A a full time professional reader, I admit, I can get mighty pedantic about things. Splitting tarot hairs with colleagues is a love of mine and I am no stranger to debating the finer points of tarot and tarot readings.
Like any reader, I also have my pet peeves and as my 2nd grade report card mentioned, "Jenna is opinionated." So here I share with you, dear reader, my opinions about white washing tarot specifically as it pertains to the Death card.
It is very common in tarot books, among tarot readers to say as soon as the Death card is cast, "Oh, yeah this is Death... but actually it really just means Transformation!" Quick to lessen the blow of the message of death, we gloss over the pain, heartache, hard reality that is the Death card and I think when we do this we are disrespecting the energy, intent and message that this card may have for us.
It is not uncommon to find tarot decks that have completely vanquished Death forever from our tarot shores, rewriting the card to mean Transformation or Phoenix Rising, "Don't worry about any of that Death business because you will rise from the ashes, girlfriend!!" Doreen Virtue's Fairy and Angel decks have done away from the messiness of Death altogether--she renamed them as Release.
The only way I actually knew she was indeed replacing the Death card with Release is because she kept the number placement that is traditional for Death: number 13. It is no coincidence that Death is in the 13th place for 13 has long been viewed as a bad luck number throughout Europe for centuries. If Death actually means Transformation or Release and was so very positive, why would it hold the 13th position?
I will say, however, that she does use Azreal who is the angel of Death, but this is done in the kindest most white washed way possible.
The emphasis here is again, on moving on. But I argue that this is not the intent of Death. The message of Death is endings, not new beginnings.
Tarot comes out of a time where 2 out of 3 children died, if someone lived to 50 that was considered a ripe elder age. There was disease, accidents, superstition and a lack of hygiene awareness or even what we would consider basic medical knowledge. Death was as close to the midaevil person as was life, and it was because of Death's intimate association with their lives that they felt the business of living more keenly. Death is a part of life, death hurts, death sucks, death is sad and death comes for everyone. This is the message of the Death card. It is a card of endings, not beginnings.
We modern humans with our technology and vaccines and seatbelts, we have done a great job distancing ourselves from Death as much as possible. Unlike our earlier ancestors however, we no longer dress the bodies of our dead, we rarely perform the service of burying our own.
Death has become sanitized, de-ritualized, and death only comes to the unlucky or aged. In our quickness to leave Death behind, we also wish to forget what he brings and the thought of Death makes us so uncomfortable we would just rather pretend he didn't exist at all.
In client sessions, I find Death to play the role of a hard stop. This relationship is ending. That job is done. That person is passing away. Death does not mince words, does not white wash its message but its message, being completely honest, is actually a kindness.
Often clients come see me when all the easy options are gone and all that is left are hard choices. Clients also see me when their higher self knows something is going to end, but their ego is still looking for some possible way to turn aside whatever it is they do not want to endure. Death is the loud and insistent voice, loud enough to be heard over the din of ego and self delusion, to prepare oneself for an ending. Perhaps that ending is not redeemed by transformation, perhaps it is just an ending...and that is sometimes all we get. Because that is life, and life is confoundingly both tragic and miraculous at the same time.
Now, I think there is a better card that speaks to Transformation, and that is Judgement. I never understood why Death was the card chosen to speak to the act of Transformation when in all honesty, Judgement does a much better job of holding that archetype. So let us allow the cards to speak and stop rewriting what they are. If tarot means to talk about transformation and moving onto new pastures then we must trust that tarot will reveal them (Judgement or 8 of Cups as an example). But when tarot shows us the Death card, it means death.
This... Ladies and Gentlemen...is what Transformation and Release look like.
Let us allow the hard work of seeing what is be what is. It is always the difficult message, the hard yet honest note from the Universe that circumvents our ego, allows us to see clearly without pride or defense, and accept gracefully what is.
Happy April Fools' Day!
April Fools has deep historical origins, as anything of Archetype does, replaying, recycling, and rebirthing throughout human society, cultures and migration for as long as we can find evidence for them. The Fool is particularly powerful in its archetype on human consciousness, so much so that our Fool gets his very own day each April first.
April Fool's day can be reasonably found in historical articles from the middle ages throughout Europe, the day has shifted from late March to April first but the sentiment is similar, Here is what we know for sure:
In 1508, French poet Eloy d'Amerval referred to a poisson d’avril (April fool, literally "April fish"), a possible reference to the holiday. In 1539, Flemish poet Eduard de Dene wrote of a nobleman who sent his servants on foolish errands on 1 April. In 1686, John Aubrey referred to the holiday as "Fooles holy day", the first British reference. On 1 April 1698, several people were tricked into going to the Tower of London to "see the Lions washed". (Wiki)
Even earlier, ancient Greeks and Romans celebrated the feast of Hilaria (doesn't that sound like so much fun?!) Celebrated on March 25th, possibly along with the start of spring to honor Cybel, So it seems that what was once a joyful noise of people acting probably pretty silly, filled with frisky spring fever eventually morphed into the April's Fools day pranking that exists today.
In tarot, the Fool's meaning has shifted over the centuries. Originally, the Fool was literally a fool, a silly or dumb man or a man acting stupid for the comedic enjoyment of others. Today, the Fool denotes more of a letting go of control, self-consciousness and embracing everything that life has to offer. The fool's appearance in a reading is a serious call to let go of the reigns and let the Universe provide. Being mindless and spirit-full.
Less in the western cultures anymore, but in many others, the Fool does act as a spiritual Clown. A silly shaman that through laughter of himself and others, making that joyful noise we get closer to God. I think it is deeply sad that our modern life has only one little tiny april fools prank vestige of what is a very powerful and wise archetype, the Fool.
For example, in Hopi tradition, there is the Heyoka, the sacred clown is still very much activated in this culture:
Principally, the heyókȟa functions both as a mirror and a teacher, using extreme behaviors to mirror others, thereby forcing them to examine their own doubts, fears, hatreds, and weaknesses. heyókȟa also have the power to heal emotional pain; such power comes from the experience of shame — they sing of shameful events in their lives, beg for food, and live as clowns.
They provoke laughter in distressing situations of despair and provoke fear and chaos when people feel complacent and overly secure, to keep them from taking themselves too seriously or believing they are more powerful than they are. (wiki)
So how can you embrace the call of the Fool today?
Here are some ideas:
*Go to a Comedy show,
*Sign up for Laughter Yoga (truly, the Fool is alive and well among this merry troupe!)
*When was the last time you really laughed at yourself?
*Do something silly, meaningless, joyful, even 'dumb', who cares whose watching?
*Turn off your GPS, and guess a new route home today from work, remember what it feels like 'not to know' be comfortable with that ambiguity, look at a beautiful new place you've never seen before in the process.
*Eat ice cream for lunch.
*Sing loudly with the windows down
*Wear mismatching socks or a T shirt inside out or backwards
*Stop taking yourself so seriously, darlin, the Sacred Fool has come to play today!
2016 is a Hermit Year
Using tarot numerology, we can easily assign an archetype to the upcoming year, 2016 all added up in a flash gives us 9 which corresponds to the Hermit. While individual numerology will vary, this planetary number is like a large picture energetic weather pattern for the year.
Understanding the hermit will helps us understand and perhaps negotiate better with the forces saturating all the nations of earth. I for one, am hoping that the hermit's energetic need for reflection will impact the world's stage in terms of conflicts as well as home grown terror. 2015 was an 8 year, a Strength year which we saw in many countries saying things like, "No I am stronger than YOU are, here I am going to shoot down YOUR plane!"
Hopefully, the hermit's calmer head and keener sense will reign on the world stage in 2016.
In client readings, the hermit ranks right below Death and the Devil for the 'least wanted card' award. Unfairly so, in my opinion, for the topical understanding that the hermit will mean loneliness, singlehood, sweatpants and long nights with a mid-priced merlot is vastly incorrect.
In the majority of hermit imagery, the hermit is standing with his or her lamp, shining out in the forested darkness. The hermit is not curled up in a fetal ball of lonely agony with Bon Iver on repeat, the light of an Iphone clutched in hand.
The hermit is standing with his lamp outstretched; is he shining that lamp for himself, or is he shining the way for someone else? Is the lamp really for him, who knows the dark forest so well or to help another soul who needs to simply rest? In most hermit imagery the hermit is also standing: in search, or in mid-stride; he is an active figure in the landscape; while the word suggests someone passive the imagery illustrates something entirely different.
So I asked a group of fellow tarot readers, what is your favorite Hermit image, and why?
Altogether, here were the themes that emerged from their responses:
Below, in their own words, are some of the pictures as well as thoughts as to why they loved that particular Hermit, the choices are diverse and the reasons varied but in no instance do we see knee jerk reactions to the hermit to depict lonely as suffering or alone in withdrawal as a negative.
If we notice this Hermit and all the others, the Hermit is not staring into the lamp, he is not transfixed by it, he is using the light to shine out into the darkness, he is looking for something, or someone. His focus is almost always outward, actually. Certainly not the actions of a person who has totally withdrawn in complete isolation and sadness.
This hermit is also dynamic, one of the Hermit's main themes is study and learning and this imagery captures that idea, what do you need to hone, to make clear, to master?
This image is so interesting to me, the turtle is not physically able to have put the lit lamp on his shell, so who did? Who is with him, sitting companionably in his light? Or did they light the lamp for Turtle and leave? This image creates a cognitive dissonance between the withdrawal of the turtle (a fear or stress reaction) and the warm glow of the lamp. Our introvert above felt comforted by the imagery of the card, you can just be yourself.
This card especially picks up the shamanistic undernotes of the Hermit, that he is somehow closer to nature, in the quiet able to hear the moods and sounds of the animals and from there to gain wisdom that our busy world left behind. In this, the Hermit acts as bridge, necessary, pertinent, without which we as a race are completely lost.
Again, we return to the light, what is the nature of the lamp, the nature of the light, is it the heart of Hermit?
I included this because of the modern focus on perhaps too much withdrawal, a Hermit that is not spiritual in focus, again, what is a Hermit without his lamp?
Even in the 'scariest' image, easily the Deviant Moon's hermit, we hear Jennifer's quote that he is, 'withdrawing from the world for his own learning and purpose.' The main take away is that when we draw a Hermit card:
The withdrawal is a voluntary one.
You do not have to take on the mantle of the hermit if you do not want to.
My own personal favorite image of the Hermit if the 'Kung Fu Master' archetype. He left the village on purpose, to hone his craft and now that he has mastered his skills people come to him. He meets those he wishes to help on his terms.
If we view the role the Hermit through the eyes of a love reading, this is fabulous, actually! Through a short stint of getting clear of "your junk" you then position yourself to pick and choose from those who seek YOU out.
"The Hermit figure is removed on the whole from the image, which focuses on the holding of the lamp as its main design element. It reminds me that the Hermit is not following anyone, not even himself, he has walked the path for long enough to become the path. In this case, he is adjunct to the light itself, which is the principle of the card; return to your own light and carry it."--Marcus Katz
The emphasis is not on the withdrawal, even though the card is called the Hermit, the image is not focused on his hermitude, but in fact is focused on the light. And what does light do? Light carries, light illuminates, light gets noticed, light is bright.
When we as readers and clients see the Hermit in a future state position, it can be read as, "You will be alone during x time."
I feel that Hermit is in fact already defining a known position, the act of being a hermit has happened. What is the future state is the search with the lamp.
(The Hermit is NOT 8 of Cups. The Hermit is NOT the Hanged Man though people often read him that way especially in love and relationship readings which I think is a huge mistake)
When the Hermit appears he is defining the change to the light. In most pictures of the Hermit, he is walking forward, carrying the lamp in front of him. The action is forward moving with the light preceding him.
The Hermit's appearance in a reading, especially in a romantic reading, is not as much "you are going to be alone" but rather-- you are moving to the light, the truth of what you need and that is shining. Something (or someone) is being called to you, and you in your work and wisdom... you get to choose.
2016 calls for the entire world to choose, are we going to choose peace, will we light our lamps and search for the hard answers? Will we allow calmer, wiser heads to speak? We need more silence, more thought, more reservation, more detachment from the fires of passionate gun slinging.
As we face 2016 embrace the Hermit's energy in your own life by lighting your lamp and walking your path, look fearlessly in the dark corners.
Do The Work
This blog post and analysis has been kicking around in my mind for the last two years. As a self-described "animal person" I usually notice animals in decks before I notice people and it was not too long before the story of Fortitude/Strength began to unravel her mysteries to me through the ages. The Strength card is a tell tail sign that directly points to humanities' relationships with animals.
It is also interesting that my thoughts about the Strength card dovetailed with the tragedy of Cecil the lion. The public response has been swift: from banning transport of trophies from Africa to reconsidering the whole sport of trophy hunting, changes are afoot as I write this article in ways that are surprising but not altogether unexpected.
The backlash against the protesters, that it was" just one lion" is incorrect. It was not just about Cecil the animal insomuch as it was really about Cecil as Archetype. Humanity is making an incredible cultural shift in its relationship to the wild world, and we can watch this amazing evolution of human-animal relations by looking at our very own tarot cards.
The Lion as Archetype has defined human consciousness since the dawn of mankind. Lions adorn our neolithic cave walls while our earliest civilizations to countries today make the Lion as Archetype the symbol of power, strength, nobility, and bravery, he is the main symbol for a nature we cannot own. Indeed, the lion himself lives within our deepest dreamscapes and imagery.
It was not just about a “sexy animal” and that worms and toads are less important. Cecil represents a much deeper, almost instinctual response inside of ourselves the lion as trope has a deep Archetypal importance in our collective unconscious. The lion (like the snake and the falcon) are old, and very important signposts for humanity. Through our relationships with these “signposts” we can also gauge the health of our own species.
The Fortitude/Strength card through the ages is an amazing artistic timeline that reflects our relationship to Lion as well as the human relationship to the wild. If we look at tarot cards created, especially within the last 20 years or so, we see different relationships begin to emerge. Perhaps we are coming full circle from the relationship we used to have with Lion; each card a clue to our own attitudes and beliefs about our place in the world, and our work in it.
Artists tend to subconsciously absorb culture, then reflect what is, or what will later emerge, into public consciousness. Artists are often the visionaries; illustrating a process already in the subterranean heartbeat of a culture. From this perspective and in choosing decks that were bought and used by a high percentage of people, we might be able to ascertain the trajectory of civilization across time.
Cards were chosen for historical significance, then from the 1970’s on, chosen for mostly public appeal and sales. Because I am making a claim on our collective unconscious, I chose cards that have enjoyed a high readership. I shied away from boutique and theme cards because they tend to reflect a niche element rather than the standard human-lion aspect.
I omitted Thoth because Lust took the card into a different trajectory that I felt was not as good an indicator for public attitudes of animal awareness.
I did not take into account any artist commentary or intent from their work. Not that that is unimportant, but I wanted to interact with the card purely as viewer soaking in the art in a way that much of the public does when viewing cards. I wanted the art alone to convey a message to me.
Tarot: Middle Ages to Englightenment
One of the earliest decks, the Visconti, we see a man beating a lion into submission. The lion is cowering in fear and pain. The man's well-muscled legs is the obvious viewpoint of Strength in this picture. It is interesting to me that the lion is not well-depicted, the proportions are off and the face is more dog-like than lion. There is still a great anger and need to dominate in this photo, as if humanity was still not quite sure of his dominance of the world, an insecurity perhaps.
The Mantegna Tarocchi, created somewhere around 1465, depicts a woman of great strength, perhaps even a God or as a giant as she is able to break columns of stone. She wears a headdress of a lion head. The lion is behind her, watching on with a sad look, perhaps the face of defeat; humanity has not only beaten the lion but as surpassed the lion.
The Marseilles, the next stop in the minds of many tarot historians, depicts a woman who has not only dominated the lion, but begins to domesticate him. Opening up the lion's mouth this image depicts complete control and a desire to submit the lion into domestication. The face of the woman looks a bit strange, the domination is apparent but perhaps not as assured as she would like.
The Etilla Tarot carries forward the imagery of woman and lion, the woman (of course being the weaker of human genders) has now made the lion a pet. The lion is long past the need to be beat into submission by a strong man.
Sitting at her feet the lion is symbolic in his transference of power to her and acts as a servant. The Lion, the once ferocious and feared (and even worshiped) animal has become nothing more than an object, an owned thing.
The Rider Waite Smith also continues the woman and lion trope to illustrate strength but here the dominance is perhaps less obvious. The domination already been won the picture is a bit ambiguous: is the lion licking her?
The interaction between them appears to be kinder but the human is still dominant. The woman's face is calm and controlled, the face of a lion tamer confident in her ability to control. To me, if feels that the affection flows from lion to human, and control is flowing from human to lion.
Popular decks of the 70s
Morgan Greer Tarot - Created by Lloyd Morgan, Bill Greer - US Games 1979
1JJ Tarot - Created by Stuart Kaplan - US Games 1970 (reprints of older woodblocks)
Bota Tarot- Created by Robert Wang, Israel Regardie- AGM Müller 1977 US Games 1978
All three decks include dominance and control but from different perspectives. 1JJ tarot is interesting because this image was based on an older woodcutting. Decks that utilize both older imagery as well as historical narratives tend to throw the curve in terms of lion-human interaction vs. other decks created at that time.
Morgan Greer takes on the RWS imagery including the possible lion licking the woman but the body language is still one of control; the woman appears to be bending downward to control the head of a lion whose body is still in motion. Like RWS though, the Morgan Greer depicts a woman who is calm and competent in her control, the lion seems to be uncomfortable, some might say playful but his claws are unsheathed indicating unease.
Similar to the Morgan Greer, BOTA also depicts a calm woman in control of the situation but the lion is obviously well in hand, his dominance assured he looks ahead unquestioning the role he has to play in the tableau. While wearing a wreath, BOTA's card makes the lion feel more like a prize being shown off, not only has humanity dominated, controlled, and domesticated the wild he shows off his prize in ultimate hubris, what is left for the lion?
Popular decks of the 80s
Hanson Roberts Tarot - Created by Mary Hanson-Roberts - US Games 1985
Voyager Tarot - Created by Ken Knutson, James Wanless - Merrill-West Publishing 1986
Sacred Rose Tarot-Created by Johanna Gargiulo-Sherman - US Games 1980
Just as it begins the look like there might not be any hope left for the lion, the decks of the 80s begin to show a radical shift. The Hanson Roberts shows a scene where the lion is beloved, gentled, and both the lady and the lion are relaxed with eyes closed with obvious affection between them. There is no struggle. Not in this card or any other illustrated above.
Both Voyager and Sacred Rose show for the first time, an actual integration between human and lion. The line between species is blurred. Voyager is particularly interesting with its half-lion, half-human face, and in it we begin to see the stirrings of interconnectedness and union. In the Sacred Rose we see both lion and woman looking ahead together, the mane and the hair in concert, they are on a mission as a team, and finally, peers.
Popular decks of the 90s
Robin Wood Tarot - Created by Robin Wood- Llewellyn 1991
The Enchanted Tarot - Created by Amy Zerner - St Martins Press
Miss Cleo's Tarot Power - Created by Seth Stephens, J. F. Lambert - Radar Communications
The 90's continues to expand and deliver the lion and human relationship re-imagined. I particularly like the Robin Wood depiction because the lion's face does not look tame, he has not be made into a pet and while he is in mid-step the woman does not control his movements, she actually has an amused face, as if she knows him but does not control him and there is obvious affection between both. The lion is calm and alert, this is no pet.
The Enchanted tarot places the lion as king, there is a sense that he is recrowned, finally to the kingdom he lost before. The lion is calm, there is no struggle.What is interesting is that the woman is more angelic- it appears almost healing in aspect. This cards seems to point to lion as a spiritual seeker. An animal with a soul. The idea that all animals have souls. (A break from traditional Christian thought that proposes that animals in fact, do not.)
Finally, we have the Miss Cleo's Tarot Power card, I choose this one particularly for its unusual dynamic. Here we have the lion in full on attack mode, the second before the pounce, protecting the woman behind her. There is no sense that this lion is owned, dominated or controlled in any way. Miss Cleo took a lot of heat and was the focus of public derision so I am not surprised to see that this card is almost an unconscious reflex of defense, but again the theme runs true; the lion is not controlled or dominated in any way.
Popular Decks of the Aughts
Animals Divine Tarot, Created by Lisa Hunt - Llewellyn 2005
Legacy of the Divine Tarot, Created by Ciro Marchetti-Self Published 2008 Llewellyn 2009
World Spirit Tarot Created by Jessica Godino, Lauren O'Leary - Llewellyn 2001 Llewellyn 2006
Animals Divine and Legacy of the Divine both follow a similar path as that of the Enchanted, Lion as mystical, spiritual and worthy of reverence in his own right and way. The woman taking on the aspect of Deity with Animals Divine we start to truly see the spiritual aspect of the lion. I am particularly interested in the lion as divine aspect without the integration aspect we see in earlier. It is also in he Aughts that w begin to see an earnest reemergence of Shaman as spiritual work. Everyone seems to be going on Shamanic Journeying these days, and do they meet lions? I bet they do.
We went from domination, to submission, to control, to domesticating, to honoring, to creating a peer relationship, to integration and here we see lions as divine with humans as witness. The World Spirit tarot depicts obvious affection and for the first time in this set of cards, more of a family feeling between the two with other signs pointing towards integration.
Popular Decks of today (2015)
Gaian Tarot continues the theme of deep affection, almost familial in nature. The lion is female and very well-depicted, you can sense the artist here really connected with accurate lion imagery in this card, in fact it would appear that the lion is done in greater detail with particular attention to coat pattern details. I also get the sense of protection for the lion from the woman and the tone of the card feels very feminine in aspect, a Strength derived from consensus building rather than brute force. The woman's hand is outstretched not as a petting but rather in a very familiar and affectionate gesture, interconnected and comfortable.
Shadowscapes takes a nod from earlier RWS Strength styles but the woman is holding the jaw of the lion and her other hand rests on him. There is a feeling that the lion is the main event, while the woman is a supporting role in his magic. No control or domination but rather it feels as if she might be his servant in some aspect. He holds the globe, a true King of the jungle, indeed. The lion does not need to be "pet"ified to make the human comfortable, he is himself and in his power she assists.
Finally, the woman is done away with altogether. The card is the lions alone but perhaps the card also indicates an integration with the lemniscate above him. The first and only in this run that actually places that above the lion's head. The lion has his own spiritual life and development outside and irrelevant to the woman. But also, I think it has an undertone of Strength as letting be, true strength not being dominance and control but rather honoring and supporting the wisdom Lion has to give to us. Lion has his own ways and wisdom that does not concern or include humans. But by watching lion, we gain our own spiritual grace.
The outrage over Cecil has been in the works within my own generation. Usually, it is the artists who feel it first and broadcasts that initial insight to the public at large.
By crafting the Strength card we are presented with a dynamic view of human to animal relations, in particularly human to Archetype Lion relations. Cecil's story represents a deep question humanity is facing; what is the world like that will no longer be wild? What is left for humans when all has been dominated? How do we protect what is left, honor what is left, leave what is left to live their own lives and have their own spirituality?
What is the true quality of Strength?
When the Hermit appears in the reading, a client will often despair. For many, the Hermit does mean being alone or that a relationship might not work out, or the friends won't come anytime soon. Like all things Tarot, symbols are more than they appear at first blush.
Personally, when I think about the archetype of the Hermit, the Kung Fu Monk on the Mountain comes to mind.
Perhaps this imagery came to me so strongly because a few years ago I lived in China and took a trip to Shaolin Monastery, if any of you are Kung Fu fans, you know that this is THE place to learn Kung Fu. It is up a mountain in a quiet part of China and packed with Chinese and foreign students learning Kung Fu and Buddhism.
To awake in the morning and see thousands of people in rows going through the same movements is an amazing thing to behold. The grandeur of this noble art and way of life came from one Hermit, a monk named Batuo, who wandered in from India to teach Buddhism and later established Shaolin Monastery. One Hermit who decided to withdraw from the world, forever changed the world, this is what the wisdom of the Hermit can often evoke.
In all religions and important cultural stories, the Hermit is front and center to great spiritual change. Jesus, an example was as we all know, wandered as a Hermit eschewing a carpenter's life. The Prophet Muhammad, the Buddha all had similar origin stories- the world’s religious leaders often began their time wandering alone to return to the public with radical messages. Everyday, people decide to take time off from society and come back forever changed by it. An excellent blog post about the historical/philosophical/religious of Hermit life can be found here by Tarot reader and Academic Donna Hazel. Interestingly we both posted on the same day about nearly the same topic-funny how that works.
The Hermit truly as an archetype often have these commonalities:
Once the Hermit has committed to a withdrawal process, he then spends time without distraction. He works hard, he is uncompromising in his goal, and he may not know the end result, but he knows that silence is what is needed right now.
And when the Hermit has attained a level self-development, he then lights his lamp. He beckons those who are deserving of his time and energy to climb the mountain and he guides them to his mountain abode in order to share what he has learned.
So when we get a Hermit card in a reading, it doesn't necessarily mean,
"Omg, go adopt 6 cats cause it's the end for you! No one will ever love you again!!!"
The appearance of the Hermit in your life often represents:
A time of voluntary withdrawal (a pledge of not dating, or not seeking old dysfunctional friendships) and a welcoming of the silence that is the Source.
A time of deep introspection and getting your head clear from distraction (not seeking hookups, not seeking bad connections and spending that time working on your STUFF).
During your time of introspection and quiet, be mindful of falling back into old behavior because you are: bored, lonely, sad, tired. The Hermit recognizes that these emotions are part of him but he continues forth, he deepens the silence in spite of distraction. Remember, the Hermit is committed.
And when the Hermit is ready, he lights his lamp-not to just anyone-but to people who earn his time and attention (reacquainting ourselves with OURSELVES we no longer bother with mediocre relationships, others must EARN our time and attention, they must desire to raise the vibration).
The Hermit surrounds himself with people who feel deeply, who create, who are honestly living their lives outside of what the village has taught, because the Hermit knows there is always more depth to be had.
Need a real life example?
Read up on this amazing person, his documentaries are often on PBS.
He lived alone in the Alaskan wildreness for over 20 years. His documentaries, self filmed have inspired generations of people.
Deeply consider the following:
Time consciously removed from the higgy-biggy will mean that over time the quality of your relationships of all kinds will be of a higher vibration.
So how does one do that, with kids, jobs, partners, parents, bills, pets to feed, and on and on and on?
To partake of the Hermit energy can happen in a day, in an hour, in a weekend; one does not need to leave their lives behind to benefit from Hermit wisdom. Actually, there are many websites devoted to offering the public retreat options of all types and kinds, from religious to secular these places with all kinds of budget options catering to your financial and time needs.
Resources for Want to Be Hermits:
I highly recommend www.retreatfinder.com (there are international listings though it is primarily US based).
And even if you cannot pay for an away retreat, I cannot recommend this book enough to cultivate your own retreat space: Woman's Retreat Book: A Guide to Restoring, Rediscovering and Reawakening Your True Self --In a Moment, An Hour, Or a Weekend by Jennifer Louden
Dig into the Hermit, do not see his presence in your life as a time to despair, he is calling you with his lamp, join him in opening to the Mystery and shift your life more closely to positivity, authenticy and a more deeper spiritual life.
Stop filling up on snacks, the meal is about to arrive.
All month long I was planning on creating a guided meditation to meet the Lovers but their story was just not coming to me. Meanwhile, the message of the Hermit kept appearing in client readings within my own story.
It became clear that Spirit was guiding me to write this meditation for Valentine's Day as I wrote and spoke it in record time. May it guide you home.
When you think of the Emperor card, what do you think about him? Many interpretations of this card include something like, "...an authority figure concerned with society, rules and laws."
But what if there was more to the Emperor and more to be learned about your relationship with masculine authority?
When I think of the Emperor I often think of a Father Christmas archetype. Obvious in control but full of benevolence and responsibility to guide all.
Have you been a good girl or boy this year? The guided meditation is about 12 minutes long and I hope you join us on this journey.
Questions for consideration:
What did the Empower tell you? What story did you decide to tell him and why was it important?
What did he give you and what does it symbolize?
What do you need to do or let go of in order to facilitate or encourage the rich caring work that the Empower wishes to bring into your life?
How may identifying with the Emperor’s energy manifest in your life and how does visualizing him as Father Christmas reconfigure what you have known about him?
Happy Equinox & Mabon!
When I think about the Equinox, the time of perfect balance and equilibrium, I think about the tarot card Lady Justice.
Lady Justice is also known as Lustitia the Roman Goddess of Human justice with a lineage that includes even more ancient Goddesses who precided over fairness including Dike of Greek and Maat of Egyptian pantheons.
Justice's call is to maintain equilibrium, to make things fair, to be without bias and while we might feel that this balanced state is stable, it is actually a very interdynamic process needing a lot of care and attention to maintain.
So for today I have made for you a guided meditation to help you deepen your understanding and work around balance and also a little sweet, sweet divination, i.e. communication with the Divine!
The meditation is about 10 minutes and I hope you can join us as you recalibrate your sense of equanimity while our very planet suspends between movements. I would LOVE to read your experience with the meditation, please write about your experience and insights in a comment below!
Whose image is this? I want to cite!
Personally, I find a more helpful word for this card to be rebirth. After a period of trial and perhaps difficulty you are called to stand Judgement and Judgment is passed favorably upon you. You have passed the test. Moving into a sense of completion, you transform into a new form or vision of being.
Undergoing radical alteration creates a more expansive, wise, and vibrant self. All past mistakes and accompanying attachments fall away as you start anew in a the bright light of a new day.
Judgement calls us when we have really decided to move on; its the dawn after the divorce is finally filed after a long and trying marriage, the job left so we can truly find our calling. The call of Judgement is the overpowering sense of the Source giving us hope and allowing us to begin again like spring.
"Come, come whomever you are, worshipers, wanderers, or lovers of leaving... Ours is not a caravan of despair...come, come again, come."-- Rumi
1. I know the Source is working in my life because...
2. Undergoing radical alteration would look and feel like...
3. I am ready to let go of the following baggage, guilt and attachments...
4. I believe that every day is a new day to begin again, tomorrow I endeavor to...
The Devil often appears in a reading when we are indulging in something that is not good for us. The Devil represents temptation, obsession, control, the easy over the right path, giving into sexual urges of a dark nature as well as the being the little devil on your shoulder (i.e. your critic) who works to derail you.
As much and as tempting it is to think of the Devil as an entity outside of ourselves, the Devil more often than not can be found in the closest mirror. Within each of us is the eternal struggle of good over bad from the littllest things (did you let the person into your lane this morning?) to the most earth shattering things that we all know and may be participating in now.
The power of the Devil truly lies in the ability to tempt. The chocolate cake, the accidental windfall, the handsome neighbor across the street are full of pleasure... so hard to say no! So hard to do the right thing! It is sometimes an act of great will to turn down something so easy, so well-paying, so....sexy. But do it we must because otherwise we would lose our sense of integrity, our self worth, our connection to Light.
1. Right now I am being tempted by...
2. I am having a hard time resisting the temptation because...
3. I use the following tools to help me resist that which I know is not good...
4. I allowed the Devil into my life before and while it initially felt great it all fell apart when...
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