading seem a bit ominous to me. Perhaps I’m reading too much into it but my initial interpretation to these three cards is that I’m entering a phase where inner strength, will and fortitude won’t help. In fact it might prove to be a hindrance. The 9 of Swords reversed may be indicating the nightmare is reaching an end but that end won’t be easy. The 8 of Pentacles may be letting me know that my current work is reaching its conclusion.

On one level I wonder if it refers to the situation with my in-laws. Is something due to shift? Is this part of my life going to change? Ailm’s message of birth and death and the cycle of life add an extra layer of meaning here. I don’t see this reading as indicating pregnancy or children – that ship has sailed. It might suggest new creative beginnings but that doesn’t quite fit the cards I’ve drawn.

I think these cards are giving me a heads up, a warning. The change might not be in the immediate future but it is coming – possibly within the next few months. I realize that the mother-in-law’s death is inevitable (it’s inevitable for us all) but I think this reading is telling me it’s time to start making preparations – both mental and physical. The work I am starting is to make sure those preparations are begun and hopefully in place by the time they are necessary.

Shadow Side Saturday: Soul Darkness

Lately I have been feeling very down, bleak and worn out. My spirit is exhausted and sore. It is as though a darkness is twining its way through my soul, weaving unhappiness and sadness through my spirit. It’s tendrils are wrapping themselves around my spine and won’t let go. I feel like a tower being overcome by ivy and hidden from the eyes of the world. Or like Briar Rose/Sleeping Beauty whose castle is surrounded by a thick, impenetrable hedge of thorns.

My brain is hammered daily by the nonsensical ramblings of a woman I love but sometimes want to kill. I am a prisoner of this house with no chance of parole. Even on the sunniest day, darkness blots my view. There are days when I truly don’t care if I wake up because what is the point? I’ll simply be repeating the same day over again and that wasn’t fun the first time around.

I try to put a positive spin on things; put my best foot forward but there are days when that is impossible. I hate blowing smoke up my own ass and when I am in this frame of mind that’s how it feels. This sucks. There is every likelihood this situation can go on for years – she’s in good physical health, it’s her mental state that is challenged. I want to range at whatever deity let this happen and then I realize it’s not really any deities fault. Sometimes theses things are the result of human intervention (for example someone who might have died at 60 from a heart attack survives, living to 80 but developing dementia or Alzheimer’s). It makes me wonder if longevity is such a great gift. If living longer means dealing with this kind of mental state I’d prefer to die younger but with all my marbles unscrambled.

I know I’m a strong person but even I don’t know if I’m strong enough to handle this much longer. I hate to see her suffer and I hate suffering myself. I feel like my soul is shriveling and dying one small piece at a time and I have to find a way to stop that process. No matter how hard I fight it, sometimes there are just days when I need to let it sit and experience and then move on. Luckily to date that has been what happens. If I become lost in the darkness then I’ll have to figure out another plan. Right now just acknowledging these feelings and expressing them help alleviate some of the darkness.

What insight can my ancestors offer me right now? King of Swords R, Queen of Swords R & The Tower R

Greenman Oracle Saille/Willow

Today I drew an ogam to see what I needed to consider in my daily reading.  I drew Saille/Willow.  In her book Ogam: Weaving Word Wisdom, Erynn Rowan Laurie wrote “I have come to see this fid as an indication that the ancestors are sending messages in some way. It might be through the voice of falling water or through song and music.”   So I decided to see what insight or advice my ancestors might have for me today.  I drew the King & Queen of Swords reversed and The Tower reversed.

DruidCraft King of Swords DruidCraft Queen of Swords DruidCraft Tower

At first I just didn’t get this message. I was trying to see how the reversed King and Queen of Swords might represent aspects of myself. The Tower reversed was another puzzler. It puzzled me. Then I visited my former employer’s website and realized that some of the people I consider responsible for my termination, those who betrayed me, are still employed and doing quite well at the agency. I suppose I was hoping they’d be gone and I’d learned that they had flamed out in an explosive display of incompetence and ineptitude. I was greatly disappointed.

Then I started to reconsider my cards in light of this knowledge. It struck me that the King of Swords is FU, the former executive director who terminated me. The Queen of Swords is AC, my former immediate supervisor who I am sure undermined and denigrated me (but subtly, oh so subtly – she has mastered the art of killing with kind words). The Tower is the termination itself – that seminal, traumatic moment that is still impacting me no matter how much I claim to have healed.

The fact that all these cards are reversed tells me that my ancestors are telling me it’s time to really put it behind me. It’s in the past. Nothing I can do or say will change any of it. If I let them beat me and keep me down, then they’ve won. If it’s one thing I know, it’s that I come from a long line of fighters. We fought for survival. We fought to endure the curve balls life threw our way. We fought to prove our detractors wrong. I may have not been able to fight to keep the job but that doesn’t mean I need to let them win in my own mind.

Obviously I still have some issues to work out regarding that situation. I think it’s complicated by the fact that I haven’t been able to return to work. My new career is caring for the in-laws and somehow that’s not enough to wash away the sense of failure. I will heal and I will triumph again. I just need to allow myself to feel these things but not get stuck in the emotions. All that will do is make me angry and sad – neither of which is helpful in the long run.

How can I honor Tom’s memory today? King of Stones (Wildwood)

It was on this day in 1986 that my brother Tom was killed.  He was 15 years old at the time and it was a devastating loss for my family.  We all still miss him every day.  So I wanted to take a moment and consider how I can continue to honor his memory.

This is a story about Tom published in New York Magazine in October 1982

NY Magazine - Children in NYC - The Have Nots - Tom as Stephen

And this was written by the same author after Tom was killed

NY Magazine - A Death in Hell's Kitchen pg 1 NY Magazine - A Death in Hell's Kitchen pg 2

The King of Stones in this deck is a wolf.  My brother Tom would have loved that.  He was an animal lover and always seemed to have a menagerie of pets.  I have always had a fondness for wolves too.  They are such beautiful, wild, untamed creatures.  They operate in a pack and care for each other.  Despite the fact that they have been hunted almost to extinction by humans they manage to hang on.  If it’s now popular to be a woman who runs with the wolves, my brother was a boy who ran with the wolves.

Tom was unique, quirky and in many ways quite fearless.  The older he got the more independent he became.  He was never one to go with the crowd.  I remember a time when Tom told his closet friend that he wouldn’t hang out with him anymore if he kept doing drugs.  Tom didn’t care if his friend got mad, Tom also had a wicked sense of humor.  He once set up a dummy figure on our sofa so that it looked like an uncle who had recently died.  He then waiting until one of us entered the living room and fell into his trap.  Of course it was me and I can still hear his chuckle at my shriek.

Although Tom was only 16 when he was killed and the pain was incredible, I would never trade those 16 years for anything.  Tom wasn’t perfect.  He had a fierce temper and, like most teenage boys, rather challenged hygiene but he was good-hearted, caring, and funny.  He loved hockey and was a die-hard NY Rangers fan.  he loved people but I think he loved animals more.  He was a wonderful and wacky storyteller who could make up laugh without even trying.

I think to honor his memory, the King of Stones is telling me to maintain a connection to the wild – both in the world and in myself.  I need to go out into the woods and howl at the moon – whether literally or figuratively.  I need to honor my pack and keep those connections alive.  And I need to always keep Tom in my heart.  He was part of our pack and we still mourn his loss.

 

What do I need to remember today? 10 of Axes (Dark Carnival)

Dark Carnival 10 of Axes
How amazingly appropriate that I drew this card on Memorial Day!  The card is full of violent imagery – blood cover axe heads, disembodied limbs, brilliant, vivid primary colors and wooden staves explode off the card.  There is a cross hovering in the air that speaks of sacrifice and dying in order to be reborn.  The first reaction I had when seeing this card is that it looks like a war scene.  On Memorial Day nothing could feel more right in response to my question.

So I want to honor all those who have sacrificed their lives in defense of this country.  Whether I believed in the reasons behind the wars or not these people died.  The rightness or wrongness of the politics behind the battles is irrelevant.  My family has had several ancestors who served in the military but many did not see action.  Of those only one of those was actually killed in battle on D-Day and is buried in France.

I think in this day and age, when so much of war craft is driven by technology, we lose sight of the human cost of war.  With the attention on drone strikes and bombs that can be delivered from a distance like a video game, it can be easy to forget there are actual troops on the ground who are in constant danger.  How much more difficult does everything become when the people we claim to be helping resent us and work against us?  I’m not taking any sides in that issue I simply want to take some time to acknowledge the sacrifices made by those soldiers who have died in service to this country.

Today is more than just an official day off from work.  It is a day to take some time and remember those who died in war; those who sacrificed everything in defense of this country.  We can call them heroes but that won’t bring them back.  We should never lose sight of just how ugly and brutal war is and that there is always a human cost regardless of which side wins.  I want to honor and remember those who serve and maybe pour some wine for those who will never come home.

How is confusion manifesting in my life right now? 10 of Swords R + Knave of Chalices R (BoS So Below)

BoS So Below 10 of Swords BoS So Below Knave of Chalices

Looking at these cards two elements stuck out – the bird on the woman’s arm in the 10 of Swords and the reflection on the Knave of Chalices.  My initial response was that I want to soar with the eagles (or at least I think I do) but can’t and I feel like I don’t know myself anymore.  These factors could certainly contribute to confusion.

The 10 of Swords shows a beautiful image of a young woman holding her arm up to a golden bird.  Is she releasing it or calling it?  I’m not sure.  I like to think she’s releasing it; unleashing her ideas and message to the world.  Barbara Moore offers this interpretation of the card when reversed: “Reliving heartache by refusing to let go”.  Considering these two elements perhaps some of the confusion manifesting in my life right now is that I can’t unleash my message.  Hell, I’m not even sure I know my message any more.  My ideas and ability to communicate with others have atrophied to the point that I’m not sure what they are anymore.  It’s hard to develop a message or express ideas while wiping someone’s butt.

The Knave of Chalices peers into her reflection cast in a pool of water.  The reflection is ripply and unclear, almost more illusion than reflection.  Can she be sure what she sees?  That’s how I feel about myself right now.  I have no idea who I am.  My reflection is unclear and indistinct.  I feel like a rather amorphous blob with undefined boundaries.  No wonder I’m confused.

These two cards suggest that the confusion is manifesting because my inability to let go of the past and move on has prevented me from creating a fully formed and articulated new me.  I’m burred and undefined because I haven’t fully let go of Old Debbie and that prevents me from molding a new me.

I can’t say this is very surprising but it does clarify some things.

I need to release past betrayals and get my ass in gear – Ace of Wands + 3 of Swords (Spirit World)

Spirit World Ace of Wands 52

Friday the 13th – one of my favorite days!  Friday the 13ths always seem to be relatively calm, peaceful and even lucky days for me.  I may not win the lottery but I usually find that things just go smoothly for me.

Drawing the Ace of Wands reinforces the messages I’ve been receiving that I need to get started, get moving, get my ass in gear.  Call it what you will but I think the rather intimidating masked figure on this card is warning me that the time for procrastination is at an end.  If I don’t want to get my head handed to me (and perhaps even put on a stick) then I need to light a fire under  my lazy behind.  Perhaps not the gentlest, kindest message one can receive but it certainly is appropriate.  I am a world class procrastinator (perhaps I’ve mentioned this before?).

The image on the 3 of Swords is an interesting take on this card.  The “betrayal” is not intentional but no less deep.  The beloved one had died but still influences the living partner.  The heart aches but can do nothing to change the situation and that is the message this card offers.  As sad as this current situation makes me, as betrayed as I may feel, it’s not going to change.  So I need to let go and move forward.

I think what is keeping me from energizing myself and getting my ass in gear, is that I haven’t fully let go of the sense of betrayal – by life, by the Universe, by fate.  I’m still working on accepting that sometimes shit just happens and there is nothing I can do to change it or make it better – at least not right now.  I need to work on accepting, releasing and moving forward.  I have to stop focusing on what others have done and look at changing my perceptions of these situations.  It’s not a great solution but it’s the only workable one I can come up with right now.