Card of the Day: Page of Cups

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Today’s card is the Page of Cups from the Shadowscapes Tarot

page_of_cupsThis deck actually belongs to my wife and not to me, so I haven’t worked with it very much.  I’ve definitely ooh-ed over it though, the art is so very beautiful.

This card has been pulled for me by other readers more than a few times.  I hadn’t really noticed it until just recently when I got a very timely mini reading from Beth at LRT.  It was one of those moments where it sort of feels like it’s a message that the universe has been trying to hammer through my thick skull for ages and I’m finally paying attention.

One of the things I like the most about this version of the card is the aspect of bringing light.  The mermaid is holding a bowl that I read as liquid light, maybe even liquid gold.  She’s looking within and the light is emerging and curling around her.  There’s darkness all around her.  Tangling seaweed drifts around ready to ensnare and entangle.  Her tail is tattered and her body is marked, they could be scars, they could be tattoos.  I get the feeling that she’s down at the bottom of a deep underwater canyon.  Which echoes the feelings I’ve had lately of being stuck at the side of a deep chasm.  I’ve learned not to ignore those kinds of synchronicities.

This is a sign for me to turn inwards and do some shadow work, understanding myself better so that I can help spread that light.  I might only be capable of carrying the bowl right now, but with dedicated work someday I can help spread that light to other people.  Work towards standing firm in my own power so that I can use my priviledge and power to help people who don’t have it.

Breathe in light, breathe out darkness.  Breathe in peace and empowerment and breathe out helplessness and fear.

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Card of the Day: Eight of Cups

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Today’s card is the Eight of Cups from the Universal Goddess deck.

08-of-cupsThis card talks about loss and grieving and feeling abandoned.  It’s a sad card to see, it depicts Calypso as her lover Odysseus sails away from her.  In the Aeneid, the Roman re-imagining of this same tale, this would be Dido as Aeneas sails away.  The only difference being that Aeneas wasn’t married to a woman, just married to his job as legendary founder what became the Roman Empire.

In the mythology Odysseus stays with Calypso for a number of years (between one and five depending on the sources) as her lover.  This is all part of the story of Odysseus’s ten year journey home after the Trojan War.

In Western culture, Odysseus is hailed as a pious man, a brave warrior, and a cunning tactician.  But examining him from a different angle, with admittedly a more modern lens, he doesn’t come off so well.  Like so many myths of the time the women are portrayed as wicked temptresses, deadly sirens, and catty bitches.  You’re not meant to feel sympathetic to Calypso because she was ‘imprisoning’ Odysseus and forcing him to stay there.  I argue that this is because these stories were written by men, for men.   Odysseus must be heroic, and therefore must be a vanquisher of all his foes.

I don’t, and neither did the creators of this deck, see her that way.  She is a woman betrayed by a lover whom she trusted.  She grieves for the loss of something that she held dear.  The circumstances of his leaving were outside her control.  Mightier gods than she insisted that Odysseus had to leave, so Calypso had no voice in the matter.  Despite the fact that things were collapsing all around her she still provided Odysseus a raft and provisions for his journey.  She didn’t want to lose him, but at the same time she still loved him and wanted him to be safe and reach his destination, even if that meant she had to let go of her love forever.

The eight of cups talks about grief, about loss, and that feeling that nothing will ever be the same again.  It talks about the ending of one cycle while another cycle begins.  Sometimes the ending of something is a reason for grief and it’s perfectly okay to grieve that ending.  In fact this card is telling you that you should hold space for that grief.

Card of the Day: Ten of Cups

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Today’s card is the Ten of Cups from the Universal Goddess deck

This cup shows Hestia the Greek Goddess of the Hearth.  Hestia is a goddess who is very IMG_0566near to my heart.  I love the hearth based deities because I’m very much a home centric person.  The modern day hearth is sort of the whole kitchen these days.  The kitchen is where people gather, food is prepared, and love is given.  We have a lovely home altar above our stove at my house and it’s a very homey place.  Before we bought our house I had a very distinct image in my head of my yellow kitchen.  And when we bought the house, that was the first paint color that I chose.

Getting back to the card itself, I both like the image and I don’t like it.  I’m not crazy about the whole white washed look of the whole thing and I don’t love the man+woman+children = the epitome of family and home.  Families come in all shapes and sizes and colors and configurations and this one just reinforces that white nuclear 1950s family thing.  But I can deal with it, I do like the gathered around the fire image and the image of Hestia’s arms stretched out protectively around the scene.  I also like that Hestia is shown here as a mature woman.  There are lines on her face, her arms are muscular, and she’s dressed comfortably and sensibly.  She was the one who tended the hearth fires of the gods and was the home builder.  She is the goddess of ‘women’s work’.  All those thankless but essential tasks that are needed to keep people safe and warm and fed.  Especially in the past when we cooked over open hearths instead of on tidy gas or electric stoves.  In most cultures women were just expected to do all these kinds of tasks and the amount of work that it took was never acknowledged.  Running a household, keeping it clean, keeping food on the table is no small task.

But I’m getting away from the Ten of Cups here, so I’m going to pull it back in now.  This card is a wonderfully comforting sign.  In Tarot, the Ten cards are symbols of a completed cycle or the end result of the labors of their suits.  This ten represents a safe and happy home.  What that means to you might be completely different than the very limiting depiction on this card.  To me it means my wife and I with our two cats curled up on the couch with lots of blankets, snuggled together drinking tea and watching a documentary about nature or cooking.  To my parents it might mean all of us kids and our spouses at their house, having a barbeque out back in their gorgeous backyard pergola.  To you it might mean quiet space alone in your loft in Boston or a tiny cabin in the woods on a mountain top.

The Ten of Cups means family too, but it means your family of choice.  I’m lucky enough that my blood family is wonderful and supportive and loving, but that’s not the case for everyone.  This Ten of Cups family isn’t a family where people hold anger towards each other in their hearts or say hateful things or try to harm you.  The Ten of Cups family is the people who love you unconditionally and who are always there for you, whether it’s through a Skype call or a text message or a hug and a movie night.

Wherever you feel comfortable, safe, secure, and loved, that’s what the Ten of Cups is all about.

Card of the Day: Princess of Cups

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Today’s card is the Princess of Cups from the Manga Tarot

img_0630This Princess looks like she might be wearing a wedding veil.  She has flowers in her hair and a lovely kimono as she bears a golden cup aloft while riding a sea dragon.  I got myself into a little stir trying to figure out what the flowers in her hair were.  I used a plant ID website and (assuming that these illustrated flowers are based on real ones) I think these flowers are either Japanese Meadowsweet or Wild Sweet William which might be a type of Phlox.  I don’t know much about either of these types of plants, but there you go.

Botanical ramblings aside, there’s a lot to dig into with this depiction.  I appreciate the image of the Princess (sometimes called a Page or Squire or Daughter) as the cup bearer of the suit.  The card position typically depicts the youthful or inexperienced energy of the suit, sometimes shown as a young child excited at something.

This depiction shows a young woman but she isn’t rushing about like a giddy child.  Instead she takes her position and her role with seriousness and strength.  She understands that she still has much to learn, the dragon is as much her protector as he is her steed.  But she holds the cup carefully with a steady and intense gaze.  There’s almost a challenge in her expression, warning you not to trifle with her.  She doesn’t race into the fray like her sibling the Knight might do, she approaches with reverence and steadiness.  You can feel that she is in the progression and I feel hints of the Queen in this card.  It’s what the Princess will become as she grows in age and in her power.  Notice the way that the Dragon’s gaze matches hers.  A psychic link exists between the Princess and the Dragon, they are partners.

I get both literal and political forward motion out of this card, the Page wanting to advance and also the Dragon charging through the water, you can see it all displaced around him.  The control of the Page is very evident here, she sits serenely in the middle of all this chaos.

When you see this Princess it’s a sign of calm and respectful control.  This card indicates that there is much to be learned, but you’ve got a good grasp on things even if our surroundings feel wildly out of control.  Keep your eyes focused on your goals and someday you might become the Queen too.

Daily Draw: Five of Cups

The Daily Draw updatedToday’s draw came out the five of cups.

Yesterday I learned that my mom was going to have to have a second surgery on her knee5-cups which she had replaced in September.  She’s been struggling with the PT and I know it’s been incredibly difficult for her.  I flew out there to spend a week with her just a short while ago and to hear that she’s got to go through the entire thing again has left me feeling sad, anxious, and helpless.

This daily draw feels bang on the money.  It’s hard for me to focus on those two cups I’m holding when I know that my mother’s are all upended and I’m powerless to help.  She lives too far away for me to see her as often as I wish I could and I can’t afford air plane tickets.  I’m struggling right now with what I can do to help her without being there.  This card is telling me I need to focus in on what is here, what is positive.

I need to figure out how I can help my mom (and my dad) through this incredibly difficult time.  And I need to figure out how to stop worrying about this being the start of a downward spiral for my mom.

If anyone has some extra healing energies to spare, I’d be grateful if you’d send them in my family’s direction.

Card of the Day: Ace of Cups

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Today’s card is the Ace of Cups from the Happy Tarot

I know that the whole deck is happy, because it’s the Happy Tarot, but this one just img_0456looks that much more happy.  I mean, come on, it’s a happy cloud showering blessings over you in a giant rainbow.  It’s like Lucky Charms in here.  And that makes me grin like an idiot.

Aces are always a good sign, so it’s already got that going for it.  And look how delighted that little cloud looks.  The little n_n eyes and that big smile, it’s literally carrying the pot (cup) of gold at the end of the rainbow.  It holds that unattainable thing that in normal life you could chase for your entire life and never find without the aid of a leprechaun.  The Ace shows an outpouring of emotional healing and love that the cups suit is known for.

We talk a lot on the internet about having “all the feels” and whether these feels are good or bad there’s often a sense of being overwhelmed by them, like they come in as a huge flood that bowls us over and leaves us exhausted.  This isn’t that feeling.  This kind of soaking is the kind that leaves us energized and renewed, like diving into a pool during the middle of a hot summer day.

You can see lotus blossoms floating on lily pads in the water below.  The ace of cups is a sign of a fresh start, the cascade of water can wash away the hurt and pain you might be carrying with you.  Luxuriate in the water and let it wash you clean so that you can emerge renewed.

If you see this card in a reading it’s a sign that a refreshing cleansing period is starting or that you need to do some emotional cleansing.  Sacred baths, sound healing, or maybe a soothing tea are in order.

Card of the Day: Four of Cups

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Today’s card is the Four of Cups from the Happy Tarot

IMG_1323You may have noticed that I’ve been using the Happy Tarot a lot lately.  I adore this deck, but mostly I’m using it a lot because this is the deck that I’m carrying around in my purse.  Also the four theme is entirely coincidental, last card of the day was the Four of Pentacles.  This was just the card I drew next.  Although, it probably means I should pay attention to my fours and see if my deck is trying to tell me something.

But let’s get into this four now.  I’m not sure if the figure in the picture is sulking or if they’re genuinely sad.  Half of their face looks kind of bored and the other half looks sad.  I actually covered half of the face with a finger to look at the divided expression.  So there’s probably some mixed feelings going on here.  With the Four of Cups it could be either.  The card speaks about turning inwards, which can either be self reflective or self absorbed.  How I’d read this card (how I’d read any card) would depend on where it fell in a spread and what the querent was asking about.

I think it’s really interesting that the Ace of Cups is represented in this card too, the happy little cloud on the right side is that same cloud that appears on the Ace of cups card.  This sends the message that good things are in the works, the Ace is on its way to shower the figure with love and blessings.

Another note I see in this card is the suspension of feelings.  Notice how there’s one cup sitting in front of the figure and two others tied up into the tree.  One cup is threatening to spill over.  There are several messages we can glean from these suspended cups.  It shows that the figure has a lot of feelings to deal with right one, the empty cup isn’t very urgent, we can’t see anything in the cup, but the other cup is overflowing and starting to spill out.  If you read these cups as feelings it’s showing either a refusal to deal with those feelings or a temporary shelving of them.  In a crisis a lot of feelings are present, but sometimes we have to set some of those feelings aside to deal with the most important ones.  In that case it’s okay to compartmentalize and deal with some of those cups later.  The problem comes when we’ve shelved those feelings and never paused to deal with them later.  The feelings are still there and some might be about to spill over into our present.

I think the central message of this card is that we need to strike a balance when we turn inwards.  Spending too much time navel gazing means we miss out on what happening around us.  However, without at least some self reflection we can’t grow and we risk stagnating.  The flip side of that coin is that if we shut ourselves off from everything and sulk, alone on an island, with our eyes shut, we also miss out on the opportunities and happiness that might be all around us.

Don’t avoid life so long that you forget to live it.

Tarot Exercise: What your favorite card says about you

tarot-talkI found this interesting little exercise on the Daily Tarot Girl blog about what your favorite tarot card says about you and I thought it might be interesting to try it and then share it with you.

I don’t entirely agree with one section of the exercise, but I’ll talk about that when we come to it.  The instructions say to flip through your tarot deck until you find your favorite card, or if you don’t have a favorite to find one that particularly calls to you.  I’ve already talked about some of my favorites (The Moon, The Star, The Hermit) so I decided to take a deck I use infrequently and flip through it until I found a card that spoke to me.

Using the Universal Fantasy deck I chose the Two of Cups.

2_of_cupsCard chosen I proceeded to the exercise.

Key #1: Color
What color is most prominent in your favorite Tarot card? This tells you what is most important to you right now.

Looking at this card my first thought was purple, secondary looking gives me gold and red, but I decided to go with my instant first impression of purple.

Purple – You are strongly focused on spirituality at the moment. You are in the process of getting in touch with your own divinity and connecting to spirit. You share many of the blue/green traits, but you are very interested in things like astrology, the cosmos, reading channeled books, ascension, hypnosis and activating your psychic abilities. Others may think you are weird – but you could care less!”

Hmm, I’d say partly true, and I do strongly associate the color purple with Spirit and I have been doing some work around intuition lately.

 

Key #2: Gender
If there is a figure on the Tarot card, is it male, female or androgynous?

Here’s where I differ a bit in the interpretation.  The exercise has this to say:

“This symbolizes the energy that you are most closely aligned with at the moment. If the figure is a male, you are probably quite focused on doing, whereas if the figure is female, you are likely more focused on being.”

Firstly, it doesn’t really take into account that there are two differently gendered persons on my card and I object to the active/passive characterization and having it tied to genders. So, well, that’s my two cents on the matter.  If I do this exercise again I would just skip Key 2.  Or work on rephrasing this or coming to a different understanding of a way to read the energy in the card that wasn’t tied to socially constructed ideas of gender roles.

 

Key #3: Action
Is there any action going on in your favorite Tarot card? Whats happening in it?

Let’s see, in my card we see a male presenting figure looking into a mirror and seeing a female presenting figure.  One of the things that drew me to this card was the fact that I recognized a possible trans narrative in it.  The two of cups can means a partnership or relationship, but it can also mean acknowledging a bond or coming towards acceptance of a situation and getting a positive response.  If I were reading for a gender variant person and this card appeared it would be extremely encouraging.

You could also read this as the fantasy world equivalent of Skype where two people are speaking to each other over a great distance.  Perhaps one is a warrior fighting in a distant conflict, stealing a precious chance to talk to someone back at home.  Or maybe it’s an arranged marriage and the two are meeting for the first time over magical Skype.

You could really go in a ton of directions reading this image.  I’m going to stick with my first and strongest impression, that of a trans person seeing their true self in the mirror.

That reading tells me that in the forefront of my mind are transformation and the struggle to speak and live our truths.  With all the hate for GLBTQ+ folks that’s been moving around that makes a lot of sense.  I also am reminded to try to be more inclusive of my trans siblings whenever and wherever I can.

 

Key #4: Symbols
Is there a particular symbol in the card that stands out to you?
Look into the spiritual significance of this symbol or ask yourself what you think this symbol means. Chances are it represents something you are desiring or something that is important to you.

Mirrors –  Seeing yourself reflected, self image, distorted perceptions of myself.  I’m dealing with some health things lately and I’ve been avoiding rescheduling a doctor’s appointment.  It could be a subtle dig at me to go do that.

Cups – The holy grail jumped to mind as I was thinking about this symbol.  The whole idea of a mythical holy relic that has been lost to time.  Something you’re always questing after that has mythical magical properties. Maybe it means that I’m searching for something that always seems just out of reach.

It’s an interesting exercise if you’re looking to deepen your understanding of a card.  It’s a decent way to do a little self reflective work.  What other keys might you have included?  What card is your favorite?  Let me know in the comments.

Card of the Day: Five of Cups

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Today’s card is the Five of Cups from the Happy Tarot

IMG_1306I really like that this card shows a little kid crying about spilled ice cream.  I think it neatly captures the meanings of this card.  The Five of Cups reminds us not to waste our time crying over what we’ve lost so long that we forget what we still have that we might miss while bemoaning those spilled cups.

The reason that I like that this card shows a little kid is that when you’re little enough to be crying that much when you’ve dropped your ice cream it’s because your feelings really do run that deeply.  The losses the little kid is facing are very real to him.  So it’s okay for you to feel grief for the losses the cups represent.  This card isn’t telling you to suck it up a deal.  This card is just a reminder that although there have been some losses, there’s more behind you that you’ll miss if you don’t open your eyes.  In this depiction it takes one further step too, the cups in the foreground were mostly empty already.  The cups behind him are full still.

The five of cups is a note to try not to focus on what you’ve lost and to remember to look around for what you do have.  While it’s okay to feel sad about what you’ve lost, when you come up for air and dry your eyes, you’ll see the bounty that still surrounds you. ❤

Card of the Day: Queen of Cups

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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.