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Where’s the Love: A Valentine’s Day-inspired look at the Tarot

Two of Cups - Rider Waite
Two of Cups - Rider Waite

Where’s the love?

Like all other emotions, love has its place in the Tarot. The Lovers, card of choice and, perhaps obviously, card of love, would be a great starting point for a search for love in the Tarot. It is the card where passion and reason come together, where difficult choices need to be made and where the very concept of synergy lives.  

The Two of Cups, representing a covenant or a coming together of two, is another obvious place to find love in the Tarot. Interestingly enough – well… at least interesting for me 🙂 – many couples have their songs and will be listening to them during a romantic moment on Valentine’s Day.  My partner and I have our card… it’s the Two of Cups and it will be on display on the 14th. (We have our songs as well but perhaps I’ll save that for another Valentine’s Day blog.)

The Cups are the resident suit of our feelings. Many cards in that suit at least hint at Cupid’s emotional realm. The Ace is the seed of love’s potential, the Three is the celebration of a love of company and companionship and the Ten is one’s recognition of the presence of emotional abundance and fulfillment.  Our Queen of Cups, who possesses the never-dormant ear, is an endless source of compassion, is the Tarot’s version of the Kindergarten teacher 🙂 and is another place to find love.

Our other Cup courts are no strangers to love. Our Page is the personification of the Ace and the representation of being in the early stages of love. Our Knight is in the business of love ‘em and leave ‘em. Upon reflection, that might not be how one would define love but don’t tell that to the knight. When he’s in love’em mode, he’d tell you that he’s clearly residing in the realm of Eros, as would the beneficiary of his attention. Our King is the master of love. He is blessed with the ability to both love fully and to keep his love in check as opposed to wearing it for all to see.

The Lovers is not the only place in the Major Arcana where we find love. The Empress represents, among other things, a mother’s unconditional love. As the home of the outwardly Feminine principle, hers is a passionate love.  A little further along the path of the Fool’s Journey, Strength shows us the resultant action of the Empress’ unconditional love.  Looking for one example of this strength-based love in action? Try crossing a lioness when she has her cubs nearby.  I would also argue that we can easily find love in two of the last three majors: The Sun, where our overwhelming optimism and joy includes a love for all things; and the World, where, as the card of completeness, contains all things, love included.

Like it or not, Valentine’s Day is a day where, at least commercially (oops, my bias is showing), we are reminded that love indeed makes the world go ‘round and is a many splendid thing. And I’m sure I’ve just scratched the surface of the presence of love in the Tarot. Do tell… where’s the love for you in the Tarot?

Finding a voice and clearing a block

It’s not that the desire to write hasn’t been there. I’ve sat down several times at my computer but no concrete idea has come to fruition. And time has seemed to be at a premium lately. I do have a list, divided by topic, of Tarot writing ideas thumb-tacked above my work space. I placed the list there to remind me of the major topics I’ve committed myself to writing about. It is also there to help spark new ideas. But ideas seem to be fleeting.

I was quite focused this morning. The house was quiet. I made myself a cup of coffee.  I clicked on the fireplace (clearly not as powerful as putting a log on and starting a fire but it’s all I have to work with). I sat on the floor of our pagan room for several moments and cleared my mind.  I went back to the familiar and grabbed my RWS deck, its images familiar to me for over 25 years.  The questions were struggling to form but two main ideas were clearly surfacing: the idea of a lost writer’s voice and the concept of writer’s block. So I went with the following:

Where should I focus my writing voice?

What first step should I take towards clearing my block?

And drew two cards.                                                             

The card related to the first question was The Moon (FYI: capitals for the card; lower case for the celestial body). Now those who know me ‘esoterically’ know I am drawn to the moon. Most rooms in our house have a sun/moon motif. I find the moon in the sky mysterious. I always take few moments to soak in a full moon. My children know anything with a moon on it is always a safe gift for Dad.  

I also find myself equally drawn to The Moon.  Of all the major cards in the deck, The Moon is the one I approach with equal parts apprehension and fascination. It’s symbolism seems a little more hidden to me than most. I like to explore it but, at times, am also frustrated by its secretive nature.

The second card was the Eight of Pentacles, reversed. It’s appearance brought the following conversation to mind:

 “Hi Dr. Tarot. I’m a little worried. I haven’t been able to post a blog for almost two months. I think I have writer’s block.  How do I clear it?”

“Hmmm. Let me see what we have here. Let me think for a moment… Indeed, Peter, you have writer’s block.”

“That was helpful. Thanks, doctor.”

“Don’t mention it.”

At first, the presence of the eight of pentacles reversed seem to only identify the problem as opposed to help work towards a solution. Further reflection (the Moon) brought further insight.

The diagnosis then:  🙂

RWS - XVIII The Moon
RWS - XVIII The Moon

Where should I focus my writing voice? The Moon.  A card of reflection and light. But not a primary light source. The Moon reflects insight and mystery back at us. It is the world’s largest mirror. It helps us as an alternate light source, when our main source of enlightenment is temporarily unavailable. It helps us reflect.  The Moon brought me back the original intent of my blog when I started it almost two years ago. A draft post entitled “The First Musing” never made it ‘to print’ but contains the following quote: “A Magician’s Musings is a place where the Tarot and everyday life come together. As my blog grows, you will find everything from reflections on cards to ‘musings’ on how and where the Tarot creeps in to our daily lives.”  And that’s where my voice should be. In the nooks, crannies and mysteries of everyday life where both the moonlight and the Tarot hide.

RWS - Eight of Pentacles reversed
RWS - Eight of Pentacles reversed

How do I go about clearing my block? Eight of Pentacles, reversed. Since this card reversed could symbolize an obstacle towards rewarding work, this is the card that helps affirm the nature of the problem. I need to recognize it. Name it. I have writer’s block.

I also need to recognize that, in my work with the Tarot, my writing is something I cherish. It is ‘fulfilling work’. The presence of this card reminds me that my block is something I created. And, as my daughter reminded me in a previous post, I can turn the card over and release the block. If I value the act of writing (and I do, I do!!!) then I must both make and take the time to do it. I have a laptop and a desktop at home and no less then than four portables means of recording my writing while mobile. I can find the time to do other less meaningful tasks. There are no excuses, even if I like making them.  Looks like our next meeting will be sooner rather than later ;).

Busy… and still working

WHEW! Over a month since my last post! And I don’t suppose with the holiday season upon us and several Tarot projects on the go, that there appears to be an respite in sight. 🙂

Tarot question, then? What card do you see as a signal that you must, in the words of Simon and Garfunkel, “Slow down, you move too fast”?

My partner and I have both commented that the pace of life seems to have accelerated since we bought our house together in June. The recent cards from my daily draws also seem to reflect a theme of either “busy, busy or busy” or “slow down, because you seem to be busy, busy, busy!” 🙂

To fit with the busy theme 🙂 I will be offering Tarot consultation on the Danforth! I will be at the Awakenings Bookstore at 744 Danforth Avenue (just east of Pape) beginning this Saturday (November 20th) from 12:00 – 4:00. I will also be there Saturday, November 27th from 12:00 – 6:00. You can contact me at 519-217-7243 or contact Natasha at 416-466-2002 to book your reading.

Thanksgiving

This weekend, in Canada, we celebrate Thanksgiving. It seemed like the appropriate time to ask the following two questions:

For what can we give thanks? Elder of Air – Gaian Tarot

Elder of Air - Gaian Tarot
Elder of Air - Gaian Tarot

 

Interesting that Joanna Powell Colbert, creator of the Gaian Tarot, uses the phrase “a grandfather’s prayer of thanksgiving” (I drew the card randomly, honest I did!) as one of the descriptors for this card. As it relates to the question, we can give thanks for the counsel and the wisdom of our elders.   There is a vast well of knowledge available to us that those who have come before us has left for us to use. We need to recognize it and hear it… truly hear it.  See the flute in the elder’s hands? Listen carefully and we can hear its familiar song.  For that we say, ‘Thank you.’

Where can we show our gratitude? Four of Air – Gaian Tarot.

Four of Air - Gaian Tarot
Four of Air - Gaian Tarot

Note the four eggs in the robin’s nest. They’re tucked in tightly, like we would a young baby. We can show our gratitude by taking the wisdom of our elders and making it ours. Tuck it in and make it safe. Only once we have truly embraced and embodied what those before us intrinsically knew, lived and share with us every day can we find the sacred security represented in the Four of Air.

Suggestion on moving the above into action:  Find a forest, go for a walk and marvel and the rich colours. If you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, you have a beautiful palette of reds, oranges and yellows. Place your hand on a tree and feel the pulse of life moving through it. Know that the forest is alive and thriving and listen for the Voice of all those who came before. With both cards coming from the suit of Air (swords), I’m sure there’s something to hear!

For those of you in the Orangeville area, there are still two spots left in our Tarot Study group. It starts on October 13th at 7:00 in my space with the Fool and will walk through the entire deck over the next 10 months. Contact me at whitesagetarot@gmail.com or 1-519-217-7243 if you’re interested in joining us.

Venus and the Child of Fire

I got up this morning, very early, and decided I’d start preparing for my Tarot Study Group coming up in mid-October. There was clearly an autumn chill in the air. Seeing summer now clearly in the seasonal rearview mirror, I bit the bullet and fired up the gas fireplace to help alleviate the fresh early morning bite. I find the flickering flame has the same soothing effect as running water, even if it’s gas-generated. (Note to self – New house discovery: check and see if the chimney is an insert or if it has the ability to burn wood.) I notice movement out of the corner of my eye. Our cat, Venus, is slowly approaching the fireplace.

She’s moving in predatorily, circling as if she’s going to attack. If it’s fire she perceives as her prey, she may have her work cut out for her. She circles to the side and approaches from outside of the flame’s direct line of sight. She moves to within a few feet and then withdraws. She circles to the side, walks up the glass insert and then runs away, at full speed, up the stairs.

Gaian Tarot - Child of Fire
Gaian Tarot - Child of Fire

I have witnessed my very own Child of Fire this morning.

A New Deck – Aquarian Tarot

Did I really need another Tarot deck?  Since I needed to head in to T.O. anyways, I figured a little drive to the Occult Shop on Vaughn was warranted. I found David Palladini’s Aquarian Tarot for under $20. The last time I found a little Tarot bargain, I was wandering the streets of Orangeville and came across an as-yet-unidentified version of the Rider-Waite at a garage sale for one dollar. I’m nothing if not a sucker for a deck deal.

David Palladini’s deck intrigued me not because of its influence on the Tarot community (Tarosophist International v.5 has a great interview with David Palladini) but because of his artistry on Stephen King’s The Eyes of the Dragon. I read this book when it first came out in 1987. I am a huge Stephen King fan. In my early 20s at the time, it was the first Stephen King book that I could remember that was illustrated. It wasn’t until much later that I discovered that the artist and creator or the Aquarian Tarot and the illustrator of my Stephen King book were one and the same.

Although the images don’t ‘grab me’ in the same way the Gaian, RWS or the Gilded Tarot do or inspire me in the way the Osho Zen Tarot does, I am nonetheless thrilled to add one more deck to my growing collection.

The Sun ‘wears’ Justice

Later on this evening, the Sun crosses that point in the cosmos where the celestial sphere and the celestial equator intersect, signalling the arrival of autumn. This is known as the autumnal point. In astrology, it is refered to as zero degrees Libra.

Several hours later, the Sun and Moon are in direct opposition and the Moon becomes full while in the sign of Aries. Long-time readers of my blog know that I love blending these powerful astrological points with the Tarot (see http://whitesagetarot.com/2010/03/18/the-sun-dons-the-emperors-cloak/ as an example).

A variety of Tarot themes can be related to these to celestial periods. When the Sun moves into an astrological sign, I often imagine the young child on the Sun card of my RWS deck wearing the card associated with that sign. This month, our young lad dons the robes of Justice. His usual optimism and positive attitude are tempered by rationalization. He seeks balance in thought and in deed. His exuberance is more cautious as he weighs out pros and cons before acting.

As Canadians, at this time on the calendar, we move out of the crazy, hazy days of summer, where kids are kept active, parents even more so and most people do everything they can to get outdoors.  And in late summer, back to school shopping dominates for parents as well as college and university students.  Movement patterns in cities and towns get back to normal as work schedules return to their regular routine. Kelly and I noticed that the town market this past Saturday was much busier as people found their regular rhythm and slid back into their typical Saturday.  As we approach the autumnal equinox and the Sun ‘costumes up’ with Justice, remember this time as one in which to seek balance.  It is a time when reasonable solutions trump rash decisions. Don’t be afraid to pause when needed. There’s nothing worse than rushing to make a bad choice.

What about the Full Moon in Aries? Has the esoteric wisdom of our High Priestess been provided the ruling voice of the Emperor? Or is the fullness of the Moon in Aries more closely linked to the powerful fertility of the Empress in this abundant time of harvest? You decide.

Keeping in the theme of Tarot and Astrology, the 2011 Wellbeing Astrology Guide is available for order now!  It includes my article “On the Cards”. Visit Astrologer Kelly Surtees to order your copy today! http://kellysurteesastrology.wordpress.com/2010/09/21/wellbeing-astrology-guide-2011-now-in-stock/