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.

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Card of the Day: Eight of Arrows

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Today’s Card is the Eight of Arrows from the Wildwood Tarot

img_1380 This card has the keyword Struggle printed on it and it corresponds to the Eight of Swords in the RWS deck.  The figure in the card seems lost in the bitter cold, treading through a mess of fired and broken arrows.  Perhaps they’ve just come to the sight of a battle that has been fought or perhaps they seek entry into the warmth of a camp where they have no kin.

They have wandered a long time in the ice cold wastes.  It brings to mind the Old English poem “The Wanderer“.  In this poem the Wanderer has lost his liege lord and all his kinsfolk and so he wanders the frozen land alone in search of somewhere the belong.  But with no family to speak of and no lord to vouch for him, he finds himself turned away, unable to find shelter or warmth.

Since long years ago
I hid my lord
in the darkness of the earth,
and I, wretched, from there
travelled most sorrowfully
over the frozen waves,
sought, sad at the lack of a hall,
a giver of treasure,
where I, far or near,
might find
one in the meadhall who
knew my people

In the RWS card the woman depicted is blindfolded and bound.  She does not exert her own agency.  In this depiction the person in the card is reaching out.  Making their way into an unfamiliar camp.  She carries her own light out in front of her, the lantern can represent a lot of things, but here it feels to me like an offering, the strangers can see that she brings something with her, despite her weary countenance and tattered clothing.  Perhaps she was a mighty warrior in her past and she is seeking to serve again, to be a part of something.  She is struggling through deep snow and biting wind.  The snowy background looks bleak, but she knows she must keep moving, keep trying to find a new place where she will be welcomed.

The message here is that although you may be slogging through the deep snow and you want to give up, you must keep going.  You never know what the next camp may bring.  You must rely on yourself to keep moving forward.

Card of the Day: Eight of Pentacles

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Today’s card is the Eight of Pentacles from the Linestrider Tarot

My first thought at looking at this card is a kind of guarding or treasured feeling because of IMG_1137the way that the girl has gathered the pentacles and is holding one over her heart.  There’s also a cat in the background with white eyes that makes me think of a supernatural guardian creature.  The message of Eight of Pentacles is “practice makes perfect”.  You can see the pile of pentacles by her knees, the seven that she created before the one that she’s holding.

Pentacles are the suit of earth and they talk about the physical tangible world.  Some sources say that Pentacles mean money or financial matters, and they can, but I find them often referring to the physical world around us.  When you see this eight it indicates that it’s talking to something you’re physically involved with.  Maybe it’s fitness training for some kind of race, it could be your work on perfecting the perfect cupcake recipe for the bakery you want to open.  This bodes well, it’s an encouraging reminder to keep at it, your persistence will be rewarded.

If you feel like you’re trapped in a rut doing the same thing over and over again, you’ll probably feeling really frustrated.  So seeing this card show up might not be the message that you want to hear.  But take heart, it means that you’re going to get there, the Eight is just telling you that you’re making progress and asking you to be patient.

So hang in there, keep doing sit-ups, keep baking cupcakes, practice makes perfect.

Card of the Day: Eight of Pentacles

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Today’s card is the Eight of Pentacles from the Universal Fantasy deck

 This deck is fascinating. 8_of_pentacles Like the name says, this is a fantastical deck with an almost a little bit Sci-Fi feel to it.  It brings to mind alien planets far from our own with fantastic beasts and magical technology.  There are some cards that have a very Solarpunk feel to them.  I was flipping through my cards looking for which card called to me and this one just sang.  I love stars and trees and… well this one looks like a star tree!

This card raises a bit of a question.  The man, who reminds me a bit of the Lord of the Rings dwarves, is holding a hammer, and we can see what looks like a saw and some chisels near his feet.  Did he build this tree?  Is he repairing this tree?  Did he start building and the tree shot up around him, spiralling off into the stars?  He looks surprised, maybe even a little bit daunted.  Does he have to harvest the stars on the tree?  There’s a lot that could be happening in this card.

The Eight of Pentacles often has a practice makes perfect kind of message.  A craftsperson sitting on a bench hammering out pentacles is the classic illustration.  There are echoes of that here.  And the message is the same.  Whether or not he’s built the tree or is planning on harvesting the stars from it, the more often he works, the better he’ll be at it.  Also, the more he hones his craft the less concerned he’ll be about the outcome.

The Eight of Pentacles shows us that there is some hard work to be done, but that ultimately, if you put in the time and the practice, you can excel in your chosen pursuit.  Scaling the tree might not be easy, but when you can finally hold those stars in your hands it’ll all be worth it.