Card of the Day: Five of Wands

S W I M I N T H E S E A

Today’s card is the Five of Wands from the Universal Goddess Tarot.

This is one of my favorite cards in this deck.  It depicts the Polynesian Goddess Pele.  I’ve IMG_0568been fond of Pele ever since I lived in Hawaii when I was in high school (8th through 10th grade).  My class took a trip to the Big Island (the actual island of Hawaii, as opposed to O’ahu which was where I lived) and we visited Volcanoes National Park.  While we were there we heard lots of stories about the goddess and it was kind of hard to not get caught up in the amazing energy of a place where we were able to get within feet of active lava flow.  Close enough to throw loose rocks into the lava to see what happens.  They melt.  In case you were wondering.  They hit the lava and MELT.  It’s pretty crazy amazing.

Crazy amazing is a pretty good descriptor for this five of wands.  We see Pele, dressed in the red and yellow that was reserved only for the Hawaiian royalty, decked with a hakulei around her forehead and more beads and flowers at her wrists.

She is a goddess of furious creation and destruction, just like the volcano that she is said to live in.  When a volcano erupts it is a powerful destructive force, raining down fire and brimstone and rushing waves of lava that destroy everything they touch.  But at the same time, volcanoes can be powerful creative forces as well.  Volcanic eruptions created the Hawaiian islands.

This balance of creation and destruction is what the Five of Wands represents.  Perhaps now is the time to let the fiery energy of the Wands suit burn away the things that no longer serve you.  The five burning wands here can represent ideas or projects you’re got in the works; the volcano behind them is throwing up lava which could rush down and devour those wands.  Maybe it’s time for that.

But a volcano is unpredictable, so it could be that the active flow misses them entirely, instead offering more fuel to help them keep burning.  The way I’d interpret this card in a spread would vary depending on where it showed up.  Whether you try to avoid the explosion or seize hold of a passing boulder and ride it out, cheering at the top of your lungs the entire way, is up to you.

One thing is for sure, when this card shows up, things are about to get explosive.  My advice: don’t argue with a volcano goddess.  Just go with the flow.

Card of the Day: Two of Swords

S W I M I N T H E S E A

Today’s card is the Two of Swords from the Happy Tarot.

This is one of the least ‘happy’ cards in the Happy Tarot at first glance.  The card depicts a IMG_0454blindfolded woman in a chair, carrying two crossed swords.  It’s the middle of the night and only a crescent moon casts a dim and hazy light over the scene.  She sits with her back to a rushing river.

Her entire posture seems to be one of a stubborn refusal to acknowledge or accept something.  It could be that she’s trying to keep out of a deeply emotional situation that she’s feeling overwhelmed by (which could be what the river represents).

She holds those swords closely over her chest, almost like she’s struggling to balance them or brandishing them at unseen enemies.  Cats look on with curiosity and perhaps a little wariness.

Looking more closely at the card you can see that she isn’t tied to her spot, she could at any point, set down the swords and remove her own blindfold.  This card isn’t one about being held down by external forces.  It’s talking about being in a situation and choosing not to deal with what’s going on.

The other thing to consider is the way she’s got the swords crossed over her heart.  Literally protecting it with weapons.  I think it’s important to recognize that this card isn’t saying that the woman has made a bad or unreasonable choice here.  Sometimes situations force you to cut yourself off from things or people that are harmful to you, and it’s always okay to take steps to take care of yourself.  The message here is to be careful of closing yourself off completely to everything.  The more we close off from everyone and everything around us, the further away we get from those things that can help us.  It’s kind of (pardon the semi-pun) a double-edged sword (get it, two of swords? Okay, I’m done, I promise).

Ignoring a problem isn’t going to solve it in most cases.  It’s okay to take a break and gather yourself before you try to face down a giant beast, but try not to let it get the best of you so you don’t end up blindfolded on a chair.

Card of the Day: The Moon

S W I M I N T H E S E A

Today’s card is The Moon from the Manga Tarot.

IMG_0627I’ve done The Moon before as a a card of the day, but I decided to do it again, despite the fact that I am nowhere near finished with all the cards.  I’m doing it because when I looked at this Moon card, I had no idea how I would read it.  And when I feel like that about a card it’s a signal that I have some work to do with the card.

Okay, so in the RWS smith card the moon can mean not seeing clearly or believing illusions.  It can also mean imagination too.  Maybe that’s what this Moon is telling me.  Dancing in the moonlight with a polar bear could certainly be a dream.  And, as I looked closer you can see that they’re dancing on the water.  The swans are swimming around their feet on a little pond.

Maybe I picked this card right now because I really need some magical dreamlike escape in my life right now.  These last few weeks have been really difficult.  I’ve been feeling really drained and there’s been a low grade constant anxiety humming in the back of my thoughts.   I could use a little dreamy distraction from the fear and difficulties of life for a queer person in the United States.

I most often read the Moon as a witchy power card, but that’s not the meaning I’m getting from this one.  I think this one is about embracing the imagination and letting it lift you out of whatever you’re mired in.  The song walking in the air sprang to mind as I looked at the sky in the card.  That song is a really nostalgic song for me and it takes me back to my childhood.   I now have the image of the girl and the bear flying through the night sky together.  Maybe with the swans too.  Swans can be fierce protectors and I think that’s their role in this card, the bear, a symbol of strength and power, is inviting the girl to step out of the things that threaten to drag her down.  This card feels to me a little floaty and dreamy.  I think it’s encouraging us to dream freely, especially if we’re feeling dragged down by the harsh realities of daylight.  Take respite in the light of the moon where things aren’t as sharp, and let your mind drift away from everything that’s hard and ugly.

After all, it’s a marvelous night for a moon dance.

Card of the Day: Three of Wands

S W I M I N T H E S E A

Today’s card is the Three of Wands from the Wild Unknown Tarot deck (1st edition)

IMG_0626One of the reasons that I really like the Wild Unknown deck is all the watercolor rainbows you can see in the cards.

This card reads like a portal to another world.  The world of the mundane is represented in all those horizontal black lines, almost like static on an old TV.  With the three wands lashed together a window into this amazing new place appears.

The window is a triangle, which engineering wise is the strongest shape.  This is why you always see lots of triangle shapes in bridge architecture.

I see this card talking about having the vision to construct your own future and to be able to see beyond what other people can see.  Some people might have only seen a tangle of sticks and string.  But when they’re all put together they become a focal point showing the way to a limitless possible future.

When you see the this Three of Wands it’s a challenge to take control of your surroundings and to feel empowered to explore and try something new.  Don’t be afraid to strike out on your own and chart new territories.

Be brave.  Be creative.  Build the things you

Card of the Day: Queen of Cups

S W I M I N T H E S E A

Today’s card of the day is the Queen of Cups from the Universal Goddess Tarot

IMG_0561In the Universal Goddess Tarot the Queen of Cups depicts Yemaya, Yoruban ruler of the sea. She is the goddess of generosity, good feelings, love, tolerance, and fidelity.  A very appropriate goddess for the Queen of Cups.  There’s a very maternal energy in this card.

Yemaya sits on a throne constructed of seashells and what looks like octopus arms.  Her hair also sort of echoes those octopus arms as well with her dreadlocked hair.  Strands of pearls adorn her multi layered dress and her jewelry is made of more pearls and seashells.  She is serene and in control of her surroundings.  Even though the ocean is clearly moving around her, shown by the movement of her hair and the bubbles around her, She sits serene and untroubled.

When the Queen of cups appears in a spread she’s a calming and comforting influence.  She has a very nurturing energy, someone easy to talk to who actively listens.  She offers gentle but firm advice.  She will comfort you when someone breaks your heart but she won’t enable you to go back to the jerk to let them do it again.  She has mastered her emotions, but that phrase doesn’t quite fit.  In our culture when we speak of mastering emotions the phrase tends to connote a stoic man who is unaffected while anger and grief rage around him, and that’s not this queen at all.  She feels deeply and maturely, but she does not let her emotions destroy her.  Instead she holds space to honor all the feelings of the Cups suit and helps others to learn to honor their own.

She may appear in a spread when you’re feeling overwhelmed.  She can help you understand that it’s okay to cry when you need to and to help you ensure other people don’t treat your poorly because you feel.  Trust her advice and honor your feelings, it’s much more healthy to give them the space they need than to just try to force them down.  Let the water of her oceans wash and soothe you.

Card of the Day: Six of Swords

S W I M I N T H E S E A

Today’s card is the Six of Swords from the Prisma Visions Tarot

This is a beautiful depiction of the Six of Swords.  It shows a bridge of swords, spanning an endless dark IMG_0706chasm.  The bridge is crafted from the blades of swords.  It’s midwinter and everything is covered in snow, the wind is blowing hard, and it’s deep in the middle of a moonless and cloudy night.  The only light comes from the stars.  Crossing a bridge of swords under these conditions would be extremely dangerous.

This card represents a difficult journey, a transition from something bad enough to make you prepared to flee even when the travelling is through such bad conditions.

This card traditionally represents a listless and depressed person or period of life.  In the RWS card a man struggles to propel a boatful of swords along.  Here we’re missing the boat, but a long difficult trek can be imagined through the snow.

The butterflies give us hope though.  Not only are they completely out of place in the dead of winter, indicating that the warmth of summer (and thereby a relief from the depressing winter) must be somewhere near, they also symbolize transformation.

There are few more potent and powerful examples of transformation that that of a caterpillar becoming a butterfly.  They wrap themselves up, dissolve into goo, and then become an entirely new creature!

Another interesting note for this card, the bending tree on the right side of the card almost looks like it has the face of an old man.  He looks tired and grumpy as he looks back into the past.  The butterflies are looking to the future, towards summer, and towards a way out of this slump.

When you see the Six of Swords take hold of hope.  It’s showing you that the end is in sight.  You can find a way out, but you do have some hard travelling to get there.

Card of the Day: The Emperor

S W I M I N T H E S E A

Today’s card is the Emperor from the Manga Tarot

IMG_0632 I’ve always had a slightly touchy relationship with The Emperor.  I don’t love patriarchal undertones that the card always seems to be associated with in the traditional RWS interpretations.  It’s really mostly just that I’m pushing back against the archetypal gendered stereotypes.  I think the first time I felt really good about the Emperor card was when I found my matron goddess, Athena, on the Emperor card in the Universal Goddess deck.

The Emperor stands for control, structure, fatherhood, and authority.  It’s my ‘question authority’ mindset that tends to block my working with the card.  What it was important for me to learn, is that the Emperor card doesn’t have to mean submitting to male control.  It doesn’t even mean a man at all necessarily.  It’s just talking about energies that were typically associated with men.

The authority in this card doesn’t have to be a toxic corrupt authority.  In order for me to work with this card I had to recognize that authority isn’t a bad thing.  Authority can be any respected source that you trust.

That said, this is one Emperor card that I really like.  Although it depicts someone outwardly presenting as male, it doesn’t have any of that energy of autocratic dictatorship.  This Emperor actually appears to be consciously rejecting that kind of leadership.  You see the cracked and broken throne with a discarded crown behind him.  He sits on the ground instead, meditating in a traditionally styled samurai suit of armor.  The figure of this Emperor does represent authority.  He is a warrior, and seated in front of the throne gives the implication that he is a leader.  Maybe he defeated the corrupt ruler who used to occupy that seat, or maybe he was the ruler and he has come to understand that an iron fist isn’t the way to rule.

He also represents structure here.  He is meditating, following perhaps a spiritual path or simply taking time to improve himself.  He is recognizing the importance of time for quiet reflection and introspection.  This Emperor isn’t raging around his throne room screaming at the court.  When he speaks his words are soft and well considered.  He has earned the respect of his peers through his actions and his philosophies.

You can see this Emperor representing ‘fatherhood’ here as well.  Taking the gender out of the equation just leaves protection of his family/clan/people and safeguarding them.

He gives the impression of a calm well reasoned wisdom.  You’d feel good asking his counsel and taking his advice.  When this Emperor appears in your spread you can be sure that he’s carefully considered what to do and you know you can trust the authority he represents.

Card of the Day: The Hermit

S W I M I N T H E S E A

Today’s card is The Hermit from the Universal Goddess Tarot.

The Hermit is a favorite card of mine.  I’m an introvert and I very deeply identify with the idea of retreating from life every now and then to have some personal quiet time.  I alsoIMG_0563 consider myself a seeker: I’ve never truly settled into a specific spiritual path, instead learning about many different ones and taking pieces of truth when something resonates with me.  That’s what the Hermit encourages.

Here the Hermit is represented as Hecate, a goddess who is associated with crossroads, entrance-ways, dogs, light, the moon, magic, and witchcraft.  The Hermit is traditionally shown carrying some kind of light, very often a lantern, so her burning torch is very appropriate.

When my grandmother was in the process of passing away earlier this year, I prayed to Hecate to help ease her passage and help her to not feel fear.  I’m certainly not claiming that it was my prayer that did it, but my grandmother passed gently, in her sleep with my mother sitting right next to her.  I find comfort in the idea that there was something or someone to help her make that transition.

When the Hermit appears, it’s a sign that you need to take some time away from the rush of your life.  Take some time to ponder the mysteries of life, maybe do some self reflection and soul searching.  Is there something you’ve been avoiding dealing with?

This card can sometimes just represent a simple need to step back from demands and responsibilities, but this depiction especially brings to mind dealing with a big change or a difficult transition.  Hecate stands at the cross roads in your life and gently reminds you to take time to really think things through and make the right choice for you.  This is more than two paths diverging in a narrow wood.  This is a big important choice that will have ripple effects later on in life.  Hold space for that choice and make it wisely.

Card of the Day: Six of Cups

S W I M I N T H E S E A

Today’s card of the day is the Six of Cups from the Wild Unknown Tarot.

IMG_0614A rainbow proliferation of roots spreads deep underground beneath the silhouette of a tree.  The six cups line the edge of the card, balancing the image and anchoring it.

 The six of cups is traditionally a card that talks about innocence and childhood.  It’s a card about nostalgia, and you can sort of read the card that way here, but to me it’s got a slightly different meaning.

If you think about it, the roots represent the tree’s ‘childhood’.  The beginnings of those roots were there before the tree even broke through the earth with its first tender shoot.

At first my interpretation was mostly “the roots are the past and the tree is the future”.  The roots have color and so they’re the lived experiences that we draw from as we move through our lives, the body of the tree is dark because the future is an unknown thing, not yet colored by our experiences.  And I still think that’s a valid way to read this.  However, as I was writing this, another reading lept into my mind.  The roots aren’t just the past, because the roots, just like the tree, aren’t finished growing.  They continue growing unseen beneath the earth the entire time the tree grows toward the sky.

I think the beautiful rainbow of roots represents the parts of the tree (part of our lives) that are unseen to other people.  When this card shows up, it’s a reminder that there is more to a situation than meets the eye.  Maybe there’s more to yourself than you realize.  Your ‘colorful’ past means that you have so much more life experience to draw on.

The colors underground also read as a symbol of light.  We see white light with our naked eyes, but when you bend that same light through a prism you can see the full spectrum of visible light played out as a rainbow.  Here you can see the rainbow underneath the soil, but it’s not visible above ground.  It’s still there, it’s just not visible to the naked eye anymore.

This is a hopeful and encouraging note for this card.  It means that even if you can’t see the value/strength/beauty in yourself, it’s still in there.  You just have to look for it, do that hard work of digging down into the earth of yourself to find those col0rs.

The Cups suit is all about our feelings, so this card encourages you to look back at your experiences and try to remember the things we’ve experienced and how it’s helped us to become the people we are.  Some things in our lives are good, some are bad, but they all contribute to the person we have become and can help us move towards the person we want to be.   Feel the vast network of roots beneath you and know that you have growing to do and that the light is inside you.