Card of the Day: The Moon

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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.

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Card of the Day: The Emperor

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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 Fool

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

IMG_0634This Fool card bears some of similarities to other Fool cards: it has a figure approaching a cliff, there’s a canine companion, and the figure doesn’t appear to be able to see the huge drop off right ahead.  But there’s a lot more about this card that reads very differently from most Fool cards that I’ve seen.

For starters, I think this is the least colorful Fool I’ve ever seen.  Often times the Fool is portrayed as a very festive, jester-like Fool, in the tradition of the medieval fool.  This card is nearly monochromatic; only a few details like the brown cast to the stone of the cliff, the skin tone, the trail of red under her feet, and the little pink tongue of the dog have color.

Also this fool doesn’t feel like the starting of a brand new exciting journey into the unknown.  It looks bleak.  The figure is covering her face, she looks depressed, and my first thought is that she’s walking to her death off that cliff.  Instead of a beginning she seems to be heading for an ending.  At first I thought the red color indicated flowers blossoming under her feet, but in the context of the card they sort of make me think of blood.

In traditional readings the Fool represents taking a leap of faith into a new an unknown situation.  The Fool doesn’t know what lies ahead, but they’re unburdened by worries and they skip happily down the path of life, footloose and fancy free.

The Fool in this card, shown all in white, carries a few other connotations.  Although this is the Manga Tarot, the deck contains some racial diversity, and can’t be read as being exclusively Japanese; however, since Manga is a Japanese art form, I can’t exclude those cultural influences without losing some meaning in the cards.  In the Shinto religion of Japan, white is the color worn by pilgrims.  It’s also the most common color for wedding dresses in Japan, and in many Asian cultures, white is the color of mourning.

In some ways, this Fool could be any of those people.  Whether going on a pilgrimage, getting married, or mourning a loss, all of these require stepping forward into the unknown, perhaps taking a leap of faith.

This Fool card is showing us a Fool who isn’t at the very beginning of her journey.  She has walked through the path of the Major Arcana already once, and now she has come full circle again.  In walking up to that cliff, although she is clearly afraid, covering her eyes, she is willing herself to take that leap again, fighting her instinct that tells her that she’ll fall if she takes that last step.  This Fool, more than any other I’ve seen, is urging you to be brave and to trust in the power of a new beginning, even if you’ve been battered and disappointed before.   It’s okay to be afraid of the fall, as long as you don’t let your fears trap you and keep you from moving forward.  She knows that even when it seems the most bleak and painful, we can always reinvent ourselves if we’re willing to take that risk and be vulnerable again.  It’s never too late for a new start.

Card of the Day: Death

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Today’s card is Death from the Manga Tarot

IMG_0636It’s Friday the 13th, let’s talk about the 13th card in the Major Arcana.  Death!  Oh no, Death!  A scary card!  Right?  Well, maybe not.  Let’s dive into the card.

Okay, sure–the card shows the grim reaper taking someone into the light.  Or does it?  Maybe it’s a hooded monk showing a young acolyte a painting on a temple wall.  Maybe it’s a wise witch teaching her young apprentice how to create light with a simple spell.

Maybe you see something else in the card.  The point of all the ‘maybe’-ing here is to get you to pause for a moment and question some assumptions you might have about the Death card because it can mean different things.

I’m not going to tell you it never means an actual death, because anything is possible.  However, in my experience, this card usually means something else.  Sometimes it’s a symbolic death, the ending of a phase of life, the end of a job, or a breakup.  All of these things can be painful and there might be a period of grieving associated with these losses.  This reading is not at all meant to denigrate feelings that you might feel around these kinds of events.  The Death card recognizes that endings can be frightening.  Change can be a frightening prospect, even if it’s change for the better.  Maybe you’ve just been diagnosed with diabetes and you’re looking at the end of delicious food forever (spoiler alert: it’s not, it just means a new approach to delicious foods in smaller portions or less often.  Ask me how I know 😉 ).  A death or an ending is a major event and this card is telling you to honor those feelings and give them some space.  Let yourself sit with the changes and absorb what it might mean for you.  But don’t forget that there is a second energy in the Death card.

Look at all that light!  It’s practically shooting out of the card.  That’s because the flip side of death is life.  Sometimes we have to let go of our past circumstances, relationships, or jobs in order to move forward.  The Death card shares some traits with another ‘scary’ card, The Tower.  Both of them talk about changes, but where the Tower card represents sudden frightening change, the Death card can be a slower and more organic ending.  When it shows up it might be indication that a change you’ve been afraid of making is really the right choice.  Perhaps there is some change coming up in your life that’s completely out of your control and you’re feeling anxiety about it.  The Death card could be appearing to reassure you that this change is for the better.

When you see Death, remember that all things must end, and that maybe this end is a fresh start for you.