Travel Tarot: The Magician

In the Travel Tarot series I share stories and pictures from my life out on the road, reading tarot, tour managing for Kristen Ford, and seeing the USA out the window of our converted camper van named Lady. I take quite a few photos each day, and many of them end up on my Instagram account with a hashtag for a corresponding tarot card that reminds me of the image, mood, or theme of the photo.  Sometimes the connections between life and tarot are obvious, and other times an explanation brings us deeper into the meaning of the card, the energies of our lives, and the connection between these energies and our daily existence.  This series offers that deeper exploration of a photo, a tarot card, and how that relates to my day to day life on the road.

Kristen getting a tattoo by Deena at True Blue Tattoo in Austin, Texas.

Kristen getting a tattoo by Deana at True Blue Tattoo in Austin, Texas.  Magicians in action!

THE MAGICIAN:
Manifestation
Resourcefulness
Creation
As Above, So Below
Magic
Personal Power
Action
Capability
Skill
Optimism
New Beginning
Focus
Concentration
Inspiration
“Can-do” Attitude
Creativity

 

Kristen is a big tattoo fan.  She is always desiring and scheming her next piece. Tattoos are expensive though, and Kristen can’t afford to just go get one whenever she wants. Let’s not forget to mention that your body, particularly your lymph nodes, aren’t really equipped to get tattoos every week either, so you have to space them out. This is definitely a positive thing in the sense that Kristen can then be fully committed to a design when she can only get them every so often.  It’s can also be a negative when she really craves body art and has a bunch of credit card debt. So, Kristen’s plan was to get out of credit card debt, and then reward herself with a tattoo.  In October, 2014, her moment finally came- all credit cards paid off and enough money in her pocket to get a big new tattoo!  Enter The Magician!

Here's Kristen's latest tattoo!

Here’s Kristen’s latest tattoo!

Design work is the domain of The Magician.  Kristen had an idea that she wanted to manifest into physical form.  She was inspired to create, she used her personal power and skill to come up with a concept and she communicated that design to a tattoo artist. The Magician is ruled by Mercury and Gemini, so The Magician is the ultimate communicator. Kristen found an amazing tattoo artist named Deana out of True Blue Tattoo in Austin, TX. She told Deana her tattoo design idea and Deana used her personal power, her creative skills, and her experienced capability as a tattoo artist to bring Kristen’s idea into form. Deana and Kristen were both resourceful about using all the tools they had on hand to complete this project.  Kristen’s resources included:  a design idea, creative license to pick an artist, money, and time to sit for the tattoo.  Deana’s resources included: design experience, the ability to listen, badass tattooing skills, all the materials necessary to tattoo a person, and a shop where she could be found.

Meanwhile, I was just sitting in a tattoo parlor for 5 hours watching my love get needled. At first, I could really connect with the magic of creation, but after about 3 hours I started to feel the pain.  Being tattooed for 5 hours creates a lot of physical pain and dripping blood. I’m not a big fan of blood.  I know this is pretty literal, but sometimes manifesting your intentions can be painful and hard.  Can you sense the magic of creation through that pain?  Can you maintain optimism and focus under stress and outside distraction?  The Magician perseveres, using all his focus and power to carry on and complete the project. I find all of that very inspiring, but I’m going to guess that I won’t be getting a tattoo any time soon :)!

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Kristen’s tattoo in action. It’s always there.

Besides being pretty, Kristen’s tattoo also represents various resources that she wants to use in her daily life to help her manifest her personal journey.  The waves represent water, of course.  Water signifies the emotional depth that Kristen wants to bring into her life, work, and love. This girl has Mercury and Venus in Pisces, so she can be quite watery and emotional in her self expression, but not always in her outward personality which is all Fire. The goldfish represents being in the moment. Goldfish do not let accumulated past overly influence present moment decisions since their memory spans are so short.  The sailboat represents going with the flow, sailing your ship with the breeze instead of fighting against it.  Life presents constant ebbs and flows, and the best practice is to ride those waves, to let the wind take you where it leads, not to be madly paddling and paddling against fate.  Wait for the wind to fill your sails, don’t thrash around.

What resources do you possess that you can use to manifest your goals?  We are all blessed with so many skills and abilities with are inherent and also develop during our lives.  The key is to recognize these skills, to own your power, and to use it proudly.  The Magician is that fundamental element of your existence that can bring that which is above (ideas, spirit, creativity) to below on this plane (reality, existence, tangibility).  Every one of us has this power within us.  Each of us is a creator, a manifester.  Kristen and I live this lesson as consciously as we can out on the road.  We have shaped our dream to be vandwellers into a physical reality that involves owning a van, driving around, meeting people, playing music, reading tarot cards, and being aware of the magic all around us.

 

Kristen whining in bed about no wanting to do anything.

Kristen whining in bed in the Lady Van about not wanting to do anything.  Wannhhhh!

THE MAGICIAN REVERSED:
Underutilized
Latent talents
Lazy
Weak
Manipulative
Unfocused
Spiritually unfulfilled
Uninspired
Disability
Confusion
Impatience
Self-doubt
Hesitation
Refusal to begin
Resistance

 

Surprisingly, Kristen isn’t always a bundle of ambitious determination. I know, you wouldn’t guess it, but sometimes she is a whiney pants who just thrashes around in bed in the afternoon, complaining about not wanting to do anything!  The key with the Magician reversed, is to know when to buck up and use your power and focus to concentrate on manifesting your intentions, and when to just take a nap.  Of course a nap can be an extremely powerful tool that The Magician can use to accomplish a goal, but sometimes you just feel uninspired and lacking in that concentration to work toward a goal. At times like this it’s useful to ask yourself if you are being lazy or if you actually need to have a time of non-action with the Magician reversed? You can also ask yourself if being lazy is really so bad, is society telling you that you have to work too hard for your personal taste, maybe a lazy afternoon would be perfect for you at this time?  You may need to recuperate, heal, or reserve your resources.

A quiet day on the beach can sometimes be the most productive healing time.  Plus binoculars + diving pelicans= best day ever!

A quiet day on the beach can sometimes be the most productive healing time. Plus binoculars + diving pelicans= best day ever!

Be careful not to manipulate the facts of your life situation, though.  Kristen, for instance, is such a hard worker that when she finally breaks down into whiner land about how she deserves a break, it’s easy to see how she might be correct.  But perhaps she is just using her work ethic to manipulate the situation into self indulgent sloth. What had we really done that day anyway?!  Slept 8 hours, gone to the gym, gone to the grocery store, eaten a sandwich…. wait, that isn’t such a hard day, why should we nap instead of getting a couple of hours of computer work in?  In this case, the Magician reversed shows that all the power and tools are there, we just have to seize onto them, instead of trying to weasel our way out of creating and doing.

The Magician reversed is particularly potent card when you are about to start a big new project, and you don’t even know where or how to begin. Sometimes when you don’t know what direction to take next, stopping all action to just be in the moment and see what happens, can be highly insightful.  There may be something about your present moment that will inspired you, help you concentrate, shift your focus, or help you proceed. If you are just doing, doing, doing without checking in on your spiritual fulfillment, core self, or life purpose, you may be heading done the wrong path. Remember the difference between hesitating, doubting, and resisting a new project or intention, and consciously finding the right path for you to proceed.  You may feel the desire to wait and see what happens to find the perfect time to start of your project.  That isn’t what The Magician reversed is doing though.  Instead he is listening, watching, observing.  He is healing, recuperating, and being present.  The Magician never wants you to wait around for someday.  Even non-action can be a type of doing.

I hope you enjoyed this installation of Travel Tarot!  I plan to add new photos and travel life stories as often as I can, so follow this blog, or hop on over to Facebook and follow me there so you never miss a Travel Tarot story.  Yay!

Manifesting our lives on the beach on Hilton Head Island, SC.

Kristen and I manifesting our lives on the beach on Hilton Head Island, SC.

Travel Tarot: The Chariot

In the Travel Tarot series I share stories and pictures from my life out on the road, reading tarot, tour managing for Kristen Ford, and seeing the USA out the window of our converted camper van named Lady. I take quite a few photos each day, and many of them end up on my Instagram account with a hashtag for a corresponding tarot card that reminds me of the image, mood, or theme of the photo.  Sometimes the connections between life and tarot are obvious, and other times an explanation brings us deeper into the meaning of the card, the energies of our lives, and the connection between these energies and our daily existence.  This series offers that deeper exploration of a photo, a tarot card, and how that relates to my day to day life on the road.

 Lady Van climbing up the Bear Tooth Pass outside of Red Lodge, Montana in September of 2014.


Lady Van climbing up the Bear Tooth Pass outside of Red Lodge, Montana in September of 2014.  Zoom zoom!

THE CHARIOT:
Conviction
Determination
Will-power
Drive
Ambition
Focus
Control
Victory
Success
Confidence
Overcoming Obstacles
Persistence
Action
Domination
Agression
Strength

 

 

In 2014, I bought a Ford Econoline E250 off a guy in Medford, MA who had used the van to transport some fancy laser from New Mexico to MIT.  I found it on Craigslist for $2700 and had my girlfriend, Kristen, go test drive it, take it to the mechanic to get it checked out, and then buy it with an envelope of cash. The dudes selling the van didn’t even count the cash- but suspicions died there because this was a truly awesome van.  She showed up magically at the right price just at the moment we were looking for her.  Kristen and I named her Lady Van and we have been happy together ever since. My dad and my brother helped us build out a bed, table, cabinets and a second battery inside for electricity. We drove about 15,000 miles in 5 months all over the country, Kristen playing her music and me helping tour manager and growing my tarot business.

2014 was the year of The Chariot.  2+0+1+4=7.  The Chariot is the 7th card of the tarot. That’s some pretty simple numerology but some very powerful life energy.  The Chariot represents determination and the will-power to succeed.  Kristen and I had a big goal in 2014 to live out our dream to tour full time, making money playing music and reading tarot.  Manifesting this vision was no walk in the park as we had to do a shit ton of planning, goal setting, and work. We spent the first half of 2014 being super ambitious and focused in our efforts to plan a sustainable and fun tour.  During the second half of 2014, we courageously set out on our adventure, exploring, learning, and growing all along the way, channeling this powerful energy of The Chariot.

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Always smiling on this incredible journey.

Lady Van herself is a symbol of The Chariot.  She drives us towards our goals. She is strong and courageous in her own way.  In the photo above we took her up and over a 10,000 foot pass in the Rocky’s just days before the road became impassable with winter snow.  Up she chugged, winding around the crazy curves up the side of the mountain, snowflakes swirling around her gleaming white exterior.  All that climbing up and up and then a long, controlled descent, brakes smoking.  We had to pull over once or twice to cool her brakes, but never did Lady bulk at her goal or lose control of her momentum.  That’s the Chariot in action, that’s what it feels like to drive and be driven. The determination and ambition of The Chariot helps us to climb mountains, overcome obstacles, and achieve our goals victoriously.

 

For anyone out there considering moving into a van to travel around the country, or just for everyone that has a huge dream- use the energy of The Chariot to get your ass in gear. You can live that dream, I’m speaking from a place of experience here.  Your fantasies may seem far-flung, but how can you make them fit into reality?  My dream life living in a van isn’t all sunshine and roses.  Sometimes we have setbacks, but that’s life.  Don’t wait for your perfect moment, or insist that your dream be realized perfectly.  Make compromises, make decisions, push harder, be persistent, follow your dream.  Take the reins of your own life, follow your passions, set a crazy ambitious goal and then attack!

 

Sometimes Lady breaks down and we have to take her in for repairs.

The Chariot reversed:
Setbacks
Lack of progress
Loss of will
Over controlling
Powerless
Unfocused
Unambitious
Antagonistic
Stubborn
In Denial
Loss of Self-Confidence
Out of Control

 

 

Sometimes Lady has to go to the mechanic shop and get repaired. We try to take good care of her with oil changes every 3,000 miles and 6 month check ups on all her Lady parts, but mysterious car things still happen that are out of our control. This is the big lesson of the Chariot reversed: things are not always within our control, sometimes we can’t make progress, and we all experience setbacks. The most we can hope for and attract into our hearts is the will to keep going.  We can’t let setbacks lead to total loss of drive and ambition- to giving up and quitting.  Kristen and I always manage to fix up the Lady Van, and keep going down the road.  We invest our time, money, and positive vibes into Lady, believing that vanlife is a life worth living, that our dream can be manifested into reality because we deserve it and we work for it. Oftentimes, the reversed Chariot shows up in a tarot reading to remind you of the importance of your ambition and a need to increase your determination.

Lady Van broke down on the very first day of the tour in June of 2014.  We weren’t even 100 miles outside of Boston when I crashed over a pothole on I-90 and Lady started making a crazy creaking and grinding noise.  Metal on metal. It sounded pretty atrocious but we drove on to the first gig in Philadelphia and then made an appointment at the mechanics for in the morning.  We brought Lady to a place called Ken’s and it turned out her driveshaft was busted.  So they fixed it.  6,000 miles later in Michigan, same story: pothole, crazy crunching, broken driveshaft.  Great, it seems that this will be a constant problem for us.  So what did we do?  Last month we got the driveshaft part preemptively repaired before it could completely wear out again.  This is our determination, this is our never-say-die mentality at work.  Dreams are hard, but a good dream is so worth while, worth the effort, worth it, period.

What if we just ran out of steam on the whole project?  What if all the repairs, cancelled shows, and “lost” hours waiting at mechanic shops totally drained our spirits and ambitions and we just stopped the tour?  Or what if Lady Van was beyond repair?  How do we overcome the obstacles of the reversed Chariot?  How do you know when to call it quits?  That’s some deep reflective work, that’s the next step we learn along the tarot journey with card number 8:  Strength.

I hope you enjoyed this first installation of Travel Tarot.  I plan to add a new photo and travel life story as often as I can, so follow this blog, or hop on over to Facebook and follow me there so you never miss a Travel Tarot story.  Yay!

Lady Van and Kristen in Yellowstone National Park in October, 2014.

 

Tarot at the MFA

MFA Boston

Linde Family Wing of Contemporary Art
MFA Boston

Last week I took a little trip to the Museum of Fine Art in Boston.  I love to go to art museums, although I steer clear of reading the descriptions of the art usually because they can sound so snobby, affected, and irrelevant to my enjoyment of the art.  Instead I saw tarot tarot everywhere!  Ever since I started up an Instagram account for The Willow Path Tarot, I’ve had my eye out for things I see around me that remind me of the tarot cards.  This is a great way for me to practice tarot card meanings, help me be more observant of the world around me, and also to creatively connect my love of tarot and photography. Hobbies fused!  Anyway, as I wandered around the MFA I took some photos of works of art that resonated with me and thought about with which tarot card I would connect that feeling and image.

Above you will see the work of art that struck me immediately as The Fool.  Unfortunately, I didn’t find out the artists name, or the name of the piece (a hazard of not reading the plaque!), so sorry super talented artist if you see this and feel unrepresented. I’m happy to credit this if someone knows who did it!  Anyway, a long hallway stretching from one end of the museum to the other had many of these free flying figures, taking the leap of faith on their journeys.  The Fool is one of my favorite cards, and this was the first piece of art that really jumped out and me and said:  “The tarot is also artwork based on human archetypes, therefore won’t it be possibly to relate all the art in this museum to a tarot card?”  Isn’t that the very nature of art- to reflect, question, and explain the human archetypes?  Would I find any work of art in this museum that did not relate to a tarot card?  If I did, would that mean that there are essential cards missing from the tarot?  I have heard of some decks with an added card for The Artist. How is this archetype different from say, The Magician?

Ellsworth Kelly, Blue Green Yellow Orange Red (Blue panel), 1968

Ellsworth Kelly, Blue Green Yellow Orange Red (Blue panel), 1968

I was also drawn to this rainbow piece of art.  It made me think of the happiness and contentment of the X of Cups or The Sun.  Notice the line on the floor in front of the painting- this is as close as you are supposed to get before a little alarm goes off warning you that you are too close to the painting.  I was surprised at how often the alarm sounded throughout this exhibit in the Linde Family Gallery of Contemporary Art.  It seems many people needed to get super close to inspect the art.  Even a painting that is seemingly as straightforward as these blocks of color can still lure people to get a closer look.  The ability to touch and play with the tarot cards makes a tarot reading a tangible, hands on experience of art.  I love the feeling of shuffling a tarot deck between my fingers and I usually encourage my tarot clients to touch and interact with the cards.  I think this lends intention and intuition into a reading that can bring the reading to a deeper level.

Josiah McElheny, Endlessly Repeating Twentieth Century Modernism, 2007

Josiah McElheny, Endlessly Repeating Twentieth Century Modernism, 2007

One more piece of art from the exhibit, and then I’ll be done talking about art for today :). This piece on the left was truly captivating to me.  The never ending illusion of glass containers stretching back into eternity reminded me immediately of the VII of Cups. These vessels could hold limitless opportunities, but which of them are real and which of them are illusions? This also brought to mind the X of Wands, feeling overwhelmed and burdened, not being able to see your way through to an easier, less busy time.  Then the IX of Swords popped into my mind- anxiety!  Hopefully I don’t wake up in the night unable to shake the stress and worry over all those endless bottles, containing all those endless possibilities and challenges.

Lime Green Icicle Tower, Dale Chihuly

Lime Green Icicle Tower, Dale Chihuly

Ok, I lied- one more photo to close out the post. I loved the Chihuly exhibit when it came to the MFA a couple of years ago and am so glad they were able to hang onto this giant green tree guy.  What could better represent a passionate, creative spark than this tower of glass?  It is the Ace of Wands through and through.  I hope this post inspires you to open your eyes to the archetypes of tarot around you.  Each of our experience of life is connected, intertwined, combined, and co-created to contribute to one big human experience.  Creating and appreciating art are great ways to tap into that shared energy within and around us.