Lesson 17 – The Chariot

Hey there lovely tarot types.  How are you doing today?  I hope today will bring you some sunshine in one form or another wherever and whenever you are.

Let’s begin.

Sit on your chair with your feet flat on the floor.  Breathe and imagine that breath making its way down your spine and into your seat, anchoring you in place.  Breath out.  Breath in again, securing yourself in place.  As you breathe allow the distractions of the day to drift away from you for a few moments.  Rest in this space for a while.

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I have been noticing an increasing number of synchronicities as I work with these cards.  Today I have a job interview.  Which to me reflects the energy of The Chariot.  For me this card is about taking control and having the skills to do so.  Life throws us curve balls on a regular basis, this card is about reaching into our tool kit and finding the resources to face them down and steer a course ahead.

My cards show a range of images, from the mermaid steering dolphins in Dame Darcy’s Mermaid Tarot to the man in a canoe in The Gaian Tarot; the Battle Wagon of the Green Witch Tarot or the flying carpet in the Accurate AF Tarot.  They all have a sense of movement, control, travel, decision, will.  The figures, where figures appear are purposeful, determined, some crowned with laurels for success.  I find a lot of tarot cards speak to my inner life and work, but this to me is a card for the externals, for bringing forth, through effort, a piece of work.

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Exercise 17

After you’ve recorded your key words and phrases sit back and imagine your life as a movie.

It’s one of those scenes where you’ve faced adversity,  maybe you’re in an office surrounded by chaos, or sitting on the sofa with a tub of ice cream after one challenge too many.  Suddenly the music in the soundtrack changes.  You look up, an idea written all over your face.  A montage follows as you take back control of your life, clearing out old cupboards, gathering uneeded possessions, dragging them off to goodwill, cleaning windows, painting a sign, sharing your venture with others…you get the idea.

Your task is to find your song for this montage, and play it loud today.  Drop by the group to share your song…  This is mine…

Tea break

Hey there lovely people.  I imagine you all trooping into class ready to learn. I want to encourage you today, and for the next few days, to get out there and play.

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Play with your cards, paint, sketch, find ways to bring the energy of your birth card or year card into your daily.  Or leave your cards on one side and break out the board games, or Lego, or bubbles, or playdough.

Most of all take some time to breathe.  The journey of the cards mirrors the journeys in our lives and allowing for the ebb and flow is everything.  Sending much love to you.

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Lesson 16 – The Lovers

As I’m writing this we’re approaching Valentine’s Day.  The shops are full of cuddly toys, red roses and boxes of chocolates.  This isn’t the kind of love that this card represents for me though.

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This can be a tricky card to work with, especially when reading for other people.  For a lot of people this is the card of “will I find my ideal partner?”  There’s a lot connected to that question.  Because finding the perfect partner for us often means a lot of our own work needs doing first.  It can be difficult to suggest that to people who are desperate to find love, and even more difficult to hear it…also you may notice that many of the “couples” appear to be heterosexual.  I find this jars somewhat.  For a series of blog posts on Queering the Tarot see here.

Overall though this is a positive card, a card of connection, completion, of passion and exictement.  What struck me looking at the cards this time was the word “entwined” the two snakes in the Eight Coins Tattoo Tarot, the couple in The Textured Tarot and The Accurate AF Tarot (I’ll post these pics on Insta). All entwined, wrapped up in each other.  Yin and Yang.  Complementary. Complete.

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As well as a card of “relationships” this is also, for me at least, a card of passions.  Imagine that excitement of falling in love, the heart-stopping thrill, the absorption, the risk, the late nights, the aching separations when one of you has to go and buy bread/ work/ travel overseas. Now shift that onto your interests/ work/ hobbies/ art.  This is the kind of passion.  What is it that lights you up like Blackpool Illuminations? What makes you shiny,  lights that inner flame that can’t be ignored?  This is what this card asks.

When you find that, hold it.  It doesn’t have to be a “huge” thing.  It doesn’t have to be a Henry Moore sculpture or the next Guggenheim.  It can be a killer lemon drizzle cake baked to perfection,  a rose tended and blooming, a child taught to write their name, a patient made to feel like they matter, a song written and sung as if you’re the only person in the world, a rescued cat, a piece of collage in your journal, a beautfully crafted silk tarot bag…any of these, all of these, and many more.  I have come to believe that our “life purpose”, our calling, our vocation, which this card speaks to, is us.  There will never be another like you.  To fully embrace and embody your you-ness.  That’s it.

Wow.

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Exercise 16

Write down your key words and questions.  Give yourself no more than three minutes…

Then reflect on the above…

How might you embody the passion of this card in your life?

(this may take a bit longer than ten minutes (like a lifetime) so not quite what I said at the start of class **winks**).

 

Lesson 15 – Numbers

A little break from the Major cards today.  I wanted to share a practice I’ve found helpful over the past few years and thought you might too.  This is a way of linking tarot with a little basic numerology work.

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Exercise 15.

For this lesson you will need:

  • Pens
  • Paper
  • Your deck

Ready to start?  You’re going to calculate your birth card(s) and also your personal year card for this year (currently 2019).  These are cards taken from the Major Arcana that have a particular “magic” and relevance in your life.

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Birth card to start with:

Write out your date of birth (I’m using the U.K. format but it will work in any order 😉

For instance for me that’s 13.02.1973

Now I add up all those digits: 1 + 3 + 2 + 1 + 9 + 7 + 3 = 26

Then I add those two digits = 8

This means that my birth card is number eight in the Major Arcana which for me is Strength.  This card has particular resonance for me as a “theme” for life, and the ongoing lesson of strength from within as opposed to strength in the external sense.

For this exercise The Fool is card number 22.

If you end up with a number that is between 11 and 22, you will have two cards (bonus!).

For instance if your birth date adds to 16 you would have The Tower and also The Chariot (1 + 6 = 7).

Now take some time to work out your birth card/s.  Sit with this. Does it resonate?  You might want to jot down any initial thoughts in your journal…as always take what’s helpful. And if you want to forget all the sums and pick a card for yourself which you connect with go for it!

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Your personal year card is worked out in a similar way.  For me this year it is The Moon

(1 + 3 + 2 + 2 + 0 + 1 + 9 = 18) and I decided to stick with this number rather than reduce it further (though The Moon and The Hermit do have a fair bit of connection…)

I hope you find this helpful, enjoyable and enlightening.

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Feel free to come and share your cards and what they mean and any questions in the group.

Lesson 14 – The Hierophant

Hello.  Thanks for being here today.  I like to imagine you in your place, cards by your side, beverage of choice steaming gently, stealing ten minutes from the bustle of the daily.  Well met, wherever you are.

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It’s the end of a working day and suddenly I realise I have spent most of it embodying this card.  In my day job I’m a tutor.  I realise that this is the “issue” I have with this card.  For me it is about school and work and being “serious”.  Rather like my reaction to The Emperor, I used to turn this card and hear a bell ring in my imagination, signalling the end of play time.  Line up now, no pushing, back into class, heads down, there’s work to do.

Gradually, though, I am beginning to see it in another light. In the Gaian Tarot and also the Steampunk tarot (see below – with apologies for picture quality, I had a cat “helping”)  teachers share wisdom in an open posture.  This gentle sharing of the soul self, of life’s experiences, resonates. The teacher as guide, pathfinder and holder of the light, as we find the road for ourselves.  A mentor who helps us uncover truth for ourselves, rather than one who presents us with a block of received “knowledge”.

The key thought for me from this card: tradition, passing on culture, wisdom, knowledge, learning, seeking a teacher, being a student, exploring what I have to teach, exploring what I have to learn and what might teach me e.g. what can I learn from my environment, unlocking understanding, initiation, accepting the baton as it’s passed to me.

Steam punk hierophant

[Image: The Steam Punk Tarot]

Exercise 14

After you’ve sat with your Hierophant a while ask him/ her what s/he has to teach you, and ask yourself what you are ready to learn?  You might like to see if you can unlock this through automatic writing or speak it to yourself in the mirror.  Note down anything which strikes you as particularly unexpected or exciting.  If you would like to, come and share a little of what you uncover in the group.

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[Image: The Gaian Tarot]

Lesson 13- The Emperor

A few notices if you’re jumping in here.  Feel free to scroll back to lesson one (Welcome) and work through these lessons at your own pace.  If you have any thoughts, questions or pics to share you’re welcome to come and join the Facebook group.  I’m producing this in early 2019 so if you’re joining then (now) there’s a good chance I’m still working on posts.  I’m aiming to post most days but, you know, life, so we’ll see.  If there are to be any major disruptions to service I’ll post in the group.  Also if you like what’s happening then please do share 🙂

Ok, tarot time, pass the Bourbon Creams and let’s get down to it.

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I’m feeling a little subdued in this lesson (like I’m waiting for a lesson observation)…this card does that to me.  The RWS version of this card is stern, an elderly king on a throne of stone, there is a sense of discipline and order. Play time is over, he seems to say, time to get on with it, you know what I’m talking about… Let’s not even go there with patriarchy (rolls eyes, grits teeth) but there’s that too. And then the fact that I always want to say the card name in a Yoda voice…anyway, I digress.

RWS Emperor

[Image: The Radiant Rider-Waite Smith]

After the beautiful and flowing energy of the High Priestess and The Empress we come to a strong masculine energy in this card.  Remembering that masculine in this context does not equal male or human male or any cis-normed definitions about gender.  Language can be tricky so I’ll explain how I see it.

I find it helpful to think, in this context, of feminine energy as the flow of water, creative, life giving, bounteous (also powerful, strong, forceful, destructive – imagine the stormy sea) while masculine energy is the container which holds the water, the river bank, the cup…we need both because without a container water will just spread out and evaporate, we need the container to give shape and, for me, this is what this card is about, the edges which help give our creative force shape and direction and the edges we put on life to get our stuff done and out there.

Hobbit The Emperor

[Image: The Hobbit Tarot]

Exercise 13

Working with this card today take some time to look at the image and if you can, compare a few different cards (I’ll post a few below too).

  • What strikes you – focus, power, strength?
  • What “props” can you see – a crown?
  • Are there any tools (for instance I can see a bow, a sceptre, a hammer?
  • How is the card named?
  • How does this card make you feel?  Is he angry, stern, happy, determined?
  • If you pulled this as your daily card what would it be “telling” you?

After you’ve written down your impressions and key words and made any creative response it may be helpful to think about your “containers”:

  • What gives shape and direction to your creative flow?
  • Do you have a job which provides boundaries in terms of time and structure?
  • Do you use planners, or take part in mentoring which helps you to find direction?
  • Where in life could you use boundaries to give you greater focus?

Horned God GWT

[Image: The Horned God]

 

Lesson 12 – The Empress

Morning class.  How’s it going?  How did you get on with The High Priestess?  I like to imagine that I’m spending time with these people on the cards.  What do they feel like?  I feel better when I’ve spent time with the High Priestess, but also a little bit unsettled, I can’t hide anything from her!

Today we are looking at another powerful female archetype, The Empress.

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[Image: The Wayfarer Tarot]

For me this is a card of the good mother.  It asks me to trust in the provision of the universe and also calls to my inner creatrix.

The words which arise when I look at his card:

  • nature/ natural
  • mother
  • abundance
  • harvest
  • cornucopia
  • flourishing
  • Thriving
  • pregnant (with possibility…)
  • creatrix
  • power with
  • graceful
  • tender
  • gentle
  • strong
  • nourishment

Reflection:

Provider, protector,  nurturing presence. She who nourishes, abundant, strong.  Power of nature, creative force, universal mother; my rock, my roots, my safe and sure homecoming.

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[Image: The Green Witch Tarot]

Exercise 12

Take your card/s.  Set it down in front of you.  Give yourself one minute to soak it in.

  • What colours do you notice on your card?
  • Are there any symbols?
  • Does anything jump into your mind, a memory, an emotion, a word?
  • If this woman/ person was talking to you right now what would she say to you? 

[Today’s decks were Dame Darcy’s Mermaid Tarot, The Gaian Tarot, The Green Witch Tarot, The Textured Tarot, The Wayfarer Tarot, The Wildwood Tarot]

 

Lesson 11 – The High Priestess

Welcome, make yourself comfortable, it’s good to see you.  Remember this is a self-paced course and lessons are aimed to take no longer than it takes to drink a cup of tea.  There is no time limit, no deadlines.  Take the journey at your own pace, enjoy the scenery, allow it to unfold in its own time.

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[Image: The Morgan-Greer Tarot]

Today…The High Priestess. I love this card.  She is beautiful, composed, serene.  She looks at you with complete certainty, a look that goes straight to the heart, the soul’s centre.  For me The High Priestess is about the sacred feminine, about deep wisdom and inner knowing. This is a card of challenge and calling. Sitting as the guardian between the conscious and the unconscious, a wisdom keeper, wise woman, seer, prophetess.  Queen Esther, the Prophetess Miriam, Mary Magdalene.  There are women in modern times who embody this for me too, the poet Mary Oliver was one of these.

When I turn this card in a reading it’s time to explore my intuitive skills, to listen for that “inner voice” and follow its promptings, to use cards or runes or crystals for some divination, to meditate, and listen.  It is also a reminder that the answers are already here, I just need to be quiet enough and be open enough to let them in.

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[Image: The Wayfarer Tarot]

 

Exercise 11:

Remember this is your path, my comments are just by way of a sign post.  None of what I see or say may reflect in your own experience.  Use your notes for your own thoughts and ideas and as an ever-evolving companion in your tarot journey.

When I look at these cards the thoughts which come to mind are:

Stillness, composure, wisdom keeper (often holding a scroll), the moon, intuition, transition, gateway, initiation, balance of light/ dark, conscious/ unconscious, challenge

Reflection:

Poised between shadow and light, known and unknown, calling to the soul’s deep, holding the space with wisdom’s grace, guarding the gateway to the labyrinth of your own initiation.

Journal questions:

  • How do I connect with my intuition/ inner wisdom?
  • How confident am I to act on this guidance?
  • How do I get quiet enough to “listen”?
  • Who in my life experience embodies this High Priestess energy?
  • How/ where do I embody this?

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[Image: The Eight Coins Tattoo Tarot]

[Decks used for today: The Morgan-Greer Tarot, The Gaian Tarot, The Wayfarer Tarot, The Eight Coins Tattoo Tarot, The Sun and Moon Tarot]

Lesson 10 – The Magician

Good morning.  Settle down with your mug and take a few deep breaths, phew it’s crazy out there…

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Notices first.  Someone raised this in the group (for which I’m really thankful, because I had forgotten to mention it…) reversals.  Reversals are where you read cards when they are upside down.  So if you turn up three cards and one is reversed it’s possible to read this.  It’s not exactly the opposite of the card meaning, more like a contrary energy.  This post tells you more.

I am still making my mind up about reversals.  To start with I didn’t read them at all.  I currently don’t read them when I read for other people.  But I am starting to read them for myself.  I did a course with Colette Baron-Reid a couple of years ago and her oracle card systems use reversals as a key part of they way the operate, so when I use her cards I read reversals.  In short you can read them if you want to.   If you’re just starting out I would say get confident with the deck and reading “right way up” before you shift your practice to include reversals but it’s completely up to you. Some days you might feel like reading them some days the dynamics between the cards in your spread will feel like more than enough.

Secondly a note on this journey through the deck.  I’m not using guidebooks when writing about the cards.  You can, of course, and I have used guidebooks in the past and will in the future.  There are loads of great books out there and I will pop a list up of my favourites at some point, however for the purpose of this class I’m just sitting with the cards and seeing what comes up.  This might be something generic, or it might be how much that character’s cloak makes him look like a Jedi.  We’ll see how it unfolds…

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Exercise 10

For today I looked at five different Magician cards and these were some of the words and phrases which came out and things I noticed:

  • The elemental tools on the altar/ table
  • Eye contact
  • Focus
  • Determination
  • Intention
  • Hands
  • As above, so below
  • Infinity symbol
  • Energy
  • Creating
  • Power
  • Clothing

Reflection:

Gather, a cup, a wand, a bag of earth.  Light the candle and raise your hands to the sky.  This is the beginning.  Draw in, the power of the earth, of the oceans and stars.  Create the space, the place, where heaven and earth meet with you, meet in you.  Clear in you mind, clear in your vision,  you birth your magic into the world.

Some thoughts:

  • Where can you embody focus and intention in your life today?
  • What helps you to create the space to weave your own “magic”?
  • Who do you know who captures this sense of focused power?
  • Have you thought about using the four elements in your daily practice?  What would you choose to represent them?

[Decks used today: The Gaian Tarot, The Green Witch Tarot, The Textured Tarot, The Wayfarer Tarot and The Wildwood Tarot).

Lesson 9 – The Fool

Howdy card-slinging superstars.

From here on for a while we’ll be working through the deck, taking a card per lesson.  This is mostly going to be down to you, but for this round at least, as I’m creating the class, I’ll be doing this too.

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This is a space for you to create your own understanding of each card.  I find that with some cards I have an immediate connection, I just “get it”.  Others are less straightforward for me, and I have to allow the meaning to grow.  Just take the process as it unfolds and allow it to be an evolving journey.

I am not a visual artist but I do like working with words so I will offer a brief reflection and perhaps some journal questions for each card, then it’s down to you.  Take a page per card in your journal.  Record the card you’re working with and then anything else which rises; you might sketch images, jot down quotations or songs which spring to mind, note key words.  You can work with your guidebook and note any phrases which jump out at you…and if you have more than one deck (**raises hand #cardaddict) then you may want to look at the card in each deck comparing and contrasting the images, symoblism and feel of the cards…and if you’re able to share your images in the Facebook group then you can compare them with other people’s cards 🙂

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Today we’re starting at the beginning of the Major Arcana.  Sit for a moment.  Imagine the journey before you.  Take a deep breath…

0 – The Fool

Ready, now, for the next step

New adventure, the unknown path

Stepping out with bold hope into a

fresh beginning

Trusting to the journey

Journal prompts for reflection:

  • Who is the person in the Fool card?
  • What do you want to ask them?
  • What do they have to teach you?
  • What are your key words for this card?
  • What symbolism do you notice in your deck?