Weekly Tarot Combo for Sept. 29-Oct.6: 4 of Wands and 8 of Pentacles

4 of Wands and 8 of Pentacles, Rider-Waite deck

4 of Wands and 8 of Pentacles, Rider-Waite deck

Wow. Tarot doesn’t PLAY Y’ALL. The 8 of pentacles has made yet another comeback. but this time with GOOD NEWS. Whatever you started has entered a completion phase with the 4 of wands (the magical order of the Golden Dawn calls this card “The Lord of Perfected Work.” — not subtle!). Celebrate yourself. Celebrate work well done; you’re invited to the party. Whatever it is you started, the universe is bearing witness and has a surprise in store for you.

The 8 of Pentacles has shown up for the 3rd time since I’ve devoted myself to the weekly readings, about a month ago.  You can check out those articles here and here.

What is it that you’ve wanted to manifest in the material plane? Ever have those things in life that just have NOT come easy? That thing that might be easy for one person – a relationship, for example, might be the thing you needed to slowly chisel away at to make manifest in the material realm, another person a money issue. What is it that you’ve been working at that seems like it needs neverending upkeep? Well, the universe notices and has noticed. You’ve graduated.

Movin’ on up dudes!

Maybe this is what those new age people were talking about when they said something along the vein of “ascension 2015!”  I dunno, maybe a boon from the heavens. Perhaps not x-ray vision, or the ability to dissolve into the 5th dimension, but you know, a little something.  I guess it all makes sense, since we just finished a lunar eclipse on the Aries (Mars – self)/Libra (Venus – other) axis.  I’m wary of talking about the whole thing…it’s conjunct my sun/mars and well, I’m a little frazzled and the dust hasn’t settled.  Something ended, something begins, that’s as far as I’ll go.  The 4 of wands rules Venus in Aries (ruler of Mars), there’s a clue that this opportunity is eclipse/equinox related.  Something about balance (masculine (aries)/feminine (venus) , and a stable foundation from which to create.  Check out the Thoth deck for more clues about the 4 of wands.

The 8 of pentacles is driving the point home (again and again and again), what are you devoted to? What are you tending?  The astrology is mirroring this – the moon was conjunct Vesta during this eclipse – asteroid of tending the hearth, the sacred flame.  What is alchemizing with every new pentacle lovingly made? Keep on keepin’ on.  Opportunity awaits, you’ve co-created it.  It doesn’t stop here however, remember, we have a 4, a minor arcana, we’ve created a stable foundation and opportunity, but it is only a joyful pit stop before we continue on with our work.

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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.

Weekly Tarot Combination for Sept. 14-20: Knight of Wands and 9 of Swords

Knight of Wands and 9 of Swords - Radiant tarot deck

Knight of Wands and 9 of Swords – Radiant tarot deck

There’s a viral posting somewhere on Tumblr that says something like, “Speak your truth, even if your voice shakes.” That is my immediate reaction upon seeing this combination.

I see this combo and think, “uh oh, that dreaded self-expression issue is UP!” As someone who would rather float and observe, these cards are a call to participate in life, with gusto.  More than that, the Knight of Wands is about bold self-inquiry and self-expression.

There are people who think they know things, and indeed, they probably do. People in authority who are didactic and claim to have all the answers. and while that is great, ultimately, we are on our own path. The Knight of Wands coupled with the 9 of swords is asking you to explore ways in which we give our power away to people, to authority, to the world. While I agree it is wise to consider and explore the ways people have made their way through life, I am also asking you to consider your own inner wisdom and knowing and ask questions; consider inquiry. Be curious. Be bold. Be boldly curious. I’m being didactic as I write this, and urge you to consider and un-consider my words in the face of your own truth, your own path, your own expressive drive in this world.

I won’t bother you with notions of what “truth” is, but perhaps it’s the idea of trusting your gut, your intuition, with this knight I would even say those knee-jerk instincts, possibly coupled with the wisdom of experience (he looks like he’s come back from battle – look at those clothes), instead of the loud voice of the mind indicated by those nightmares that keep you up at night.

Speaking of nightmares, the 9 of swords makes another appearance. The mind may react to your bold inquiry with doubt. My suggestion is to watch your thoughts and consider valium. Just kidding. Maybe. Anyway, The ego (that dreaded thing new agers condemn, another topic) wants to react, the lizard brain might think it unsafe to express yourself, you could, you know, lose your job, or lose your sense of safety or a girlfriend/boyfriend, or your reputation. The mind can be a bottomless barrel of doubt. YAY.

There’s always this idea that something is at stake when we’re being authentic, that we have something to lose. At least that’s been my experience. But at the end of the day, what do we have if we don’t have ourselves?

It’s probably important to ask questions during this new moon eclipse. Virgo energies can sometimes get mired in details, stuck in neuroses, lacking in self-confidence. As a person with this new moon eclipse in the 12th house (the house of the unconscious, how we undo ourselves, psychological issues), I can tell you I’ve sought to ask again and again what is true, and what isn’t true for me. I’ve asked myself the deeper underlying issues of specific triggers that brought me down a rabbit hole of weird feels. I’ve had to ask questions about seemingly progressive institutions’ ideas of what’s right (12th house also rules institutions) and be like, “well, no, actually, that doesn’t work for me,” (Tinder anyone?) and re-consider what some would consider antiquated, out-of-style or just plain weird. No judgments to others who would disagree or have arguably more informed opinions, but considering and validating what is true for me and honoring it with expression, knight of wands style.

So, with that, god-speed, my friend. Be yourself (unless you’re Ann Coulter or something), be scared, it beats the numb feeling of living your life asleep, merely a passenger of others’ ideas of what is right and true for you.

8 of Pentacles and 4 of Swords: Tarot Combination for Sept. 7 – Sept. 13

8 of Pentacles and 4 of swords - Radiant tarot deck

8 of Pentacles and 4 of swords – Radiant tarot deck

This week’s tarot reading is a continuation of last week’s message which implores you to consider your relationship to your work.

When I pulled these two cards, my immediate reaction was “oh! Labor Day cards!” Hence, this combination, if this were a timing issue might refer to an event that occurs on or near Labor Day, or perhaps a vacation or respite during Virgo season.

Truth be told, I had trouble summoning the creative juices to write this blog post. That’s when I knew I needed to heed the advice of the 8 of Pentacles. Last week I wrote about how this card is a call to remind us to soldier on with the faith that something beautiful might occur through unwavering dedication. This week I am actually summoning that energy as I write this.

The 8 of pentacles makes a comeback, and not by coincidence, as I pulled from another deck. The powers that be are reiterating the concept of what Virgo is all about and asking you, instead of freaking out about your craft 9-of-swords style ,to instead reflect on your work and more than that, develop a strategy that supports your daily practice. Out of your ritual, it is a reminder to rest and regroup from the work you’ve put out, thereby replenishing your mental focus.

When we’re talking about pentacles, we’re in the arena of MANIFESTATION in the material world, except, with the 8 of pentacles, we can see that this is through one’s own efforts: repetition and practice, of meticulous effort, of slow building to manifest something larger. Through his lone (lot’s of solitude in these cards) efforts, he will eventually rejoin the town in the background of the photo with something tangible to offer.

The eights in the tarot are almost always an indication of movement, even with the 8 of swords, we’ve brought our awareness of stuckness, so that we’re able to move. So with the eights, we have the promise that something is taking place, your work not in vain.

The swords (the realm of restless mental thought in the 9 of swords) led us to a place of creating, of developing a craft, and the work we’ve done is now leading us to rest and contemplate all that we’ve accomplished.

In the 4 of swords, we see a man in a church, in repose, a state of grace. As a minor arcana, probably temporary. Again we see figures in a scene just as in the 9 of swords, and it looks like, in the 4 of swords, one lady bowing before the other receiving a blessing , the window located ABOVE the figure, rather than two figures engaged in battle place BELOW the figure as we saw in last week’s figure in the nine of swords.

An interesting correlation. My take is that allowing ourselves the space to create something generative and tangible, we free up our minds and organize our thoughts accordingly, which allows a space to see the blessing bestowed upon us through this state of grace; repose.

What skills have you acquired? The cards suggest you’re on the right track, now, with the mental strategy implied in the 4 of swords, how can you create something plentiful from your skills? How do you apply your skills into practical application? Again, this might require some strategy as indicated in the 4 of swords, and while the 9 of swords literally woke you up to the notion that something was amiss, that you needed to face the issue of applying your gifts practically, the 4 of swords is letting you know that you can rest and figure out the details as you relax. Instead of allowing your thoughts overtake you, you organize your thoughts with a sense of purpose, with renewed faith and the promise of blessings.

An apple - a common love-gift in ancient Greece; a bestowal of blessings from the gods

An apple – a common love-gift in ancient Greece; a bestowal of blessings from the gods

Ace of Swords and 2 of Pentacles: Get your Tinder game on.

Ace of Swords and 2 of Pentacles, Giant Rider Waite deck

Ace of Swords and 2 of Pentacles from the giant Rider-Waite deck

By Carrie Sanders

I just recently was out for drinks with an old friend that was known as quite the Lothario 10 years ago in his single days.  When talk turned to the modern dating world he turned a bit wistful.  “I wish tinder had been invented back then” he sighed, “it just all seems so….efficient.”

Yes, old friend, it can be a wildly efficient way to filter out the undesirables from the pool of potentials.  Love it or hate it, it’s a quick yes or no based on your initial reaction to an image.  You like?  No like?  Swipe accordingly.

In the tarot the combination of cards for a tight tinder game is the 2 of Coins and Ace of Swords.  The 2 of Coins imagery is a young man happily juggling two coins in a casual and  lighthearted way.  In the distance there are ships on rough seas that represent unknown opportunities on the horizon.  This is a card of managing several propositions at once.  It’s skillful manipulation and constant change.  This guy is happily keeping his balls in the air, so to speak.

The Ace of Swords is a card of will and swift decision making.  Nothing is left to chance.  It’s definitive at the most binary level- you are in or you are out.  No bullshit, no hand wringing, no second guessing.  You probably haven’t paid extra for the service to go back and review the people you already swiped.  It’s all about mental power, strength and being in the present.

As for what happens next, those cards have not been dealt yet.
Picture taken in Rome, Italy

Picture taken in Rome, Italy

Tarot Combination for the week of August 31st-September 6, 2015

the 9 of swords and 8 of pentacles, RIder-Waite tarot deck

The 9 of swords and 8 of pentacles – an indication of work anxieties, Rider-Waite tarot deck

Contemplating my next tarot writing journey while eating a bowl of popcorn on my fainting couch, I decided I would pull some cards for next week to write about. In honor of the ingress of Virgo, I have concluded that it’s time to keep a tarot ritual – to apply my talents into a more tangible form (writing), to provide a service to the public, in the spirit of the sign. Jupiter has joined the Sun, adding bounty and magnifying the virtues/vices of what Virgo is about.

My first draw for this week is the 9 of swords and the 8 of pentacles (coincidentally ruled by the Sun in Virgo). These cards are both minor arcana, so they have direct links to our personal lives, just as the personal planets in astrology have a direct link to our day-to-day life.

At first glance, this combination seems easy: nervousness and anxiety around work. In the first card, a woman looks like she’s woken up from a nightmare, unable to sleep. She is plagued by troubling thoughts, symbolized by the swords and the intense facepalm game she has going on. Underneath her bed, two people engaged in a sword fight -perhaps she is struggling with others’ notions of how things should be which run counter to her own ideas. Hence the duel. I take it she’s the loser in this case (in her own mind); maybe she’s the winner, some people freak out over successes. Either way, anxiety afoot!

How does this nervous energy find an outlet? The cards seem to suggest an outlet by working on a craft indicated by the picture in the 8 of pentacles (again, a card ruled by the Sun in Virgo – the harvest, the fruits of ones labor). The very thing you’re worried about is the thing that needs to be faced. It need not be perfect, but when we fiddle with details, developing a routine/ritual in true Virgo fashion, you will find a space to tangibly explore or at least allay your fears. I always thought the red tights on the guy was a symbol for grounding our craft through the root chakra (which is red) – it is responsible for safety and security in the world. I don’t know, maybe they wore red tights back in the day in provincial towns. Probably a more entertaining thought.

Anyway….

The very ritual act of doing something, slowly working at something, is in and of itself a magical act. It will create a space for the universe to come in and enact a kind of divine grace, for when the time comes, your preparation will meet cosmic opportunity enabling you to carry forward with your dreams in tow.

As I write this, I am nervous. I just moved (AGAIN) from Rome to Brooklyn, and I worry that my work won’t be enough, that I won’t be valued, that I’ll never be good enough, etc etc, the endless thoughts that cycle around the mind when one is ready to make changes. Also, the current full moon has a way of pulling up energy just as the tides swell.

I’ve always thought of any labor of love I do as an endless opportunity for enrichment, probably because I spent more than half of my life as a classical musician, which spend their entire lives learning from private teachers – a sort of apprenticeship, 8 of pentacles style.

Tarot is one medium in which I never stop learning. I guess you could call me the consummate student, always willing and open to deepening my knowledge….because of this tendency, I always think my work is not enough, that I can always be better, do better. I often struggle to push through these insecurities, the eight of pentacles offering solace – just keep on keepin’ on, develop a ritual, start a hobby,

Detailed paper art by Carlos N. Molina

Detailed paper art by Carlos N. Molina

move the energy.

Anxiety, like any other feeling, is usually a passing thing. That’s been my experience anyway. I’m sure there’s a whole host of issues with anxiety I’m not addressing, however, the one that’s expressed in the cards deals with the fear and anxiety of not-being-able-to, of insurmountable opposition (that duel under the bed!). I’d be worried if the 9 of swords was paired with a Major Arcana card….oof!

I have a lot of friends who have a Virgo Moon.  I typically find that most Virgo moon folk exercise (as in, go to the gym) ritualistically to burn off nervous energy.  I’m not sure why I attract the whole lot of Virgo Moons…they have a way of moving energy with their physicality that I always marvel at.  One of my old mentors had a Virgo Moon – she could never stay in one place with one job, she was prolific.  She had several jobs, worked freelance, traveled frequently, the jobs somehow always flowing in as if by magic.  Going to the gym for her was a daily practice akin to prayer.

Devotion - taken in Rome, Italy

Devotion – taken in Rome, Italy

So here I am doing SOMETHING in likeness to my Virgo moon friends. It’s not perfect, but nothing is (maybe Virgos would argue), so we might as well soldier on, slowly chiseling away with quiet or nervous faith that something beautiful will emerge. I’m reminded of a quote by Michelangelo that seems fitting, “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set it free.”

May the ritual devotion to your own craft set YOU free.

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.