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Cards of the Day: Three and ten of swords

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Drawing these two cards as a focus might cause many to run screaming from the room. The images in the RWS are bleak. The ten of swords shows a person sprawled out in a pool of their own blood with ten blades protruding from his back. The three of swords shows three swords cutting through the centre of a heart. Even the weather is dreadful! Traditionally, these two cards often represent sorrow and ruin. And, as luck would have it, they were the two focus cards I drew for myself over the past 72 hours. Those who know me personally know that I would never be so fatalistic.

Using a system I was introduced to by James Wells, I’m taking a different look at these two challenging cards. Swords represent intellect and cognition. This suit is linked to the element of air and thus speaks of communication, ideas, concepts, and information. The three places these concepts under scrutiny by forcing us to define and detail our communication, ideas, concepts, etc… and then the ten asks us to pause before acting.

 

It might be that some new idea or information needs to first be dissected and then sat on and contemplated. It might also be that communication is unclear, at time specific and detail-oriented and at other times loose and vague. When contemplating these two cards, I asked myself:

 

  • What message am I putting out there?
  • Am I really listening to myself or to others?
  • Have I stopped to look at all perspectives?
  • Do I have or am I providing clear insight?
  • Do I need to press my pause button before I open my mouth, press send, put pen to paper, etc…

 

Combine the two concepts represented by the three and ten of swords and see what questions come to mind.

Card of the ‘day’… Six of Swords

Six of Swords - RWS
Six of Swords – RWS

Today, I drew the six of swords from my favourite deck, the Rider-Waite-Smith, commonly referred to as the RWS. It was the first mass produced deck to include images for the cards of the minor arcana. The image on this card shows three individuals travelling by boat to a distant land. The boat separates the rough waters behind from the calm waters ahead.

This card is from the suit of swords, which is associated with the element of air. This suit often relates to the mental or intellectual aspects of one’s life. The six of swords, as the all do :), has several meanings.  The traditional meaning, as outlined in Arthur Waite’s The Pictorial Key to the Tarot, signifies a “journey by water”. In his card description, Waite explicitly states that the burden of freight is one that the driver can bear. The six of swords can also signify a transition from busy to calm, from turmoil to tranquility. It can mean movement from troubles of the past to a more controlled future. It can be a card that reminds you using that all-to-familiar cliche, that life has it’s ups and downs. It can signify a passage from the old to the new, almost like a minor arcana version of the death card. Some view the six of swords as a negative card. I say there is no such thing. All cards have ‘light’ and ‘dark’ sides and this one is no exception. It’s all about perception. Should you look at this card as a ‘small death’ card, then note that small death translates into ‘la petite mort’ in French, a term that means orgasm. Nothing negative about that! 😉

For me, after an intense week of driving the Toronto-Quebec CityNew York City triangle and operating in ‘whirlwind tourist mode’ for a week, I’m looking forward to slowing down the pace and taking a holiday from my holiday. Spirit of the West put it best; I need “Home for a Rest’. This card reminds me that daily living is about balance between laboriousness and stillness and that life will always contain both. I need to make time for them.  How will you internalize the six of swords? Is there an aspect of your life that lacks balance? What do you need to move towards? What do you need to leave behind?

Card of the Day: The Chariot

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It’s interesting. My passion for the Tarot often enters into all aspects of my life. I was discussing support options with the parent of a child with ADHD and it got me thinking. What card represents an attention deficit?

I was drawn right a way to the Chariot. This card represents a force that is driven and focussed, but can also have blinders on, can be focussed on all of the wrong things or often represents that blind motion. We’ve all had that feeling. Stephen Covey best describes it with the following paraphrased anecdote.

You’re travelling along at great speed. You know it and you feel in control. You can sense that you’re making progress. Things are moving by you at blinding speed. For a point of reference, you decide it’s time to slow down and look at your map. As you reach over and unfold the map of New York City, you realize that you’re travelling in Los Angeles!

The Chariot can often drive us. We just need to ensure that we’ve got the correct landscape around and that we’re moving in the right direction.

I’m not sure how or why my conversation about ADHD drew me to reflect on the ‘shadow side’ of trump #7. It also got me thinking; maybe there’s a “Schoolyard Tarot” in the future. Stay tuned for card 0: The First Day of School!  🙂

Mary Greer and my weekend in T.O.

I had the experience over the weekend of working with a group of Tarot enthusiasts in Toronto under the guidance of Mary Greer. The weekend was nothing short of amazing. For those of you who are unaware, Mary Greer is one of the most renowned Tarotists; full stop. On Saturday, we explored Tarot and Magic and how to use the cards in the deck itself to create sacred space.  We finished off our session with a power Venus ritual that left many of us both inspired and awestruck.

One of the most valuable exercises of Sunday’s session was to draw a card in response to a querent’s question and provide them with a worst-case scenario, elimating the sugar-coating that Tarotists often provide whenever we encounter a challenging card.  I’ll take some time to synthesize the weekend’s workshops and will definitely be revisiting the information soon and posting reflections on my blog.  Now I can proudly state (with my daughter chuckling behind me): “I hugged Mary Greer!” 🙂 Thank you, James Wells, for making this wonderful weekend possible. I look forward to future visits.

Also, on a different note, I want to ensure you, faithful blog reader, that I will respond to your inquiries when possible, even if weeks go by in between posts. The best way to keep current is to subscribe to my blog.

After a previous post, a reader questioned the value of gaining inspiration from simple cards, “pieces of paper, printed in China”.  I don’t think anyone should ever feel compelled to be inspired by the Tarot, but, before being overly critical of those who do (and please keep in mind that the posted comment was not critical, it just raised my own defenses), remember, there are many things that appear to have minimal significance in the way they are made or presented, yet they provide loads of insight and inspiration to some. I can think of several examples: the young musician who hangs a simple piece of paper on her bedroom wall. On the piece of paper is a picture of her favorite artist. Or the person who scribes the simple words of a favorite poem on a piece of parchment and sticks it on the bathroom mirror as a source of inspiration or even still, a hockey player’s (or die-hard fan’s) simple act of not shaving during a run for the Stanley Cup. Talk to most players and they will tell you that the unshaven face of a teammate creates a solidarity of sorts, a reminder of what is possible.

 The fact is that the Tarot has inspired thousands over the years to explore themselves as well as guide others in this exploration.  They have been the basis of esoteric systems, magical societies and inspired artwork. Not bad for a simple grouping of card stock.

Work, workshops and wonder, Oh my!

The Magician from the DruidCraft deck.
The Magician from the DruidCraft deck.

OK, one month between posts was not my intention when I started this blog almost six months ago. But, wow, has my ‘other’ job ever taken over. I suppose I forgot how busy a school can get in the last months before summer. You’d think after five years in the office, I’d know better.

 

But Tarot hasn’t taken a back seat completely. I’m still looking to schedule a beginner’s workshop and will post details here as well as publish details in local print publications (I’m going to give that a try this time around). I have been transfixed with the images of the Druid Craft Tarot http://www.aeclectic.net/tarot/cards/druidcraft/ and have been exploring its meaning and images when I draw my daily cards. I did draw the Wheel (X) and Rebirth (XX) a few days ago and left them out and visible; I loved the transformational energy of these two cards together! They reminded me that change will come and can provide an opportunity for rebirth. Since I am exploring future career paths options, this was welcome news. I find it helpful at times to leave cards out for several days after drawing them to help me focus on where I intend to go.

I have also bought the Voyager deck (see it’s beautiful images at Aeclectic Tarot or check out James Wanless’ site, the creator of the Voyager Tarot deck) http://www.aeclectic.net/tarot/cards/voyager/index.shtml  http://www.voyagertarot.com and am only just exploring this modern deck.

And finally, I have registered for two workshops and a reading with Mary Greer! To put this into perspective (OK, maybe a little ‘out-of-perspective’ since I am a big fan of her work and have several of her titles on my shelf, including a very well-used “Tarot for Your Self”), Mary Greer is to Tarot as Wayne Gretzky is to hockey. She is coming to Toronto in June and I have just sent my payment to James Wells, who is organizing this event. A Fathers’ Day gift to myself!

If you’re in the Orangeville area and interested in learning about the Tarot, email me at whitesagetarot@gmail.com or call at 519-217-SAGE (7243). This fun-filled, interactive look at the Tarot is always enjoyable.