Tarot Blog Hop: A Tarot Art Project with the Kings

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Welcome to The Willow Path Tarot! If you are following along on the June Tarot Blog Hop, or are a regular reader of this blog, know that today’s blog is a special entry on a topic that many other tarot bloggers are writing about right now as well. The topic is “a tarot art project for non-artists.” We are all finding inspiration in non-tarot related artwork and then creating a tarot card out of that artwork.

This just happens to be something I do every Wednesday at The Willow Path Tarot! I take photos from my personal Instagram feed, which is about my travels and life outside of tarot, and associate those images to a tarot card. Eventually, I plan to print out all these images and make my own tarot deck from my travels. I’m still in the beginning phases of that process, so today I’d like to share with you how things are going with the Kings in this newly developing tarot deck.

King of Cups Gunnison National Forest Colorado, USA

King of Cups
Gunnison National Forest
Colorado, USA

So, in my travel tarot deck, which I’m tentatively calling The Travel Tarot Deck (ahhh, I know, so original!), the Kings are going to be represented by mountains. I’ve chosen mountains to represent the Kings because I associate mountains with stability, security, maturity, and rulership, all personality traits of the Kings in the tarot deck. I chose this one on the left here to be the King of Cups because of the river in the picture, bringing together the Cups which represent water, and the mountains which represent the Kings. The King of Cups is compassion and welcoming, he goes with the flow, much like a river. He brings comfort and kind words, understanding and mediation. The King of Cups is balanced and generous, bringing peace and harmony with his careful demeanor. This river in Colorado definitely gives me that peaceful feeling of the Cups and the mountains add the dimension of the strength of a King.

Sedona, Arizona, USA

King of Wands                                                     Sedona, Arizona, USA

I’ve chosen this rock formation in Arizona to be the King of Wands. The red color of the rocks makes me think of dry, summer heat and the Fire of the Wands. I associate Wands with summer and this card has a summery feel to me. I think this might be a part of or near the rock formation called Devil’s Bridge, and the King of Wands always seems like a bit of a devil to me. He is charismatic, passionate, and tempting. He has the energy of someone who knows what he wants and knows how he can get it. Even so, he is an honorable person, responsible and hard-working, almost tirelessly so. The King of Wands has a vision and a plan to go along with that vision. This range in Sedona prickles with a brittle heat that causes visions to dance before our eyes. The King of Wands understands the visions seen in the fire and can work with it to greatest effect.

PentaclesKing

King of Pentacles                                                   Colca Canyon                                        Cabanaconde, Peru

This photo on the left is one I’m thinking about using for the King of Pentacles. There is a deep Earth energy to a canyon, and this photo is of Colca Canyon, one of the deepest canyon hikes in the world. It was a long way down, requiring a lot of the strength and determination of a King to finish. The King of Pentacles is in it for the long haul in every aspect of his character. He is practical, calculating, and under control. He is disciplined and powerful. This King is also connected to the abundance of the Earth, offering brute strength like these canyon walls, but also fertile abundance much like the oasis at the bottom which has shade, water, and a place to rest after a difficult effort. I’m not entirely sold on the image because it seems a bit dry and I associate Pentacles with winter so I would like to do something more snowy, but… for now it has got me thinking.

KingofSwords

King of Swords                                                              Red Rock Canyon National Park                               Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

This photo I’m thinking of using for the King of Swords, but am also not completely satisfied with it. That’s ok, though since I’m planning on seeing many more mountains before this deck is finished. 🙂 I like this one for now because there is something dark and brooding about it, which reminds me of the King of Swords. He is the King of logic and reasoning. His powerful intellect understands the concepts of truth and justice. Something about that kind of mental prowess is dark to me. There is a tendency towards black and white thinking, when so often the world is made up of shades of grey. The King of Swords excels at interpreting that grey area, defining it and forcing it back to black and white. The light and dark interplay of the mountains in this photograph remind me of that balance the King of Swords achieves.

Okay, that’s my contribution to the June Tarot Blog Hop!  I hope you enjoyed learning about the Kings in my Travel Tarot Deck and come back to the blog often to see the progress I’m making on my Instagram inspired deck. You can hop back or forward using the links below to see what other everyday picture and photos have been made into tarot cards by my fellow tarot bloggers!

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Jenny Lake Grand Tetons National Park, WY, USA

The Emperor                                                           Jenny Lake, Grand Tetons National Park             Wyoming, USA

Travel Tarot: The High Priestess

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.

Red Woods National Forest in northern California is a magical place to quietly listen to your inner wisdom.

Red Woods National Forest in northern California is a magical place to quietly listen to your inner wisdom.

THE HIGH PRIESTESS:
Intuition
Foresight

Inner Center
Subconscious
Higher self
Mysteries
Wisdom
Divine feminine
Being
Stillness
Serenity

Understanding
Compassion
Awareness
Self mastery
Advisor
Inner guidance
Knowledge

In May of 2015, Kristen and I were driving Lady Van up the northern California coast. It was a cool, windy day on the beach, so we decided to head inland to explore the Redwood National Park outside of Crescent City, CA.  The Lady Bird Johnson Grove, named after the First Lady of the USA from 1963-69, was recommended to us as a wonderful place to walk in the park. It was named after Lady Bird because she was super into nature and she presided over the inauguration of the Redwood National Park in 1969. As we walked through the redwood grove I had to reach out and touch these trees, get my hands on them. I eagerly tried to reabsorb the knowledge of these powerful living creatures.

The coastal redwoods are extraordinary. These are the tallest trees on earth. They are hundreds of years old. They are gorgeous. They are thought to be the oldest living organisms on earth, some of them living to be 1,800 years old. The ancientness of these trees is palpable.  When you are walking through a redwood grove, you feel like you are walking backwards through time into an ancient past. You can feel the long forgotten wisdom of these skyscraping trees vibrating in the air. It is a wondrous feeling.

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It is incredibly peaceful in the redwood grove. There are no traffic sounds. There is calm. There is stillness. There is a sense of being.  It feels easy to quiet the mind in the redwood forest. Imagine what the earth was like 1,800 years go in 215 C.E.  These massive trees were just seedlings, shooting forth from the earth, starting a 400 foot climb towards the sky. What do our lives look like them? Just a blip in the span of years that a redwood surveys the scene. The redwoods carry the subtle directive to go way back into the farthest reaches of time, back to the beginning of the earth, back to the question of what we are and why we exist.

P1060792There is more than what meets the eye, or any of our five sense, in the redwood grove. We can see, touch, taste, smell, and hear the trees blowing in the breeze. This is how we perceive reality. But what about what we can’t observe? What is that sense that reaches someplace more, that indicates that our perceptions of reality are limited? You can delve into your intuition more gently and easily in the redwood forest. The trees point the way to your subconscious, they beckon you to listen, to open to the shadow side of reality that we tend to ignore and deny as we busy ourselves getting shit done every day.

Using the sixth sense opens us up to greater awareness. Things are not only what they appear. There is more. There are layers beneath the surface. There is space, so much space between all of the molecules that make up our reality. Awareness of layers and space brings understanding, it brings us together. We can be more compassionate towards each other when we break ourselves down and apart into the tiniest pieces possible and understand that those things are all the same and equal. This interconnection is accessible to us all in the redwood grove when we stop, listen, and open.

Allowing the dark, passive, feminine, shadow side of life to emerge, educate, and expand us is possible in these woods. This is the counterpart, the balance to the bright, active, masculine, conscious aspects of ourselves. We each contain both sides. This is a world of duality, in which we can not comprehend anything except through the experience of its opposite.  We must know the dark to live in the light. We must be still in order to figure out how to act. The redwood grove is a wonderful place to stop a moment, rest, and think about these things.

I recommend that you get out into nature and give a big old tree hug to any fine specimen you meet. A tree doesn’t have to be an ancient redwood in order for you to feel the calm, peaceful, deep vibration of its soul. Practice connecting to your inner High Priestess by contemplating, communing, or connecting with your favorite tree. I’m obviously a pretty huge fan of willow trees. When I see them I like to stop and greet them, ask after their health and happiness, and take a moment to send good vibes into their environment. This respect and appreciation of nature tells the earth that we love being here and want to care for all of it’s creatures and creations. It also expands our reality. Can the tree feel my vibes? I think so.

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THE HIGH PRIESTESS reversed:
Unintuitive
Out of touch
Switched off
Disconnected
Confusion
Mystery
Secretive

Denial of Shadow
Denial of Feminine
Busy or rushing
Noisy
Action-oriented
Superficial

 

It’s easy to get caught up in our modern world, the day-to-day grind of our everyday existence. Often, we are so caught up that we can’t pause for stillness. Even in the redwood grove we are thinking and doing: “Here, take this brochure and read about the history of the trees and the park. Oh, you forgot to spend time tuning into the vibrational frequency of the trees themselves? You forgot to listen to your calm inner center? You forgot about being?  Well, it wasn’t on the brochure! That’s not what we emphasize. That’s not what matters in our society.” It’s time to question society, to ask yourself if the same things matter to you as to society.

P1060804I’m not implying that you can’t read the informational brochure for the Redwood Forest. I mean, where do you think I got all this handy knowledge about redwoods? What I am suggesting is that you take a moment to remind yourself, as frequently as possible because you will forget it every second, that there is more to life than what meets the eye. There is more to life that what you can perceive. There is a purpose here. Do you know what it is? Are you working towards your soul purpose?

Take some time out from rushing, doing, hurrying, getting things done, action, noise, distractions, tv, social media, facts. Take a moment for being instead. Ask yourself if you are disconnected, out of touch, switched off from your soul purpose. If so, how can you reconnect and realign yourself with that divinity you know in your heart? Maybe it’s time to go to the redwood grove. Maybe the redwood grove is a metaphor for a place inside of you that you can reach at any time from any location. Look within. Your calm inner center. Go there.

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Travel Tarot: The Hierophant

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.

The Beinecke Library Yale University New Haven, CT

The Beinecke Library
Yale University
New Haven, CT

THE HIEROPHANT:
Tradition
Order
Discipline
Conformity
Structure

Tried and True
Time Tested
Shared Knowledge
Group Mind
Inside the Box
Collective Identity
Conventional
Wise Counsellor
Establishment
Heritage
Trusted Guidance

 

The Hierophant can be a tricky card for this tarot reader. The card is all about rules and structure, traditionally with religious overtones.  It’s about someone else telling you how things are and what you need to do. For example, The Hierophant is also called The Pope in some decks. Hell no! I want to set my own rules and do things my own way, especially since tarot reading is against so many of The Hierophant’s doctrines. The Hierophant doesn’t want you to think for yourself, he wants you to follow. I question tradition. I wonder why doctrines exist. Who do they serve and to what end? Why should I subscribe to a religion when I can create my own spirituality without the need for someone to intervene between me and the divine? I’m perfectly capable of accessing God without a Church or the Patriarchy to tell me how to do it. Societal rules seem just as arbitrary as church doctrine as well.  Why can’t I live in my van and park on the street? No overnight parking!? Why not!?  I can be a productive and valuable member of society without hunkering down behind a desk and paying rent, especially while I’m young and active.

Anyway, my point is that when I see The Hierophant come up in a reading, I can have a knee jerk reaction that he indicates unnecessary restriction and constraint on a situation. I think, uh oh, someone is just being a sheep instead of a leader. But of course, this isn’t always the case with The Hierophant. There are institutions and systems that I appreciate in our society. One of those societal structures is the library. I love going into different libraries and archives during our travels, walking among the shelves, looking at documents, learning and experiencing history. The photo above, from the Beinecke Library at Yale, is a great example of an institution with rules and systems in place that I like.  Anyone can go into the Beinecke and see a Gutenberg Bible or Shakespeare’s original works, but there are some conditions in place.  These rules exist so that the books can continue to exist, and that makes sense to me as rules worth following.

Card catalogs at The Chicago Public Library

Card catalogs at The Chicago Public Library.  So many cards!  So much structure!

I love libraries and archives!  The library was one of my favorite places as a young child, and I read and read and read and am still reading as much as I can today. I love the way libraries look, and smell, and feel.  I love them so much that I went to school for years in order to get a Masters in Library Science. Unfortunately, this degree does not come in very handy on the road. So much about libraries and archives is wrapped up in the physical space of the collection. There is a presence in a library structure that carries a lot of meaning to me.  As far as I know, there aren’t many traveling librarian jobs.  Could I just pop into any public library and reshelve the books for a day and some pay?  I wish!  Most freelance library work involves being online and doing something with the digital realm. That’s ok, but I’m not going to go out of my way to seek it out when I already spend so much of my time on the internet, doing something I’m really passionate about:  reading tarot and setting up tour dates for Kristen!

Kalamazo, Michigan Public Library atrium.

Kalamazoo, Michigan Public Library atrium.  Time to wander into the occult section….

What I’ve come to learn from The Hierophant is that there are situations in which you learn from what has come before you.  Accumulated knowledge adds value and keeps you from reinventing the wheel. The important thing is to be conscious of the structures you decide to integrate into your life.  Pick your wise counsellors, instead of just going along with what your parents did, or everyone else does. That way, when you explore your spirituality, you can pick a religion that is meaningful to you and form a relationship with that church. Then the guidance you receive from God will be aligned with your values. The same can be said of books- it’s not the best idea to just believe everything your read because your teachers assigned it to you.  Find the books that inform your opinions in order to move beyond theory and into practice.  The Hierophant doesn’t have to be a box restricting you, but a firm foundation from which to explore.

IMG_5223The Hierophant Reversed:
Undisciplined
Unorthodox
Originality
Invention
Outside the box
Against the grain
Independent

Breaking from constraints
Unrestricted
Questioning tradition
No role models
Rebellious
Making your own rules

Many times in life, the answers or information you are looking for, aren’t easy to find.  Then the learning process can be just as worthwhile as the acquisition of knowledge!  Let’s take the book example a step farther, above is a photo of a used bookstore in New Orleans, Louisiana.  OMG- what a shop!  Books stacked haphazardly on every surface, all the way to the ceiling. How on earth are you supposed to find what you need in here?  Well, you need to think outside of the box, you need to get creative. My mind whirled as I looked around this store, but soon I noticed that there was a bit of system here. The science fiction was here, the books about NOLA were over there, French language books were piled up by the door. There was a rebellion against the ordinary in this shop, a stirring of independent tradition, or but there were still rules.  They were just unorthodox rules.

And why should a bookstore be neat?  Why should it be organized?  Why should it be that finding the right book for you depends upon being able to read the spine label? How does the author’s name effect your ability to learn or being entertained by a book?  This bookstore suggests that there is a different way. Buying a book can be about serendipity. This store, to me, reflects the real world, much more than a library where all the books are firmly categorized and labeled.  Life is messy.  You never know what will happen next, and you have to roll with it.  This store also is a good representation of how information is stored in the mind. There are lose connections between thoughts and memories in one section, but chronology is screwed, names are misplaced, categories overlap. The unrestrained mind wanders and explores, makes associates, imposed cause and effect. Sometimes it all makes sense, but sometimes it’s illogical.  In either case, we get by.

Arcadian Books and Art Prints shop in New Orleans, Louisiana.  I could have spent all day in here!

Arcadian Books and Art Prints shop in New Orleans, Louisiana. I could have spent all day in here!

I hope you enjoyed this 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!

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.