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?

 

Lesson 8

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Today we’re going to talk about daily cards.  As with everything else this is optional.  You might want to include this in your tarot practice.  You might find you do it some days and other days don’t have the time, or inclination. Please remember that tarot is a tool for you to use in a way that works for your good and this class is aimed at helping you find your path with tarot. 

I use daily cards and I find them really helpful.  The way I work is usually to light a candle, take a few deep breaths and draw my energy in so I’m actually present.  Then I shuffle my deck and ask in my mind what I need to know about today.  I draw my card, look at it, reflect (briefly) on what it might mean or what I might want to be conscious of, jot down which card I pulled.  I leave my card on my altar for the day so I see it when I’m back later. Then I blow out my candle and go about my day.  For me this takes about five minutes, usually around the time I’m getting ready for work.

I find it helpful to take the image and energy of the card into the day and see if I can notice it.  Sometimes I do, sometimes not.  For instance I might see a street performer with a drum, and that might remind me of the image of the magician in The Gaian Tarot.  Or I might see some friends laughing together in a coffee shop or pub and that reminds me of the Three of Cups. Equally I might set off somewhere unknown for work and remember that I am The Fool on my journey through life…so the cards inform my life and then my life informs my understanding of the cards (neat).

A health warning

Some cards in tarot have a traditionally bad rap.  I’m thinking specifically about Death and The Devil, though there are others too.  Cards, for me at least, are very much about the underlying meaning.  So the Death card is about change, and about the cycle of release and rebirth.  The Devil for me is about being trapped, and even that mindset which chooses to be trapped, what is keeping me chained up? Where am I allowing my patterns to hold me back? Where am I falling into “victim” mentality?  So if you pull one of these (or any other “dramatic” looking card) please don’t take it as a gothic portent…take a deep breath, look at your guide book and ponder.

Or you can just put it back in the deck (**winks) and leave it for another day.  Go gently x

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Exercise 8.

We already talked about tarot rituals so you might like to link your daily cards (if you do them) with your tarot ritual and creating sacred space.  There are lots of options and the way you work will probably evolve as you do.  That’s life, right?

Jotting down your daily cards is a good way to notice if there are any themes coming up for you, for instance around the time I left my last full-time job there were lots of cards like The Tower, The Hanged Man and The Wheel of Fortune. If you’ve got any questions or thoughts drop by the group to share them, I’m usually lurking around near the biscuit tin 🙂

Lesson 7

No class today; no input from me at any rate!

Exercise 7.

Use your time today to play with your cards.  Grab some friends a create a three dimensional freeze of the Three of Cups or the Six of Wands.  Pick three cards at random and make up a story about what is going on.   Choose a card and write a poem about it.

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If you have longer you might want to draw, paint or collage your version of a card, or embody it’s energy e.g. do some gardening (Seven of Pentacles) or practice and refine a hobby or work skills (Seven of Wands).

Take today (and as many other days as you need) to allow the work you’ve done so far to filter through, to coalesce.  As your friendship with your cards deepens you will begin to get a “feeling” or “sense” of them which permeates into the rest of life. Have fun!

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Lesson 6

Morning.  Notices first (settle down at the back there…) here is the promised grounding exercise. This is for after your tarot work.  It’s super simple but gives you an idea and a tool until you’re happy doing this for yourself.

Next a reminder that this is self-paced, come as you are course.  Lessons are aimed to be around ten minutes for the basic content, although you can take longer with exercises if you have the time :-).

If you want to share photos, ideas, questions, reflections then please come over and join the Facebook group.

Wonderful, let’s begin.  We’ve had a quick look at the Major Arcana and began talking about the Minors in the last lesson.  Today I want to talk about the court cards.  The courts are generally considered some of the most difficult cards to read.  They can be viewed in different ways.

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You can consider the courts to represent someone of that age in your reading.  For example, say you’re doing a reading about work and a King card comes up, you might think of your boss (because obviously it’s 1950 and all bosses are men who say “doll” a lot and wear fedoras).  Or you might be doing a reading about relationships and a Queen card comes up that might be your best friend/ future lover/ significant woman in your life.  A Page might indicate your child or a young person in your life, a knight a teenager or young adult.  You get the idea.

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I tend to look at the Courts as representing an energy.

  • Pages are child-like and I link these to my inner-child aspect.
  • Knights are full of energy and enthusiasm but have  a tendency (as can be seen on  the RWS decks) to go charging into action or get lost in dreams of greatness, so a caution is to stay grounded.
  • Queens have a collected inner wisdom, a togetherness, as well as some of the “feminine” nurturing energy,  they often remind me of priestesses I have known or the divine mother aspect.
  • The Kings are the strong, “masculine”, directed, external, focussed energy of their suit.

Each court card carries the energy of the suit.  My favourite courts are those in Joanna Powell-Colbert’s Gaian Tarot which move right away for the gender norms of the traditional RWS and focus on energies and archetypes.  Beautiful and relatable to life as I experience it.

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Exercise 6

I first learned about the court cards in The Alternative Tarot course.  This course encouraged me to imagine them as people.  What kind of person would that be?  If you met them at a social event, what would they feel like?  Enthusiastic? Aloof? Would they be easy to talk to?  How would they interact with each other?

  • Today pull out the sixteen court cards.
  • Have a look at them.  Compare the images, what is the same, what’s different?
  • Read a few of the descriptions in your guidebook, is that someone you could get on with?  What might they have to teach you?
  • You might want to have a cup of tea with one of them…Say the Queen of Cups…I bet she’d have a whole string of incredible romances to tell you about, as well as all that aid work she did overseas, great stories!
  • Then come and share your first impressions in the group.

 

Lesson 5

Hey and hello.  It’s a grey day here so time for snuggling down under a blanket with a mug of something hot…

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For today’s lesson we’re going to consider the elements in tarot and set a practical which will get help us connect with these.

The Minor Arcana in tarot consists of fifty-six cards split into four suits.  These are generally know as pentacles (or coins), swords, wands and cups.  Each of the suits has ten pip (number) cards and four court cards (the page, knight, queen and king).  Sometimes decks use different names for the suits or the courts but they will correspond to the above “labels”.

Each suit traditionally has a link to one of four elements (earth, air, fire and water) and one of the four cardinal directions.  

These are as follows:

Pentacles – Earth – North

Swords – Air – East

Wands – Fire – South

Cups – Water – West

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The elemental system is a way of understanding the world.  There are also astrological links with the elements and you might like to look up your sign to see which elements feature large in your own sign/s.  I find them a helpful way of understanding myself.  I am an air sign, this means I can be very “heady” with lots of thinking and ideas.  My other big element is water which means I can be intuitive and also feel emotions deeply.  I have a little of the earth element, I can be practical and grounded thought this is an area I need to work on, and my “lowest” element is fire, meaning I need to take good care to stoke and tend my inner hearth to give me the energy for life. If you’d like to share your findings (and it is totally optional) pop over to the group for a chat 🙂

Exercise 5

Elemental connections – get out and about and experience the elements.  You could try some of the following:

  • Build a bonfire or light a candle to connect with fire.
  • Look for feathers or blow bubbles for air.
  • Get digging in the garden or build a sandcastle or lie down on the ground to connect with earth.
  • Paddle in the sea, take a bath, go to visit a river or stream or just have a long drink to connect with water.

These are just ideas to get started, whatever inspiration strikes you is good.

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If you have extra time (!) and want to do some additional tarot play you could lay out your minor cards and see if you can spot the elements as they show up in each card.

Please take pictures of what you’re doing and come share them in the Facebook group.  Remember this is a self-paced course so if you are in a different place to everyone else that’s fine, there are no deadlines, tests or papers just some ideas as you explore your tarot journey.

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Lesson 4

Hello and welcome back.  How’s it going?  Let’s review the journey so far: you have your cards, you’ve decided on your rituals and you’ve had a chance to connect with and “interview” your deck.  We’ve also touched on a brief overview of tarot including the Major and Minor Arcana.

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Today we’re going to dive a little deeper into the Major Arcana.  The Major Arcana is traditionally seen as telling the story of the Fool’s journey (the card above shows the Everyday Witch Tarot version).  The Fool represents the querent (that’s you or me, or the person we’re reading for).  The cards show the journey through one cycle of life from new beginnings through archetypal figures which guide and influence us, into relationships, life changes and challenges and the transformations that these bring within us.  The journey culminates with The World a card of completion, the closing of the circle.

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My input on this is going to be limited because I want you to get hands-on.  If we had a physical classroom you’d be doing this in groups and there’d be a deal of laughter and conversation going on. In the absence of that please imagine that spirit of cooperation and shared learning.  I’ve created a Facebook group for “classroom” chats and sharing, please come and say hello and share what you’re discovering.

Exercise 4

First, you’re going to pick all the major cards out of your deck.  Have a look at them one at a time and then set them out, try three rows of seven.

Next, you’re going to tell yourself (out loud if at all possible) the story of the fool’s journey.  For instance it might go something like, “One day Wilma the Witch was feeling happy, life was full of possibility as she prepared to set out on her new broom.  As she swooped and swished around the forest she came across a Magician..” it doesn’t have to be fancy, or serious.  Tarot is a wonderful tool and can bring huge shifts in personal growth and offer divine insights.  But it should also be fun.  Keep that lightness.  Play is an excellent space in which to create and learn.

Now see if you can see if you recognise any of the cards as things you’ve experienced in your own life.  For instance The Tower, to me, stands for those completely out-of-the-blue blindside experiences that turn life on it’s head,from the niggling daily like the burst pipe or the sick pet, to the health issue which leads to a complete change of life path…

Jot down any revelations, and come and share your findings in the group 🙂