I think there are a lot of ways to learn the tarot. There's a one of great books, blogs, forums and sites around that provide information on the structure of the tarot, the lore, and how to use these things to make deep and meaningful readings for the self and others. I know I couldn't write a comprehensive guide on the tarot that would do the subject any credit. Tarot are first and foremost a tool that builds meaning on intangible and unknowable subjects that generally reside beyond the reach of human meaning. A good tarot experience isn't something a person can put entirely into words. There is this feeling of connection, this click between the reader, the deck, and the querent where energy seems to roll smoothly and cleanly from one force to another. For a moment we become part of a completed system between the world as we perceive it and the world as our gods and guides see it. We meet together through the cards and commune with one another in a way that is usually beyond mundane grasp.
Being a tarot reader for another person is an incredibly personal and intimate experience. I feel like through the cards I get to catch a glimpse of who that person really is and where they are going in their life journey. It's brief and fleeting, but that doesn't negate the depth.
People in turn feel that my readings are particularly personal, informative, and rich. I would like to claim a high mucky mucky power plug in here and tell everyone they have to come get a reading from me, but that's just not the case. I think the truth in a good reading comes from knowing the right spread and understanding the connections in the spread and the cards pulled and knowing the nuances of the deck one is using. So to learn to be a good tarot reader, beyond learning the theory of spreads or the meanings of cards, we have to learn to blend the two together and make them work to have deep soul seeing meaning in a read. Really the only way to “teach” this is through doing a reading and sharing it to show how this synergy creates further depth and meaning. Hopefully people glean through example how to start to integrate cards, spread and deck together in their own readings and the sharing/practice set up helps to improve everyone's tarot.
This week in specific I will be working with the Elder Fire Tarot Spread from Whispers of the Ancestors because it was a link that struck my interest (I don't remember where I hit the link from or I'd give a shout out to there too). I'm using the Tarot of Transformation currently because I need to practice using it further before I can use it to read for others with it and I purchased the deck with the original intention of using it as a healing deck for those who had deeply been hurt by a certain topic.
Offering: 1 of Wands Grounds for Creativity: Traditionally the ace of wands represents a new creative venture or opportunity.
The transformation deck takes this meaning and expands on it by suggesting that to fully harness the new inspiration given to us we must stay firmly grounded to earth energy and that we must create a fully integrated person to contain the energy rather than letting the zeal of the fire consume us. The card goes into further depth discussing how modern society is often scattered in “head space” and intellectual pursuits without a real connection to the land and actual people around us. This card depicts a deva grounding and growing roots deep within the earth. As she lifter her head to expand out into the world and be open to new thought or opportunity, she also grows down and keeps connected to the present and what is currently around her. In this way she grows in a most healthy and communal manner where she honors the lofty goals of the divine and the present needs of that immediately around her.
I find this a powerful card to open as an offering to our Gods and Ancestors because is suggests that as we come to a close of this year we are dedicating a new creative phase to our Gods, Ancestors, and Guides. Pulling this cards says to me the best way to honor my sacred dead is through staying plugged into the world around me now, listening to the creative energy around me and harnessing it in my projects and endeavors. My Ancestors are acknowledging a deep creative spark I feel the world often under values and over looks and in this way they are seeing me as I truly am and as I would like to be in the world. They are encouraging me to continue to try to find the right kind of space for my thoughts and art.
I have a few specific new projects I'm starting this Samhain both here on this blog and in my physical life. Its nice to see acknowledgment of these new projects an to hear approval from my Ancestors regarding my new commitments. When I feel overwhelmed and drained this may be an aspect of reading I come back to for validation and further fuel to move forward.
Challenge 2 of Swords Creative Difference The two of swords is a card that traditionally deals with balancing life choices through inaction. So long as the seated and blindfolded figure remains still, there is perfect balance between two options and there is peace. There is also stagnation, and it is generally implied that the figure must eventually make a choice between these two paths, her prolonged wait is not a permanent option. The card encourages us to evaluate or own hesitation and make some choice so we may move forward.
In the transformation deck, the two of swords focuses on the false dichotomy presented in either or choices. Here we see two figures one masculine and the other feminine, each with a shield of their own that create the most beauty in the overlap of these shields. Again the card stresses that inaction is not an option, the querent must continue to move forward in his or her life, but that there is a third path. One can blend to best of both choices together to make something new, beautiful, and of more use in his or her life than choosing a single option may have.
It makes perfect sense that my Ancestors would demand I find a third path to balance between being a creative arts person and a working drone. I do see living in the physical world with all the demands of bills, the job, and personal obligations as something that often hinders the creative process. Just in this blog alone, I create more entries than I have time or energy to post. I write maybe four or five short posts on the weekend but I am too drained from the job to really post up all that content, to respond to others or to write something new and fresh. I wake up in the morning with ideas and thoughts buzzing and after ten or eleven hours of work I'm just too tired to do anything with those thoughts. It does seem to me like one can only do one or the other. That my Ancestors would call on me to both do the one I love most while not abandoning the other is going to be a deep difficult struggle. I am going to have to further examine how these two became polar opposites in my mind and what I can do to create a third path which honors the best aspects of both activities.
Center: 10 of Wands No Self: The ten of wands traditionally stands for an overabundance of some aspect of our lives but it is not considered positive. The card could point to being overworked/overburdened or it could suggest over indulgence. Excess in all things or taking on too much unbalances a person. It may point toward one hoarding power or resources either out of misplaced concern or in a more deliberate bid to misuse power.
Instead of focusing on the negative acts of hoarding or creating an ego centric self, the tarot of transformation take the then of wands and turns it into a plea to release the perception of self and singular identity and to embrace the concept of inter-connectivity (the card shows a place within each person that connects us out to the larger world, where our ego presumably has no place and where we become part of some larger organism or energy stream). This particular card has a meditation connected with it to encourage the worker to drop out of a cycle of need, self-recrimination, and to sink into a concept of “no-self” or a part of the mind that focuses less on the day to day grind, the constant images and concerns circling our minds and releases us into a pure state of quiet being.
As far as how this card fits into my reading there are two ways to take it. One is that my center or place of power is in that I am willing and able to both take on to much and acknowledge that I am taking on too much. One can always start with too much or start by thinking too big and re-adjust as needed but I personally think it's harder to start with a smaller vision and to build it out into a bigger idea.
The other is to think my strength comes from my ability to slip into this sense of no-self, which is also true. I know what this card is talking about even though I'm not sure it does a good job presenting the idea and I definitely don't like the idea that self identity has no place or purpose. Just two cards ago it was suggesting I stay connected with the world while experiencing the creative inspiration and passion of renewed fire energy and now it wants me to drop part of what I think is key to our experience in this world. We need ego to some degree in this world and I don't think being without a healthy concept of self is healthy in a world which is always trying to tell you who to be and what you need to get there. Too much self can feed these ads and distractions as they can lead to hoarding or being swindled, but there is middle ground here. It seems likely to me that my Ancestors wanted to remind me that I know how to hold middle ground between two ideas that are often describes as being contradictory such as the idea of having self and being able to release to the “no self” are. They have asked me to consider and take on a challenge regarding balance that I'm not thrilled about examining. Through this card they are reminding me of other times I've done what is energetically similar and found enjoyment and fulfillment in it.
Opening: Master of Disks Gracious Abundance: The master of disks translates over to the King of disks/pentacles in a regular deck and signifies a reliable experienced leader who is steadfast, confident, and powerful. This person is resourceful, practical and doesn't hesitate to shed what does not work for what does.
In the tarot of transformation the master of disks represents one fulfilling the lessons of the material world and being at peace with one's own station at life. The person has neither too little or too much which leaves him or her open to move as the universe swings them and to put all their inner resources toward what he or she most wants. The master is a person who has gained a full understanding of one's physical needs and limitations and uses this base to expand out from just the realm of the world into a differing energetic movements.
My ancestors are suggesting that through grounding and balancing the demands of my life, I will gain a position where I am able to work more directly with natural energy flows. I will better understand what is necessary in my practice and life and what is superfluous. This card to me implies that there is fat I need to trim to help me focus in on what is most important.
Wisdom: 5 of Cups Natural Intimacy: Traditionally this card is often considered a card of “Crying over spilled milk”. It usually features a person who is look at a tipped over cup, mourning the loss of the contents of that cup and not being aware that there are other full cups their for them to drink from. I think of the experience to a child who spills their drink at a restaurant. No real harm has been done, it's practically expected a kid will knock over their soda, but the child is so upset regarding the loss of the beverage and making mess. He or she doesn't understand the server will bring a new drink, that the liquid has hurt no one, and that only the slowest of adults didn't see this as a likely out come. We our caught up in the same moment that child is caught in.
And in the tarot of transformation this card's meaning is completely changed to be about how a person relates to sex and sexuality. I suppose they've kept elements of the view being vain and primping or putting on airs that are not authentic or related to their true self. I suppose the feeling of hurt, emptiness or loss can be similar when one is not owning their sexuality but instead conforming to what society shows them.
I believe my ancestors are calling on me to shift perspective or to not get lost in any particular narrative. There are many different ways to celebrate creativity, find a balance between work and creative processes, to integrate worship and the sacred with the mundane, and to be in a relationship. I need to be sure I fully explore what there is instead of being held up by perceptions of mine or others. I need to walk well worn paths with fresh eyes to see if there really is what I expected or first saw or if the paths have changed on me. I shouldn't be too quick to dismiss an idea or thought and I should watch out for my own personal biases.
Sharing this post? Please keep the following information intact on your post:
Article copyright Swift Rabbit/ Southern Pagan Muses