Weekly Tarot Reading for Oct. 13-20th 2015: The Tower, Knight of Cups, and King of Cups

The Tower, Knight of Cups and King of Cups from the Radiant tarot deck

The Tower, Knight of Cups and King of Cups from the Radiant tarot deck

I’m not sure why I’ve been pulling 3-cards lately…the knight of cups sort of made me curious about where he was taking that cup….

Sometimes, shit happens, you know? Sometimes the universe comes along and gives us a jolt. A jolt that shocks us into the heart, as indicated by the two cups cards that come right after. The Tower gets rid of all that is unnecessary so that it clears a path for what you do want. I’m wary of using the terms ‘fate,’ but there are some events that happen from without that show us where we need to be headed for long term happiness, although always a choice to take up such opportunity. The tower can also show up as sudden insights, and flashes of genius. It makes sense- the new moon in Libra is making an aspect to Uranus – planet of genius, innovation, the shock factor, the iconoclast. In which case I would encourage you to follow up on those inspired ideas.

The cups that follow the Tower show us where the flashes of insight are directed at – the heart, relationships, those things you lovingly devote yourself to. The knight of cups is in service to a the King of Cups, the knight being the messenger of loving, inspired, divine insight to the King. Perhaps the King has something to ponder, adding to a more mature, loving mindset, filled with more depth and beauty, deepening his relationship to himself and others. So that we become an authority of our own emotional/intuitive faculties. Of our own artistic pursuits.

Let the universe shock you onto a more soulful path. Let old egoic structures fall away allowing you to move forward with a more vulnerable open heart. Such shocks may not always be easy, but almost always worth the initial chaos.

Seen on a T-shirt in Shanghai, courtesy of Carrie Sanders.

Seen on a T-shirt in Shanghai, courtesy of Carrie Sanders.


Weekly Tarot Reading for Sept 22-29: The Hanged Man and 5 of Cups

Hanged Man and 5 of Cups - Rider Waite tarot deck

Hanged Man and 5 of Cups – Rider Waite tarot deck

This week’s weekly reading made me take pause, in much the same way The Hanged Man functions – stillness and reflection.  While this combination seems straightforward – let go and feel your loss – with the Hanged Man, we have something a bit more….complicated.

As an aside, this combination produced a divine earworm, a cheesy one hehe.  It was Steve Winwood’s hit song “Higher Love.”

I could light the night up with my soul on fire
I could make the sun shine from pure desire
Let me feel that love come over me
Let me feel how strong it could be

Bring me a higher love
Bring me a higher love
Bring me a higher love
Where’s that higher love I keep thinking of?

Ah, the Hanged Man is all about surrendering to that divine, ecstatic love.  Thanks intuition!

We live in a world of duality, as indicated in the bible’s notion of “the heavens” and “the earth,” the “flesh” and the “spirit.”  This seems simplistic enough.  Sometimes we are attracted and follow paths of the spirit, and something we gravitate to the path of the flesh, and sometimes what is corporeal is sacred, and sometimes those invisible things are less than holy.

The Hanged Man calls for shifting your perspective on an overarching energy in your life that causes disappointment / no longer works (indicated by the 5 of cups).  The Hanged Man is about being irresistibly drawn to things that are otherworldly.  That are holy, if you will.  It calls for you to sacrifice something for the greater good – for your own life, and for those of others, so that divine order can flow once more.  There are times in life where we have to shift our center of gravity, what was good yesterday, no longer seems good today.  Our perceptions, if one is aware enough, usually evolve over time, and with that, we must let go of ideas and patterns that no longer serve us.  We can know what needs shifting by noticing where you find TENSION in your life (that man is deep in tension, and enlightened my friend) .  Card 12 suggests that what you’re searching for is something of a higher, more spiritual view of your life.  The idea that each tension is actually a gift to draw us closer to that which is divine.  Not bad!

Astrologically, The Hanged Man is ruled by Neptune – a planet all about the unseen, higher planes of reality, faith, dissolution (it likes to dissolve), spirituality.  It is currently squaring Saturn in Sagittarius, planet of structure, in the sign of philosophy, wisdom, optimism and truth.  My take is that there are certain dogmas, ways of seeing things that are in need of dissolution.  A truth you held in your life may no longer stand the test of time, and may need to dissolve, and vice versa, maybe a new idea will change your view on life where there was only fog.  With the square, we have a place of tension between concrete/crystallized ideas, and Neptune’s spiritual watery woo woo stuff.  I guess we’ll have time to resolve this tension because this applying square will be with us for awhile.

So let’s look at the 5 of Cups.  The 5 of cups is asking us to mourn what no longer works for us.  It is ruled by Mars in Scorpio.  Mars is an active principle in astrology.  It is yang energy, it is a personal planet.  The 5 of cups is asking you to plumb the depths and feel your loss.  It’s essential and healthy.  Mourn it.  Put on a bunch of black and go to town with your mourning – cry, get it OUT, Mars says, I’m thinking those Sicilian ladies with veils.

Use the lessons that Saturn in Scorpio taught you…chances are Saturn in Scorpio revealed the thing you needed to let go of to begin with.

The Hermit Reversed: “Better get to livin'” — Dolly Parton

The Hermit - Card 9 of the Major Arcana

The Hermit – Card 9 of the Major Arcana

By Carrie Sanders

The card is colorless.  A white bearded man climbs a mountain in the darkness, with only a lantern lighting his way.  He is hooded and bent, considering each step carefully.  He is alone save for a small snake at his feet, a symbol of transformation and the shedding of skin.  He holds a staff and proceeds carefully, only guided by the small light emanating from his lantern.  This is a card of solitude, maturity, and finding one’s way in the darkest hours. As with most reversals, the reversal of this card does not denote the opposite of the upright meaning, but rather that the symbolism of the card may not be working for you anymore.  The Hermit Reversed suggests to me that time for contemplation and reflection may no longer be what’s best. It’s an invitation to rejoin the world and live among the living once again.

It’s been 9 months since I was pulled out of my old life by the roots and the recurring card I pull in my readings is the Hermit Reversed. I had been plodding along the Hermit’s path for too long, and was lonely, sad, and stuck.  I was projecting despair-once even my name autocorrected to “carry sadness.”

This reversal is a welcome invitation.  I feel as though I have been operating from the smallest, safest place imaginable for the last months.  I have retreated far more than what is naturally comfortable for me. I need my people. I am a natural external processor, which could be considered refreshing or extremely irritating depending on the sensibilities of my audience.  I recall a chef I worked alongside yelling at me in frustration; “Can you quit the fuckin commentary already?”

I have embodied the Hermit for a very long time now.  I was surprised how much I retreated into myself, but truthfully I was depressed to the point of tedium and starting to resent anyone else’s good fortune.  I was negative energy, bad juju, a cautionary tale.  Going within by choice was better that alienating myself away from the waning compassion of friends and family.  I was starting to get the message that it had been long enough- why was I still sad/angry/anxious/undecided about my future plans?

Even though well-meaning people have tried to advise me on the best way to get out from under a heartbreak, nothing seems to soothe me like the hibernative quality of the Hermit.  I rejected all attempts to cheer me, from the formulaic “for every year you were together you grieve for 3 months”  to “Just be grateful you didn’t have children” (heartbreaking- we tried throughout what were probably the last good years of my fertility) to the advice a friend gave me when I was tearfully packing my boxes in Shanghai “Get high!  Get so high!  See new dick!”, a prospect that made me shudder with revulsion.  (Full disclosure; I did try the stoner treatment in the Netherlands.  I got high, so high, ate a shameful amount of junk food and couldn’t follow the storyline of the Dr. Phil show.  Can’t say it helped my mental health in any measurable, long term way.)

The Hermit Reversed suggests it may be time to be vulnerable.  Early experiments with Tinder play out like “To Catch a Predator.” Discovering that a man who does not speak a common language with me is willing to drive 3 hours in the middle of the night to meet me does not impress, it terrifies. I am depressed by the bold demands from the hot-blooded men of the Malopolskie region to show my tits or meet RIGHT NOW.   But looking within is done, my Hermit torch has faded and it’s time to regenerate that light through interaction.

The Hermit, from the Wild Unknown tarot deck

The Hermit, from the Wild Unknown tarot deck

My reflective time has changed me, though.  In the past months I have cut more people out than invited in.   Am I isolating more or is this a new maturity and discernment based on experience?  As the Bible says: “Be wise like a serpent and gentle like a dove.”  Perhaps that is another purpose of the serpent at the Hermit’s feet.  With introspection comes wisdom, and if I have learned anything this year, it’s that when your reptile brain starts sending up red flags and fight or flight instincts, you need to believe it.  I am reminded by a passage by Jacqueline Hart from her book, Damage.  “Damaged people are dangerous.  They know they can survive.”

I am well and truly coming into my full power as the Queen of Swords now- as quoted by Juliet Sharman-Burke “Traditionally the Queen of Swords represents a woman who has experienced sorrow, or who may be alone through widowhood, divorce or separation.  She may have loved and lost but believes she will live to love again, and all in the meantime bears her pain with courage and resignation.”  Not only that- but optimism, grace, and wisdom.

Reflections on The Chariot and the New Moon in Cancer

The Chariot from the Rider-Waite tarot deck

The Chariot from the Rider-Waite tarot deck

I dunno about you,  but I find myself a bit unmotivated and lethargic these days, perhaps it’s Saturn in Scorpio, the stifling heat of my apartment, my Millennial disposition, all of the above. Anyway, as we inch closer towards the New Moon in Cancer, I find myself reflecting a lot on the Chariot card. Seriously, tossing and turning just before waking up, this card has been on. My. MIND. I believe my subconscious has a message for me in this card and hope to integrate card 7’s elements fully as I go through this period of 4 of cups ‘meh!’

I must admit, the Chariot card has always baffled me. There’s so much symbolism – black/white sphinxes, moons, stars, helmet, shapes, that lingam/yoni red top thing? – I don’t even know where to begin. and where are the charioteer’s reigns? What are those Annunaki symbols on his skirt!? too much magic, TOO MUCH MAGIC! There’s just so much mystery.

I imagine the mystery contained in this card will help me unlock the mystery of my own inertia. It’s my intention anyway, and the written word is powerful. Join me on this possibly,hopefully victorious journey as I attempt to gallantly (in true charioteer fashion) clear my psychic deck from this opioid-like sloth.

The first thing I notice on this card is this dude on the chariot – clearly not struggling. His face appears to be in “total control.” Perhaps he’s coming back from a victorious battle. He has a scepter in his right, masculine hand, signifying rulership and attainment. His left hand calm and receptive. This man does not command through external influence (the reigns you might see on a ‘normal’ charioteer), he rules/directs with his enlightened (signified by his bedazzled helmet) mind.

And what about the Sphinxes? Truly these mythological creatures are the embodiment of mystery, filled with riddles, guardians of important places. I always thought the symbol of the sphinx in card 7 represented one’s emotions and subconscious. I mean, the emotions and the realm of the subconscious are mysterious places that, if allowed to run amok, if accessed haphazardly, may ruin lives , depending on one’s vices (think Oedipus). When harnessed correctly (as the charioteer) the subconscious holds the key to psychic wholeness.

Which brings us to that shape over his heart? A square. the square is a representation of the material world and organization. Think the domain of the emperor. It is no mistake that the charioteer has a square emblazoned over his heart – this man has achieved mastery over his emotional faculties – his heart’s desires in accordance within material reality.

The Chariot itself could be a representation of the body itself, the star canopy symbolizing our own divinity. So we have a troika – the mind, body, and with the sphinx, the spirit. All seem to be “in control,” or balanced, as if there was a unity of purpose, the driver perfectly poised and confident. #GOALS

The Thoth tarot deck assigns The Chariot to the astrological sign of Cancer. Cancer is a cardinal ( cardinal signs are usually ambitious, active signs as they signal the start of a season) water sign that heralds the beginning of summer (the solstice). Cancer is also ruled by the moon, which goes through the signs roughly ever three days, change change change ever moving, slowly attaining emotional control, an eventual personification of the moon itself – a satellite. I think the charioteer triumphs because he intrinsically knows that emotions are never a constant, that everything is subject to change, and we must keep moving. There are forces from without that influence our lives, and we must understand that and live in accordance to influences both within and without.

Whenever I encounter cancer individuals, they always seem obsessed with the material world, and their mastery of it. Most I’ve met do incredibly well financially, yet maintain a connection to the world of spirit and art, all with this befuddling attachment to material things and pragmatic sense of our time being limited on this planet.

The Chariot - A collage via http://randoymwords.tumblr.com/

The Chariot – A collage via

It’s sobering to say the least, cancers people are always a wake up call for me to sort of live in this material reality, and usually provide pragmatic solutions for how to live soulfully on this planet. The evolved ones anyway.

As we approach the new moon, perhaps we can all reflect upon how we can master our emotions and utilize our personal power on this planet. Especially as the moon opposes Pluto (planet of power and transformation, dark grottoes and The Shadow). The moon is acting as faithful watcher in the sky, imploring you to look at the intrinsic message in the archetypal energy of Card 7, a card of contradiction, determination, movement, power, self-mastery; all keys to help bring your desires manifest on this Earthly playground. Pay attention.

High Priestess Musings: Wondering About Nuns

By Carrie Sanders

The High Priestess has secrets to tell - Rider Waite tarot deck

The High Priestess has secrets to tell – Rider Waite tarot deck


I live across the street from a convent in Krakow and nuns cross my path daily.  They usually travel in pairs, chatting in whispery front-of-the mouth Polish.  I have seen them at the corner Jubilat, weighing strawberries, selecting canned goods, and once, to my delight, briskly sorting through a bin of bras.  They are all ages, but even the youngest ones seem ancient and seem transported from the Old World in their habits and plain faces.  I am fascinated by them to the point of impoliteness, peering into their shopping carts and straining to hear their voices.

I wonder what they think of the salon next door that advertises “Lipo-shock!” and gel tip nails.  I wonder what the reaction would be if, like me, they were told by a dermatologist that “your face is starting to slip from the architecture of your face.”  I wonder if they worry about their teeth crowding or suddenly noticing a vinegary smell to their skin after a walk in hot weather.  I wonder if they see their wrinkles as a mark of another year- a gift from God- and nothing more.  Do they think about their ovaries withering and the monthly reminders of what will never be?  Do they just grow old together and laugh as their bodies fall apart behind those cloistered walls?

How does a nun spend her nights? I imagine a big room with iron framed single beds like an 18th century orphanage, a white gowned virgin snoring softly under each wool blanket. I wonder if, sometimes, one of the sisters across the street is awake in the worrying hours. Does she imagine their own personal version of Christ holding her in His arms and stroking her hair until she is lulled into sleep like a Sunday morning cat? Does she imagine the calming warmth of Him against her back?  Would this pleasure even occur to her?

I wonder if they get jealous of their sister wives needing their shared heavenly husband more- or less- than they do.  I wonder if they get stuck in the awful conditional tense of the lovelorn, “If He loved me as I thought He did, why do I hurt so bad?”  Do they feel lost, unloved, or cheated by the partner they have chosen for life?  In effect, are some of them in bad marriages and too afraid of the consequence of breaking the commitment and starting anew?

Or are the virgin crones in the Siostry truly called and constant in their devotion?  Are they secure in their purpose while the rest of us women worry about our neck skin?  What do they make of me walking by, phone in hand, unfocused and distracted as I make my way down the road we share?

Bet on Yourself: a Scorpionic Odyssey.

Death and Sun tarot cards – an invitation to transformation and clarity of purpose. Morgan-Greer tarot deck.

By Carrie Sanders, a Gemini

To put it bluntly, these past six months have been an endless buffet of shit. It all started last year on the solar eclipse in Scorpio. Seedy, scorpionic secrets revealed is probably an understatement. I am full to bursting with feelings of injustice, failure, anger, and anxiety. I am not sure if it’s the stars or cards, but the grimy lunch lady of life keeps ladling heaping helpings of pain on my plate. It’s enough to make me push back from the table and adopt a kind of anorexia to life. I would rather not have anything at all, thank you very much. It’s preferable to the emotional binge and purge of not quite digesting my emotions and spewing negativity back into the world. That’s terrible for your body and soul- bulimics die of heart attacks.

There is a great Fred Rogers quote that has been in my mind lately: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” I am looking for the helpers now; people who have already taken their pain and transformed it into wisdom, art, or service to others.

Finding people with pain is the easy part. I have lived abroad for most of my adult life in places like Eastern Europe where people my age remember lining up for bread or China where people live under governmental control and censorship. I have lived in the Middle East where an entire servant class has been imported and people sleep in bunkbeds, 10 to a flat. Comparatively, I know my “Eat, Pray Love” white lady problems might not incite a call to action to protest any of my trauma of the past year (Stop Husbands from Sleeping with Prostitutes! We Demand Legally Protective Contracts with Overseas Employers! Excess Baggage Fees Should Be Fixed and Reasonable!) but pain is pain and I am full to the back teeth with it.

I am searching for my mentors now. The people who have been emotionally guts-on-the floor unzipped and now understand compassion. People who went all in and lost but are grateful for the experience. People who were betrayed but still believe in love. People who, like me, have been repeatedly redirected but have trust that there is a purpose and a plan. People who move forward and through their own version of hell without circumventing the lessons pain provides. People with strength, character, and perseverance.

I think there is a common spark in these people- a confidence and a willingness to trust themselves. There is freedom to losing everything- the worst has already happened and you’re still standing. I have started the self talk that I believe will get me through. It’s simply this: I’m a good bet. I bet on me.

It’s a start. It’s a mantra I tell myself when I want to stop the cycle of late night anxiety (and I want to save those Cambodian Valiums for when I really need ‘em). It’s become my response to doubt and frustration over the lack of traction I have had in the last 8 countries and 7 months. It’s something I say out loud to people who have watched me go through some of the most stressful of human experiences in a short period of time. (Though I am afraid it can be a bit lost in translation- I had a long conversation with a Polish friend about getting through the difficulties in my life because I am a good bet and his response was “Why do you keep telling me you are good in bed?” Yes, friends, this guy listened to me cheer myself on for 10 minutes with the understanding that I was bragging about my sexual prowess- I will get through a painful divorce and a lack of a career direction at 41 because I am GOOD IN BED.)

I am still at the table The moon is full in Scorpio as I write this and I have a semblance of what the universe is trying to show me through this 6-month roller-coaster odyssey. I will be slowly and carefully deciding what I need to nourish me and what are simply empty calories. I will make the choice to do the hard smart thing when the urge is to just order a bottle of wine and be done with it. I will take my lumps and eat my vegetables- and no one can take my plate and give me the bill until I am good and ready.

Photo of the Week – The Lovers

Celestial Bodies Aligned –  sexy Alex has her sun in Scorpio, I have my moon in Scorpio.  My friend Yusuf Gamieldien, a photographer, snapped this photo during the sun-moon conjunction in Scorpio new moon eclipse.  Like attracts like as depicted in the Major Arcana card, The Lovers.  I bought these dresses in Korea, both are the same cut, one in black and one in white. never worn.  You can purchase them at $25 a piece and be cool like the Asians! Message me for details: cardsnstarstarot@gmail.com

the lovers3

VI The Lovers, Photo by Yusuf Gamieldien