Justice

The card for the day is Justice.  In some decks, Justice is the Eighth card of the Major Arcana, and in others it is the Eleventh.

Mary Guinan, illustrator

What do you see in the Celtic Justice? What sticks out to you? Is it her steely expression? Her fiery hair? The way her right hand, “the sun hand” of clear, objective thinking, is placed over her heart in a pledge? Her left hand, the “moon hand” of intuition, is clutching the scales of justice. Perhaps it is her entourage behind her. Julian de Burgh, writing about Justice, tells a story about a poet who had a vision.  The poet dreamed he was taken to a courtroom full of women. The women then proceeded to try, and convict, the men of Ireland of neglect.  This story is in keeping with the idea of Justice always being personified as a woman, even in the modern American justice system.

Barbara G. Walker’s Justice has a sword clutched in her right hand, and is dangling the scales in her left. The hand of logic and reason is ready to slice away any illusions, lies, or obstacles to seeing the whole issue. Her left hand holds the scale of justice.  The Greek goddess of justice, Dike (pronounced Dye-kee) presided over human justice, while her mother, Themis, was in charge of divine justice. Dike’s sisters were Eunomia, or order, and Eirene (Irene) who was “peace.” The white dress of Barbara G. Walker’s Justice is clean white, symbolic of the order, clarity, objectivity, and pureness of heart needed to dispense justice fairly.  This goddess is associated with the constellation Libra, the scales (of justice).  To see this card in a reading may be a call for clear, objective thinking.

Swords are associated with the cool mental element of air, and so the card, especially if it is reversed, may be also calling for a postponement of a decision until the querent is calmer, or it may be a warning to not do or so anything that the querent may regret.

The Egyptians also personified Justice as a female. Their goddess Maat was a necessary conception for a culture that abhorred chaos. Maat symbolized not only order and truth, but generosity toward the poor and other unfortunate people. This is taking justice to its highest level.

The Goddess Kris Waldherr chose for her Goddess Deck is Athena. Athena, as the personification of Wisdom, is a necessary component of any justice system. Athena was also associated with Aquarius in Raven Kaldera’s MythAstrology: Exploring Planets and Pantheons (for more information, please see my Aquarius entry).  Aquarius is, like Libra, an Air sign, and, while Libra is associated with Justice, Aquarius is associated with social activism.

In all the other cards featured here, Justice is seen looking directly at the viewer. Athena is looking off to the distance. This feature is symbolic of foresight, possibility, and even clairvoyance.

Robin Wood’s Justice, like Mary Guinan’s and Barbara G. Walker’s, gazes unabashedly at the reader with clear eyes.  Her robes are the red and purple of royalty, and she is crowned with laurel leaves. She holds two swords–the one in the right hand is pointing upward and is shiny, representing masculine energy and objectivism, and the dark sword in her left hand points downward, representing the feminine energy, intuition, and the hidden things that may be affecting the question.

To have Justice appear in a reading, if upright, is a good omen that justice will be served. It is also a sign that you have a clear thinking person on your side, a person who will work for you with nobility and honor. It may also indicate that the questioner is that person. In a relationship reading, she indicates harmony and compatibility, and a good, strong partnership based on respect.

If reversed (upside down) she may indicate that things may not turn out the way you want them to. In the human world, Justice is not perfect.

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Geminis are a blessed crew.  Natalie Portman and Sean Yseult from White Zombie are both Geminis [note: this is probably the first time Natalie Portman and any member of White Zombie have been mentioned in the same sentence], and they both have things in common–they are both talented and charming. They both have traveled the world. They both have exuberant demeanors. They both seem to be great at absolutely everything they try.  My Gemini friend is the same way, reading books voraciously, studying everything from baboons to co-ops, and traveling around the world.

Aligned with the element of Air, and ruled by Mercury, Geminis are quick and adventurous.  Hermes, the Greek messenger god, could go anywhere on Earth, even the places other gods couldn’t go to or get out of.  Hermes could travel into Hades if he wanted to, but he preferred to travel in more luxurious places, like Elysium or Olympus. He also wasn’t a fan of the bottom of the ocean.

Let’s look at this from a symbolic perspective.  Gemini, being ruled by air, prefers the linear smoothness of the intellect, and the realms of Poseidon and Hades, being of Water and Earth, respectively, are metaphors for the leaky, soggy emotions and the deep, dark, messy subconscious.  Of course, being human beings, Geminis have just as much subconscious and emotions as everybody else, no matter how hard they may try to look cool, breezy, and effortless. In fact, it is vitally important that Geminis accept and integrate these parts of themselves, not only for their mental health, but to improve their communication skills and affect real change in people’s lives.

Gemini is the sign of the twins. Ideally, each twin would be a mix of dark and light, neither one banished to the darkness, or Hades, while the other one is allowed to shine on Olympus. Such was the case with Castor and Pollux, the twins of constellation fame.  Castor was mortal, and Pollux was a god. This is a very fitting metaphor for a Gemini. Often, a Gemini wants to maintain an image of near-perfection. Actually, just an image may not be good enough. The Gemini will want perfection, period. One of the things I observe in Natalie Portman is that there are absolutely no cracks. She is perfect. I cannot imagine her having any flaws, or any pain, and, being a very flawed human being,  I cannot relate to her.  Now, just because I can’t relate to her doesn’t mean nobody can (I doubt any Geminis are losing any sleep over me not relating to them, that’s for sure), but a risk of perfection is loneliness and perhaps alienation.  More than that, repression of the watery side, those negative emotions, or the darkness or crudeness of the earthy side, leads to emotional upheaval. Eventually, madness ensues.

Let’s look at the story of Helen of Troy and her twin sister, Clytemnestra.  Helen of Troy was the beauty whose face launched a thousand ships. Clytemnestra, her twin sister, was married off at age 12, a mother at 13, watched Agememnon kill her baby before he raped her, then forced her to marry him. Agememnon then had their daughter, Iphegenia, sacrificed, so Clytemnestra had Agememnon killed, only to be married by her daughter Electra and her son Laertes. Basically, if there was a suckiest life contest, Clytemnestra would probably win.

Next to a Gemini Helen of Troy, with her charm, free spirit, and never ending luck, it is easy to feel like a Clytemnestra–plain, unglamorous, and long-suffering.  However,  a Gemini is not only Helen of Troy, but Clytemnestra. Geminis are just really, really good at splitting off their Clytemnestras, and drowning her, or burying her deep.  But Clytemnestra has a nasty habit of bursting out of whatever cage she is put in and beginning a reign of slaughter against her oppressors. Eventually, the dark messy watery emotions just can’t take any more of the abuse.  Geminis, and all of us, if we are to have healthy Gemini energy, must take good care of our Clytemnestras. We must treat her kindly. We must talk soothingly to ourselves when we are depressed, or anxious, or furiously angry.  Also, we must remember what happened to Castor and Pollux, the twin brothers of Helen and Clytemnestra. Castor, the humble half of the Dioscuri, was killed, however,  his nobility and love elevated him to near immortal status. At the end of his legend, he and his immortal half-brother, Pollux, spend half their time in glorious Olympus, and half their time in humble Hades.  The humble human can be exalted.

Gemini energy, when fully integrated and balanced, creates a fun and friendly temperament.  Also, the Geminis have extremely active minds, with many interests, and a surplus of talent.  They are also willing to go through uncomfortable adventures. One of the best examples of a balanced Gemini is Sean Yseult.

Sean Yseult was the bass player for White Zombie, but that’s not all. Growing up, she was also a dancer and a straight-A student, and has been a visual artist and pianist since she was a little girl. She is now not only a musician, but a fashion designer. Reading her memoir I’m in the Band is a treat because not only is her writing well crafted and honest, it is also classy and restrained (Geminis are hardly ever crude. They are very eloquent). She is not above talking about the uncomfortable parts of her life, the mortal, messy incidences.  Sean Yseult also does not seem to be crafting any false persona; what you see is what you get with her. I may sound like a gushing fan girl, but, drawing the parallel to the Dioscuri, Sean Yseult has been mistaken for being just a Castor (just hanging out in Rob’s shadow–don’t worry, I talk about him in the Capricorn entry, “The Seagoat”, all the bad connotations that go with women in music in general and metal in particular), when she was a nicely balanced Castor and Pollux, Earth and Olympus.

Archetypes and People associated with Gemini

Good Twin/Bad Twin

The Dioscuri–Castor and Pollux, Clytemnestra and Helen

Hermes/Mercury

Journalists

Travel writers

Eros/Cupid with his little wings, and his relationship with Psyche–he kept her in the dark because, on a psycho-symbolic level, he was afraid of his persona disintegrating

Linguists

Bringing in Gemini Energy: Questions for Reflection

1) How do you treat your Clytemnestra? Do you resolve your negative feelings in a healthy way, or do you repress them out of fear? If so, why are you afraid of these feelings? How else can you handle them?

2) Do you tend to divide people into Castors and Polluxes? Do you treat the janitor the same way you treat the CEO? The plain woman the same as the supermodel? This may be completely unconscious on your part, and not be done out of maliciousness, but as a shield for your own reputation. Pay close attention. Also, are there any parts of yourself that you have deemed unworthy? If not sure, pay attention to your guilty pleasures, and the secret dreams that you don’t want others to know about. Why not? Admit these things. Celebrate them.

3) Gemini rules communication and travel.  Exercise your words to bring a quick burst of energy–write in a journal, play with poetry, write someone a letter (As a Venus in Gemini, I can tell you that words have a lot of power–sexy, sexy power).

Raven Kaldera helped me fill in the gaps of the Dioscuri story–buy his book, MythAstrology: Exploring Planets and Pantheonshere. It is amazing and will melt your face clean off. Your face will heal.

Page of Swords, or, A Really Snippy 12-Year-Old

When I was having my conversation with Kafi Gaultier about how best to learn tarot cards, she pulled a card from her deck as an example. The card was the Page of Swords.  She showed it to me, and said, “Let’s say you pull this card in the morning. Be on the lookout.  Think about what it means. Think about what really stands out to you about the card.  You may get a paper cut, or you may have to deal with a snippy twelve-year-old.”

Why a twelve-year-old?  Why, because we’re talking about the Page/Princess. Pages and Princesses tend to indicate a child or young adult in the questioner’s life, and usually a female. However, just like the Princesses of Pentacles, the Princess/Page of Swords can also indicate an aspect of the questioner, and may not always indicate a female.

Kris Waldherr’s Princess of Swords

The people that Princess/Page of Swords may indicate can, indeed, be snippy. Swords are aligned with the element of Air.  Air is the element associated with strife, conflict, and problems, including the need for medical care–the “scalpel.”  However, Swords are also associated with mental acuity, intelligence, problem solving, communication, and travel. As such, drawing the Swords (ha ha, I just got that as I typed it) is not necessarily a negative thing. The Princess of Swords can indicate a decisive person, a person who knows what she or he wants.  It can also indicate a young person who is cool and calm under pressure, someone who is rational, someone who is a problem solver.  Let’s say someone wants to know how well their grades will turn out this semester. If the Princess of Swords pops up, they can feel a little more confident. The Princess can also remind the questioner to not slack off on the flash cards and outlines. 

Since Kris Waldherr chose Isis to represent the Suit of Swords, it is important to discuss grief and pain, which Swords may indicate. Isis was in terrible grief after the murder of her husband, Osirus. Even if the questioner is an adult, they may find themselves regressing, or grieving in a childlike way (which is certainly not a bad thing; what is “an adult” way to grieve, anyway?).  Isis also brought Osirus back to life by sewing him back together–this Page may indicate medical care or a sick young person. 


 

The Celtic Princess of Swords is seen in a relaxed but alert pose. There is no doubt that she can defend herself if necessary.  Since this is the Swords suit, which is mental (as opposed to the physically energetic Wands/Staves, or the emotional Cups, or the practical Pentacles/Coins), and aligned with communicative Air, this defense– or offense, if the card is reversed–is typically verbal. The person that this card may indicate may be the wielder of a scalpel tongue. When upright and happy, this Princess is witty and eloquent, a charming joke teller and raconteur. If someone who works with children is curious about how a new kid is going to turn out, the Princess of Swords may indicate a child who is intelligent, maybe even gifted, and motivated, but may be socially aloof, or even catty.  

You may also notice that the Celtic Princess of swords was drawn by Mary Guinan as fixing on a point with a clear, intense gaze. Swords, and the Air element, indicate foresight and diligent planning. When this Princess has a goal, she will get it.  


An examination of Robin Wood’s Page of Swords reveals a few things. One, the Pages/Princesses of Swords all seem to prefer the color blue (except for Skuld; we’ll get to her in a second).  Blue is the color of the Heavens. It is associated with Air.  It is a calming color, and the darker blues are associated with higher learning, intelligence, and professionalism–think of all the schools that use blue as a color. Robin Wood’s Page is clad in sky blue, to indicate clear thinking and foresight. 

Two, the Page is brandishing the sword, but in a joyous manner.  She is thrilled with her capacity for ideas. Her management of her sword, which we may think of as symbolic of the brain’s ability to cut away obstacles that keep us from enlightenment, seems to be parting the clouds above her, letting in the sunshine of epiphany. Of course, this is just my interpretation of the card right now. You may see something else. 

Third, the Page has winged shoes. This is clever because of the allusion to Hermes, aka Mercury, who was the god of communication and travel, among other things. Swords can indicate swift movement and swift messages.  What details stand out to you? 


Our last girl is Barbara G. Walker’s Princess of Swords, also known as Skuld. 


Skuld here is a Valkyrie.  As such, she’s not a cuddly little girl. She is stringent, tough, and bold. The Valkyrie’s would lead troops into battle and gather up the souls of the brave afterward. The storm clouds below her (you can also see storm clouds in Robin Wood’s Page of Swords card) indicates this possible strife and trouble. Depending on what you see, the questioner may be able to rise above the problems, or part them, or they might not. Other cards, and whether the Page of Swords is upright or reversed (upside down) will let you know. 

Anyway, not just any soul was acceptable to Skuld for gathering. She was only interested in the brave, the honorable, and the intelligent. She had a keen eye for the real thing, and no tolerance for hypocrisy or phoniness. The person in question may just have that gift for discernment, a mind like an X-ray or a laser that is able to see through any person they meet to see if they are the real deal.  They have high standards, because it is illogical, in their opinion, to settle for anything less. 


Because the Princess of Swords may indicate an aspect of the questioner, she may choose to send messages through dreams.  The dreamer may see a young person, especially a young girl, who may appear to have the characteristics of the Princess or Page of Swords. She may be wearing blue, and carrying a sharp object. Or, the dreamer may find him- or herself back in school, preparing for a test. The child in the dream may also be grieving.   


Archetypes and people associated with the Page/Princess of Swords, Positive (upright): 

Precocious children 

A very cerebral young person 

A quick wit 

A very efficient manager

The ambitious new worker 

Travelers 

A child who needs medical care, but will heal 

A convalescing person


Negative (reversed) Associations

Scalpel tongues 

Malicious gossips 

Someone who is choosing not to live up to their mental potential 

Someone who is not thinking clearly

Someone running with scissors

The hyper-logical, at the expense of their hearts and bodies. 

A grieving child, or grieving inner child 

A sickly person

The Pot of Gold Princess

Today’s card is the Page (Princess) of Pentacles.  She is the harbinger of opportunities, particularly economic ones.

In Kris Waldherr’s Goddess deck, the Pentacles are represented by the Hindu Goddess Lakshmi. Pentacles are luck, finances, comfort, and security, which are all in Lakshmi’s domain. In the Goddess deck, Lakshmi also graces the Wheel of Fortune card. This is fitting, as finances can bloom and vanish at the drop of a hat.  There certainly is good fortune and bad fortune involved, but Pentacles, being aligned with the practical element of Earth, is quick to remind us that we can also create our fortunes, good or bad. Laziness, besides leading to no progress, also leads to no luck.

The Celtic Princess of Pentacles and the Robin Wood Page of Pentacles are both young girls. This is what the page/princess cards of any suit usually represent, if they are to represent a person. You must follow your instincts while reading these cards. They may represent the querent (the person the cards are being read for, including if you’re reading for yourself), a person in the querent’s life or about to come into the querent’s life; events in the past, present, or future; or an abstract psychological quality or energy.

In the Celtic Princess of Pentacles card, drawn by Mary Guinan, the warmth and energy possible in this card are apparent. There is a glow about the card, and the girl’s expression is one of excitement. She is dressed in fine clothes (the style is Roman, so she is probably a noble during the Roman occupation of the British aisles) and jewelry, showing her security and wealth.  If a Princess or Page of Pentacles shows up in your spread, you have opportunities for increase your wealth, or you may be enjoying it right now! Because of the happiness in these cards, I like to think the querent is going to make the money doing something he/she loves to do.

Robin Wood’s Page of Pentacles is a great bridge to the Barbara G. Walker card. The girl in Robin Wood’s Page of Pentacles is studious, as shown by the little book at her side, and is standing still and strong. This underscores the importance of hard work and learning to this suit, as well as steadfastness and reliability, all qualities of Earth. If the Page/Princess in your spread represents someone in your life, you’re quite lucky. You have someone you can trust in your corner. If she represents you, you have a lot of potential!

I also think of healing with the Pentacles or Coins, as they are associated with the Earth, which is the element of physical strength and fertility (as seen by all the greenery in the Robin Wood card).  The person in question, or the questioner himself, may have the potential for being a healer, or being healed. This healing may be physical or psychological.

Study and knowledge, though possibly of a different kind, are also evident in Barbara G. Walker’s Princess of Pentacles. For this card, Barbara G. Walker chose Nimue, the consort of Merlin and a sorceress in her own right.  This card reminds us that Earth is a feminine element, and knowledge of the esoteric (dreamwork, magic, anything to do with the subconscious, intuition) were all the realm of the female. While Earth is practical, the choice of Nimue reminds us that luck also comes with knowledge of the self.

 Archetypes and people associated with the Princess/Page of Coins, or Pentacles (Upright):
Positive:
A kind, down- to -earth young person
A gentle soul who is loving to animals
A studious child who works hard
The Nature Child
A healer
Negative Associations (reversed)
A crude young person
a slow wit
a stubborn child
a gluttonous person
What to look for in your dreams: A child, especially a girl child, out in nature, or one that has a soothing presence.
Look out for green and brown colors. These are earth colors.

How Stagnant Water Saved My Sanity: Or, an Exercise in Dream Interpretation

For this entry, I would like to chat about how to interpret dreams.  First, I would like to give you an example from my own dreams, because seeing the process makes it easier to do.

A while back, I was having recurring dreams about water. The water was always deep, stagnant, and oily. In one dream, I was on a yacht made out of paper trash.  When the yacht started to sink slightly, water lapped against my foot, and I panicked.  Using willpower, I forced the yacht to become more buoyant, raising it out of the water.

In my other dream about water, I was inside a boat garage, which is basically what you’d think: a garage on stilts, with a door the owner could open to drive the boat in. The garage was out in the middle of a large body of water. Any light that came in came in through cracks in the moldy, gray walls. The water was dead still and tarry. As I lay on the dock inside the garage, some of my hair trailed in the water, and I flinched away from it.  Paper floated on top of the water. There was a tiny raft outside the garage.  I remember not knowing what to do–I didn’t know how to open the garage door, and I wasn’t sure whether to wait for another big boat to come, or just take the raft.  I didn’t know if there was any land nearby.

In my waking life, the image of that dark, stagnant, oily water disturbed me. It was undoubtedly menacing, but I wanted to know why.  Why was my subconscious showing me the same image? There was nothing obviously frightening about the water, at least not in the sense of a great white shark’s dorsal fin slicing its way through the waves. There were no basketball sized giant squid eyes peering up and taking me by surprise.  The water wasn’t even rough.  It was eerily calm.

I decided to do a little subconscious spelunkin’ and figure out what the heck was going on.  The exercise that would help me with this was first told to me by a wonderful man named Ray Myers.  Almost ten years later, Martha Beck would also recommend this exercise, in her book Steering by Starlight.


1) First of all, write down your dream. It’s best to do this first thing. I can’t tell you how many times I told myself I would write a dream down and then forgot it. Write as many details as you can.

2) Second, pick an aspect of your dream that sticks out to you. For me, it was the water.

2) Third, imagine yourself as the aspect of your dream. What do you look like? What is your motivation? What are you feeling?  In my case, I had to pretend I was the water.  “Well, I know how you felt when you were water,” you’re saying. “You felt insane, because you are.”

Be that as it may, read on.

This is my water monologue (or waterlogue. Get it?) from my journal.

I am the water. I am deep. I am dark.  I am oily. I’m stagnant. There are probably unwholesome things swimming down there [insert dirty joke here].  

I feel…I don’t know.

After some minutes of frustration, I decided to come back later.  Finally, there was a clue.

I am the water. I am cold. I am numb. I feel nothing.  

Then I realized what the water symbolized.  It was clinical depression, something that I have been struggling with since I was about eight years old.  My subconscious was telling me that so far I had been able to keep from sinking into it again, but it may be only a matter of time.

This was a very sad and terrifying revelation for me.  I am grateful that my subconscious was able to send me warning signs so I could take action.

This is why it is a good thing to learn the language of our dreams, what Caroline Myss calls symbolic language. Symbolic language is how our minds give us knowledge about ourselves. You may wake up and think, consciously, I am depressed, but your subconscious mind may be giving you hints long before hand through your dreams, just as mine was.

Learning to understand your dreams also helps hone your intuition. One of the most arresting I’ve read is about a woman named Tricia Coburn, who kept having a recurring dream of people standing behind a barbed wire fence. The people looked like they were in a concentration camp. They were wasting away, and they were staring at the woman with imploring eyes. Sometimes, they would shout at her.

Something told Coburn to go to the doctor. They examined her, and found nothing wrong. The dreams continued.

Finally, she dreamed of the barbed wire fence, only there was nobody there. A voice said, “look deeper.”

Coburn went to the doctor and had a colonoscopy. She had colon cancer, fast moving colon cancer. They had gotten it just in time.

It is very enlightening, and simple, but sometimes not easy.  The meanings behind symbols sometimes leap out at you, and sometimes they play peek-a-boo until you understand, and sometimes they’re very maddening sphinxes. Any way they show up, have fun, and have an open mind.

If anyone needs help translating a dream, please drop me a line at turtlephoenix@gmail.com.  I can walk you through a more in-depth dialogue, by e-mail, or, if you prefer, by Skype or phone. Also, please share some of your memorable dream stories in the comments.




Gentle, Luxurious Taurus

Taurus calls, to my mind, absolute luxury and beauty. It is ruled by Venus, planet of not only beauty and luxury, but also love.  Taurus loves deep and warm, but since its energy is that of the element Earth, they have a practicality and steadiness. While Libra is also ruled by the planet of love, the energy of love in this placement is, in keeping with the air element, more intellectual, more abstract, and, when the Libra is out of balance, fickle.  Taurus is steady as a rock, and while the swift lyricism and charm associated with Libra is not normally associated with Taurus, Venus gives this earthy placement a nice boost in that department. The Taurus has exquisite taste, and a poetic mind.

The Earth energy aligned with Taurus is the energy of the lush rain forests, succulent flower gardens, fecund fruit orchards, and fertile fields.  Taurus energy is not just vibrant green and rich brown, but the brilliant pinks, reds, blues, purples, and aquamarines of all the flowers and gem stones the Earth gives to us as gifts.  If Taurus were fabrics, it would be velvet and silk.  It is a musical energy, and music is a gift for Taurus–even if they can’t sing or play, they are deeply affected by and resonate to music.

I have a friend who is a Taurus, and a friend who has the Moon in Taurus.  They are both very dear and they are both fabulous huggers.  You can seriously melt into their arms.  Raven Kaldera (buy his book!)  describes Hathor, the cow goddess of Egypt that he has assigned to the Taurus Moon, as having “restful arms” (64).  This is certainly true. There’s just something so comforting about a Taurus presence. This is a soft-spoken, gentle energy.  They also tend to smell nice, like a lawn after a soft rain.

It is fitting that the animal for Taurus is the Cow. Cows are known for being sweet and wide-eyed, and nurturing toward their young. A calf is open and trusting. Someone with the gift of Taurus energy has a talent for making people feel loved.  If a Taurus loves you, you feel amazing and deserving. They open up to you and trust you.

Naturally, their is a Shadow to the Taurus, and that is the Rampaging Bull.  Bull-rage is not something to mess with. This is a very physical, visceral anger, that is slow to build and then explodes and flows over anything in its path like lava or scalding steam.  Taurus does not intellectualize his or her anger, and the ability to reason oneself out of one’s emotions is not one of the gifts this energy gives to the people who tap it.  Another good analogy is thunder and lightning. Thunder may begin as a tiny rumble, but then it increases into the darts of the gods.

Another aspect of the Shadow of Taurus is gluttony. This is the sign of the Gourmand, but it can easily devolve into having no standards, and, with the natural exquisite taste and aesthetics of this sign, that is a waste of potential.

Another Shadow of this energy is that of the Indolent.  An unbalanced Taurus has no curiosity. This may not be due to a boring personality, though that may be the case, but to an aversion to change. The Taurus, as we all, must remember that even the Grand Canyon was created through a process of change. If it must be taken slowly, that is all right, but steps must be taken, because the purpose of the motionless is to deaden and decay, making room for and feeding growing things.

Taurus has a gift for creation. This is a creative energy, and, just as important, a sustaining one. Taurus is strong and resilient, and willing to get their hands dirty and put their backs into it.  If this dirtying of the hands and straining of the back is done for the people they love, this could be as much a pleasure as lounging on a satin divan, listening to a sunset concert while sipping ice-wine and letting chocolates melt in their mouths. For many Taurus people, or those who are in the stream of Taurus energy, giving is as effortless as the giving of the Earth herself.

Archetypes, people and animals associated with Taurus

The Cow

Hathor, the Cow Goddess of Egypt

Thor, Norse God of Thunder

The Gardener/Nature Child

Gaea, Tara, and other Earth Goddesses

The Sensualist

The Artist/Musician

The Poet Rumi (read his poetry, it’s down to Earth and yet has that warm, ruby center that the Earth itself possesses

Elephants–for their quiet intelligence (Kaldera 224-225)

Ganesha–for his lust for the finer things in life, as well as his earthy intelligence and loving nature (Kaldera 224-227)

Hints for bringing Taurus energy into your life–

Go to a lush, green, growing place. Surround yourself with flowers, vegetables, and fruit, which are not only lovely but symbolize Earth’s fertility

What do your eyes find beautiful? Your ears? Your nose? Your mouth? Your fingertips? Feast on these things at least three times a day.

Give and receive more hugs. Most mammals die without physical contact. This is quite true for Taurus. Get massages.

Are there any rumblings of thunder in your life? Any irritations or angers threatening to explode into a fire storm from the sky? How can you solve these problems?

Carry a little elephant around, to remind you of Ganesha’s relaxed wisdom, to bring luck, or just to make you smile.

The Fiery Daredevil

The Knights (sometimes Princes) of the suits in Tarot most often represent an aspect of the questioner’s personality, or a person in the questioner’s life. They may also be symbolic of an event in the person’s life.Knights/Princes can sometimes symbolize male sexual potency and virility, or they may symbolize a young man, age 14-40 (hopefully, if your gut is saying both sexuality and a 14 year old in the questioner’s life, it is because it is a mother concerned that her son is taking it too fast with his girlfriend, and not some Mary Kay LeTourneau).  The questioner himself (or herself!) may also be feeling rather sexy. If a Knight shows up in a reading, especially one about whether a seduction will be successful, you should probably stack up on the Trojans.

Which is a lovely segue into the Knights themselves! Most Knights are shown on horseback, and our Knight of Wands (or Staves, or Clubs) is no exception. The horse itself is a symbol of power, bravery, and virility, and, ridden by the Knight of Wands, there is a swiftness and energy that may be hard to contain. This could mean a very healthy libido, or a hot temper. Also, beware of those who start strong and then burn out, if you know what I’m saying.

Robin Wood’s Knight of Wands has got it goin’ on.

But the Knight of Wands isn’t just a flaming-hot sex monkey. He is also quite potent (there I go again!) in matters of business and creativity. He is the spark of an idea. He is the fire under your seat that motivates you to get up and go. If you’ve been having writer’s block, and the Knight of Wands shows up, you can look forward to some inspiration and the courage to put that inspiration on paper.

Courage is another hallmark of the Knight of Wands. In a reading about a future significant other, he could be telling you to keep an eye out for paramedics or firefighters, or just one of those guys who isn’t afraid to bungee jump, ATV, or cruise 90 miles per hour on a Harley. Just make sure the Knight is cooled with a little common sense, and you won’t have to spend Valentine’s Day holding your heartthrob’s brain inside his skull.

The Knight of Wands may also be telling you that you are braver than you think. Probably sexier, too.

The Celtic deck has a Prince, illustrated by Mary Guinan.

Let’s get back on the horse, shall we? (sorry) The horse is also a messenger–think the Pony Express.  Because of this, Knights are associated with messages. The exact message depends on the suit and the surrounding cards. Let’s say you pull the Knight of Wands when asking about whether or not you’ll get a raise. A possible interpretation (and let’s stress possible, as you must go with your gut on these things) is that you will get that raise, but you have to be brave, put yourself out there, and ask for it.  If asking about whether you’ll get engaged, the Knight of Wands is a very good sign of your loved one’s passion.

Kris Waldherr’s Prince of Staves

As can be seen in Kris Waldherr’s and Robin Wood’s decks, Wands/Staves/Clubs are associated with fire colors–colors of passion, lust, rage, and vitality. Also, the Wands themselves are important, as they symbolize the phallus. Now, many people immediately jump to conclusions with that word, which is natural, but phallus is not necessarily always the male member.  It is masculinity in general, a driving force, an active, subjective energy.

This guy knows what I’m talking about.

Barbara G. Walker’s Prince of Wands is Dagon, an ancient Babylonian god. I believe she made a good choice appointing him as the Prince of Wands because he is a bull (an animal associated with both young male masculinity and fire; remember The Last Unicorn?), but that is not the only reason. Dagon is both land and sea–he has a fish tail and a bull’s head–and carries both the wand for fire and masculine energy and the cauldron of feminine energy. On his altar are both sun and moon. The combination of fish and bovine is irrational and illogical–just think of the Wuzzles from the ’80s–and that, according to Barbara G. Walker, is another aspect of the Prince/Knight of Wands (Walker 30). Like the lightning bolt that cleaves a tree in two, or a ember popping from a bonfire into a puddle of gasoline, the Prince/Knight of wands is unpredictable and hard to pin down.  If it represents an aspect of the reader or questioner, it might signify those intense emotions that she is afraid of–the lust, rage, passion, love–that may very well consume her.

Source: Walker, Barbara G. Barbara Walker Tarot: Instructions. Stamford,CT: U.S. Game Systems, Inc. 1986. Print.

Aries: the Beginning in the Middle

This was originally written on turtlephoenix.blogspot.com in early April.

Aries is the first sign in the Zodiac wheel.  As such, it is the energy of pioneers, progenitors, and paters (fathers).  It is an intensely masculine energy, and intensely fiery. It is no accident that Aries, the sign, and Ares, the Greek god of war, are homonyms, and that the name of the ruling planet, Mars, is the Roman form of Ares.

Aries energy, like its animal, the ram, butts through any obstacles. When something is wanted, and Aries energy is called upon (remember, Aries energy, like the energies of all the other signs, is archetypal, and thus is available to all, not just natives),  the one who accesses it becomes almost frenzied, yet with a sharp focus.  It compels those who have it to fling themselves at the obstacle, or toward the goal, with dedication and ferocity. Very physical, Aries is strong and active. This is a sign and an energy  that loves adventure, and is willing to put itself at risk, just as the rutting rams who pound each other into the ground, sometimes on steep stones over sheer cliff drops, are willing to put themselves at risk to prove who is the most worthy male.

Aries, like these rams, is quite competitive. This is taken to the logical conclusion with Ares/Mars, god of war; war being, of course, an extremely large-scale and deadly competition. Aries energy, if out of balance, becomes dependent on external validation–whether that is mates, accolades, trophies, or others’ fear.  Like fire, the element that rules this sign, Aries can be creative or destructive, and when it is destructive, it is the berserker of the Zodiac.

Before anyone comes to the conclusion that this energy is the energy of the meatheaded jerk, keep in mind that the body part ruled by Aries is the head, the top of the body, the first part of us to enter the world. Aries is innovative and pioneering, but is different from the spirit that rules say, Aquarius.  Aries is the energy of the courageous trailblazer in the wilderness, settling towns.  It is the excitement of the navigator as he sails across the ocean to lands unknown, perfectly willing to sail off the edge of the earth, or venture into the boiling sea, where “there be monsters.” Aries wants to fly to the moon, not only so he can be the first to do it (though that is a big ego boost), but to prove to others that it can be done. Aries trusts that it will survive, with at least a great story to tell, if not a world changing discovery.

Ruled by the head, the seat of the ego, Aries key phrase is “I am.” When out of balance, this can lead to selfishness, and fiery childish temper tantrums, and a “me first” entitlement attitude. When balanced, Aries is warm and welcoming, like a finely tempered hearth. It is open to new adventures, both large and small, including interpersonal adventures.  People with this energy are unprejudiced and inclusive.  They become like The Emperor Tarot card, representing all the positive masculine attributes: energetic, active, wise. They are secure in who they are, and know themselves. The mind and the body are not caught in any dualistic schism (I like using big words, sometimes); they are working together.  It is easy for the physical, competitive Aries to forget that his or her own mind is a vast place to explore. It is easy to shun the quieter, gentler emotions, but Aries energy needs precisely these emotions to stay in balance and in control.

As an Aries moon, I know about the intensity of the emotions that can come with an Aries temperament. Aries rage can eat a person alive.  However,  like any fire, it will burn itself out, if it is not fed. That is the important point, here. It must not be fed.

Aries is quick to lash out, but is also quick to laugh. In balance, Aries can be great fun to be around–there’s always something new to explore, and boredom is not tolerated. Aries is also one hell of a lover. I mean, come on, Rams. Horns. Ruled by the head. Get it?

Bringing Aries energy to you:
Physical activity. If you haven’t worked out in a while, start by walking briskly, then work your way up.  This will bring blood flow to your head and get those endorphins going. If you can do more, do so.

What adventure do you want to have? What kind of scary thing do you want to do before you die? Mine are gallop on a horse, bungee jump, parasail, and go on an upside down roller coaster.  I’ve done all of these so far except gallop on a horse. Yours may be to skydive, swim with sharks, or scale a mountain. Crossing these things off a list feels awesome. What can you do to go on these adventures?

What small risks can you take? Call on Aries energy to audition for a play, invite someone out for coffee, or send out that manuscript.

If you feel out-of-control angry, close your eyes and visualize a fire. Make the fire the same size as your anger. Imagine it slowly burning out until you can fit it in a fire place. Sit and visualize the flames. Can you make it the size of a candle flame? Then, imagine it turning into softly glowing embers.

 

Pisces the Poet

For those of you who have not heard of the myth of Orpheus, let me give you the abridged version.
Orpheus was a bard in ancient Greece. He had such talent that his playing could tame a lion or make a tree bow. He was madly in love with a woman named Eurydice. One day, Eurydice was bitten by a snake and taken to the underworld. To get her back, Orpheus traveled to Hell and demanded an audience with Hades. He played for Hades, and Hades was so moved that he agreed to let Eurydice go back to the land of the living, on one condition: she must follow behind Orpheus, and he must not look back at her until they were both in the light.
They almost made it. Orpheus looked back, and Eurydice was sucked back into Tartarus. Afterwards, Orpheus wandered about in despair, before the Maenads (or the Bacchae), followers of Dionysus, in one of their cannibalistic sex frenzies.Pisces energy is the energy of spiritual secrets, of the mysteries with clues hidden in dreams. Tartarus, and any other underground place, is symbolic of the Feminine, the Great Mother, the womb, and the subconscious. Pisceans are dreamers, both literally and figuratively. This energy is artistic and creative. It has a transcendence to it.

Pisceans, like all water signs, are gifted with intuition (however, if you are not a water sign, do not let this stop you from developing your intuition. This is energy that is available to everybody).  They can think symbolically, and may be more comfortable with the abstract than the concrete, with illusion rather than reality. It is this preference for the romance and beauty of the dream time that can lead the Pisces to self-destruction through addiction.

Pisces is also a sign of sacrifice. Christ himself was symbolized by Ichthus, the Fish. Guess what animal Pisces is? For noble feelings, a creative dream, for love, or for answers to life’s great questions, Pisces is willing to dive deep down into scary darkness. Pisces can forsake its health and even life for union with God, the Great Spirit, the Goddess, you name it. This is the sign of spirituality, but it is also the sign of addiction. A well balanced Pisces will use its gifts to empathize with other people, to be a warm house in the middle of the pouring rain for a friend in need, a nice hot cup of hot chocolate and a gooey cookie after a snowball fight. Well-balanced Pisces energy is compassionate and empathetic, and a person with this energy will go out of his or her way to not only comfort but also to understand someone in pain, even when the person in question is repulsive or performed an evil deed. Because Pisces thinks in the abstract, nothing is black or white. Forgiveness comes easily. A balanced Pisces is also great at dream interpretation, and can help people access and understand their own subconscious minds.

An out of balance Pisces, however, is prone to addiction and self-destruction.  Unbalanced Piscean energy turns someone into a doormat at best and an overdose statistic at worst. Pisces wants to experience altered states, and will try to find it by any means necessary. This can lead to promiscuous sex (not necessarily a bad thing, but it honestly depends on the motive and whether the person genuinely enjoys it), hard drugs, and joining cults.  Self-sacrifice may be performed to get accolades as an artiste, not for any other’s good.  To prevent this, Pisces must learn to assess themselves–what are their motives? Are there any other ways to achieve enlightenment that is constructive, and not destructive?

One wonderful example, from Raven Kaldera’s  wonderful book,MythAstrology (have you bought it yet? Why in God’s name haven’t you? Go here.) is the story of Obalata. Obalata is an orisha, or Caribbean deity, with roots in Africa. He created human beings with clay, and was very gentle, soft spoken, and modest, just like Pisces energy. His talent to create was only surpassed by the love and care he felt for his creations, again, like Pisces.

However, Obalata was an alcoholic (an addiction, something which Pisces can be prone to), and it is said that human birth defects are caused by a batch of clay molded by him when he was wasted. Obalata felt so guilty about this that he quit drinking. One must wonder if he would have stopped drinking if it was only himself he was hurting, and not his precious creations. Given what I know, I doubt it. Pisces can be selfish in their selflessness.

Pisces can rush into madness. They may at first mistake it for deepness of feeling or creativity, and be reluctant to part with it, even for the sake of their happiness. They may go deep, deep down into the abyss and never come back, and that would truly be a tragedy, as Pisces has such soulful beauty to share with the world. How would Orpheus’ story have been different if he had sought healing from his grief?

Archetypal Pisces:
Odin, who sacrificed himself on a tree for the knowledge of the Runes.
Kurt Cobain
Orpheus
Obalata

Questions:
What do you see as being worthy of sacrifice? What would you sacrifice for it?
Keep a dream journal. What are your dreams telling you? Put yourself as a character in the dream. For example, let’s see you dream about a river. Answer these questions, in first person, as the river:
How do you feel?
Why do you feel that way?
What do you want?
Who are you?
When are you?
Where are you?
How much intensity of feeling are you comfortable with? How do you handle your “intense feelings”?
How do you create? What can you do, everyday, to be creative?

Aquarius

Aquarius. The name itself is a mix of liquid and airy vowels and consonants.  It sounds like a charm, and the power of Aquarians is charm.

Aquarians have a grasp of the abstract, the big picture. Like Gemini, the sign of the Twins, and Virgo, the sign of the Virgin (both ruled by airy, quicksilver Mercury), Aquarius is also symbolized by a human being, the Water Bearer.  They are humanist and secular.  Full of intelligence and idealism, Aquarians want to change the world, and they can, with the power of Uranus, the planet of change, revolution, and innovation.

Aquarius is a surprising energy. As an air sign, it is logical and mental, but citizens of the earth born in this sign are very caring for their fellow man, and are willing to follow the most illogical flights to improve the world.  From airplanes to iPods, Aquarian energy, with its willingness to entertain unconventional approaches to solving problems, determination, and mental agility, embraces technology and moves it along (and remember, this is a form of energy, like all the other signs–a person does not need to necessarily have a planet in Aquarius to enjoy this energy).  This is the energy of Athena, goddess of war and craftmanship. Aquarian creativity is mostly practical, but it can also be wonderfully off-the-wall–think of pop art and post-modernism.

Aquarians want to make the world a perfect place. Equality and justice for all are very important to Aquarians. However, Aquarian energy, when it is unbalanced, wants to save the world, but forget about the loved ones who populate an individual’s world. An unbalanced Aquarian will leave her children home alone for weeks while she floats down the Amazon trying to save the rainforest. This is because unbalanced Aquarian energy becomes too airy and mental. Emotions can frighten the unbalanced Aquarian. Saving a world full of strangers is easier for him than talking to his wife. An Aquarian can also be irritated by other peoples’ messy emotions. Look at Athena–this was no comforting goddess. She wasn’t carried under a woman’s heart; she was born fully clad in armor from her father’s forehead. Emotion isn’t practical, and keeps one from taking action.

Another thing that can unbalance Aquarius is holding onto ideas so tightly they become fodder for arrogance. When this happens, the energy of their ruling planet, Uranus, cannot reach them. Uranus prefers the flexible, the unconventional, and the open. This does not mean that Aquarius should be wishy-washy, not at all, but they must strike a balance between their love of their Utopian ideals and their wonderful curiosity. Arrogance cannot be open to new ideas. I mean, how could it?

While Gemini energy is aligned with the Masculine, and Virgo energy is aligned with the Feminine, Aquarius is androgynous. It is too inclusive and unconventional to change one gender over the other. And it is that welcoming inclusivity, along with their lightning minds and idealism, that is so beautiful about Aquarius.

Aquarius archetypes:
Athena
Prometheus, the titan who gave fire to human beings to advance our progress, and died for it.
Tiresias, the blind man who could see into the future, and who lived both as a man and a woman
(please see Raven Kaldera’s book!)

Questions for consideration:
1) are your Feminine and Masculine sides balanced?  Are you more comfortable with one over the other? Remember, Feminine/Masculine alignment is not about genitals. It’s about certain qualities.
2) How can you become more inclusive? How can you share your generosity and caring with more people? On the other side of the coin, how can you share more with your loved ones?
3) What are your ideals? What is important to you–easing the plight of the homeless, caring for animals, preventing the abuse of the elderly, teaching children? What tiny actions can you take to help your cause?
4) What prejudices do you hold? What will it take for you to release them?