Practicum play

I’ve posted this in the Facebook group (come and join us!) but thought it would be worth putting it out here as well.

I thought I’d try a game of tarot consequences. Today I’m using the Everyday Witch tarot.

I pulled one card at a time until there were six…it went something like this:
“Bob, the world famous crystal ball reader,

Con 1

met Cassie, the famous game show star,

Con 2

at a yoga retreat in Boca Raton.

Con 3

He said ‘let me help you with all those brooms

Con 4

and she said ‘thanks because I want to practice my escapology’

Con 5

and the consequence was she found the force and became a Jedi”.

Con 6
It might feel a bit random at first, the idea is just to flow with what comes rather than worrying about traditional meanings. This would also make a great game for tarot practice with a partner, taking it in turns to pull cards. Have fun!

Lesson 63 – The King of Swords

We’re reaching the end of our journey through the swords today.  It feels like it’s been  a long path, with plenty of challenges along the way.  This card is the summation of the suit in one sense, the reason for the journey.  A card of mastery and competence.

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I’m using three cards today.  In the Rider-Waite Smith deck I see a man seated.  He is dressed in robes of pale blue, orange and purple.  His head is coverd with a read cowl and he wears a golden crown.  Beneath his feet is a patch of green grass which seems to be on top of a  hill or rise in the ground.  In his right hand he holds a sword.  Above his head, on the seat are carvings of butterflies.  In the background are trees and clouds.

In the Steam Punk tarot a man stands in front of a bookcase.  A sheathed sword is on the shelf behind him, as is a model ship and several large books or files.  A globe stands to his right.  In his hand he holds a ledger and a pen.  He is an older man and is looking out of the card at the viewer.

In the Green Witch tarot an older man sits at a table.  In his right hand is a knife, in his left a letter, sealed with wax,  on the table are papers, an ink pot and quill.  Behind him is a window with curtains open.  There are shelves stacked with parchments above the desk.

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These images speak to me of mastery, of power earned through hard work, of knowledge and wisdom.  They suggest to me success in business, public achievements, but well-earned and continually worked at.  I imagine this person (whatever gender) as perhaps a CEO of a company or an academic/ professor. This card in a reading would mean for me successful achievement in the sphere of learning or imagination, traditionally it might also represent an older man for you/your querent.  The King of Swords says to me, yes, I’ve done well, but I worked hard,  all the way up from the bottom, I persevered, I faced my doubts, my weaknesses, my shadows and came through it all, I’m proud of what I’ve achieved.

Exercise 63

  • Look at your card in detail.  Describe what you see, only the details, not your interpretation.
  • Now put yourself into the card.  You are the King of Swords.  Look at the scene around you.  How do you feel?  Imagine what has brought you to this point of success and confident competence.
  • Where in your life would you like to embody the King of Swords energy?

 

Lesson 62 – Queen of Swords

It’s the start of class.  We’re gathering, putting down bags, chatting.  A hush falls, as someone enters from the door at the back.  Heads turn,  she makes her way down the aisle, steadily, poised, graceful, if she catches your eye you’re both struck by her take-no-prisoners gaze and, just beneath it, a wicked, sharp humour.

Queen of Swords

Please bow, now, for the Queen of Swords.

This card is usually depicted as a female figure, often seated on a throne of some kind.  In the Gaian Tarot she is a seer, seated on a mountain top with a crystal bowl, in the Green Witch a woman with a knife trimming away dead flowers.  In the Steam Punk tarot she is seated side-on to the viewer, elegantly clad in a silken gown, her hand offered to a figure outside the scene to be kissed, but the giant sword clasped in her right hand suggests she is not someone you’d want to mess with, no siree. Her sword reminds me of the Justice card and I feel she brings some of this energy with her.  Similarly the figure in Two of Swords in the RWS deck (this Queen on a day trip to the seaside perhaps?).

The Queen of Swords is an energy to call on when needing to make choices, weigh options, and a card which challenges us to get out of our indecision and get on with it already.  In a reading she may represent someone else, male or female, who holds this energy for you, or she may be an indication that this energy is at play in your own life or the circumstances linked to your question.

I know a few people who would embody this figure; usually women in my experience, intelligent, often academics, an ability to think deeply and critically, yet also showing a creative flair in their thinking and life choices, breaking conventional “western” stereotypes of what it means to be a “woman” or “mother”.  A movie archetype for me would be Princess Leia or Eowyn in Lord of the Rings. Warrior queens.

Exercise 62

We’ve done this before but it’s a helpful way to get into the feel of the card.

  • Take your Queen of Swords card. Sit with it as you slow your breathing.
  • Now step inside in your imagination (a good air/ swords ability!).
  • What does it feel like here?  What is the temperature? What do you notice visually in the environment around you?  What can you hear or smell?
  • Greet the Queen (however s/he appears) respectfully.  Ask them what they have to teach you.  Listen within for the unexpected thoughts arising. Thank them for their wisdom.

 

Lesson 61 – Knight of Swords

Well this one is taking no prisoners.  She strides into class, slightly aloof, she’s wearing a T-Shirt from the last protest march she attended.  Welcome the Knight of Swords.

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In my cards this is usually an adolescent figure.  They may have books around them, they are likely holding a sword.  This to me feels a bit risky (my school teacher head is already thinking of health and safety and cautionary warnings).   In readings this card can represent a person of that age or it can indicate the energy of the Knight; charging forwards into action (sometimes a bit reckless but good at supporting us to clear blockages).

When I was preparing for this post I realised I know this knight.  Fourteen years old and already a head taller than me.  She is an activist, principled, thoughtful and reflective, if she’s not campaigning or attending a science fair she’ll have her nose in a book or be working on a project.  She can be a little intimidating but this comes because she is so certain of herself and her own values.

Knight energy is great to get us out of a rut, reminding us of our own warrior self (in the most positive sense) – fighting for justice, for equality, for the underdog, believing our actions make a difference and getting stuck in to bringing that into reality.

Exercise 61

  • When you were a teenager what were the topics which inspired you to action (e.g. animal rights, the enviornment, womens’ equality).
  • In visualisation meet this Knight and allow them to take you back to that time in your life, reconnect to your own “Knight” – what do they have to tell you and how can they help you in your life now?
  • If you feel inspired find a topic of concern to you now and get campaigning!

 

Lesson 60 – Page of Swords

There are a string of visitors for the next few lessons.  We’re welcoming them (of course) with tea and biscuits and enjoying some time spent in their company.

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On my cards this page is usually represented as a pre-teen child.  My favourite representation is in the Gaian Tarot, where a girl stands, surrounded by a whole range of butterflies.  One sits on her hand and she is entranced.

This mental absorption, this flow, comes when we are captivated by an idea.  Not in the frantic energy of overthinking, rather it is the river-rush of fascinating ideas.  Maybe you’ve felt it in a good museum, following your nose around the exhibits, wondering what treasure lies around the next corner, enjoying learning and exploring for its own sake.

The page reminds me of children I’ve worked with in the past (hence the cardboard boxes) – the girl who comes intently seeking more masking tape for her junk model rocket, the boy who pursues an insect around the playing field like a Victorian bug-hunter because he wants to watch it more closely, my own children when they were younger, absorbed in digging a hole in the garden to create a “base”.

This energy – seen in all the Sword court cards – can inspire us, motivate us, pique our interest, shift our perspectives and cut away old thinking, helping us release and move forwards.

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  • Think of yourself at “page” age…what fascinated and absorbed you?  Can you find a way to reconnect to this?
  • Make a baking soda volcano (Mentoes and Coke work too, though stand well back).
  • Watch ants at work.
  • Build a junk model (if you do this one please post a picture in the group!)
  • Hold a conversation in your astral space with this page…what does s/he have to teach you about your life now?

Feel free to stop by the group to share your tarot journey, ask questions and share your wisdom; be great to meet you.

Lesson 59 – Ten of Swords

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This card though.  Oh boy.

I’m starting the lesson with pictures of kittens and rainbows to settle everyone down, we’re all a little edgy.  There are no “bad” cards in tarot, cards are just cards.  But if you use them daily for any length of time you will come to know that this card often reflects challenging times.

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A figure lies, pierced by ten swords, presumably dead or dying.  The swords pin them down, trap them.  In several of my cards their face is turned away, we cannot see who the victim is.

It looks like a bad news card.  It looks like rock bottom.  This is it, here I am, pierced with many swords.  That’s it.  I give up.

If you pull this in a reading for someone else it will be important to be empathetic and listen, likely they are facing difficult times.  Have tissues ready.  If you pull this card for yourself take a deep breath, it will get better…give yourself time.

But there’s another side to this card to.  Drama.  I mean, ten swords?  It’s a bit over the top, surely.  One would be enough.  Time to take a good, long and honest-as-possible look at this situation and acknowledge the contributions we are making to our own flattened state…

Exercise 59

I don’t want you to do anything exciting right now, things will likely feel like a hot mess if you pull this card.  Instead practice some self-care rituals, make a to-do list – (number one, remove swords from back). Sit quietly with a hot drink.  Pull up the drawbridge.  Let the dust settle.

Then wash your face, brush your hair…we’re going to meet royalty.

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Lesson 58 – Nine of Swords

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Today we come to class tired, most of us haven’t slept, we are bleary, red-eyed, crumpled at the edges. We have been kept awake by dark thoughts and morbid meanderings in our minds. We tried to stop them; focused on our breath, got up to get a glass of water, or to read for half an hour. But the minute we turned out the light again they’re back; the night goblins.

The Nine of Swords. Also known as the nightmare card. I picked out these cards from six different decks, they all show a figure with heads in hands, usually in darkness, there are shadows and a sense of despair and fear.  Some show a candle.  A tiny pin-prick of light in the night’s gloom.  This is the image above all which strikes me today.  Even in the deepest darkness there is some hope.

The message I get from this card is initally bleak.  All the things which haunt our quiet, lonely moments, ganging up to scare us.  The freeze of fear, the paralysis and claustrophobia; trapped with no way out.

But we could look at it differently… A coach I worked with taught me about managing this kind of feeling. Your thoughts are racing, adrenalin pumping, stomach in knots, you can’t breathe. The walls are closing in like the trash compactor in Star Wars … She taught me to ground by focusing on my senses, one at a time.  What can you see? What can you touch?  Stopping as soon as you’re able for a snack and a drink can really help.  Moving your body to work off the excess adrenalin induced by unhelpful thoughts.

The night is always darkest, they say, before dawn.

” This, too, shall pass.”

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Exercise 58 – Grounding

How do you ground?  What exercises work for you?

If you don’t have a grounding practice, either for spiritual practice or when life gets a bit too much try one (or all!) or the following and see which supports you.

  • Practice body awareness.  What physical sensations do you have?  Is your mouth dry?  Your breathing shallow?  Can you help yourself by getting some water, breathing more fully?
  • Try this grounding exercise: Focus on five things you can see, four you can touch, three you can hear, two you can smell and one thing you can taste.
  • Find an open space with small flowers, such as daisies.  Pick one.  Sit and focus on it fully, noticing it as completely as possible.