Tarot Blog Hop: The Knight of Cups Sings His Heart Out

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Welcome to the Summer Solstice edition of the Tarot Blog Hop! I hope you are enjoying the longest day of the year if you too find yourself in the Northern Hemisphere. I love me some long summer nights, even though it actually doesn’t stay light out that late where I live in Tennessee since we’re right on the edge of Central Time. It’s all good! Someday I’d love to spend the Summer Solstice in Alaska or northern Norway to see the sun stay up, up, up above the horizon for days at a time. #goals!

To me, “The Things I Regret” is so the theme song for the Knight of Cups. First off, it has a jaunty beat that reminds me of the pace at which the Knight of Cups would ride his horse. It’s not too fast, not to slow, but constantly moving. It feels like a spirited trot, constantly seeking, constantly exploring, constantly idealizing. You can feel the movement and action and determination of the Knight energy in the music and in the voice of Brandi Carlile as she sings in her ever so earnest way.

Then come the lyrics which are all about love, longing, open-heartedness, romantic ideals dashed, heartbreak, and soul searching. The lyrics speak to me of the push and pull of the emotional landscape of the Knight of Cups. Love is the key to the deepest happiness but it is also the easiest way to fall into the blackest of despair. Love is destined, it is out of our hands, but it is also all our fault when it unravels. Love will set you free but it will also keep you trapped in an endless loop of doubts and regrets. Love is the only thing worth living for but it makes love unspeakable hard.

Here are the lyrics for you to read through so you can see what I’m talking about:

Knight of Cups
Rider Waite Smith deck

There’s a hole in my pocket where my dreams fell through,
From a sidewalk in the city to the avenue
There’s a leak in my dam ‘bout the size of a pin,
And I can’t quite remember where the water’s getting in

But when you’re wearing on your sleeve,
All the things you regret,
You can only remember what you want to forget
You feel it tugging at your heart,
Like the stars overhead,
‘Til you rest your bones on the killing bed

Let them roll over me.
Let them roll over me,
When I doubt you
Let them roll over me.
Let them roll over me,
When I doubt you

Knight of Cups
Shadowscapes Tarot

With the weight of the world resting on my back,
And the road on which I’ve traveled is as long as it is cracked
But I keep pressing forward with my feet to the ground,
For a heart that is broken makes a beautiful sound

But when you’re wearing on your sleeve,
All the things you regret,
You can only remember what you want to forget

Let them roll over me
Let them roll over me,
When I doubt you.
Let them roll over me
Let them roll over me,
When I doubt you

Knight of Cups
Linestrider Tarot

I walk through my days like a ghost in a dream,
But the field carries on and my past follows me
It’s hard moving on from the things you done wrong,
When they play in your head like an old fashioned song

But when you’re wearing on your sleeve,
All the things you regret,
You can only remember what you want to forget

Lonely miles,
Without you

Lonely miles,
Without youLet the ground keep my bones
Let the water be my home
Let the dust hold my soul,
                                                              Like a holy rolling stone

You’ll notice there are quite a few references to water in this song, which reminds me of the suit of Cups representing the Water element. The water is his home and his emotions are a leaky dam. There is so much emotion and water in here, and it isn’t the kind of mature, self-assured emotions you would expect from a Queen of a King. It also isn’t that fresh and trusting emotional naiveté of a Page. Here we are somewhere in the middle of learning about love and feelings and getting our hearts trampled but also not being the best of partners. We all can relate to these growing pains, hopefully learning from our mistakes and responding differently next time we experience challenges.

There is hope in the Knight of Cups. He will “keep pressing forward with my feet to the ground” even though it’s lonely and miserable, disorienting and seemingly endless work. That’s life! That’s love! There’s not much we can do about it but keep trying. Through it all is a sense of the deep beauty of love, “for a heart that is broken, makes a beautiful sound.” That is just the kind of romantic language that the Knight of Cups would spout out to a friend over a few drinks at the bar. That friend is probably a songwriter who will turn that heartache into something as beautiful as this song.

Okay, that’s enough of my song analysis 🙂 I hope you are enjoying the Tarot Blog Hop and hop along to the next post, or go backwards, it’s all in the fun of the thing!  Happy Summer Solstice!!

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Brighid’s Blue Moon Tarot Blog Hop

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Welcome to the Tarot Blog Hop! For this hop each blogger is going to share a reading based upon a common tarot spread. This spread celebrates three cosmic events that are all happening this week: Imbolc/Brighid’s Day (the cross-quarter point on the Wheel of the Year between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox) celebrated on February 1st, a Full Moon, and a Blue Moon (the second full moon in a calendar month) on January 31st.  This is a very special tarot reading you should try out yourself at this time to connect with the triple potency of these special solar and lunar energies.

Let’s begin!
The Foundation: Draw three cards, one representing Land (Body), one for Sky (Mind), and the third one for Sea (Spirit). These will indicate for you the physical, mental, and emotional/spiritual focus of your year-to-come. These cards honor the Solar Festival of Imbolc and the Three Fires of Brigid.

The Deviant Moon Tarot- Queen of Wands, The Fool, VIII of Pentacles

Land/Body/Physical energy of 2018- Queen of Wands

The Queen of Wands is comfortable and capable in her body. She possesses an ideal of feminine physical strength and fitness. The image above from the Deviant Moon Tarot depicts this Queen as an Amazon type of woman, strong, yet sensual.  I welcome this energy, support, and wisdom from Brighid concerning my own physicality in the world. I am committed to gaining physical strength this year, increasing my physical fitness, and embracing my body as it is, without judgement. The Queen of Wands can be my role model, the embodiment of ease in the body that I desire to achieve. She is inspiring, inspired, creative, and glowing from within with health and vitality. What a great start to this reading!

Sky/Mind/Mental energy of 2018- The Fool

The Fool sets off on a journey, a new beginning, without fear of failure or self-doubt. There must be a start, and now is the time The Fool will set forth. I see him as an invitation from the realm of Sky to begin a new way of thinking and experiencing the world. This year ahead, I plan on working on my mindset, on becoming more self aware of what I am thinking and how my mind is working. The Fool encourages me to pursue this goal with an open mind, without preconceived ideas of what I should be accomplishing, and without the doubt that will have me scrambling to get back into my comfort zone. Brighid sends me positive support in the realm of the mind for choosing to experience and preceive my life in a new way, with an open heart and an open mind.

Sea/Spirit/Spiritual energy of 2018- VIII of Pentacles

Changing my mindset applies to more than simply how I judge and interact with my physical body, or how I aware or in control of my thoughts I am. My mindset also affects my self-development on a soul level, in the realm of Sea or Spirit. The VIII of Pentacles shows the effort and practice I will exercise to progress towards my goals. A spiritual practice is just that, practicing to get where you want to be. I am practicing yoga, meditation, and conscious transformation. I am practicing how to run, how to be still, how to eat, how to drink, and how to love. All of this self development takes discipline, hard work, and prolonged effort. Brighid gives me courage to keep practicing this year, to put in the work, to be motivated to make the effort. If this is what I want, why waste my time or energy working towards anything else?

The Construction: This Moon, according to the Celtic Tree Calendar, is the Full Rowan Moon. This tree is sacred to Brighid, and represents “Protection from Evil Enchantment”. It is considered a Guardian, a Guide, and a Gateway, so that we may be safely sheltered and receive direction as we walk down the new path of the year. So the three cards you draw for the second level, the Lunar energy of the year, will represent the answers to the following three questions: What is the energy of the new path that presents itself?  From what will I need protection on this journey? What energies of my own or of spirit will guide and protect me?

The Deviant Moon Tarot: The Hermit, VI of Pentacles, X of Swords reversed

What is the energy of the new path that presents itself?- The Hermit

The energy of my new path this year feels like it relates to the Seeker aspect of the Hermit. I am looking for new insights into myself. I am seeking answers to questions about what makes me tick, what I believe in, and how I can believe in myself. The Hermit likes to work in isolation and as an introvert I am always drawn to this inward probing energy. The question I have to ask myself is if I can find the answers within myself, or if I can use the guidance and wisdom of a Hermit or Guru who can help me access these inner regions of my subconscious. I have to be careful to balance my natural tendency to withdraw and do things myself, with the fact that there are limits to my understanding and what I can do alone. The Full Moon illuminates these dark places in my knowledge and beckons me to look to seek to shed light into all my blackest corners.

From what will I need protection on this journey?- VI of Pentacles

I need to be careful with my physical resources. I have a finite amount of energy, time, and money. It’s likely that other people are going to be asking a lot of me and I will need to know how to allocate my resources to properly balance my own needs with the needs of others. There is a careful balance that I can achieve between giving and receiving so that I feel the right amount of reciprocity and generosity in my life. I have an innate desire to be charitable and giving, but an equally selfish streak that wants to keep my hard earned riches to myself. I’m inclined to lean towards giving more than I receive, believing that absolute balance is unrealistic. But is it?

What energies of my own or of spirit will guide and protect me?- X of Swords reversed
I have the ability to ease my own anxiety and I can also call on the support my spirit guides to quiet my mind. This is one of my focus areas for the year ahead, learning to still my thoughts, lead them out of anxiety loops, and control the direction that they take. This work is internal, hence the reversal, and is much supported by the energy of The Hermit. The VI of Pentacles reminds me of the importance of staying grounding and coming into the materials world, when I have so much mindset, self development, soul questing going on in my life. The X of Swords reversed shows the futility and excessive damage of an overactive mind. it’s time to clear out the thought clutter.

 

The Surprise: Once in a Blue Moon, wonderful things come forth. Draw your final three cards connected with Body, Mind, and Spirit, in that order, to see what treasures the Universe has in store for you!

The Deviant Moon Tarot: VI of Swords, Knight of Cups, Knight of Swords reversed

Wonderful surprises in the realm of Body- VI of Swords

The VI of Swords gives me comfort and hope that I am on the right track, making progress towards changing my personal mindset, getting in control of my thoughts, and experiencing the world from a new perspective. All of these things are represented by the VI of Swords, even in the depiction above from The Deviant Moon Tarot. In it we see a figure who has put her thoughts aside and is allowing the expansion of her mind to take her sailing peacefully to a new land. I’m not sure I would say that my current mindset needs to be burned to the ground like in this image, but maybe it does. Maybe I need to start from a totally clean slate and enter an entirely new world within my mind. That type of movement would certainly help me get out of mindset that harshly judges and condemns my physical body and into a new way of looking at myself, my strength, and my body image. My physical home, physical health, and financial health could also use a makeover. The VI of Swords shows a surprising amount of potential for movement to a new way of thinking and experiencing myself.

Wonderful surprises in the realm of Mind- Knight of Cups

I like to see this as a new love affair or loving feelings in my mind. Instead of a hot mess of jumbled thoughts and anxieties as shown in the X of Swords, I can see my mind offering up messages and thoughts of love and self-acceptance. I’m not going to say that that would be a complete surprise, but to have that be the dominant form of thought going on in my mind would be a wonder indeed. The brain leans towards distressing and fearful thoughts, I don’t know why, something to do with self preservation and evolution. The fear-based thinking can quit is, as far as I’m concerned. I would prefer to have a love-based way of seeing the world with the Knight of Cups.

Wonderful surprises in the real of Spirit- Knight of Swords reversed
And here we see my shining spirit moving away from the hasty thinking and wild fear-based thoughts and actions of the Knight of Swords. My spirit will be overflowing with love with the Knight of Cups, putting away or moving away from the Knight of Swords combative, troubled, and anxious internal monologue. The Knights represent action so this Blue Moon surprises me with my ability to actually do something about what I’m thinking instead of just daydreaming about it and wishing it would happen. It’s good to daydream and get your goal honed and focused in on a particular objective. The next step is to take action towards that goal, even if you don’t know what action will yield results and which are just movement. It’s the intention behind the movement that counts, and the Universe will see my action and know that my intention is to move away from anxiety towards love. The surprise just might be success!

Thanks for reading my personal interpretation of this spread as part of the Tarot Blog Hop. Please use the links below to hop along or back to another great tarot blog!

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

The Second Tarot Jam: Tarot Year Cards

Hello, welcome to The Willow Path Tarot and to the second Tarot Jam blog hop! I am hosting this blog hop and you can find here the Master List to all the other amazing tarot bloggers who are also writing posts on one topic together for you to enjoy.

The topic we are writing about is Tarot Year Cards. Each year you can calculate what tarot card is the theme of your year by adding up your birth day, month and the present year and then reducing that number to a single digit 1-9. For example, my birthday last year was on 7/8/2015:

7+8+2+0+1+5= 23, then reduce 2+3 = 5.

Five is the number of The Hierophant. So, this year I’m having a year ruled by the themes of The Hierophant.  Here are some articles that we each have to share about our tarot year card. 

THE MASTER LIST 🙂

1. Deirdre Doran- The Hierophant  https://thewillowpathtarot.com/2016/02/29/tarot-jam-the-year-of-the-hierophant/

2. Nicole Dauch- http://evergreenreadings.com/2016/02/my-tarot-year-card/

3. Angela Englund- The Chariot  https://counciloftheshadows.wordpress.com/2016/01/27/what-is-your-year-card/

4. Nissa Lee- The Chariot https://rhymeandunreason.wordpress.com/2016/02/29/my-year-card-the-chariot

Light in the Forest

Tarot Blog Hop: Awaken The Heart

Welcome to The Willow Path Tarot stop on the Tarot Blog hop! Here are hop links:
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For this tarot blog hop we are exploring the theme: “…the still point of the center of the fixed stimulates germination and the awakening of the heart.”

We are right at the mid point between the beginning of winter and the beginning of spring. That makes today the cross quarter day at the exact middle of winter. This day is referred to as Imbolc in the pagan tradition, or Candlemas in the Christian religion. This is a fixed point, a moment of stillness, and an opportunity to connect deeply with the present. Through this acknowledgment of being, we open to the germination of new seeds and the growth that comes after. This germination allows for an awakening of our heart center. When we are present in the moment we easily bring joy into our hearts. Joy creates expansion and growth. Our stillness is a gift that facilitates this process. Today is a beautiful day to connect with being.

Imbolc takes place in the astrological sign of Aquarius which is represented in the tarot by The Star card. Our tasks for this blog hop is to expound upon the idea that The Star card and Aquarius are connected to the concept “…the still point of the center of the fixed stimulates germination and the awakening of the heart.” Honestly, for me, this sentence resonates most strongly with The High Priestess. I always think of her as representing that still place at the heart center from which all that is possible is allowed and created. When I connect to my inner wisdom and intuition, I channel the energy of The High Priestess in order to enter the now and makes decisions and take action from a place of peace and inner light. The more I thought about this blog hop though, the more interested I became in the connection between The High Priestess and The Star card. So I’ve decided to write about some ideas I have about that connection!

High Priestess Shadowscapes Tarot

High Priestess
Shadowscapes Tarot

starSS

The Star                             Shadowscapes Tarot

Let us consider this: If The High Priestess is the archetype of inner stillness, The Star is the outward manifestation of that stillness. If The High Priestess is inner knowing on a subconscious level, then The Star is faith and trust in self wisdom in the conscious everyday world. The High Priestess is the calm voice from within; The Star is the listener who hears and believes in that serene voice of wisdom. The High Priestess is the inherent nature of being; The Star brings that act of being into the world to be shared with and seen by others. The High Priestess is astrologically associated with The Moon, the heavenly body that singly rules the night sky while the stars, in prolific abundance, cause us to wish spontaneously upon them. Imbolc is the time when that act of being awakens wishes for new beginnings. The Star gives you the encouragement and hope to sow your seeds of belief, to allow your subconscious to come into the growing light toward spring, and to listen to your faith.

Here is a suggestion for a tarot spread to explore your connection to The High Priestess and The Star at Imbolc. First, take these two cards from your deck and place them before you. Gaze upon these two cards as you shuffle your deck however you prefer. Meditate on stillness. Ask for your heart to be awakened and allow fresh seeds of spring to be planted in conditions for optimal growth.

Ask The High Priestess: “What wisdom does the subconscious of my calm inner center wish to share with me at Imbolc?”  Draw as many cards as you wish to receive from The High Priestess.

Ask The Star: “How can I listen to, trust, and consciously use this wisdom in my every day life?” Draw as many cards as you wish to receive from The Star.

I hope you enjoy this tarot spread idea and Happy Imbolc to all you!

Carry along on the blog hop with these links!:
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Beltane Tarot Blog Hop: The Hanged Man

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Welcome to the Beltane Tarot Blog Hop!  Our topic this hop is how to deal with a “distasteful” tarot card when it comes up in a reading. The “distasteful” cards are those which when turned over (revealed) evoke a strong negative reaction.  How do we deal with these cards when they show up? What do we tell our clients? What rituals (actions) can we take to better cope with these energies?

The Hanged Man Rider Waite deck

The Hanged Man
Rider Waite deck

I chose to look at The Hanged Man for this blog hop. I picked The Hanged Man because I’m surprised and a bit confused why so many of my clients don’t like this card. What’s so “distasteful” about The Hanged Man?, I always wonder when a client makes a sad face at him. I happen to think it’s a great card!  It’s one of my favorites! Therefore, I tend to get a bit excited to share my enthusiasm and optimism when this card shows up in a reading. I think, ok, here’s my moment to shine and give some seriously heartfelt opinions and advice about The Hanged Man and what his energy means for the client.  In a way, this upbeat and excited vibe is may way of expressing the positive aspects of this card.  I try hard to convey a sense of possibility and affirmative action that can result from working with the energy of The Hanged Man.

To me, The Hanged Man indicates being fully present in the moment. This idea of being present can seem so simple to the point of being cliche, but it’s really a life-long mission for me. I feel like it’s a worthy goal for us all and I want to inspire others to take up and spread present moment consciousness amongst their people. So I get to convincing the querent of this simple positivity. The ability to live in the moment helps us to find our calm center from which to radiant out serenity, make good choices, and live in alignment with our personal values.  All too often we just react immediately without waiting patiently and carefully sensing the right action for ourselves.

The Hanged Man offers an alternative way of being, a conscious and proactive method of living. Being in the present is of the utmost importance to living a happy life. Everything that happens in our lives happens in the present, so it is so necessary and helpful to be aware and fully conscious in the moment in order to experience real joy.  Happiness can only exist in the present, since the future will never come and the past is left far behind us.  The Hanged Man is present in the joy of the moment, dwelling not long on the past or hoping longingly for a future that will always be a ways off.  I think The Hanged Man can be a very hopeful card for creating a time of joy and peace and I emphasize this in my tarot readings.

The Hanged Man Shadowscapes Tarot

The Hanged Man
Shadowscapes Tarot

One ritual that this card pointedly indicates is to try and see things from a different perspective. So often we get immersed completely in our personal drama and lose our ability to see alternatives or ways out.  Getting a tarot reading is often a sign that a person wants outside advice and comparatively objective viewpoints on her/his life situation. It is only a first step, though. The huge next impulse is to do something, change your outlook, opinion, habits, attitudes, etc. That’s hard, and maybe it’s too big of a leap for a second step.  It’s one thing to hear someone else tell you, or to tell yourself, that things need to change, and another thing to actually do something about it. The Hanged Man can be a practical stepping stone to action.  He says, just chill and keep your eyes and your heart open until it makes sense.  It’s not about doing with The Hanged Man, it’s about observing and waiting. It’s about getting in touch with serenity instead of acting blindly or impulsively. That can be tough when your whole being wants to act and The Hanged Man asks for inaction.  He’s practically a command to go meditate, which is scary and hard for some people, but is proven to be so helpful and enlightening.

I hope you enjoyed my take on how The Hanged Man can be viewed in a positive light and put some of that “distasteful” feeling aside when you see it come up in a reading.  Please continue along on the Tarot Blog Hop using the links below to see what my fellow hoppers have to say about interpreting unpleasant tarot cards in productive ways.  Happy Beltane!

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Tarot Blog Hop Imbolc- Oracular Anomalies

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For this Imbolc Tarot Blog Hop we were asked by our wrangler, Karen of Pure & Blessed Tarot, to write about an oracular anomaly we have experienced.  Basically, this means I’m going to share with you something that sticks out to me as weird about a tarot deck I use sometimes. The deck is The Deviant Moon Tarot by Patrick Valenza and the card is Strength. This is a visually stunning deck, dark and sometimes dangerous in its depictions of the tarot cards. I just love it, as I’m sure many of you do too!  Most of the cards in this deck are easy to interpret if you are familiar with the Rider Waite Smith tradition, but the Strength card always jumps out at me as strange when I look through this deck.  Let me explain why I feel this way and then I will go into how I work with this ocacular anomaly in my tarot reading practice.

Strength Deviant Moon Tarot

Strength
Deviant Moon Tarot

As you may have noticed from earlier posts on this blog, I love the Strength card.  It is my tarot birth card and my general, all-purpose, favorite card in the tarot deck.  It usually corresponds to my favorite number, 8, and perhaps this is where the difficulties with this Strength card begin, as Valenza follows the Thoth tradition of Strength being card 11. Maybe, maybe not, as usually when reading with a deck where Strength is card 11, I just ignore that little kick to my comfort zone and pretend Strength is still card 8. What actually gets me is the image itself of Strength which just doesn’t jive with my regular Strength card sensibilities. First off, there isn’t a woman in the card, at least not your typical female appearance of a woman! I associate Strength with the divine feminine so it’s hard for me to get down with this Strength card showing a man.  Also, this isn’t just any man, he’s a strongman, judging from the circus tents in the back.  To me, the Strength card has nothing to do with brawn, with brute force, or with big muslces- so why the strong man?  Lastly, Strength from The Deviant Moon shows the man forcefully opening the jaws of a scary reptilian creature. I’m used to an image of Strength in which the woman controls a mighty lion with gentleness and compassion.  So, those are my quibbles with the Strength card image from the Deviant Moon, and why I find it to be an oracular anomaly.

I love this deck though, so I’ve worked on how to align my tarot reading style with the image from this deck. That process has helped me think about this card in a new way, and that perspective deepens my knowledge and understanding of the tarot.  Basically, what I see in this image is the Ego confronting his inner demons.  The image isn’t literal, its not a strongman showing off his muscles, it’s a metaphor for the inner struggle to overcome the Ego and the thinking mind.  For me, the Ego is a very masculine concept, one concerned with rationalizing, thinking, and controlling in contrast to the feminine experience of intuiting, feeling, and surrendering.  It takes a very strong masculine force inside of each of us to force open the mouth of our inner pain and confront the demons in our dark places that holds us back from consciousness and enlightenment.

Strength Shadowscapes Tarot

Strength
Shadowscapes Tarot

I find The Deviant Moon Tarot to be a powerful tool when doing this type of intense, shadow side work.  It’s beautiful and easy for me to see the typical Strength card with a gentle woman, clad all in white, taming a lion, and experience that calm surrender to the moment.  I see that “regular” Strength card and I know to access my inner strength and have confidence in myself and my abilities. I can connect with other people and nature, I can follow my life path with ease, I can flow in the now. The Deviant Moon Strength card is the perfect image for when that process is not easy, when surrender seems distant and unachievable, when Strength must be a committed fight for consciousness.  It can be difficult to separate our identity from our pain, as often our sorrow and struggles are how we define ourselves. I don’t believe that it is productive or necessary to act this way though. I want to define myself by the love, compassion, and connectedness I bring with me into the world.  Strength reminds me to be more than the Ego, and the Deviant Moon image of Strength depicts the difficult process that is separation from the Ego and integration with self and the universe.

I hope you enjoyed this latest blog post.  I have to admit, I had no idea what to write when I heard the topic was “ocacular anomalies”, so I hope I muddled through this one ok!  I’m looking forward to hopping along and seeing what all the other amazing tarot bloggers out there had to say about this subject.  You can follow along on the links below as well. Happy Imbolc! Spring approaches!

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