The Hanged Man and The Empress

This year’s Tarot card calculation offers a bit of a twist.

2019cardsofyear

It is common to identify The Hanged Man (card XII of the Major Arcana) as the year card for 2019.  The numerological process for determining this is simple: add the digits 2 + 0 + 1 + 9 together and get 12. I’ve seen it highlighted on my social media feeds, on email newsletters I receive and on blog posts. (Biddy Tarot’s post is a great example.) Continue reading → The Hanged Man and The Empress

Narrative-style Tarot

I’m going to call this “Tarotive” – is that tacky? 😉

My most recent work with the Tarot involved a style that is new for me.

As I prepared myself and my space for my work, I kept a situation in mind. Currently, this is an issue for which I needed some clarity of direction; the perfect kind of issue for Tarotive work.   I reflected on the layout structure I would use but I did not ‘assign’ any meaning to specific positions. I also did not use a prepared spread. Instead, I identified the first card as ‘protagonist’ and let the rest of the story flow in order of the cards. Today’s ‘Tarotive’ work builds on the knowledge that the cards already include narrative elements: characters, challenges, supports, places, and events that can be strung together to form a story.

Since I started my Tarotive on the first ‘Sun’day after the Summer Solstice, I created an 8- card layout, one for each point in the Wheel of the Year. I set the cards out to represent the spherical shape of the Sun and also chose Joanna Powell Colbert’s Earth-themed Gaian Tarot deck (my limited edition deck is still a fave after 8 years!).  When I work with my own questions at home, I often gather support resources.

(As a side note… Although I will ‘run through’ my interpretation ‘sans support’, I like to access my Tarot library to add differing perspectives or to sometimes challenge my own thinking. When working with yourself, it’s easy to see only what you want to see instead of what you need to see.)

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A couple of the magical shelves in our built-in library. 

My narrative begins with me represented in the 4 of Air, weaves through supports, reflections, journeys and endings. My story concludes with ‘The Builder’ from the Major Arcana.

 

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My 8-card Summer Solstice ‘Tarotive’.

When done, I tend to leave my Tarot work out for a period of time so that I can revisit it and reflect on it. (Tuesday morning as I finish this post and it’s still out.)

I have tried this more open, narrative style several times this month and it seems to be a style for which I’m going to hold space.

Try it! Think of a situation or question for which you (or someone else) are seeking guidance. Visualize a card layout with a representative link to the energy you’d like to draw on for  your work; it might be the day, the time of year, a current astrological cycle, the situation… My Sun-shaped 8-card spread is an example of the solstice energy associated with the time of year where I live. Begin the narrative with the querent, wrap it up with the last card, and see where your story takes you.

And, if you feel comfortable doing so, share your experience in the comments. I’m curious to see if this Tarotive style works for you.

Playing with a (New) Full Deck

A few weeks ago, after a lot of handling, a little humming and hawing, I purchased my first new Tarot deck in YEARS!  The beneficiary of my decision (other than our local Orangeville shop ‘Healing Moon’)?  The Wildwood Tarot.

It is this earth-based, wheel-of-the-year focused deck that eventually pushed me and my bank card to the point of no return. Since then, I’ve set aside time almost every day to go through the cards one at a time. I’ve grouped them by minors, majors and courts.  I’ve laid the deck out in ‘wheel’ fashion, (as suggested by ‘The Little White Book’ that accompanies this deck and pictured below) with the help of Merlin, our cat! 🙂

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The art in the Wild Wood Tarot deck pictured above was created and copyrighted by http://www.willworthingtonart.co.uk – Merlin and the rug? Not so much.

I look to experience learning a new deck in different ways: visually, physically, intellectually and emotionally.  I shuffle the cards, ask a question, see what comes up. Sometimes, I go to the book, see what it says.  Other times, I want to connect them to previous knowledge of the other decks I use. I want to compare and contrast meanings and images. I want to feel the cards and look at them. I want to connect the deck’s  energy to my own. I want to ‘hear’ the cards as they speak to me.  By the end of the process, I want to know my deck. And I want to like it.

Eventually, I’ll do all of my ‘pagan-y’ deck prep. For me, that means I’ll cleanse the deck with a smudge. I’ll put it outside under a full moon.

But before I do any of that, I’ll play. A lot.

Which leads me to this question… How do you connect with a new deck?

The New Year and The Fool’s Journey

The beginning of the calendar is a time when we often start on a new path. It could be one of self-improvement, self-discovery or enlightenment. It may last a day, a week or a life-time but it is very common for people to pledge major change on January 1. It is also usually preceded by a planned night of unrestrained behaviour and planned excess. This beginning of the calendar makes me think of the Fool’s Journey.

The Fool

I found it somewhat coincidental that, just a few short days ago, while reading Alain de Botton’s “Religion for Atheists” that I came across a passage describing the festum fatuorum, or the ‘Feast of Fools’.  De Botton describes this as a medieval Church custom in which clergy acted in ways that were in opposition to their regular behaviour. Some of the behaviour he describes involved farting to hymns, speaking nonsensical sermons, attaching phallic symbols to cloaks and gambling on the altar. It allowed a letting go or cleaning of the slate. It acknowledged the playful, chaotic side of human behaviour. It made chaos and debauchery sacrosanct. (I think I’ve had a New Years’ party or two like that!) 🙂

The Fool is about beginnings but it is also about cleaning the slate. It is about jumping off the cliff and letting the journey take us where it may. When we jump, we take very little, if anything, with us. When teaching tarot classes, I often use the term tabula rasa to describe the essence of The Fool. She is associated with Uranus, and is thus the card of liberation, awakening and independence, characteristics often necessary for a successful new beginning.

And, as my Tarot focus shifts and I move into year four of ‘A Magician’s Musings’, so begins a new year and a new Tarot adventure. On a time frame that suits my schedule (very Fool-like), I am going to spend my blog posts this year exploring the Fool’s Journey. I will highlight some common knowledge around this often explored theme of the Tarot but also (hopefully) some new learning as well. I hope you choose to join me on this journey.

Tarot and the MRI

Tarot and MRIs not related? I beg to differ.

On Friday, I had one. It was to further explore the recurrence of old shoulder injury. The doctor’s office and the hospital had given me a little overview of the process. When I arrived, I waited 90 minutes – they didn’t explain that part – and, upon registration, they informed that I would need to be injected with an X-Ray dye prior to the MRI. The fluid would be inserted directly into my shoulder joint, guided by an X-Ray and a 2 1/2 inch needle. They didn’t explain that part, either.  Understand that, although I am not claustrophobic, my greatest fear is being buried alive so I was already less-than-comfortable with the upcoming MRI experience. The X-Ray preparation did not help the situation.

I knew I’d need to remain still. That was explained ahead of time. No one mentioned just how still. My doctor knows that ‘idle’ is not a speed at which my engine typically runs. When the technician informed me that I’d need to remain perfectly still for 25 minutes, I smiled.  This could be a long afternoon. After the first few minutes, I could sense my muscles twitching. My need to take deep breaths increased. My shoulder began to throb. I became aware of my restricted mobility and wanted to do something about it.  “Stop moving, please!” is barely audible through the sound-blocking headphones she had placed on my head. Although I couldn’t feel myself move, I knew I was struggling and was strongly considering pressing the ‘panic button’ resting in my closed fist. Then I started to picture the four of Swords in the Rider-Waite-Smith deck. The image came to me out of nowhere. It has been an image I’d conjure up if I was having a hard time relaxing but, as the length of time since my last post will attest, I haven’t made much time for the Tarot lately. I immediately entered the card in the same way I’d enter the home of a close but long-ignored friend. I looked around and took in my surroundings. I’ve been here before. My movement ceased almost instantly. A sense of calm came over me. Even the technician noticed and I heard a muffled “Thank you”. The rest of the procedure took place without difficulty.

I had forgotten the impact of those 78 little images I know so well. They have a place in even the most insignificant or unexpected situations; even after what seems like a significant amount of time away. On my way through Erin I stopped by Treehaven and bought the Llewellyn edition of the Gaian Tarot deck to complement my limited edition.

Welcome back, old friend. I’ve missed you.