School’s out for summer

We have cleared the walls of our imaginary class. You have your books packed up and have swapped numbers and IG accounts with others from the class.

I am brewing us a final cup of tea.

Today we close this part of our work together.

During the past eighteen months (at the time of writing) we have considered what tarot is, how to create sacred space and daily practice, we have explored the elements and their connection with tarot and travelled through the Major and Minor Arcana together.

I intend to continue to post here occasionally moving forward. For now it is time for a well-earned summer break.

If you would like to come and join the group of “real” people in the Tea Break Tarot School Facebook group you would be most welcome.

And if you would like to take your tarot studies further you can join me on Patreon for the Diving Deeper tarot class.

If I don’t see you in person I wish you well on your tarot journey and look forward to meeting with you again soon xxx

Lesson 92 – King of Cups

Our trip to the beach is coming to a close. We are beginning to pack up our things, make sure all the rubbish is in the bin, try to get sand out of our toes.

Our final study of the day is the King of Cups. He is a male energy. He’s been back and forth to the shore all day, checking the Page is safe, showing an interest in her findings, or having a quiet word when the Knight is getting a little over-rowdy.

He is with the Queen now, smiling, like his partner he is a master of emotions. Maybe he is a psychology professor, a coach or a meditation teacher. He has achieved mastery and control of emotions. Perhaps we are watching him now as he works through T’ai Chi forms near the shoreline.

In a reading the King may represent someone you know of this type, or can represent a call to work with this energy.

Emotional “mastery” can seem like an oxymoron, emotions are by their nature fluid and like the waves we have been watching today ebb and flow.

We can support our own emotional life through practices like mindfulness or working with acceptance and commitment therapy. Using our thoughts to help us understand our emotional responses is a powerful practice.

We watch now as he finishes his practice and calls the younger members of the family out of the water. His partner is gathering her work things together and as they prepare to depart the sands so do we, our journey through the cards is coming to an end.

Exercise 92:

How do you “manage” the ebb and flow of emotion, what tools do you use to support you on a daily basis?

If you find your emotions can be a “rollercoaster” see if a mood tracker or moon planner are supportive in helping identify patterns.

Explore practices such as mindfulness as you connect and work with your emotional life.

If you don’t already see if journalling in some form (including micro-blogging and bullet point journalling) can support you.

Lesson 91 – Queen of Cups

Wow, it’s getting warm.

We are still on our imaginary seaside trip with the class. Some of us have been working on an epic sandcastle, while others have been collecting shells. We sent someone to get ice-creams and they dropped one and a seagull ate it.

Our next study is the Queen of Cups.

She is seated in a deckchair, sunglasses on. She is smiling as she watches the younger members of her family enjoying the water. She has been swimming earlier herself, like a porpoise, but now she’s got her laptop out and she’s getting on with some work.

I think she’s probably a counselor or therapist, perhaps she’s a psychic or an agony aunt writing a column for a magazine.

She is self-possessed and emotionally grounded. She has done the self-development work herself, she knows what makes her tick. She is compassionate and equally brooks no nonsense. She will listen with love in her eyes and then tell you exactly what game you’re playing and suggest tools to help you get out of your bind.

The Queen might refer to a woman of your acquaintance in a reading, or may be a call to embody this kind of energy.

She holds the energy of inner work, of self-knowledge and self-exploration. For those of us exploring a mystical path she is a great ally to support us as we strengthen our intuition.

Exercise 91:

Take some time to explore your personality type to connect with Queen of Cups energy; perhaps start with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator or Enneagram; what does this bring up which resonates/ challenges you?

Seek to embody the Queen of Cups for others by practising active listening.

How can you fulfil the role of the Queen of Cups for yourself; how can you use your intuition to be your own guide?

Lesson 90 – Knight of Cups

How are you enjoying our trip to the seaside?

I hope you don’t have sand in your sandwiches; maybe later we’ll get ice-cream…

The Knight of Cups is the next member of the family who comes into view. He is a younger person. Likely in his teens or early twenties. He has brought some friends with him and they are out in the surf with body boards. Such larks.

There’s a feel of recklessness in this energy, a desire to be seen and also to push at boundaries. He looks like he’d be fun to hang out with, but maybe not always the most sensible of souls. He is John Cusack in the Sure Thing or Say Anything, hopelessly romantic.

As with the Page when you pull this card in a reading it could refer to someone of this age group in your life, or is a call to plug into this energy. In romance or relationships it could be a call to re-embrace the energy of young love, to be prepared to take risks.

It could also be a warning that someone you’re involved in is moving too fast, or throwing caution to the winds and a little temperance is needed.

If the Knight of Cups shows up in your reading you can be sure that things are going to get moving one way or another.

Exercise 90:

Watch a cheesy rom-com and see if you can spot the Knight of Cups.

Can you remember what it felt like the first time you fell in love, or discovered a passion in your life? Reconnect with that energy, feel how it moves through your whole being creating energy.

Write a dating profile for the Knight of Cups; who would they be looking for to partner with? What would be their key characteristics, strengths and weaknesses?

Lesson 89 – Page of Cups

Today our class is taking a trip to the beach. You hold the picnic blanket, I’ll bring the sandwiches. She has the chairs and he has the windbreak. It’s going to be epic.

To work with the court cards for the Cups we’re going to observe them on a family day out at the seaside.

The Page is the youngest. She is around four, or maybe seven. Not past the age of loving Christmas, not yet cynical. Full of energy, keen to explore.

See her now down at the shoreline with her toes in the waves, jumping over each as it comes in, then losing herself in collecting seashells or exploring rock pools.

The Page of Cups brings a child-like energy. We can read this card as referring to a child in our lives, perhaps we work with children, or have nephews, nieces or children of our own.

We can also read it as a call to embody and embrace this kind of energy. If we are feeling emotionally blocked or there is emotional heaviness this card calls us to reconnect with the spirit of playfulness.

Maybe we are looking for a new love, this card would suggest that we need to start by finding someone we can enjoy spending time with, someone who is happy to join us in a game of crazy golf or build a sandcastle with us.

When we are facing emotional challenges it asks us to keep it simple, remember what made us happy or brought us comfort when we were smaller humans and use that to get us through.

Exercise 89:

To connect with Page of Cups energy engage with any kind of water based activity; kayak, paddle, swim, take a bath with a rubber duck, have a water fight, go rockpooling, visit a local river or stream to watch wildlife, go pond dipping.

Lesson 88 – Ten of Cups

The end of the story. A family share a picnic beside a stream. A couple walk hand in hand into the sunset, or sit together in a bower.

This card reminds me of the end of the movie. The lovers finally admit how they feel and kiss, or get married. The struggling young intern gets a promotion. The team wins the prize.

It’s a classic happy ending. Perhaps even the kind we aspire to.

In a reading you might read about fulfilment, contentment, the sense that everything has come up roses, blessings are overflowing.

The ten brings us to the end of the pips for this suit. As the final card it is also the jumping off point for the next cycle. One season closes, another begins.

Nothing lasts forever.

While we may be in the happily ever after moment, I always wonder what happens next? That couple who we saw at the end of the movie getting married, what would life be like for them after the honeymoon, when the world gets back to normal? The family by the riverside, do they argue in the car on the way home?

We can relax and enjoy the Ten of Cups, and knowing it is only a moment makes the enjoyment all the sweeter.

Exercise 88:

Recall your “happy” moments; who were you with? How did it feel? Plug into this memory to help you understand this card.

How do you feel in one of these moments? How do you manage the ebb and flow of life’s joys and sorrows?

Is there an action you can take today to share the Ten of Cups feeling with others, make someone a cuppa at work? Gift a friend some flowers? Make a positive comment on someone’s post?

Lesson 87 – Nine of Cups

Today let’s raise a glass.

Look at how far we’ve come!

This card for me is one of contentment and completion.

In the traditional RWS deck a man sits with arms folded, nine golden cups arrayed behind him.  He looks successful.  He has his cups in a row, so to speak.  The hard work and challenges are overcome, for a moment all is as it should be.

In a reading this card speaks of emotional abundance, of having done the inner work and come, for a time, to a place of peace.  The journey made by leaving the eight and choosing a new direction has paid off.  For this moment you can rest.

As a nine it is the culmination of the three cycles of three journeyed through in the suit.  A completion, the circle closed.

Allow yourself a moment of celebration, gratitude, acknowledge the journey you’ve made, breathe into the wholeness of this space.

Exercise 87

Take an inventory of your journey to this point with tarot, and through life. Note the challenges you’ve faced, the obstacles you’ve overcome.

Now take a moment to decide what you’d like to come next; where would you like to go from here?  What comes next for you on this path?

If youre looking for a community to share your tarot journey with come and join our Facebook group.

Lesson 86 – Eight of Cups

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Today’s lesson finds us in the classroom tidying. We are getting near to the end of our foundation lessons now.

We have explored ways to approach reading the cards and travelled through the Major Arcana. We have visited with the Pentacles, Swords and Wands and are close to wrapping up our work with cups.

I remember the end of the year days in my classroom; the clearing. Emptying off display boards, gathering children’s work to be sent home or passed to the next year’s teacher. Sorting through dog-eared picture books, clearing out the hardened paintbrushes and tidying the wet playtime board games and puzzles.

The eight of cups reminds me of this energy.

I see figures walking away. They are leaving behind what they no longer need. Setting it aside. It has served its purpose. Their back is turned. In some cards the eighth cup is being taken, the choice of the seven has been made. They are heading away from the viewer, a journey begun, the decision made. A new direction.

In a reading this card asks us to walk away from the things in our lives which no longer serve us, to move out of the stasis and stagnation of the seven and embrace a fresh start. As an eight we have an echo here of the strength card, strength from within, facing and taming our fears, boldly going. To me this speaks particularly of unhelpful emotional patterns. It asks me to travel on unencumbered by these, to opt to set myself free from old stories.

Exercise 86:

What has served its purpose in your life?

This could be material possessions, habits or ways of thinking.

How can you move through your next choices to embrace the freedom of this eight?

What practical steps will you take to move ahead?

Lesson 85 – Seven of Cups

Today’s lesson brings us some choices. The seven starts the final triplet in the pip cards. In this position it presents a conflict or challenge to be resolved in these three cards. In the images I see:

  • a woman, a snake wrapped around her arm, face veiled, from a giant golden cup
  • six upright cups and one overturned I see
  • cups balanced around a house of cards, precarious, risky
  • a card depicting the morning that comes with choice, the inevitable sense of loss when we choose one door and close others
  • an array of fantastical cups presenting wonderful opportunities

Sometimes choice is challenging.  It can leave us stuck, wondering which way to turn.  What do we really want? What is our best option?  What will be the outcome? It can be hard to know this at the point at which we have to make our decision.

If you pull this card in a reading you may be facing hard choices, or temptation.  This is not the clear-cut decision making we might find in the swords; it is a choice that leaves us feeling churned up, paralysing us.  It’s a time to be mindful, giving ourselves the grace to make the choice from where we are now, not expecting ourselves to be able to know the results.

While making the choice may be difficult it does allow us to move forwards from a place of stagnation and onwards in our journey.

Exercise 85:

Try this spread to help you with any challenging decisions.

Decisions, decisions spread-1

Lesson 84 – Six of Cups

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After the challenges of the five we come to a place of completion, finishing this triad of cups cards.

In the six I see images of people sharing gifts and enjoyment.  There is an offering of flowers, a giant sparkling cup, I see two otters beside a pool in the Wildwood Tarot and a child swimming joyfully with a dolphin in the Textured Tarot; in the Sun and Moon Tarot two children splashing each other in a pool.

Traditionally this is seen as a card of “children”,  in the Rider Waite an older child gifts flowers to a younger one.  This can be the card of teaching, or sharing what you have grown with others.  For me it also carries themes of inner child, play, enjoyment, simple pleasures.

Can you remember what it was like to a be a child before you were self-conscious?  Can you remember sharing a new game with friends, explaining the rules?  Have you done this in adult life; shared the fruits of your labours and searching with others?  There is a joy in this, a sense of wholeness as the lesson you have integrated are passed on to nurture and encourage others.

In a reading I would consider the querent’s context and read accordingly.  Are they a parent? Does it point to their children? Do they work with children?  Is there a need to reconnect to a less complicated way of life?  Is there a need to find companions for sacred play, creative activities which bring life and joy?

Exercise 84

  • Find somewhere to paddle; a stream, lake, the ocean.  Take off your shoes and socks and wade in, allowing the water to pull you back to a time when you were younger.
  • What did you enjoy when you were a child?  Colouring or Lego?  Setting up a doll’s house or creating complicated scenes with your Fisher Price figures?  Modelling with plasticine or drawing with chalk?  Building a camp out of sheets under the dining room table?  What brings you that sense now? It might still be Lego or colouring!  Take an hour to enjoy a simple pass time.
  • What knowledge or experience do you have to share with others?  How can you pass on the fruits of your experience to support others on their journey through this life?