August 22, 2010 § Leave a comment
Seven wands reach for the moon. This card always makes me think of someone standing on tippy-toes, stretching as tall as they can, yet the thing they want remains out of reach. These wands are striving so hard to reach their goal yet they’re still clinging to the rocks. Is it fear that holds them back? The rocks are familiar, safe. They provide stability. But it’s madness to believe you can touch the moon without taking your feet off the ground.
What is courage? It’s a quality of spirit that pushes us forward in spite of fear. The word screws itself into a ball, like fear tightening your heart in your chest. Courage comes in all forms. Telling someone how you feel about them takes a lot of courage. So does standing up to the bad guys, or even the good guys if you think they’re doing something wrong. Anytime we put any part of ourselves on the line, we are courageous. Even when we know there’s a chance we’ll get hurt, the consequences of not doing anything are worse than the prospect of failure. Maybe just the smallest glimmer of hope that we might succeed is enough to help us overcome our biggest fears.
It takes courage to change the status quo as well. There’s nothing wrong with not leaving those rocks but could you live with yourself if you never even tried? That’s what this card is speaking to me about today. I’m trying to make a big change in my life and, at times, the enormity of it overwhelms me and I start allowing compromise to creep in. I start looking for a safety net. What if I didn’t take such a big step all at once? Would it really be that bad? Things aren’t so bad where I am so why take such a big risk? It’s very difficult to leave the familiar when you’re not entirely sure what you’re leaving it for.
The hexagram on this card is 40, Loosening. It symbolizes release from obstruction and from whatever has been holding you back. Knowing what that is is half the battle. If you look closely at the base of the wands (starting with the leftmost) you can see that the first, fifth and sixth wands aren’t touching the rocks. They have begun to rise, to leave behind the safety and stability of the rocks. With this small but tremendous act of courage they are on their way to the moon.
Some courageous quotes:
Courage is never to let your actions be influenced by your fears. ~Arthur Koestler
Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear. ~Ambrose Redmoon
Courage can’t see around corners, but goes around them anyway. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic’s Notebook, 1960
Courage is the power to let go of the familiar. ~Raymond Lindquist
But screw your courage to the sticking-place, And we’ll not fail. ~William Shakespeare, Macbeth
July 13, 2010 § Leave a comment
Dear Tarot Doctor, I ended things with my boyfriend yesterday but then I did a reading last night and the card I drew for him was The Sun. In the book it says it means “joy, happiness, success”. Does that mean I shouldn’t have broken up with him? Thanks, Alys.
Thank you for your question!
First, I don’t know you or your boyfriend so I’m not qualified to say whether you should have broken up. I assume you had (good) reasons for ending it with your boyfriend, in which case you shouldn’t let a pack of cards change your mind. However, there’s nothing wrong with spending some time evaluating what went wrong.
Second, there’s more than one way to read the Sun card (as there is for every tarot card). For example, two possible meanings immediately spring to mind:
1) Like the real sun, your boyfriend always wanted to be the centre of attention. That might have made you feel like you weren’t important in the relationship.
2) Your boyfriend was too intense and full-on and didn’t give you any space. The sun’s wonderful, but if there’s no shade anywhere it can be difficult to take. Similarly, a boyfriend who’s constantly calling, asking how you are, and wanting to be with you can drive you mad – even if he’s just doing so because he really, really likes you.
I’ve deliberately plumped for more negative interpretations there, just to show the range of meaning the Sun can have. Which meaning is correct? Whichever rings true for you. You were there, after all.
Anyway, I hope that helps.
July 9, 2010 § Leave a comment
For example, one of the things I really like about it is the head-on way it depicts negative situations. The 5 of Swords is an excellent example of this with its violent scene of barbarians pillaging and burning and preying on the weak. Some might see it as too extreme for most everyday readings, but I like it because it cuts to the chase. The subject of the reading might not be as dramatic as the scene on the card but it certainly makes you confront the reality of the situation – whether that’s your boss abusing his position to advance his career or your own treatment of the new girl. It says, “Hey, the bottom line is, someone here’s being a real bully”.
And the 5 of Swords isn’t the only card to speak out in the deck. Another favourite of mine is the Devil, which shows a scene of such debauchery and depravity, the real Devil would be proud. 😉 There’s greed, lust, war, gluttony – probably all seven of the deadly sins if I could remember what they were. And everyone in the card has completely lost sight of themselves. Everyone, that is, except for the Devil, who is the only one in control. What an incredibly powerful and unapologetic image. It would certainly make you think twice if it came up in a reading.
Before you start running for the hills, let me say that these cards are in the minority. In fact, the Anna.K Tarot is a very well-balanced deck which covers the full spectrum of real life. So, alongside these cards and others like them – the Tower, and the 3, 4, 8, 10, and Knight of Swords (okay, let’s just say the Swords suit!) – there are wonderful paintings of joyful family celebrations, of warm summer days, and of growing old with the person you love. And then there are the cards in-between, that show the daily struggles, exchanges, hopes and dreams that we all experience. It’s a deck that feels very much like life itself: painful and joyful, beautiful and messy, cruel and yet mind-bogglingly tender.
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Anna.K Tarot copyright Anna Klaffinger
July 1, 2010 § Leave a comment
What I find interesting about this Magician is that his “tools” – the lantern, the seashell, the feather and the leaves, representing the four elements and four tarot suits – are behind him. They hang from his wings while he focuses on the magic he’s performing. The traditional image, one that is repeated in many decks, is of the Magician standing behind a table with his tools in front of him. In those decks he is actively using them yet in the Shadowscapes he almost seems to be ignoring them.
Why is that? It made me think about the tools we have at our disposal at any given time. Some we actively use – a pen, for example, or this keyboard I’m typing on, or a violin. Others are passive, stored in our brains, integrated and assimilated into our existing skillset. For example, the ability to type is a tool but it’s one that I’m so comfortable with, so familiar, that I don’t really need to refer to it anymore. It has become automatic.
A common interpretation for the Magician in a reading is something along the lines of “you have all the tools you need”. Which sounds great. But what are we saying there? Imagine someone doing a reading about an upcoming presentation that they’re nervous about. The Magician comes up as advice and we say “you have all the tools you need – just be confident and charismatic and you’ll be fine”. In other words, you don’t have to do anything and you’ll knock their socks off.
With the Shadowscapes Magician, maybe the advice would be more along the lines of: “Make sure you know your stuff. Don’t get caught out. Memorise any stats you might need. Be prepared for any questions they might throw at you. Rehearse your presentation over and over again until it rolls off the tongue like a saleman’s spiel. Learn how to operate the projector with one hand.”
And isn’t that what magicians do? All the great illusionists are just very very good at practising. They practise a trick a thousand times until it’s second nature. They read about other great illusionists. They study tricks done by others. They practise on their friends. They’re brilliantly committed to making you believe in them.
So maybe that’s the message of this Magician: Make sure your tools are behind you, where they will be of most use.
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Shadowscapes Tarot copyright Stephanie Pui-Mun Law
February 23, 2010 § 4 Comments
Everyone should have a friend like Kali.
A few days ago I drew a card to help me decide what to do about a loved one who disapproves of my interest in tarot. When I sat down to do the reading, I braced myself to do some soul-searching. Then Kali barged in.
“Screw them!” she says, in the most literal way imaginable. “You love tarot. Don’t let anyone make you feel bad about doing what you love!”
I see her point. It’s hard not to.
“And don’t try to hide it either. Live it. Own it. Wear it all over your body. Show everyone – this is what you do. This is who you are! It’s not a dirty little secret, it’s a wonderful beautiful exciting thing. And so are you.”
Well, that solved that problem. It’s great having Kali in my corner.