Alder's Tarot Gift to the Shaman's Net

 

Alder is a member of the Shaman's Net and an all around interesting and wonderful person. He has many talents and explores shamanic and magical realms very deeply. He has offered to do Tarot readings based on the blessing of the current season as an offering and expanded toolset for Shaman's Net members.

Should these readings generate questions regarding how to work with the information and tools, Alder is available for consultations at alderwanderer@yahoo.com

Enjoy, Reflect, and Explore. Many blessings.

 

On this page:

Readings #1 (Spring 2006) - #7 (Fall 2007)

On page 2:

Readings #8 (Spring 2008) - #10 (Fall 2008)

 

Reading #1 for Spring 2006 -- the Blessing of "Grace"

Reading #2 for Summer 2006 -- the Blessing of "Discovery"

Reading #3 for Fall 2006 -- the Blessing of "Health"

Reading #4 for Winter 2006 -- the Blessing of "Celebration"

Reading #5 for Spring 2007-- the Blessing of "Creativity"

Reading #6 for Summer 2007-- the Blessing of "Ecstasy"

Reading #7 for Fall 2007-- the Blessing of "Harvest"

Journey Archive

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Alder's Tarot Reading for Shaman's Net Spring 2006 Season -- "Grace"

This is a reading for the members of the Shaman's Net, with the query, "How can the members of the Shaman's Net best find the pathways of Grace that surround them in their lives?"
 
T.S. Eliot wrote:

 
APRIL is the cruelest month, breeding  
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing  
Memory and desire


But that's a rather dour way to look at it.  In this reading, I'm more reminded of Sheryl Crow's cheery advice to "Soak up the Sun."  For that is the dominant card of this reading, the Sun.  Rain and clouds and the shadows of night flee before its brilliance of warmth and light and joy.  It is a new day, and the Sun shines blessings on all we do.  This season's Shaman's Net is keyed to Grace.  The Sun's blessing is grace.  It is not by our art and wisdom that He (or She, if you identify Her more with Amaterasu than Hyperion) gives us her light.  It is a gift, a Grace.  It is given to us whether we are wise or foolish, strong or weak, honorable or fallen.  Where do we find Grace?  Everywhere the Sun shines.
 
Just as for six months the Sun has been in the other world for us here in the northern hemisphere, but now has returned, so we find that many aspects of our lives have lain quiescent for long days, as if dead and buried, but now spring forth to greet the Grace of the Sun, as if rising to the trumpet's blast on Judgment Day.  The Sun's light brings out vibrant, living colors all around us.  It is a straightforward time, a time of day and sanity and stability.  It is not the time of the "Cold hearted orb who rules the night."  The lunar Priestess closes her eyes with a Mona Lisa smile and steps back into the shadow of the unconscious.  She has her place in our lives, surely, but for now she is content to let us have "our place in the Sun."
 
So what does this season of the returning Sun bring us?  How does the Grace manifest in our lives?  Dreams come true, unrealistic hopes are made manifest against all odds.  The 7 of Cups, card of dreams and fantasies, is paired with the 6 of Coins, the card of charity, the Giver.  What we had dreamed of but never hoped to see is given to us freely, without conditions.  But the Giver gives wisely.  He weighs it in the balance before he hands it out.  He asks, "So what do you see when you look into Dumbledore's magic mirror?  What are your most passionate desires?  We must be careful!  I will give you what you see, but I won't give you everything.  I will give you exactly what you need, at exactly the moment you need it."
 
On the other hand, the opposite side of the coin of desire, is fear, the terrors of the night, the dread, the anxiety, the regret of the 9 of Swords.  But here it is coupled with, of all things, the Magician, the one who lives an intentional life.  "Better to light a candle than to curse this damn darkness!" laughs the Magician.  His staff flashes, and the clouds of fear break, so the Sun's light can enter.
 
Now is the time to dig down into it.  We say, "Well, this all sounds good.  But how is it to come about?"  Philanthropist, giver of charities, how can I open the door so that you can make dreams come true?  What is it you offer to me?  Is this Ace of Cups indeed the Holy Grail, emblem of divine grace, Renewer and Rejuvenator of the world?  How do I find it in the wilderness of my life?  He answers:  Not by your cleverness, not by the Sword power of words and intellect.  The Ace of Swords is reversed.  Instead, become as a little child.  Return to the uninhibited joy and sense of wonder, the child's rhyme of the 6 of Cups.
 
I ask the Magician:  How can I, like you, dispel the terrors of the night?  Stand firm, he says.  Like the Soldier in the 7 of Wands, you need not be a great warrior, you need not have special skills or magic weapons.  Though superior numbers mass against you, they will not prevail.  You have the home turf advantage.  You are in your own life, a place of confidence and strength, familiar.  The 8 of Cups is reversed.  You are not called to some long mystical journey to a faraway ashram.  The wisdom you seek is here, in your kitchen, in your office, at your workbench.  The Sun is in ascendancy and the Moon is reversed.  So forego searching for some esoteric and mysterious magic.  Everything you need is right here in the light of day.
 
The Sun is at the zenith, but the Devil is at the nadir, reversed.  How does the Devil snare us?  For one, by our trusting too much that people will always be there for us.  There are true friends, like the King of Wands, who will stick with us through thick and thin.  But even they are sometimes reversed, have their own lives to lead.  We must stand on our own two feet, not just wait around to be rescued.  For another, we get caught up in the complexities of life.  Like the 2 of Coins, the Juggler, we may even sometimes take pleasure in it, congratulate ourselves on our adroitness at keeping so many plates spinning at once.  But eventually we get worn down by the effort.  Like the woman who balances 2 sharp Swords while blindfolded, we may think that only we can keep these dangerous and powerful forces in balance.  Balance, yes, but it is also stasis.  Let them go out of balance, and then they can be put to use, instead of just forever countering each other.  Lastly, we start to get too serious.  We forget how to play and party, to seize the day of abundance and celebrate life.  The 3 of Cups, the card of celebration, is reversed.
 
The Devil of our needs, our hungers, our worries and small-mindedness seems so strong, but with the coming of this season he is reversed, overthrown.  How does it happen?  In the darkness of his prison, we hear high above us laughter like a silver bell.  Looking up, there is a radiant Star maiden, pouring rainbows from a crystal ewer.  As her laughter enters our ears, we laugh, too.  We laugh at ourselves, for now we are given the Grace of insight into our situation, and we regain the powerful weapon of humor.  Our own moments of gracelessness, awkwardness, no longer seem like portents of doom, but mere endearing foibles.  The Devil's iron chains were never really that tight, the iron cage in which we were shut was never latched or locked.  It was our own failure of imagination that kept us trapped.  We step free with a child-like laugh, climb out of the basement prison, and let the spring Sun warm us right to the marrow of our bones.
 
Blessings of Grace to you all!
 
Alder

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Alder's Tarot Reading for Shaman's Net Summer 2006 Season -- "Discovery"

The underlying theme of this reading is Faith. The Faith card in my deck, Ciro Marchetti's Tarot of Dreams, is card V of the Major Arcana (called the Heirophant in the Rider deck and the Pope in some of the old Italian decks). This is a card about finding the eternal and the divine in the practical and day-to-day routine of life. It pretty much jumped off the top of the deck this morning, announcing itself as the theme for the reading. The Query is: How can the Shaman's Net members find pathways to the gift of "Discovery"?

The fulcrum, or cornerstone card of this reading is the Queen of Swords, reversed. Court cards usually mean people, and in this reading, in this place, the Queen of Swords stands for each of us members of the Shaman's Net. The Queen of Swords is the Wise Queen. She is smart and knowledgeable (Swords is the suit of Air, of words and thoughts, after all), strong and independent. She is seen as the Widow Queen, capable of gracefully handling everything that comes up on her own. But here, she's reversed. Sometimes, we're just not quite wise or strong enough, and life gets the better of us. This whole reading felt like an Al-Anon meeting in a way. It had that sort of energy. And the beginning of it was this: The Queen of Swords finds out the hard way you can't always be strong and independent and in control. Sometimes you're just overwhelmed. This is the Recovery Movement's first lesson: Sometimes, there are things in your life that you can't manage just by wanting to. There are some aspects of you life where you have to accept that you are helpless. The Queen of Swords doesn't like that: "Helpless? I've never been helpless. I've always helped myself. I don't know how to be helpless. I've never even been to North Ontario!"

The shadow of the Queen of Swords is the Eight of Coins, also reversed. The Eight of Coins is the Apprentice card–this is the fellow who has become very skilled at the basics, but he hasn't yet learned the deepest magick or taken the final test. He is not the Master Craftsperson (that's the 3 of Coins). Not yet. Reversed, he's the classic "sorcerer's apprentice" who is too ready to become the master. He's tired of the apprentice level and thinks he knows everything. Boy, is he in for a surprise! He's about to get broom prints all up and down his back. Our modern mythology presents a vivid picture of the reversed 8 of Coins: Luke Skywalker in The Empire Strikes Back. He thinks he's ready to face the Big Bad. Yoda says, in essence, "Chump, not even close to ready are you." But Luke doesn't listen, so he goes out and quickly discovers that not only is the bad guy a lot tougher than he expected, but the world is more complicated, and the line between good and evil is not so clear cut as he expected.

Next, I drew three cards to represent the path of this Apprentice–what comes of this situation? Three very auspicious cards: The Six of Wands, The Magician, and the Ace of Swords. The Six of Wands is the Hail the Conquering Hero card–the Hero has just returned from the successful completion of a great endeavor, and all of those who followed him on it, and all of those who benefited from it, cheer him as he looks down at them with pride in a job well done. Huh? How does this fit with the bumbling reversed Apprentice? It's a sudden shift. He succeeds because he's inept, because his training is incomplete? Maybe it's because he learned to accept his own imperfection, accept himself as he is, with all his imperfections. There's a line from the Bible that Madelaine L'Engle's "Mrs. Who" quotes in A Wrinkle in Time: "God hath created the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, and the weak things to overcome the mighty." There's a very similar line in the Tao Te Ching: "Soft and weak overcomes strong and hard." The Apprentice has learned a hard lesson: It's not only is virtues, but also his faults, that make him who he is. And so he triumphs. He gets an A for effort. He gives his best, in sincerity, rather than in false pride and overconfidence. Let's explore further how he does that:

The Magician (card I of the Majors) is the card of living life by Intention. The Magician knows his intention, and remains focused on it. He is willing to accept responsibility for his own life. It is his conscious intention (not the magnitude of his power) that makes him a true wizard, not just a second-rate sorcerer or juggler. The Magician's art deals in Equilibrium, in Patterning. He sees himself as three concentric spheres. The inmost is his own inner self, his self image, the person he is when he is alone. The second is the face he shows to the world, his outward self that interacts with others. The third sphere is the world around him, as he experiences and perceives it. Through each of these spheres there are channels, conduits, openings through which energy can pass. The Magician brings these into alignment in all three spheres, so that energy from the core of his being can flow smooth and straight out into the universe, and energy from the fundamental reality of the universe can flow smooth and straight into and through him. The energy doesn't have to weave through a maze, it meets no resistance.

Lastly, the Ace of Swords. This is the card of Victory. It is the solution to the puzzle. The discovery of the answer. The "Eureka!" card. At this moment, the master comes up behind the Apprentice and says, "Yes, now you begin to understand it." By understanding the nature of the obstacle, a big obstacle in your life is overcome.

On the other side of our fulcrum, the Queen of Swords, we find the harsh reality of what happens when our own innate cleverness just isn't good enough any more: The Five of Coins, the Beggar. Poverty, on any level. Spiritual poverty, loss of love, loss of health. Coins is the suit of the material world, the suit of the physical and the financial. So it most commonly means financial and practical insufficiency and struggle. Sounds bad. But is poverty bad? Deserts are useful places for finding yourself, for finding enlightenment. Poverty itself can be a good thing. People take vows of poverty. St. Francis envisioned a personified Poverty as a beautiful angel who could lead him to God.

If we face the poverty, if we accept it and stop denying it or fighting against it, what? Three more auspicious cards: The Ace of Wands, the Star, and the Page of Coins. When I saw the 5 of Coins and the Ace of Wands together, I laughed out loud that my Tarot would employ such a banal cliche: The Ace of Wands is the card of the imagination, of the creative spark, invention. So with the Beggar card it says, "Necessity is the mother of Invention." (Puh-lease!) But, it is true. Sometimes we need a really hard trial, a hard test, to really discover how boundless our creativity can be. Sometimes we have to be up against the wall. We can't figure out how to defuse the bomb until there are only two seconds left on the timer–"Wait, I can do it! I just need two paper clips, a rubber band, a can of peas and an old sock..."

And this is no ordinary creative spark. It isn't just a good idea. It's an invention that will change the world, or at least change your corner of it. It comes from the creative part of you that intersects with the Creative Goddess, the Muse. Hence, the Star (card XVII of the Majors). In the darkness of poverty is a sudden burst of insight, a divine gift. Suddenly you no longer care that all your pants have holes in the knees. You have this wonderful idea, and you are on fire to pursue it. You know it is your destiny.

At this point, something new comes into your life. It arrives as a person, the Page of Cups, a fair young man or woman, or a child, who brings you a message. Maybe it is a love letter from a secret admirer. Maybe the Page asks you out. This being the suit of Cups, it may well be an invitation to romance and intimacy. Or, more generally, it is an invitation to a new experience of emotional and sensual richness.

I like to lay out nine cards, four on either side of the fulcrum, as the "main tier." I then lay three cards in a second tier to bring it all into focus. Here, the focus card is the Seven of Wands, reversed, with the Six of Cups (also reversed) and the Priestess on either side. The 7 of Wands is the Yeoman Soldier, defending his land. He is not a professional warrior, just a peasant who must fight against invading adversaries who outnumber him. But he has the home turf advantage. He knows every nook and cranny of his land and he has chosen the high ground, canceling the superiority of his adversary. Here, though, he is upside down. He has lost the high ground, and fights at a disadvantage. He may be overwhelmed.

He turns first to what has always worked for him in the past, the tried and true. The Six of Cups is the card of Happy Memories–the blessings of the past, the wisdom you learned in kindergarten, tools and talents that were handed on to you and that you have always relied on. But here, the card is reversed. These old school ways of solving the problem do no good. (An alternate interpretation is that the 6 of Wands refers to the past, often childhood or even in some cases past lives, but reversed it is about bad memories, old wounds unhealed–the Yeoman Soldier is further disadvantaged because he has "issues" that distract him).

So what can he rely on? Everything he has always depended on fails him. Time to think outside the box, to trust that small inner voice of intuition. Enter the Priestess (II of the Majors), who is the queen of the world of the non-linear, the irrational, the world of the dream, the hunch, the intuition. Instead of logically trying to figure out the solution, let go. Trust your feelings.

The final result is the capstone card of the reading. Here, it is the Seven of Cups, reversed. The 7 of Cups is about dreams. Not the dream world, which is real, but the inner world of personal fantasies, of unmanifested (and perhaps unrealistic) goals, hopes, expectations, preconceptions. This is one of the cards that it's better to get reversed than upright. Upright, it's seven cups full of wonderful imaginings, but there's no groundedness. It's all Castles in the Air. Turn the cups upside down, and everything pours out. Reversed, the 7 of Cups is the card of Disillusionment. It might not be fun, but disillusionment is a good thing. It's getting rid of the illusions, and seeing things clearly.

So all the dreams and impractical goals and winning-the-lottery daydreams get poured out. Where do they go? Well, some might get poured right into your lap, suddenly manifesting themselves in your life. You'd always wished it would happen but never believed it really would. Well, it has. Now are you glad you wished for it? For some of these, you might be delighted. It might be just what you've been waiting for. In others, you might realize it's not such a good thing after all. That's okay, though. At least now you know not to waste any more time or energy dreaming about it or trying to bring it to pass.

Then again, some of these dreams might just wash away. Which also is okay. There's a "demotivational" poster at despair.com that says, "Get to Work: You're not getting paid to believe in the power of your dreams." Seriously, though, dreams can be wonderful and powerful. But sometimes we invest a lot of our life energy into a dream, but it still doesn't happen. Now is the time when we can let those go, and turn to other things.

Blessings to all of you. Welcome to this season of warmth and light. A good time to resolve not to let our fears of loss of the blessings in our lives overwhelm us, but instead to find our abilities in our own imperfections, and to let go of the outcome so that our creativity can flourish, freeing us from the unreality of the unmanifested.

See you on the other side of the desert!

Love,

Alder


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Alder's Tarot Reading for Shaman's Net Fall 2006 Season -- "Health"

This season, the central cards for the Tarot reading for the Shaman's Net came to me in a dream. (Those of you who know me know that I am a dreamer--dream magick is my specialty).

On the night of the Equinox I had a dream. In the dream, I asked, “How best can the Shaman's Net members find the gift of Health this season?” I was shown the 4 of Swords, the card of Repose. This is the “me time” card, the card of taking time out for yourself, away from all the activities and responsibilities of your daily life. Walk in the forest by yourself, or get a cup of camomile tea in a sunny corner, or take a nap and incubate a healing dream. The key to Health for us is to take some special time on a regular basis, daily or at least weekly, for Repose.

There are three ingredients in the recipe: First, Solitude--while some getaways are best with a loved one, this is a time to be completely alone, not alienated but connected to all beings, but letting go of both the desire to move towards and the desire to move away from anyone. Be in Solitude.

Second, Stillness. Taoists speak of wu wei, doing nothing. Give your body and your mind a break from motion and activity. Flow, don't fight.

Third, Silence. In the words of Ursula LeGuin, “To hear you must be silent.” I recommend you make your environment for Repose as quiet as possible. No talking, and I would even discourage quiet mood music you might normally use for meditation or the like.

In my dream, I was given this recipe in the form of the 4 of Swords, which in most decks, including mine, shows a soldier or adventurer, a person of action, still and sleeping. The Empress came to him, Card III of the Major Arcana. She is the Great Goddess, the Mother Earth, the source of creativity and life energy, libido and fertility. She gave the resting adventurer a gift, the gift of Health. This Health is a living substance, a great energy. It has nothing to do with issues of age or infirmity, sickness or the absence of sickness. Anyone can have it, and with it you can empower your life, regardless of what illnesses or injuries you may experience. In my dream, the Health took a form that I only now recognize as Shapeshifter DNA, a wonderful gift David Lang once found for me in Shamanic Space. DNA is the life pattern, but this is a pattern that can be repatterned at will, like Tinker Toys, so that your life is free to take any form, subject only to your creativity.

If you like, you can stop reading at this point. The dream was complete, and it is enough. Waking the next morning, I was debating whether I should even do a traditional Tarot spread here in the waking world. I knew that if I did, it would not be particularly powerful, with no great insights. The Gods do not like to repeat themselves. They expect you to listen the first time. In pondering it, though, I determined that there would be no harm in doing the reading spread. While I doubted it would reveal any grand message or wisdom beyond the message of the dream, I thought perhaps there might be some helpful details, that this or that member of the Shaman's net might find something useful in this or that card or combination within the spread.

The fulcrum card of the spread was a counterpart to the 4 of Swords, another card that suggests being alone: The Queen of Swords. Yep, here she is again, just as she was fulcrum in last season's reading, but she is no longer reversed. She's gotten it together. Some call the Queen of Swords the Widow Queen. This Queen is a graduate of the school of hard knocks. But she double-majored in grace and wisdom. This is a woman (or any person) in your life who has true maturity, yet has not lost her ability to experience delight. Through the calamity and trauma of life, she was deprived of her support structure. But she did not give in to bitterness or to fear. Despite hardships, which she faces alone, she is quick to smile and laugh.

The Queen of Swords bears a message of Faith (Major Arcana card V), of facing loss through practical application of the presence of a Higher Power. Through Faith, the conflicts in the 5 of Wands are reversed, the warring many are brought to peace and reunited in the One. Nearby, the Queen of Cups is reversed, suggesting a friend not quite so trustworthy when it comes to keeping secrets as you may have thought. This brings a heavy burden, a great responsibility (the 10 of Wands), but also the strength to bear this burden on the long road to the destination. (But that's not to say there aren't times to ask yourself--is it really necessary to carry the weight? You may think you have no choice but to bear this responsibility, but of course, you do have the choice; you can always set it down).

This Queen of Swords comes to us at a point on our path. Perhaps we have undertaken the path toward Enlightment, or so we thought. We were willing to give up blessings and opportunities in the present in hope of some loftier goal--this decision is described by the 8 of Cups. Such ascetism can be admirable, and may in time be rewarded. But here the 8 of Cups is reversed--have we lost the way? We were willing to risk our hard-won treasures for something greater, but what if the dice fall against us? Sometimes blessings in our lives, a good job, a loved one, a secure home, are taken from us. Death (card XIII) has a place in our world, and we have to let go. It happened to the Queen of Swords, and she survived. Maybe she can help us through the same. Here is the 5 of Swords, the Trickster, reversed. This could mean that we can't count too much on our own cleverness. Or that we are the victim of a trickster (perhaps because we thought too much of ourselves, thought we could outsmart him). But once we get past him, our wallet perhaps lighter but our head a little wiser, we find that our endeavors can be successful, with the help of a trustworthy and talented partner (the story of the 3 of Wands).

The focus tier of the spread takes it to a little higher level of detail: What will the manifestation of the gift of Health from the Goddess look like? On this focus tier, we find the Ace of Wands (invention, creativity) and the Ace of Cups (awakening senses and feelings, new loves). So here we get new ideas for ways to polish the dust off our lenses, to be open to the beauty of the world around us, to be open to love and passion. But the third card of this tier is the Wheel (X), reversed. A downturn of the Wheel of Fortune, instability. Hovering on either side of this tier are the 10 of Pentacles of material security, reversed, and the 2 of Cups of true love, also reversed. Neither one of those is going to be a rock-solid foundation here. I don't read either of these as suggesting disaster. The love may be true enough, and the money may be enough from day to day, even though it may seem unstable in long term projections. The reversals of these cards suggest that their blessings are there, but not fully manifested or fully available to us. If we lean all our weight on them, they may slide out from under us, so we should stand on our own two feet! Don't wait for the handsome prince to carry you away to the golden castle. Oh, there are princes and castles in our lives, sure enough, but they won't show up as long as we waste time waiting for them. We have to live from day to day with a creative mind (Ace of Wands) and open heart (Ace of Cups), even in the midst of life's uncertainties and missed-fortunes. With the Empress' gift of Health we can do this, and celebrate it!

The capstone card of this reading is the Star (XVII). Our “Star” is becoming quite the prima donna, isn't she? She's taken a prominent position in every reading I've done for the Shaman's Net.

(David, we need to look into this further. This is a message for us both, I think.)

The 'Net' has a powerful Patroness who is looking to make herself known. Just as the 4 of Swords connects to the Queen of Swords, so the Star connects to the Empress. Where the Empress is the Goddess as Mother, the Star is the Goddess as Maiden, perhaps the Seductress who leads us into adventure (the mariner's guiding star), the Inspirational Muse, Epipsyche.

We can all be appreciative to David for making this season the season for the gift of Health to come to us. A powerful gift, that makes our lives vibrant and creative, vital and fertile, no matter what the circumstances. I hope you will each set aside some time for Repose, for solitude, stillness, and silence, to give the Life Source (however you understand and experience Her) the chance to deliver this gift to you. Enjoy the autumn, the feast of harvest, the wildness of Halloween, and the quiet rest as we wait for a new birth of light, a new solstice. Until then!

Blessings of Life and Light,

Alder

 

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Alder's Tarot Reading for Shaman's Net Winter 2006 Season -- "Celebration"


When I heard this season's theme would be “Celebration,” I wondered how I was supposed to do a Tarot reading with Kool & the Gang stuck in my head. So I began to ponder what it means to “Celebrate” something. We are all familiar with the Serenity Prayer, and the concept of accepting the things we cannot change. It is one thing to accept something in the sense of putting up with it, tolerating it, enduring it. But to celebrate it is to accept it at a higher level of welcoming it into our life. How can we not only accept, but celebrate the things we cannot change as gifts from the multi-faceted Universe that enfolds us? As well as celebrating our accomplishments in changing the things that are in our power to change?


This season, the Tarot's message centered around a very powerful energy in our lives, which can be the key to accepting our reality at the “celebration” level, or can be an overwhelming obstacle. This is the power of the Wish. The central card for this reading is the Nine of Cups, frequently called the Wish Card. It is considered one of the luckiest cards to draw in a reading, as it's most fundamental meaning is, “You will get your wish!” Like all cards, it carries both a message of hope and a caution. Predictably, the caution is, “Be careful what you wish for!” The wish is one of the most powerful kinds of magick, and in thousands of ancient legends and modern stories, the hero finds herself or himself carried away on a wild adventure by making a wish. The 9 of Cups is about the Wish, not about what you need, but what you want. It is about desire, the most desperate desires of our hearts. Orient yourself to this energy properly, and you can look into the Mirror of Erised and it will give you what you want. But if you fail to do so, you turn this power over to the Vengeance Demons in your life, whatever form they may take.


So, for this reading, the question is, “How do I find the key to not just accept, but celebrate, the circumstances of my life?” And the theme, the answer, is, “By taking care to make your wishes carefully, by facing your desires.” The fulcrum card of this reading is the Empress (III) reversed. The Empress is the Mother Earth, the fount of life energy, fertility, nourishment. She is reversed, suggesting wintertime, the fields fallow, the Earth asleep. The cycle of growth is in a quiescent phase. So this tells us when to focus on this message–this is a reading for the winter season, and it is a card symbolizing winter–in other words, right now! And it tells us where to go: The quiet place in our life, the unproductive place, the fallow field, the stillness. Go into the winter of yourself, go into the place without lush life, the desert of contemplation. Look around! There are many things here. Because the place is empty, there is nothing to keep us from seeing the things with which we have surrounded ourselves, eight cards in all:


(on the left side of the Empress)


The Journey by Water (6 of Swords): An escape from a situation of turmoil. Have we just left a difficult and painful situation? Or perhaps this is one of our wishes–we would like an easy escape, we would like to just run away from situations, instead of working to resolve them and learning the lessons they have to teach us.


The Prisoner (8 of Swords): Stasis, a situation of being trapped. I've always liked the old Rider deck image for this card: A woman who is bound and blindfolded, surrounded by eight sharp swords. How trapped can you get? Ah, but wouldn't MacGyver rub against one of the swords to cut the ropes, then be free to remove the blindfold? It's really the fear of getting cut, getting hurt, that keeps the Prisoner from escaping. Looking to the cards on either side, this Prisoner wishes for escape, but is letting unrealized fantasies keep her from focusing on a practical solution.


Daydream (7 of Cups): Dreams are powerful. We can only bring new things into the world by first dreaming them. But the dreams of the Seven of Cups are not manifested in the world. They remain as unrealized fantasies to tantalize us. We can't have our cake and eat it too. If we don't want these daydreams to be forever mere pleasant escapist diversions that take us away from the business of living, we need to either invest the time and energy to make them real, or forget about them, turn away, and not listen to their siren song any longer.


The Inheritance (10 of Coins), reversed: This is the card of long-term health, strength, and physical and material stability and safety. Reversed, we have to face that nothing is stable and safe forever. There is always a certain amount of risk and insecurity, but will it paralyze us with fear, or will we laugh with delight at life's unpredictable adventure?


(on Her right side)


True Love (2 of Cups), reversed: Oh, I'm as much of a romantic as the next guy (quite a lot more, actually). Sure, there are true loves in our lives, each of us can meet the one person or thing that completes us, that fulfills our deepest self. The reversal of this card does not necessarily mean the love is false. But don't expect even a true love to be perfect. In the real world, there are no happily ever afters, no perfect relationships. Real relationships are as perfectly imperfect as the perfectly imperfect people who participate in them.


The Apprentice (8 of Coins), reversed: The apprentice is not the master craftsman (that's the 3 of Coins). He has the basics down pat, but not the esoterica of the craft. Here, reversed, he doesn't even have the basics. Maybe he's a little over-eager. He thinks he's ready, but he's not. The next card shows us what happens when he bites off more than he can chew...


The Juggler (2 of Coins), reversed: Sometimes I call this card the Soccer Mom. It's about the kind of life where there are always sixteen things to be done at once, busy busy busy. But the Juggler is able to keep all those things up in the air at once, using her skill and dexterity. Well, usually. Here, the card is reversed. Looking up at all the things she is juggling, the Juggler has tripped on a loose floorboard and fallen flat on her face, dropping everything. Time to simplify.


The Tower (XVI), reversed: The Tower is a disturbing card. Its message is good news, but not news that is easy to hear. All our hopes and dreams, everything we've worked so hard to build–a business, a relationship, a reputation, a system of spirituality–it all comes crashing down around us. This is one card I'd rather get reversed than straight up. Upright, it's about the destruction that brings transformation. Reversed, the bad part is already over. The destruction has already happened. Now the storm is over. Sure, everything is in ruins, but a new spark of joy and possibility has flickered to life in the rubble, and we begin anew. Now that we've gotten through it, something new and magickal is about to happen (note that the next card in the Major Arcana, XVII, the Star, is all about this flash of new light and life that happens after the destruction of the Tower).


So that is the main tier of this reading. The second tier, the focus, is our theme card, the Wish Card, the Nine of Cups. Here, flanked by the Poverty card (5 of Coins) and the reversed Queen of Coins. That combination of cards took me a while to understand. Ultimately, I went back to the old, stereotypic image of the European dragon–the dragon of desire. Though a winged creature, this dragon lurks in an underground cave, guarding his hoard of gold and the maiden princess. The Five of Coins is all about wanting gold and not having it, not having the resources you need to thrive. Where the Empress is the Mother Earth, the Queen of Coins is an earth mother (look for this person in your life). An earthy, practical woman who is full of life energy. This life energy can be erotic energy, and she transforms that, producing children and chocolate chip cookies and all the good things of the earth. But reversed, something is blocking her fertility. She is not a source of new life (yet), just as the virgin princess can never be a queen and mother so long as the dragon stands between her and the prince. Here we face our wish, our desire, in its most basic form. We want the gold, and we want the girl. What's a hero to do?


The capstone card of this reading is the Knight of Coins, also reversed. The Knight of Coins is the plowman knight: He drives his plow down the corn row. He is steady and determined, enduring, brave and strong. He doesn't waver. He keeps the line straight as a pin. He takes wild nature and turns it into a well-ordered farm. Court cards usually refer to specific people in our lives, but in central positions, they can be about us. This knight is all of us. He is a powerful knight, and a good one. Many ancient religions recognize a correspondence between his plow and the knife of sacrifice. His plow is a phallic symbol, opening the furrow to receive the fertilizing seed. He makes the rows, and then he goes back the other way to crisscross his first set of paths, creating a grid, a net. He is the pattern maker, and the pattern breaker. Oh, but here he is reversed. He is thrown from his horse and his pattern goes awry. Once we confront, master, own up to, and befriend our wishes and desires, the old familiar pattern is disrupted, and we have a whole new pattern to develop and to celebrate.


I sensed that there was a conclusion to the story, that it didn't end with our Knight of Coins, thrown on his butt. I cast about for some time, but it wasn't until I was actually putting the cards away that the right card surfaced: The Fool. What does the Knight of Coins (who is us) become when he has lost his pattern? He becomes a fool. Which is to say he starts a whole new adventure. And what can a fool do but laugh at his own foolishness, and celebrate?


It is our desire, our inner fire, our zest for life con brio that is the key to making our lives a Celebration. But if we desire what we cannot have, we fail to celebrate the blessings with which our lives are rich.

One final note. Of 13 cards in this reading, six were of the suit of Coins. That is the suit of the body. Physical health, the material world, the good earth. Such a strong representation of earth energy in this reading tells us that the way to celebrate our lives is to stay grounded in the here and now, to focus on the real, on the basic richness and beauty of the world in which we live, of which we are a part.

Blessings of Life and Light,

Alder

 

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Alder's Tarot Reading for Shaman's Net Spring 2007 Season -- "Creativity"


Tarot reading for the Shaman's Net by Alder reading from Ciro Marchetti's Tarot of Dream

Query: "How will the Shaman's Net members experience the essence of Creativity this season?"

Creativity comes to us in the balance point between two opposite energies, manifested as two of the most creative aspects of the Goddess: We experience Creativity through the High Priestess (II), the Muse, the seductive Maiden who opens to us the gateway of imagination and intuition the realm of the non-linear and non-rational, the esoteric and mysterious. And we experience Creativity through the Empress (III), the fountain of life energy, the Mother, fertile, fruit-bearing, world-connected, solid and engaged.

These two, both feminine energies, which any aspiring artist is pleased to encounter, seem so different: The one lunar and ethereal, leading us away from solid ground into the unstable realm of madness and dream. The other rooted and earthy, bringing us down to earth and feeding our souls, minds and bodies with the rich milk of life in the world.

In this season, both these faces of the Goddess are revealed to us. We get to experience the threshold moment where the two become one. What is that threshold moment? What happens in that moment where Maiden is transformed into Matron? Well, I think we're all old enough to know the answer to that question. It is the moment of passion, the spasm, and no matter what form it takes in our lives this season, it is both sexual climax and spiritual ecstasy.

There is a French expression for orgasm, "le petit mort," the little death. So it is. While the High Priestess (II) and the Empress (III) form the opposite poles for this season's energies, the place where they meet, the center, is Death (XIII). Not surprising, really. We see these two seemingly incompatible images of the Creative Goddess -- Maiden and Mother.

How are they reconciled? In the Crone.

The Death card (XIII) is the central card of this season's reading. Powerful and disturbing card whenever it appears, Death speaks of change a transformation. As much as we like to hold on to our treasures, the people and places and things in our lives that bring us fulfillment and comfort, at some point we have to let things go, let them die. As it is said in the Christian gospels, "Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains a single grain, and does not give life." No matter how good something in our life may seem, at some point it ceases to be a benefit, but becomes a burden. If we are to be true creative artists, bringing new beauties into the world, we need to let go of the old; we need to let it die. It is a sacrifice.

Dying and giving birth are strenuous. They can be painful. This season, we go through this not only with little things, but big ones. It's not a picnic. The card of Heartbreak (3 of Swords) lets us know the process will wound us to the core. How do we survive it? Only by finding our core of inner Strength. The Strength card (VIII) is best understood by comparing it to its counterpart, the Chariot (VII). Both cards explore the idea of confronting the limitless and chaotic power of the primal passions of the heart.

But where the Chariot is about harnessing these passions in a very masculine way and being in the driver's seat of your own life, the Strength card describes a more feminine approach of merging with the passions and being in harmony with them, expressing them freely. Appearing in this reading, linked to the pain of the Three of Swords, the Strength (VIII) is the "Women Who Run with the Wolves" card. It symbolizes the virtue that Clarissa Pinkola Estes calls Fierceness. You have this virtue, which is good, because you are going to need it.

So certain aspects of our life die. Perhaps a course of school ends with graduation, or we leave a job, or end a relationship or move to a new home. We let go of the old and familiar, and are prepared to face the reality that the things we released are gone for good.

Or are they?

If we truly let them go, let them go all the way, the end of one cycle becomes the beginning of a whole new chapter of our lives, and those things that were dead and buried come back into our lives in a wholly new form, in essence resurrected, reborn from the ashes. We see this in the card of Judgment (XX), which also has a prominent place in this reading, and is linked here to the World (XXI).

This is no small thing. It is a big deal! A whole new chapter of our lives opens, and as it does, we find a whole new World is open to us. What we worked at for so long is completed, successfully. Now comes the whole new project that follows it.

The fulcrum card of this reading is the Master Craftsman (3 of Coins). Whatever your artistic or other creative gifts, in this season you will begin to experience it in its true fullness and maturity. To have a gift, natural talent, is a great thing. But even with talent, the road of training is a long and arduous one.

Now, at last, talent, skill, and knowledge come together into true mastery of the art. But to really know it, you have to be tested, challenged. On the physical level, be prepared for some scattering of resources and energies, shown here by the Ace of Coins, reversed. This may be a scattering and instability in the realm of money, or health, or something else having to do with material needs. It also appears in the form of confrontation and conflict, in which we are forced to fight in a situation where we are outnumbered. We lose the high ground and feel like we are in unfamiliar territory, terra incognita. This is the meaning of the Seven of Wands, reversed.

There is another card hiding behind the Craftsman (3 of Coins) in the fulcrum position. It is the Trickster (5 of Swords). There is a subtlety to this talent, a trickiness. We may have a great cleverness in how we apply our artistic ability, but be careful, that cleverness can be a two-edged sword. Every con artist can tell you that it is not the simpleton who is the easiest dupe: It is the person who thinks he is clever and can take advantage of the situation for his own gain.

This tricksterish-ness may not take the form of another person. Perhaps it is innate within our art, our mastery. Either way, the net effect is that the Cup of Dreams (7 of Cups) is poured out (reversed). Oh, our favorite daydream was a pleasant comfort as long as it was safe in the realm of fantasy. But now it is time to fish or cut bait.

The daydream is brought into the world, where it will either burn away like mist in the harsh sunlight of day, or, if we use all our creativity, it just might fully manifest.

There is a person in our lives who will play a role in this process, the Queen of Cups. This is the person, most likely a woman, who knows your secrets. But because she is reversed, she may spill the beans, betraying your privacy in a way that brings upheaval. She is a seductive presence in your life, at best leading you out of yourself, encouraging you to transform--hence she is a embodiment of the Muse--but at worst she will lead you out of your circle of power and integrity, upset your balance so you are not grounded. The reversal of this card definitely speaks to issues of trust, so watch you step around this person.

This will be an exciting season for all of us in the Shaman's Net. Be fierce in fighting for your art, your truth! And may the Lady bless you abundantly with Creativity.

Alder

Thank you, Alder, for this season's tarot reading -- very interesting and intense.

I have an additional request: Will you pull a card with the intention of "How can each member of the net most effectively and authentically work with the energies of this reading and this season" or some similar intention.


Sure thing, David.

I pulled a card, asking Tarot the question you stated or, in other words,

"How can each member of the 'Net get in touch with her or his inner Master Craftsman?"

The card I drew is the Page of Cups.

Court Cards usually represent people in our lives. Pages are children, or people who are younger than us or at least young at heart. When Pages don't represent people, they usually represent a communication or message being delivered to us (which is what Pages did in the olden days).

Cups is the suit of feelings, of course, so the Page of Cups can be the "getting asked to the prom" card, where the message is an invitation to enter a new emotional and sensual experience.

Sometimes, Court Cards represent the Querent (the person for whom a reading is done) herself--some aspect of the Querent. In this case, it is the "inner child" of each 'Net member that is the key to accessing the Creativity described in the main reading.

It's through the child aspect that we are able to handle the experience I described, with all its intensity and "contains adult situations and language." This is straight out of Starhawk. In her writings, she talks about the Adult Self not being able to directly access the creative and powerful Deeper Self, but needing the Child Self as an intermediary.

So, does the Page of Cups represent our own inner child, or someone else in our lives? Both, certainly.

The 'Net members should look for opportunities to open to their child consciousness, taking time for play, discovery and wonder as well as taking time for being loved and nurtured.

Shaman's Net members should look for the person in their lives who encourages them to do this by example, i.e. a playmate who tends to live very much in the child spirit.

Blessings to all!

Alder

 

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Alder's Tarot Reading for Shaman's Net Summer 2007 Season -- "Ecstasy"

 

Tarot Reading for Summer Shaman's Net, July 22, 2007

Tarot Deck: Tarot of Dreams by Ciro Marchetti

Query: What are the keys to Ecstasy in the lives of the Shaman's Net members this season?

Greetings, fellow members of David Lang's Shaman's Net!

I could tell right off that this season's card spread would be a particularly deep and powerful one, but also one which would take some extended introspection before I could write out my reading of it. I had the pleasure of celebrating the Solstice with another Net member, and since she is a powerfully magickal person, I invited her to draw the cards for this reading. She drew 12 cards, laying them out in a rainbow arc from right to left. Here they are, in the order drawn:


7 of Swords (the Thief)
King of Cups, reversed (the Balance King)
10 of Swords (Ruin)
6 of Swords, reversed (the Journey by Water)
King of Swords, reversed (the Judge King)
The Devil (XV)
Queen of Swords (the Widow Queen)
8 of Cups, reversed (the Ascetic's Path, aka the Vision Quest)
The Empress (III)
King of Coins (the King of the Land)
Ace of Swords (Victory)


Before going into the specific card meanings, I want to say a little about what the term Ecstasy means to me. It's a strange term, referring to everything from a poem by John Donne to a designer drug. Google it and you mostly get porn sites. (David will probably see more web traffic this season because he's using it!) Ecstasy is our birthright, it is our natural state of being. Until very recently in our culture, its enhancement was the primary goal of most religious rituals. But what is it? Looking for a way to describe it, I find myself thinking of one of Ken Kesey's Prankster expressions: “In the pudding.” To be in the pudding is to be fully engaged in what is going on, connected to everyone and everything around you, dedicated, on-board with the intention of the group and on board the bus. It's funny that Michael Harner, in The Way of the Shaman, talks about the “ordinary” state of consciousness (OSC) and the shamanic state of consciousness (SSC). Well, actually, it's not funny at all. It shows how far we've gotten off track if we think that the state of angst, of tanha, of separateness, the egocentric predicament, the subject-object dualism of so-called “modern” man is what is ordinary.

What is truly the “ordinary” natural state of mind for all beings born of the Great Goddess, which is to say all beings everywhere, is Ecstasy, the state of embracing the paradox that the more we become uniquely ourselves, the more connected to Her, and to all other life, we are. Loneliness, fear of sickness, and fear of death, and the reactions we have to these things, greed, shame, violence, and indifference, are anything but ordinary. Common as they may be in the present-day human universe, they are not a given, they are not inevitable, and they are not the state of being that our minds, hearts, bodies and souls were created to live in. Rather, we were made to live in Ecstasy, in connectedness.

So it really should come as no surprise that seven of the twelve cards drawn are from the suit of Swords, the suit of the mind, of thoughts and words. Our hearts (Cups), bodies (Coins) and spirits (Wands), if left to their own devices, find their way to Ecstasy easily enough. We are most likely to get stuck in a non-Ecstatic state when we get too much caught up inside our own heads.

It also should come as no surprise that the two Major Arcana cards that showed up are the Devil, the archetype of Ecstasy and passion himself, and the Empress, the Goddess incarnate. We will get to them.

Starting with the first card in the spread, we find the Seven of Swords, the card of the Thief. This is a good reminder: We do not have to earn Ecstasy or try to discover it outside ourselves. We were born with it. It is ours for the taking. If we do not find ourselves fully in a state of Ecstasy in our lives now, it is solely because it was stolen from us. In our childhood, and even into our adulthood, we were lead away from the natural joy of connectedness, into a world that taught us falsely that the natural state of being is a falsely individualistic isolation.

So who is guilty of this theft? The King of Cups stands for this person in our lives. The King of Cups is often shown holding a balance, and he is generally read to be a lawyer, a priest, a teacher, or a doctor, someone who stands at the bridge between the ordinary and the transcendent. He is the father figure in the position of responsibility who translates the general into the specific. For instance, he is the lawyer who applies the law to a particular case, a priest who brings the divine into the local church to offer it as a sacrament to the community. Upright, he does his job well. Reversed, he is out of balance. He is the lawyer who is well paid to serve the rich and powerful. He is the father (and mother) who told you to sit up straight and be quiet. He is the teacher who stifles students' creativity. He is the dogmatic priest who insists only his path will lead to God (are you reading this, Benedict?). He is the doctor who tries to solve everything with a manufactured chemical and a scalpel. In a word, he is the Patriarchy of the Twentieth Century run amok. Since this is a court card, it is encouraging us to focus on the specific person you know who embodies this problem, not the abstract concept of Patriarchy. You should have no trouble finding this person in your own lives. (Take a page from Kesey's book and look for the “shiny black FBI shoes”).

The next card is the Ten of Swords, the card that often means ruin or disaster. Here, I read it more generally as the state of Ecstasy lost. The law of conservation of matter and energy means that nothing we have, nothing we are, can ever disappear from the Universe. So long as we are in Ecstasy, connected, a part of the Universe, we have nothing to fear. But when we see ourselves as separate, isolated, loss becomes inevitable.

The Six of Swords is about leaving a bad situation for a place of refuge. Reversed, it means you can't run away from your problems. To find Ecstasy in our lives, we have to look forthrightly into the places where we have lost it.

So now we confront the King of Swords, the Judge. The Judge is the wielder of power, the decision maker, the CEO. When upright, he rules with justice. Reversed, as here, he is a tyrant, the abuser of power. He is “the man” of Counterculture parlance. This is another person in our lives, one who has authority over us (for some of you it may be the same person as we saw earlier in the reversed King of Cups). Now is the time to speak truth to power. While this person, be he boss, parent, guru, or court judge, may have power to alter the circumstances of your life, he has no power over you. He has no power to keep you from your inherent Ecstasy. Once we confront him, then we are ready to accept Ecstasy back into our lives.

Ecstasy is passion, it is wild, it is chaotic, it is irrational (or super-rational, if you prefer). One image of it is the Tarot's Devil, card XV of the Major Arcana. This goat-God is not so much the Christian Satan as the pre-Christian Pan. We confront him when we leave our modern suburbia for the primal forest. We stop fighting ourselves and let our passions and desires guide us. But that is scary. What if we become addicted to these powerful forces? In the Tarot of Dreams, this card shows the Devil holding us (personified as the Fool, the every-person character who journeys through the Tarot's many adventures) trapped in a golden cage. But if we look closely, the door of the cage is ajar. What keeps us confined is our fear. We can embrace this primal divinity, this Pan, without enslaving ourselves to him. Empowering our lives in Ecstasy means radical trust. It means letting go of the false confidence that we can make the Universe obey our society's notions of rationality and money and power.

The Queen of Swords in this reading represents each of us. Among other things, this Queen symbolizes the state of widowhood. She also symbolizes strength, courage, wisdom, and grace. She is the person who has been through life's wringer. She has faced loss and tragedy. She has street cred. She is a joyful, gracious person not because she is naive, but because she has endured everything life has thrown at her and discovered that she can endure it. She has nothing more to fear. Free from fear, she is open to the Universe, willing to connect to and embrace and celebrate everything around her. She is neither afraid of the Patriarchy with its enforced rationalism and displays of temporal power, nor of the Pan-God, the wildness of passion that comes with Ecstasy.

So where does she go with her new-found power? The Eight of Cups is the card of ascetism, of going alone into the wild. Having piled up riches and good things, we leave them all on the beach, give up all we have, to follow Spirit. But reversed here, it reminds us that we can answer the Spirit's call right here at home, in our own lives, at our work desk and in our kitchen.

The Nine of Swords, a card of fear and grief, is one of those that we prefer to see reversed. It is not a card about bad things happening, but about the attendant emotions, worry and anxiety and regret, the insomnia card, sitting up at night in the darkness obsessing. When we reverse it, as here, we say “Nuts to that!” and laugh at our fears (much like Harry Potter confronting the boggart–Riddikulus!). We light a candle instead of cursing the darkness, and new light comes into our lives. Read these last three cards together: Once we face our personal tyrant and personal devil, we become the with-it Queen of Swords. We don't have to leave our present situation. Rather, our situation is transformed from within. We may have the same job, same relationship, same house, but the feel of it, the energy, is totally different. Where before there was darkness, now we have light to see by.

So here's the pay-off: The Empress, the third card of the Major Arcana. She is the Great Mother, she is that fundamental presence within us that makes our lives fertile and creative and beautiful. Lady of Life, Source of the Springs of Being; Mother Earth and Queen of Heaven. Whether you see the Divine as a Goddess or in some other faith tradition or in no traditional way, know that there is Divinity in the world. When you have gone through the journey outlined above, you will find that Divinity blossoming within your own life. Your life will be defined by cooperation, not competition, connectedness, not alienation. The result is fertility, productivity, art, craft and beauty.

Here is our third king, the King of Coins. Unlike our previous kings, he is not reversed. He is upright, properly oriented and following the Empress. Coins is the suit of Earth, and the King of Coins is like an old peasant farmer. He does not try to conquer the world or climb the corporate ladder. He is content to be out of control, but rather to be in a place of trust, letting the seasons turn in their own way, trusting the sun and the rain and the fertile fields, and feeling himself a part of it all. He takes from the land and he gives back to it. His strength is a quiet and patient masculinity, very different from the phony machismo of our Patriarchal society. Look for this person in your life, that is to say, look for such virtues in your self, and also look for those around you who embody this Farmer King.

The final card is the Ace of Swords, the card of Victory. It means right thinking. We have gotten ourselves out of our heads. We aren't stuck any more, caught up in the limited consciousness most of us learned in schools and families of origin. Mind and thought and word, instead of being obstacles to natural Ecstasy, are now a clear pathway to it.

Congratulations, all of you, on the successful journey to Ecstasy this season brings!

Blessings of Life and Light!

Alder

 

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Alder's Tarot Reading for Shaman's Net Fall 2007 Season -- "Harvest"


Well, I have a little bit different kind of reading this season, since it only involves one card, card XX of the Major Arcana, called Judgment Day in most decks. From the day of the autumn equinox on, I knew this was the underlying theme card for this season. Of several cards in the deck that address the theme of Harvest, this is clearly the most powerful. So I sat with that for a while, waiting for the sense that it was the right time to sit down and spread some cards around that theme card and develop the reading. But the right time never came, and now I think that maybe the reason is that the message of the Judgment Day card is complete for this purpose, and doesn't need anything beyond itself.

In most traditional decks, this card has the imagery you would expect: The Angel Gabriel blowing the trumpet, the dead rise up from their graves and coffins to greet the sunrise. Don't worry, it's not a card about the end of the world. It's an REM card, it's about the end of the world as we know it, and a new day dawning. And, yes, it's all about the Harvest. All kinds of things in our lives get to the point where they've outlived their usefulness–ideas, projects, relationships, hurts, chapters of our lives. They end, they die, we bury them, we forget them. That's the end of it, right? Well, with the Judgment Day things we thought were dead are reborn to new life and find their way back into our being.

If you're like me, you might be a little hesitant to welcome back things that you thought were dead and buried. I know I've made mistakes, done things wrong, and the phrase “You reap what you sow” causes me more than a little anxiety. But have no fear. The sunrise in the Judgment Day card doesn't mean Dawn of the Dead. Elements of our past are reborn with new life, yes, but not as shambling zombies wanting to eat our brains. Rather, the pieces that are restored to us are restored in their highest form. Somehow, while they were lying quiet in the Mother Earth, they were transformed, losing all their weight of pain and guilt and shame. The magick that happens here is the magick of the compost heap. What we threw out was rotten, smelly, and nasty. But what comes out of the compost pile is rich and fertile, good soil for us to use to plant the new pieces of our life that we want to grow.

So the Harvest of Judgment Day means the following for everyone in the Shaman's Net: First, good things for which you have had to wait a long time will finally manifest. Second, watch for things from your past, a person, a souvenir, or just a sudden recurring memory or deja vu, to appear out of the blue–when it first shows up, your reaction may be, “This again? Oh, great. I thought I was done with that.” But stick with it. You may find blessings in it you didn't know were there. Lastly, the caution of Judgment Day is the message that “He who would save his life will lose it, he who would lose it will save it.” The compost process requires that we let go. If you are holding on to things in your life that no longer serve, behavior patterns or ideas or projects, let them go. They have to be sown, before they can be reaped. It has to be well and truly dead and buried before it can be reborn.

Blessings of a bountiful Harvest!

Alder

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