Stuff vs Spirit – a balancing act (The Emperor & The High Priestess – Fairy Lights Tarot)

Fairy Lights Tarot Emperor Fairy Lights High Priestess


The Emperor crossed by The High Priestess – so does this mean my inner empire building is crossed by my inner temple guardian? Nah, that’s a bit too glib (although not necessarily inaccurate). The Emperor represents the benefits of being in control, in charge, the head honcho. It also represents the responsibility and obligations that go along with such power. For a great ruler, it’s not merely about satisfying your own personal needs and goals. It’s also about caring for those who follow you, protecting those who are weaker than you and ensuring that the powerful don’t trod upon the peasants. How sad that we have so few leaders who actually embody this archetype in its most positive aspects.

The High Priestess is the guardian of the hidden mysteries. She knows the way but may choose not to give you directions. She is able to look into your soul and determine whether you’re ready to peer behind the veil. She can read you like a book. This can be a huge responsibility because if she allows somehow who is unready or unworthy to see what lies beyond, it might cause damage to that person’s psyche. It might be too much for her to assimilate or she might use the knowledge acquired in negative ways.

So The Emperor is letting me know that if I want to build something stable and solid in my life, I need to remember that it will require responsibility, determination and steadfastness. He’s also reminding me that everything comes with a price. The more concrete and grounded things gets, the more rooted you become, the less mobile and flexible you can be. As we acquire things, responsibilities and stature, we are less able to maneuver quickly and make changes.

The High Priestess reminds me that sometimes spiritual knowledge and enlightenment can be blocked by having too many things, too much stuff. When we are too stable, too set and too grounded it can be difficult to make the necessary changes to acquire knowledge and see beyond the veil. It may be a reminder that focusing too much on stuff, having things and building a stable foundation, I may also discover that my spiritual work gets sidetracked. These two areas in life may not be mutually exclusive but it requires a lot of effort to balance between the two.

Letting my spirit soar above the stuff in life

Dance of Life Sage of Money & the Material WorldTarot of the Secret Forest 2 of Wands

I’ve decided to change things up a bit for my daily card readings.  In the past I had pulled the same card from two different decks and comparing them.  That’s grown a bit stale for me so instead I will now be doing a weekly spread pulling a card for each day of the week on Monday (but I will only turn one card over at a time).  Then I will use a second deck to pull a daily card that can serve as a modifier to the first.

So my card for today from the weekly spread is the Sage of Money & the Material World reversed.  In a traditional deck this would be the King of Pentacles.  This accurately reflects my financial situation at this time – I’m broke.  Things will turn around shortly but I’m waiting for some checks to clear and until they do I’m in very tight financial straits.  Not fun by any means (it is frustrating to have so little control over one’s financial situation even if it’s only for a day).  On the other hand at least I know it’s a temporary situation (well for now anyway).

The image for this card shows an older, bearded man wearing a turban.  He expression seems sharp but piercing, as though he can see through your personal bullshit and find the truths we often hide from ourselves.  I have a sense that he is telling me that I could have avoided this situation if I took a more practical, planned approach to my finances.  I sometimes go in mini-binges and spend money for things I don’t need but that behavior comes back to bite me on the ass later in the month.  I’m getting better about this but sometimes I still struggle with it.  His clear-eyed, somewhat stern gaze is calling me to task because I know better and I know I know better.

The Tarot of the Secret Forest 2 of Wands shows a white owl in flight near a dark tree.  The owl appears to be landing or has her claws extended to grasp something (perhaps prey?).  For some reason this image reminds me of the human soul and how it needs to soar free and seek inspiration and beauty in the world so it can thrive.  The owl seems almost ghostly, a messenger from the Otherworld seeking to remind me that my spirit doesn’t need possessions to soar.

The combined message I get from these two cards is that I need to stop focusing on “things” and buying stuff.  My spirit doesn’t need them to be happy.  Instead I need to focus on feeling my soul, allowing it to spread it wings and fly free.  I need to tap into my creative side and allow it to feed, to seek those dark somewhat scary places within myself and see what it can find.  It’s not true that whoever has the most toys wins.  Instead the truth is that whoever gets the most joy our of their lives wins.  In fact I think the most stuff we have, the more these things start to own us instead of the other way around.  It’s time to lighten up and let go of some stuff.  I’ve already started this process but perhaps it’s time to expand it into other areas as well.

Instead of clinging to old habits such as soothing myself with stuff, I need to tap into that joy and allow it to spread its glorious wings throughout my life.  It’s about loving what I do and who I am not doing things to make money so I can distract myself from my unhappiness by buying stuff (or eating stuff for that matter).

COTD – Lady of Submersibles/Queen of Cups – I’m not sure I want to sleep with the fishes!

Steampunk Lady of Submersibles Witches' Queen of Cups

The Queen of Cups, my former nemesis. Of course she would show her face when I’m trying to focus on other issues. She can be most inconvenient. I was rather surprised to see her. Of course I guess she was reminding me that while I am most comfortable with Wands and Swords energy, I have learned the benefits of Cups energy as well.

Looking at the Steampunk Lady of Submersibles, helps me realize that I can move through the sometimes murky waters of the heart, emotions, relationships and inner dreams without drowning or losing my way. She has the tools, equipment and experience to find her way through even the darkest, coldest waters. I don’t think I’m at that level yet but I am growing more comfortable with this element.

The Witches’ Queen of Cups sits on her lonely beach looking into the chalice in her hand. She also seems comfortable and at ease in her element but she also seems isolated. The beach is rather barren and desolate. I’ve never noticed this before in a Queen of Cups card but she seems very alone, although not lonely. It’s as though she is sustained by looking into her chalice. Maybe it is a mystical portal in to the hearts of others and enables her to see what they need to heal. Perhaps knowing the deepest secrets of the human heart creates a need for periods of distance and separation.

Today she is an especially appropriate messenger for me because my family is in a bit of a brouhaha and as a result I got angry with my sister and harsh words were said. I am able to see into my sister’s heart and I know some of what motivates her. Perhaps the Queen of Cups is gently reminding me that I need to be a bit more tolerant and understanding of my sister’s foibles. I don’t need tolerate them or enable her but I could have been a bit kinder and gentler in how I handled it. Sometimes my rather Wands-y nature makes me harsher than the situation warrants. My no bullshit/take no prisoners approach can create rifts where none needed to occur. There is a strength in the Lady of Submersibles that is different than that of the Lady of Engines but no less powerful. That is a fact I need to remind myself of more often.

She also speaks to me of psychic abilities. This is a skill I have always denied possessing. I may be intuitive and/or able to read people. I am proficient at interpreting Tarot cards but I resist calling myself a psychic. The likeliest reason is that so many who do seem like charlatans to me. They seem to disingenuous and that is not how I want to be perceived. However I have also met people whom I believe possess genuine psychic abilities. Maybe this lovely lady is reminding me that possessing psychic abilities is not all it’s cracked up to be. Seeing into the hearts of others can prove to be an unpleasant experience sometimes. It also requires that the psychic shield herself to avoid unwanted intrusions. That is the sense I get from the Lady of Submersibles wet suit and the Queen of Cups solitary splendor on the beach.

I sometimes lose sight of that fact and see psychic abilities as a really cool trick – rather like a teenager “ooh that’s cool I can read other people’s minds”. I think that’s why I have resisted it for so long. I may indeed have psychic abilities but I choose to block them because I’m not sure I want the responsibility. I have feeling this lady is reminding me that it’s mine whether I want to claim it or not. My best option would be to learn the skills necessary to shield myself and work with these energies rather than avoiding them. Something to ponder further in the weeks ahead.


What do I most need to know today? The Magician R (Legacy of the Divine & Crone)


The Legacy of the Divine Magician looks like an intense, focused older man.  Somehow I get the sense he is so involved in his magical workings that he has no idea what is going on around him.  He may be able to command the elements to do his bidding but can he get his daughter to listen to him?  I don’t think so.

Looking at the image on Tarot of the Crone’s Magician I was struck by how frightening it initially appears.  One almost gets the sense that the fierce looking creature on the cards is just waiting to devour you.  When I look in the creature’s eyes, I am struck by a twinkle there.  It almost feels as though this fierce creature is laughing at me – mocking my fear and my arrogance; teasing me.  Am I afraid of what lies through the creature’s mouth?  Maybe, just maybe, I am.

The common thread to both these cards for me is that sense of getting lost in yourself; becoming so enthralled with your own brilliance and power that you lose sight of the rest of the world.  It is one of the things we often seen in scientific research (especially in movies and novels) – the scientific researchers are so enraptured by their quest for knowledge that they give no consideration to how it will be used.  Alfred Nobel created the Nobel prizes an in effort to ameliorate the damage caused by his invention – dynamite.  I’ve heard tales that J. Robert Oppenheimer, the man who lead the Manhattan Project which developed the first atomic bomb, was, at best, a mixed blessing.

The reason I brought these men up is because that is often how I feel about magical work.  Sometimes it can be scary to see your goals and desires manifested in reality.  If we are powerful and magical enough to create our own destiny and birth our dreams into life, then why do things go wrong?  If I can control the elements and my surroundings, then is it my fault when I do not get the outcome I desire and worked towards?  Sometimes it easy to think that way but I think that is the arrogance and ego that I sometimes see reflected in this card – a case of “I’m as powerful as a god” complex.  And I suppose it is easy to fall into this trap if you’re not careful.  One thing I’m learning in life, as a result of various factors, is that there are things beyond my control and no amount of magical working will change them.  So what is probably more useful to me right now is to change the things I can.  As the saying goes, I cannot change how someone else behaves, I can only change how I react to their behaviors.  Maybe that’s what I need to focus on today.

QOTD – What is my lesson for the day? Wheel of Fortune (Transformational & Gaian)


Arnell Ando calls this card Karma in the Transformational Tarot and one of the things this brings to mind for me is that what goes around comes around.  The Gaian Tarot shows me that there are cycles to life and those cycles continue on whether we want them to or not.  This card ties in nicely with the message I got from the Moon reversed yesterday that suppressing cycles in life creates internal conflict and even depression.  Seeing this card I think of the song by Blood, Sweat and Tears “Spinning Wheel” – “what goes up must come down, spinning wheel got to go ’round”.  Or “Turn, Turn, Turn” by The Birds, “To everything there is a season”.  Right now this is a comforting message to me.  Yes things are tough right now – for me personally, for the country and for the world.  However things will eventually improve and the wheel will begin moving us towards the top again.

On a more personal level, the other day I asked the cards a question about my psychic abilities because I have always had an issue identifying myself this way.  I see myself as a Tarot reader but I often view my skills more in the nature of an interpreter – “I coalesce the vapors of human experience into a viable and meaningful comprehension” (Mel Brooks in History of the World, Part I).  Or (as Bea Arthur replies to this statement) “a bullshit artist”>  And therein lies the problem.  On some level I’ve felt like I’m faking it or lying or bullshitting my clients.  I don’t know more than they do.  Who the hell am I to set up a shingle and offer Tarot counseling or whatever.

I drew Karma in response to my query.  I interpreted that in a few ways.  I think on one level it was letting me know that I’ve put enough time and effort into studying and learning and now it’s time to move onto a new phase and put that knowledge into practice.  I think it was also reminding me that I do have an ability to see patterns in life.  Perhaps this ability is what does/will make me an effective Tarot reader.  Later in the day I asked a similar question and drew Karma reversed.  I think this was Tarot’s way of telling me to stop being a smart ass.  It already answered my question.

Today while I was walking I was thinking about some things.  At Readers Studio, Nancy Antenucci was my partner during the Foundation Reading.  At one point while we were reading for each other, Nancy turned to me and said “You know you’re an R-rated psychic.  You should probably let people know that up front”.  I laughed it off at first but then it really began to grab hold of me.  That is my niche!  I have a somewhat colorful approach to expressing myself which sometimes includes profanity or almost dirty words.  I also have a “cut through the bullshit” approach to life.  I don’t have the patience for overly elaborate rituals.  It’s not me.  I admire readers who have a kinder, gentler approach to readings.  They seem to embody a more Earthy or Cups energy.  It appears that my gift it to bring a more Wands and Swords energy to readings.  There’s nothing wrong with it, but it seems that I will always be an acquired taste.  Now the trick is how to approach clients who can appreciate that approach.

What do I need to focus on today? The Moon R (Transformational & Gaian)


I often have a difficult time connecting with the energy of this card.  I’m sure it’s connection to my general resistance to anything watery, emotional and “cuppish” in nature.  It may also be related to the fact that I’m not a very “lunar” female.  I’ve heard many women of my acquaintance discuss how the Moon’s energies influence their lives but I appear to be rather immune to its effects.  I could pontificate for hours upon why I think this is the case but it’s fairly irrelevant here.  The bottom line is that when I saw this card I blanked.  I had no idea what it was trying to tell me.

So I decided to take a “me” approach to the situation and looked up the associations with this card in various tomes of Tarot wisdom.  Some were interesting.  Some were dramatic.  Few felt right.  Then I actually looked in the companion books to the decks I am using right now and had a bit of a “click” moment.  In the Transformational Tarot’s little white book there was mention of listlessness and depression possibly resulting from ignoring natural cycles and a need to pay attention to my emotional state.  Joanna Powell Colbert’s Gaian Tarot companion book also speaks of cycles and how the Moon is faithful to her changes.

Now the Tarot knows that if there is one thing I resist with all my might, it’s change.  I am apparently a fairly fixed personality and any change (even ones that have ultimately proven to be for the best) send me screaming from the room.  Once again, I can probably discourse for hours about why this is the case but it doesn’t really matter why I became this way.  What I need to focus on is how and if I want to change this attitude.  Which I suppose is ultimately what the Moon is trying to tell me.

So that is my challenge for today (should I choose to accept it) – focus on how I deal with change, why I resist it so vehemently and how I can improve my relationship with this card and its energies.  Good times!

What do I need to consider today? Page of Wands R (Blue Rose & Infinite Visions)


The Blue Rose Page of Wands embodies passion and energy – a young dancer just starting to master her craft but full of the conviction and drive to succeed.  I remember being that young, enthusiastic and arrogant.  It’s almost as though in order to survive adolescent and early adulthood we need a touch of arrogance because without it the criticisms of others will cause us to shrivel and die.  It’s almost amusing to look back at who I was at that age and laugh at my confident assertions that I knew more than my elders.  It was that pure essence of fire and confidence, of passion and creativity.  My goal was not to make my elders feel threatened or no respected (although that was often an unfortunate side effect) but to shine and dazzle them with my potential, my talent and my drive.  Sometimes I was fortunate enough to have a supervisor who understood this and was able to nurture me beyond my arrogance.  Other supervisors found me too cocky and found ways to get rid of me.  Lessons were learned but that didn’t kill that inner flame.

The Infinite Visions Page of Wands shows a young man riding through the forest with two dogs.  In the distance we see a beautiful white hart with a magnificent rack.  He stands majestic, unafraid and lovely; the master of his surroundings.  The young man has a halo of light around him suggesting that he has a purity of spirit that has not yet been tainted by the world.  The question is will he keep that purity and let the hart go free or will his ego dominate and allow his pride to demand he kill this magnificent beast for his own glory?  Haven’t we all been there – in a situation where we are forced to choose between our inner desires and knowledge of what is right and impressing our contemporaries and meeting their expectations.  We are torn and not sure which option is the right one.  Surviving that experience and learning from it is part of the maturation process.

Having drawn this card reversed today, I think one of my challenges is to reconnect with that sense of being inspired.  For too long I’ve allowed myself to take a very practical, logical approach to life.  That can be very useful and beneficial in many ways but I’ve been neglecting my spiritual needs.  I need to feel as though what I do makes a difference in some way; that I’ve been inspired and connected to others.  The current situation in my life has left me feeling a bit isolated.  I need to find ways to reconnect to that side of myself that felt inspired and magical.  I have to see beyond the current day to day tasks and allow my spirit to soar; to nurture my inner flame and tend it carefully so it’s light does not die out.  It’s not about the outside world and what it gives me or what I give it.  This card is about my giving to myself – not always as easy and one would think.

COTD – The Star R (DruidCraft & Wildwood)


For some reason today I am feeling quite restored and healed on a spiritual level.  For the past few days I’ve been in a moody, lousy, depressed funk.  It ebbed and flowed like the tide and I had no clear idea what triggered it.  My life, while challenging and sometimes exhausting, is far from miserable.  I realized that part of the problem was that I needed to change my perceptions.  I’m not going to go all New Age here (because that’s really not my thing) but I have to admit that there is some truth to the statement that you can’t always change your circumstances but you can change how you face them.  The problem wasn’t that my life had become so dramatically different in the past few days or weeks, it’s that I was focusing on the negative.

I let myself get caught up in my own drama and was preparing quite a nice pity party for myself.  I can host pity parties like nobodies business.  Then at 3AM while searching for meaning in various Tarot books, I had an epiphany (which I already shared in my COTD essay on Tuesday).  Something about the mind-shift or metanoia (as I remember a former religion teacher explained means “a transformative change of heart”) left me feeling renewed and cleansed.  It was as though a great weight had been lifted off my shoulders and allowed me to return to my usual bubbly, extroverted, opinionated self.  I don’t like feeling down, depressed or sulky.  As I have joked on numerous occasions, I have no use for depression in my life because depression is often defined as anger turned inward and I’m very comfortable turning my anger outwards.  Of course in the current situation there was no outlet for that anger and frustration.  It is rightly aimed at the Fates, destiny, the Norns, Wyrd – whatever you choose to call it.  The reality is that a number of decisions made years ago by my in-laws has led to this pass and since I cannot change the past, there is nothing I can do to change the situation.  What I can change is how I handle it and taking steps to improve it.  Once I was able to accept that on a deep, spiritual level, I was able to let go of the anger and depression.

It is really amazing that I drew this card today because in some respects I have felt like the lone figure wandering through the woods on the Wildwood Pole Star.  Only instead of looking up at the night sky for guidance and enlightenment, I’m seeking it within myself.  The forest I’m wandering through is my own tangle of self-doubts, frustration and confusion.  My own lack of clarity about many things was leading me deeper and deeper into the thicket of briars but now I think I’m back in the clear.  I think the healing waters being poured out by the woman on the DruidCraft Star are spilling through my soul and helping cleanse and heal whatever they touch.  I’m not usually comfortable sharing this level of anything online but today I’m feeling so cheerful that I just need to let the world know.  I’m sure by tomorrow I’ll be back to my snarky self.

COTD – The Star R (Hudes & Blake)


Traditionally The Star can refer to themes of spiritual healing, the light at the end of the tunnel, the balance between heaven and earth or the spiritual and the mundane, purity and spiritual guidance.  The Star can symbolize experiencing the boundless, free abundance of the Universe.  Unbounded or psychological or psychic energy is flowing to you.  You’re feeling personally energized and filled enthusiasm.  There is a never ending supply of this powerful resource within you that can be used in any way you desire.

Negative:  You aren’t ready to be a channel for new energy or resources at this time.  You may be drawing a lot of force or power into your life, but it’s short-circuiting there.  You could feel frantic or overwhelmed by the energy coming into your life without knowing what to do with it.  It may not be healthy or appropriate for you to be the recipient for this energy right now.
Reversed:  Unbounded psychological or psychic energy is flowing to you.  You’re feeling personally energized and filled with enthusiasm.  There is a never-ending supply of this powerful resources within you.  You can use it in any way you desire.” – Gail Fairfield

Blake LWB:  “Opening your eyes to the highest potential of your situation.  Getting in touch with your own creative powers.  Self-esteem.  Receiving recognition for your abilities.  “Doing your own thing”, no matter what.”

Stars shows a seated figure, arms outstretched beneath the evening sky, an open book beside him.  His visage is worn and weary and yet his eyes are raised up to the sky, as though seeking guidance and wisdom from the stars.  The different constellations are visible overhead.  There are also other grayish figures seeming to plead to the stars but receiving no answer.  A lighted lamp rests next to the book on the figures left side.  On his right we see a couple embracing beneath an arch of cherubs.  Nearby stands a woman resurrecting another from the earth.  At the bottom of the frame we see an elderly man holding a scroll in one hand and seeming to follow the other creatures in the frame; to move on to the next plane of existence.  The frame offsets the gloominess of the main image with its touches of pink and pale blue.  It brings a brightness and lightness to the card.

At first glance this cards seem gloomy and gray, hopeless.  The colors are muddy and muted and it seems difficult to distinguish different figures.  But when you can focus on it more you begin to see central figure with his outstretched arms and arms raised to the heavens.  You see the constellations frolicking overhead.  You see the couple embracing and the woman raising the other from the ground.  But what strikes you right away is the brightness of the images in the frame.  The cheeriness of the pink figures floating in a pale blue stream.  They seem to be separate from the rest of this card, part of it and yet not.  Perhaps they represent the human spirit preparing to reassimilate with the divine source.  They are entering a new plane of existence.  The light and the book may represent humanity’s’ quest for knowledge and spiritual enlightenment.  We seek love and are always striving to raise ourselves from the earthly temptation that trap us.  This card shows us the way.  When looking at this card the phrase “keep your eyes on the prize” comes to mind.  If we can keep our eyes fixed on the path to spiritual enlightenment and development, then perhaps we can manage to overcome whatever else might trouble us.  We can overcome whatever obstacles attempt to block our way.  But it is easy to lose sight of the true path, as exhibited by the murky figures trying in vain to reconnect with the stars.  They are unable to see the true path because they have lost their focus.  Stars shows us that we can find the true path again if we open our eyes and our spirits to the truth.

On the Hudes Star card a radiant woman with stands up to her neck in a body of water.  Her eyes are closed and she seems bathed in the light from the star overhead.  She seems at peace and unworried about her position.  I get the sense that she is cleansing and renewing herself in the water and with the rays of the star overhead.  There is something serene and calming about her appearance.  A soothing, peaceful energy seems to radiate from her and out of the card.

Both these cards offer the relief and serenity of healing, renewing light.  They remind us that even the darkest night is light with millions of tiny stars.  Of course this card is reversed for me today.  That makes me wonder if I’m not opening myself up to this healing, renewing energy.  Perhaps I’ve been keeping my eyes closed to the potential healing energy surrounding me.  I need to renew my spirit and allow myself to see the lightness that surrounds me.  It’s time to open my eyes and embrace my own thing.  I have all this potential psychic energy coursing through me and now it’s time to find an positive and beneficial channel for this energy.