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?

 

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.