An Enchanting Child: The Page of Cups

To me, the Page (or Princess) of Cups is the Magical Child archetype Caroline Myss speaks about. She’s ethereal, loving, and imaginative.
If the Page/Princess of Cups represents a person (as the Court cards are wont to do), that person will have Water characteristics: intuition, sensitivity, creativity, nurturing, emotional, and loving. Because it is the Page/Princess, this person will probably be a young girl, a child even, though that is not set in stone.

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The Princess of Cups for the Celtic Deck seems fragile and sensitive. She bears a Cup–what that cup might metaphorically hold depends entirely upon your intuition and any surrounding cards–and holds it aloft with a guileless demeanor. What’s interesting about this card, to me, is that the Princess of Cups is clad in gold and red, colors associated with the fiery suit of Wands. I read this to mean that the passion and desire of the Wands are not mutually exclusive with the intuition and nurturing of the Cups. Fire and Water are both very emotional elements, and these opposite elements, metaphorically, marry quite well, just like night and day.
I also love the Impressionistic background on this card. It’s so lush and green.

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The Goddess Deck’s Princess of Cups is sipping from her own Cup. Right now, the message I’m feeling from this card is Jungian–that one’s own subconscious is a limitless resource of inspiration, joy, and/or knowledge. The suit of Cups and Water are aligned with the subconscious.
Kris Waldherr chose the goddess Venus to be the Cup goddess. Cups is the suit for relationships, so the goddess of love was a good choice. Since the Page of Cups is young, the kind of love this card speaks of is first time love, or a freshly blooming love. If reversed, this love may be a little immature, a crushing infatuation or an inconsequential crush.
The lavender of Venus’ gown is a soft, healing color. Mixed with water, it becomes a cleansing tea. It’s threaded with innocent white and intuitive silver. The hopeful innocence and imagination of the Cups is very healing.

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Barbara G. Walker’s Princess of Cups is Elaine of Arthurian fame. She wears the snow white associated with purity. Her robe and cup are red to signify the power of menstrual blood and the womb as are the two crescent moons on the pillars. The cauldron is a symbol of regeneration, rebirth and immortality. The upside down triangle that pins Elaine’s cloak is also a symbol of rebirth and the womb. The interesting scene on the cauldron is a depiction of a sacrifice and apotheosis (being made into a deity) (Barbara Walker Tarot, 23). The image also reminds me of Achilles being dipped into the River Styx by Thetis to gain immortality–though it’s certainly not an exact likeness. The water sign Pisces is the sign of martyrdom and sacrifice, so it’s no wonder that my most esoteric deck uses the Cups to show the theme.
Elaine also looks like an initiate into a great mystery. Mysteries and spirituality are very Watery areas, as seen in Pisces (the sign of mystics) and Scorpio (the sign of Hecate and the Phoenix), so it’s another apropos subject for the Watery Cups to drop.

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Robin Wood’s Page of Cups is an artist–she has a palette hanging from her belt. Making art is about perception. What does she see coming out of her cup? What do you see? Is it a bird, or a fish?
Although she is young, the Page of Cups is quite intuitive. She is also resilient and adaptive, like the lotuses on the hem of her skirt and sleeve. Lotuses grow out of disgusting muck, and balanced people can take emotional mayhem and make it into something lovely, like a poem, or at least something useful, like a life lesson.
Page of Cups people have a soft, nurturing moon-like glow. They are gentle and sensitive, yet very strong and self-assured when they are feeling happy and secure. The Page of Cups gazes confidently at her cup and what is flying out of it–the fish that swims in the subconscious and finds treasure, or the silver bird that soars high and flies far, seeing all the possibilities. Her mouth curves into an assessing smile. She seems to be thinking–what can I make real today? Her imagination is as pure as her heart. Creating is still fun, and feelings, both hers and other people’s, are not scary, but opportunities for learning, helping, and healing.

If you see the upright Page of Cups regarding a situation, it is a good sign, especially if it is regards
People associated with the Page of Cups:
A nurturing child
A playful, creative person
An affectionate, trusting person
Someone who is sensitive and intuitive beyond her years
A person undergoing a spiritual initiation, like First Holy Communion or Confirmation
Children who are Luna, Scorpio, and Pisces

Reversed (Shadowy Pages):
Whiners
People who take themselves way too seriously
People who are throw tantrumy and weepy

Reversed Situations:
A creative block
High anxiety
A loss of empathy
Relying too much on the brain and not enough on emotion when making a decision

Sun, Sun, Sun, here it comes!

Now is a time of celebration. Specifically, it is the celebration of the end of suffering. Christ rises after death. The Israelites were freed from slavery. Winter is finally gone–the months of dark and cold have been warmed away. The flora and fauna know it, too. They awaken from their sleep, babies are born, and shoots spring from the snow-damp soil. It is a Phoenix time. The sun blazes bright and beautiful. That which was seemingly dead stirs and stretches.

The Sun card is a card of triumph, of energy, of joy, of hope, and of healing. Even reversed, it simply means that the happiness and victory may come later rather than sooner, but it will come. It means success, rebirth, new ideas, and new babies.

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Barbara G. Walker shows us two small towheaded children (the one on the left looks like a Kewpie doll!), joining hands and holding a chain of ivy. The children are in the Garden of Eden. Other possible meanings for the wall are that it is a symbol of safety, or of being a blank slate, full of possibility. The nudity of the children symbolizes innocence and freedom.
The Sun is the ruling heavenly body of the astrological sign Leo. Leo is the ‘child’ of the zodiac, full of fun and bliss.

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Robin Wood also chose the child as the symbol of the Sun, reflecting innocent joy. The child also is sign of rebirth, of newness. The sunflowers bloom brightly in the background. Robin Wood wrote that she painted four, one for each element, and a couple not yet opened to show the wonderful surprises in store for the questioner. The white roses in the baby’s hair are for pure love, and his red feather, like his banner, represent courage, adventure, and a flair for life. At the top of the banner is a little golden hawk, a bird associated with courage, freedom, and the sun. The hawk is an avatar of Horus, the Egyptian god of the sky.
The pony is white as a cloud, for purity, and his eyes are sky-blue. Everything is clear and lucid.

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Mary Guinan drew a strong, confident warrior for Julian De Burgh’s Celtic Deck. Instead of the childlike joy of Walker and Wood’s decks, the Celtic Deck emphasizes the bravery and power of the sun. Leo is the child of the zodiac, but it is also the Lion–regal and majestic. The Celtic sun warrior is a protector and a path blazer.

 

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Kris Waldherr chose the Zorya to represent the Sun in her Goddess deck. The Zorya are a triune goddess (who may be seen as Maiden, Mother/Lover, Wise Woman but not necessarily) from Russian folklore. In her The Book of Goddesses, Kris Waldherr explains that the Zorya attend to Dazbog, the sun god. The first (or Maiden) is Utrennyaya, or Morning Star; the second (Mother/Lover) is Vechernyaya, or the Evening Star; and the third (Wise Woman) is Zorya, or midnight. Utrennyaya opens the gates for Dazbog to ride across the sky. In the evening, Vechernyaya opens the gate to let him back in. Zorya watches over the sky until the gates open again.
The three women, like the Celtic warrior, are also guardians. They watch over the universe, and keep the doomsday hound, Simargl, in check. The Sun card is a sign that the questioner is guarded and guided by the universe. There is synchronicity and serendipity. Things may seem to be falling into place.

The Sun card is a card of good tidings. It tells of good things to come and success in an endeavor. If representing a person, it indicates a happy, bright person who will bring cheer to the questioner’s life, or help them reach their dreams. It may also symbolize a new baby. Alternately, it could mean that the person is fiercely protective of the questioner and her happiness.

If it represents an aspect of the questioner, it means that the questioner brings happiness to those around him, and may be the center of attention. The questioner may also be feeling very brave, and willing to take risks.

Cold, Hard Ground: The Four of Pentacles

The Four of Pentacles reminds me that the gifts of the zodiac signs can also be burdens.  The Earth signs of Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn are known for their conscientiousness, frugality, and practicality.    The Shadow side of these are grasping, miserliness, and stubbornness.  The rich soil freezes and becomes rocky.

 

The Four of Pentacles illustrates this Earthy problem.  Four, a number of stability and luck, turns sour with both Cups and Coins.  Let’s take a look, shall we?

 

Pre-transformation Ebenezer Scrooge is one of the archetypes for this card, as well as King Midas.  In Robin Wood’s deck, this man is crowned with money;  he has conquered money (it’s under his feet) and yet, he is not happy.  He looks like a gargoyle, existing only to display that one coin over his chest. But, for whom is he displaying it?  He’s barricaded himself behind a stone wall, heedless of the celebration in the sunshine going on behind him, indicated by the banners.  The Four of Cups could indicate sacrificing friendship, family, and joy to the cult of work.  This is also a card that can indicate conspicuous consumption, as well as miserliness.  Conspicuous consumption rarely has the desired effect, and people quickly lose interest in the new toys of others.  Eventually, the objects cease to be fulfilling.  It looks like the temperature in that little gray box is twenty degrees lower than the temperature outside.

 

 

The symbolism of Barbara G. Walker’s Four of Pentacles also includes high, gray walls.  The door to the fortress is tiny.  This is an exclusive club.  There are no windows, except for the tiny holes lining the top.  The warm, giving nurturing of earth has turned into fallow stoniness and infertility–the grass is brown and the trees are dead.  It’s ironic that this fortress was built to protect the green leaves of money, and yet, how does someone living in that fortress eat?  The person carrying the golden sack is bent under his burden, struggling up the well-worn, sharp-angled path to the tiny door.

As seen on this card, the Four of Pentacles can signify being overworked and under loved.  It can indicate sleepless nights and crappy food while slaving in a cubicle.  The imagination and senses starve.

To be fair, that fort would be the safest place to be during the zombie apocalypse.

 

Here, in Mary Guinan’s illustration for the Celtic Tarot, we have a bit of a separation from the more typically Earth behavior of hoarding and hiding, and the Four of Pentacles becomes bullying and threatening, wanting to add more to the wealth under his feet.  If violence is associated with the Four of Pentacles, it will be subtle and involve an attack on someone’s financial security.  The Four of Pentacles can warn a questioner of someone whose motives are not in his best interest, or that the person they are dealing with is unethical.

 

Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth, is pensive here.  Kris Waldherr’s deck is the only deck of mine that has a Four of Pentacles that is a sign of luck, financial stability, and wealth.  This is very interesting to me, as all my other decks use the Four of Pentacles that money should be handled with care.  Go with your intuition with the Four of Cups, and use the surrounding cards to figure out whether the meaning is positive or negative.

 

Reversed, the Four of Cups can indicate that the questioner is being a little too free with her money. The Four of Pentacles may not necessarily apply to money–it may mean that a person is being too stingy (or too free, as the case may be) with his or her time, talents, and goodwill.   There is a feeling of boundaries in this card.  It calls on the questioner to ask which boundaries are too open, which are too closed, and find a balance, like the perfect square the four represents.

 

Archetypes:

Ebenezer Scrooge

the workaholic

the conspicuous consumer

Aesop’s Dog in the Manger

corrupt CEO types

Undine Energy: The Healing Properties of Water

Water is our last element for our healing energy series.

The power of water (and I heard the Captain Planet intro as I typed that. Sorry.) cannot be denied.  Human beings are mostly water, as is the earth, so, when it comes to sympathetic magic, like truly works with like.  I believe it is important that we view our bodies of water as living organisms, because if our waters are healthy, it will be reflected in our own bodies.  The health of the waters also directly influences the health of the soil, and vice versa.  Water, like Earth, is a feminine, nurturing element, and, when both are balanced, the two tend to support each other.  Water signs tend to get along with Earth signs.  Emotional Water likes the steady, comforting, warm presence of Earth, and Earth is soothed by the cleansing, fertile inspiration of Water. Earth cradles Water, and Water helps Earth make new life.  Don’t think Air and Fire are left out. The warmth of the sun helps seeds sprout and the wind helps spread the seed to their new homes. All the elements are needed; it’s simply that, just as Air and Fire feed each other (sometimes whipping each other into frenzies) Earth and Water just mesh.

Water is the energy of deep feelings.  We “well up” with emotion. The sea inside can be calm and sunny, or froth-capped in irritation or anxiety.  When out of balance, the emotions become a tsunami, threatening to wipe out all other aspects of the personality, including rationale, intellect, motivation, and esteem for self and others.

On a positive note, Water is the energy of compassion and empathy.  It is the element of shared tears, and we spend nine months curled up warm and safe in its embrace.  It is any wonder Water energy, as well as Earth energy, is the energy of mothers and children, and of nurturing?

Water energy is tremendously healing because it embraces and cleanses.  It cools a fever and warms a chill.  It not only accepts but wraps itself around anyone who chooses to step into it, without any discrimination or judgment. In this way, Water is the energy of unconditional love. It’s a salve to anger, self-loathing, and anxiety.

Since Water can be hot or cold, and can exist in different material states (as a solid, liquid, or gas) it is extremely versatile and adaptable. This is where the admittedly cliche term “go with the flow” comes from.  If you tap into (see what I did there? I can’t stop!) Water energy, you will find that it helps you calmly relax into your tasks and comfortably fit in to tight situations, just as water used to mop a floor effortlessly rolls into all the nooks and crannies and covers the floor like a blanket.

Water is also the element of the subconscious.  The ocean has been compared to outer space because of all the treasures and terrors it hides from us.  We have our own ocean inside of us–it is where all our dreams and memories are stored. It is where universal truth can be discovered through meditation. It is, according to Jung, where our primordial knowledge lies, and where the archetypes dwell.  As such, this energy is transcendent.  It propels us into other realms. It carries us on its currents through darkness (and sometimes through the sewers). If consciousness is like a river, then its head begins at the deepest part of the subconscious.

A good way to manifest creative ideas in reality, or to alleviate artist’s block, is to free write or doodle–move your pen and write without any censoring or knowing where the train of thought is going. This is a good way to access that river of the subconscious, which is always brimming with ideas. When your words and shapes flow like a river, it bursts through any blockages and allows the ideas to come.  This is a good use for Water energy.  It is extremely helpful for when your imagination feels all parched and chapped.

Water is the energy of dreams and secrets.  When you pay attention to your dreams, you are tapping into Water energy, the energy of the subconscious.  These are watery visions, not always clear, like images viewed through water.  Just because you cannot see to the bottom of the pond does not mean there is nothing there, however. Looking through water helps you learn how to tell truth from illusion. It also makes you brave.  Are you willing to dive deeper into yourself?

The elemental spirits of Water are Undines. There are variations of the Undine–sometimes they are depicted as tiny water sprites, and sometimes as being identical to mermaids.   A similar creature that I think of as a Water elemental is the Selkie, or Seal-Woman of Celtic folklore.   A Selkie could remove her seal skin and become a woman, and, if a man found her seal-skin and hid it, she couldn’t go back to the water, and had to marry him.  However, even if she fell in love with her husband, and had children with him, she would still go back to the sea if she ever found her seal-skin. This, to me, is an apt metaphor for Water energy people–they always are yearning for love, and their true homes.  Water is associated with parental/child love, and the bonds Water energy people can forge are unbreakable.

If You’re Drowning

The best counters for Water are, naturally, Fire and Air. So if you find yourself feeling weepy, or sorrowful, or unable to stop giving, or having mood swings, try these:

1) Work out. I’m not going to go into the scientific proof that exercise is good for your mental state, because it is–it releases endorphins and other chemicals in the brain that relieve stress in depression. It also increases Fire and Air energy.

2) Get out in fresh air. If you aren’t afraid of heights, go someplace high up, like a balcony, a roof, or a tree.  Take a panoramic view.

3) See my entries on Fire and Air and perform the visualizations.  Air is here: https://turtlephoenix.wordpress.com/2012/12/02/energy-and-elements-air/

and here is Fire:

https://turtlephoenix.wordpress.com/2012/10/23/energy-and-the-elements-part-i-fire-and-earth/

Visualization for Forgiveness of the Self and Others

If you are feeling lonely, unloved, or hateful, or are having trouble forgiving someone (or yourself), imagine stepping into a pool of water.  If you can step into a pool or a bathtub in real life, so much the better.  A visualization will work just as well on dry land, though, provided you let yourself really get into it.

As with all the visualizations, make sure you get yourself into a place where you can be relaxed and undisturbed for at least 20 minutes.  Begin by sitting or lying down in a comfortable position.  Breathe naturally for a few moments. As you pay attention to your breath, you will find it slows and deepens.

Imagine that you are approaching a pool. The pool is deep blue and turquoise. The sand around it is soft and warm. If you find the night more calming, imagine the water reflects the clear sky, and all the stars in it.

Step into the pool. The water is silky, and smells like jasmine.  You splash your face with some of it.  As it touches your face, you feel a loosening. This loosening comes from a cleansing of any guilt or shame you may be feeling.  It floats away like grime, carried by the gentle lapping of the water.   You may decide to pour some of the water over yourself, washing everything away.  Or, you may dunk yourself, like a baptism, and have a little rebirth–the symbolic intention of baptism.

Imagine someone you are angry with, or afraid of, standing at the edge of the pool. This person is unable to harm you in any way.  He dangles his toes over the edge of the water. You make eye contact with him.  He asks you, either verbally or wordlessly, if he can step in.

If the thought upsets you, don’t force yourself to welcome this person into your healing pool. Perhaps, in time, with repeated practice of the visualization, you will be able to give your assent, and the person may enter the pool.

You may already feel welcoming to this person. If so, he may simply join you.  If you’d like, you can also gently splash him with the water, as well, or carefully anoint them with the water.  Don’t dunk them, as you might get a little carried away (just kidding). This person leaves whenever you want him to.

When you feel you are ready, gently rise from the pool.  The sun shines gently, or the stars sparkle brightly. The path welcomes you back home. If you are doing this in the bathtub, you can visualize your feelings of guilt, shame, and/or anger being sucked down the drain when you release the stopper.

Visualization for Greater Self-Awareness

Find your place where you will be uninterrupted, a place where you will feel safe and cozy.  Focus on your breathing, and relax. In this visualization, you are diving into your own subconscious, so, wherever a question is asked, don’t think to hard about the answer.  Let the images and words pop up to the top, like ducks bobbing on a lake. Just let it flow.

Visualize yourself walking on a beach.  The sand is soft and fine under your feet.  The waves are the breath of the world as they move in and out with the tide.  The water is cool and pleasant, and a shade of deep blue.  Around you are bountiful seashells of pearl and peach and blush.  Among them are chips of onyx glittering smooth.  As you walk along, picking them up, you notice they lead you right up to the rocky part of the beach.   The land slopes upward from the rocks here, and inside the slope, you see a cave mouth.

The floor of the cave mouth is damp and smooth.  Through the middle of it runs a little stream that begins deep within the cave.  The little stream is lined with rocks that make perfect stepping stones. You step from rock to rock, following the stream.

As you go deeper into the cave, it becomes lit from within with phosphorescent colors.  Pay attention to the colors your subconscious picks for this exercise. Pink is innocent and happy. Yellow is sunny, but can also be sickly to indicate fear.  Green may be dark and cool, encouraging calmness and objectivity.  It may also be oozy and gangrenous.

No matter what the color, you are not afraid. You feel a sense of well-being, and excitement about what you will discover.

You reach the end of the path, to the mouth of the stream, and find yourself in a magnificent grotto, lined with precious gems and stones, stalagmites and stalactites, and looking at them is like finding shapes in the clouds–quick! what form do your stones shape? Are they castles? Dragons? Reclining mermaids? Monsters with wide jaws, or wolves with wise eyes of amber?  What do these shapes tell you? Do you see a humongous cluster of rubies in their pure state, forming what you swear looks like a Ferrari?

Do the stones sparkle, or are they dim?

Waterfalls flow down the walls and into the pool.  Droplets spray up and land softly on your lips and cheeks. It tastes like ice wine–sweet and cool.  Looking at the surface of the pool, you see the colors that swirl around the edge.  Are these colors greens, yellows, and blues?   Or are they the colors of the sunset? Maybe the water is murky, and yet, no matter how murky the water is, you still are not afraid.

You step into the pool and swim until your feet can’t touch the ground. And then you dive.

You swim deeper and deeper, and as you go you realize you can breathe.  This is a relief, and it gives you confidence. If you feel a little nervous, that’s okay. Just keep breathing deeply. The deeper you go, the more you feel yourself relaxing into sinking deeper, and deeper.

Deeper……

Deeper…..

Then, you’re at the bottom.

Now, what do you see?

What does it look like?

What is waiting for you, or who?

What do they have to say?

Is there an object? Can you take it back with you?

Spend as much time here as you need.  Then, gently breathe yourself back up. Imagine that each breath brings you closer, and higher, and closer to the surface.  You see the lights of the grotto getting brighter, and brighter.

When you break the surface and swim to the rocks, take a moment to enjoy the feel of the water. This is your subconscious. It is a safe, nurturing place, even when it seems scary.  It can be tough, but once you explore it, and trust it, it will be your wise coach, your friend, even your savior.

Once you are out of the cavern, stay as long as you’d like in a relaxed, meditative state.

 

Temperance

Temperance is about balance, on both the concrete and abstract levels.  On the concrete level, it indicates that things are calming down after a bout of busyness, or that you have the skills necessary to take on multiple responsibilities.  On an abstract level, it shows peace, confidence, and tranquility.

 

 

 

 

 

The angel Barbara G. Walker chose to depict Temperance is powerful in her calmness. She skillfully pours water from one jug to another. As water is the element of emotions, this symbolizes that she has her emotions under control, but they are not repressed. They are allowed to flow. She expresses them with poise and skillfulness.

However, amongst all this order, you’ll notice that the jugs are red, the color of passion–passion is tempered and molded by wisdom into something useful. Even the trees behind her are organic, but ordered from tallest to shortest. This is not a wild card.  It represents intelligence and dignity. At the same time, it respects nature, and passion is part of nature. Those who live a balanced life must respect nature, for it has its own temperance.  Those who practice true temperance acknowledge passion.

 

 

Like Barbara G. Walker, Robin Wood’s Temperance has golden wings. Gold is the color of Heaven and riches, and is a masculine color. The questioner may be accessing higher planes of existence, and soaring to new heights. The golden ball in the angels right hand (the “masculine” hand) also represents these qualities.

The other two balls are silver and crystal. Silver is the color of intuition, a feminine color, and, with the gold, indicates the balance between the masculine and feminine, the intellectual and the intuitive, the sun and the moon. The crystal ball symbolizes foresight. Temperance smoothly balances all these aspects and qualities.

Another detail that Robin Wood’s and Barbara G. Walker’s Temperance have in common is that they are in the same pose–one foot on the land, and another in the water. This means that there is skill in the “real” material, intellectual world (the land), and also in the emotional, creative, mysterious realm (the water).  As you can see, the land is immaculate and the water is a pristine, crystal blue, so everything is in harmony.

A path leads from the water to the mountains in the background. The mountains are mysterious, but the sun is breaking over them, the future with all its gifts and challenges will be revealed. The questioner has the skills to bring their ideas from the abstract realm of dreams and wishes (the water) and into reality.

 

The Celtic Deck shows a woman standing in the liminal space of land and water of a swamp, again demonstrating the balance between practicality and imagination, and the skill of bringing dreams into reality. She pours the water of emotions into the golden cups–there’s that color again!–and turns the intangible emotions, fantasies and subconscious desires and insights into sources of all kinds of riches–material, creative, and spiritual.  These gifts are for the questioner.

 

 

Kris Waldherr’s Temperance is represented by the goddess Yemana. Yemana is an orisha–a deity of the African and Afro-Caribbean beliefs of the Yoruba tradition. She is also known as Yemaya or Yemajya. Yemaya/Yemana/Yemajya is a lunar goddess and the orisha of the sea. She guards all ocean life, and she also protects mothers and children on land.  The land and the sea are of equal value to her–metaphorically, the concrete and the abstract, the intellectual and the emotional, the conscious and the unconscious, are in balance.

 

If Temperance turns up in a reading, it means that the questioner already has the qualities Temperance symbolizes, such as control, harmony, poise, and balance, or could do with developing some of them.  It may indicate a leveling off of energy that has been frenetic.  It may also be a reassurance before a change or an increase of responsibility that the questioner can handle it.

 

If drawn reversed, Temperance is giving the questioner a wake-up call. Things are dangerously out of balance, and harmony is endangered. The questioner is taking on too much, or choosing a path that is unhealthy for them.  The questioner may be feeling out of control, or sickened mentally and physically. The questioner must seek help if necessary. On a smaller level, the questioner needs to look at her priorities and lifestyle.

The Queen of the Subconscious: Love, Beauty, Purity, and the Queen of Cups

Cups are the suit of the feminine element of water, and the keywords are love, romance, dreams, the subconscious, empathy, artistic pursuits, and feelings.

 

The Queen of Cups is a person of beauty, kindness, and sensitivity.  Like all the Queens in the tarot suits, she is symbolic of the Mother archetype, with a watery disposition.  The reader’s intuition, the other cards in the spread, as well as the question at hand itself, will give more insight into the role of the Queen in the questioner’s life, whether or not the Queen is a person in the questioner’s life or an aspect of the questioner’s own Self, and whether the influence is positive or negative.

The energy of the Queen of Cups, when balanced, is soft and gentle, yet powerful. This power is one of the Water Mother–all loving and all caring.  This softness is seen in the shades of purple, yellow, and green Mary Guinan chose to illustrate the Queen of Cups in Julian De Burgh’s deck.  The Celtic Cup Queen also is blonde. Cups can be associated with blondes, so if your intuition tells you a blonde is involved, go with it!

I am particularly drawn to the Queen of Cups’ eyes today. The Queen of Cups’ gaze on the Celtic Deck is loving, but direct. She will brook no bullshit. The Queen of Cups, although watery, is not weak. The energy of water, when balanced, is very powerful, very clear, just like the Queen’s eyes.  But belying the directness is mystery. Even a clear lake has mystery–the reflections it gives may give a different impression than what is real, or it may help the viewer see something they have missed.  How appropriate that Water is the element of the subconscious, the mysterious realm inside all of us where answers can be found but are often given as riddles. What is making the Queen of Cups smile this Mona Lisa smile? Is she completely relaxed, or alert? This can be a litmus of the questioner’s emotions–if you see something in a face or a gaze, go with it.

 

Like the Celtic Deck, Kris Waldherr’s goddess (Venus, in this case) is blonde, and dressed in soft cool colors.  Her hair and veil flow like water. Her smile is serene.  The water behind her is placid–but are those mountains or storm clouds in the background? Is there anything churning under the facade of peace?  There may not be.

Venus is fitting for the goddess of the Cups suit because she is the goddess of love and beauty. Cups are concerned with love–romantic love, parent-child love, friend love, sensual love, infatuation, even the love for an art form. Emotional connection is key for the Cups.  Beauty is also important, for Cups also indicate creativity and inspiration, as well as dreaminess.  This isn’t being spacey; it’s tapping into a deep well of ideas and passions. It is connection to a purer part of the self and a higher intuition.  This is the archetypal energy of the Water signs–Luna, Scorpio, and Pisces.

 

Robin Wood’s Queen of Cups is breathtakingly lovely, the picture of romance.  Like the Celtic Queen of Cups, there is a mystery about her–what is in her cup, all covered in a cloth? Whatever it is, the cloth cannot hide the light emanating from it.  That is the Queen of Cups in balance–a light shines out of those with her energy, like the sun or moon shining on the water.  They have an open, generous spirit, and a tranquil wisdom. The deep greens and purples of the Queen’s cloak indicate the depth of the Soul.

The bottom hem of the Queen’s dress is decorated with a scene of children and fish happily cavorting in the waves. Cups can be the suit of childlike joy, as well. Check out the seals in the background. They may look a little like rocks.  They symbolize this joy in being alive, and in delighting in one’s dreams. This is deep, abiding joy.  The seals also symbolize adaptability–they live on the rocks and beaches, but can dive down very deep, bringing up juicy fish. Metaphorically, this is the balanced Cup’s ability to plumb the subconscious and their deeper emotions, and then bring back treasures to “the real world.” Seeing this card in a reading may indicate the questioner has this ability, or knows (or will know) someone who does, who can help them.

 

 

Now I’m going to get all mystical, but since you’re reading a blog about archetypes and tarot and astrology, you have to expect that kind of thing.

I believe in the “still, small voice” that 1 Kings 12 speaks of.  In the Bible, that still, small voice is God. It may be. It may also be our inner voice, our pure, ageless Self.  This Self lives deep within each of us, and it is our highest, greatest, purest Self. It is serene and wise.  When I see the purity of the Virginal Queen of Cups, and the clarity of her crystal goblet, I think of this pure Self.

Is this Queen meditating? What is she visualizing? What voices does she hear? Is she preparing herself for a sacrifice, which she will meet with dignity and selflessness? Because Water is the element of deeper emotions and love, it is often also associated with the concept of selfless sacrifice.

The love this Queen of Cups represents is not gushy or immature (though the Cups certainly can and do represent infatuation, and there is nothing wrong with that. I myself am constantly infatuated with someone or something). It is meant to make the person it is given to become better, and more attuned to the true Self, which can sometimes hurt.

The ice in the cavern makes me think of the rune Isa, which is a vertical line that looks like an I, the letter it stood for in the ancient Germanic alphabet. This rune meant “ice,” and, while we think of ice as being cold and barren, I feel that ice is also about introspection and rest. Many things happen under the ice, and as it melts it cleanses. So, I don’t think of the ice in this picture as a bad thing.  I look at it as meditative.

 

Because Cups are a feminine suit, the characteristics are really “exalted” in queenly form.

 

When a Queen of Cups card is reversed, it can indicate emotional instability, obsession, heartache, and narcissism–the Shadow side of the water element.  It can also warn of cruelty, and selfishness, especially on the part of a woman.  Depending on the question, it can also tell of blocked creativity or lack of communication with the Self.

 

The type of people associated with the Queen of Cups are women who are very kind, caring, sensitive, empathetic, and intuitive. It can also stand for a very creative woman, or a woman who is dreamy. These women can be older, or very mature, or a young woman with an “old soul”. They may seem mysterious and/or vulnerable. It can also represent men who are very nurturing and/or intuitive.

Prosperity and Security: The Ten of Pentacles

As a rule of thumb, when you see a ten in a reading, it usually means the end of one cycle and the beginning of another.  Each suit carries a different set of themes, but, of course, we must remember to be flexible in the reading of any card.  If a card is saying something to you that’s different from the “normal” reading, by all means, go with it!

Pentacles, also called Coins, represent the element of Earth. As such, they symbolize wealth, prosperity, security, comfort, sensuality, and health.

 

Robin Wood’s Ten of Pentacles is a joyous card.

The Ten of Pentacles (or Coins), as drawn by Robin Wood, shows not only material wealth, but emotional and spiritual wealth, as well.  The family is clearly a happy one.  The grandfather is serene, the children are generous with their love, and the golden dog (gold being the color of abundance) is loyal and adoring.  Even the couple in the background, underneath the archway (more on that later) are happily conversing! The old man can be seen as the personification of wisdom and hard work, which lead to prosperity.

Like all of Robin Wood’s cards, there is amazing detail in the Ten of Pentacles.  Pay attention to the particular details that stand out to you. It may be the flowers that the young boy is handing to his Grandfather, or the sun etched into the wood in the corner.

 

Robin Wood has decorated her Pentacles with pentagrams. Pentagrams in and of themselves are very protective–Christians believe that pentagrams symbolize the five wounds of Christ, as well as the five senses, and Pagans see it as a symbol of the five elements bound together with spirit, which is the top point.  This symbol of protection, wholeness, and unity can also be seen in the Pentacle suits of the Celtic and Barbara G. Walker decks.

 

 

The Celtic Deck, like Robin Wood’s deck, shows a happy, prosperous family. The arch over the family’s heads represents security and union, and the braids also symbolize a joining together in a strong  family bond.  The pentagrams are there, too, giving care and protection.

 

Like all of the Pentacles in Kris Waldherr’s Goddess Deck, the Ten of Pentacles is represented by the Goddess Lakshmi, the Hindu Goddess of Prosperity, Abundance, Beauty, and Pleasure.  The tree on the card is ripe with Coins, which may represent material wealth or opportunities. Depending on the reading, these opportunities may be financial, educational, social, or romantic. Since Pentacles/Coins also represent physical reality, they may also indicate robust health or healing.  The grass on the card, and even the flowers along the border, are fresh and bright, underscoring fertility.

 

The archway, as I am seeing it right now, symbolizes a doorway to a new way of life, or a new, joyful sensual experience. This is fitting, as the 10s are the end of an old cycle and the beginning of a new one. I also see it as a symbol of security, just as it was a symbol of security on the 10 of Pentacles for the Robin Wood and Celtic Decks.  What do you see when you look at an archway?

 

Kris Waldherr does not use the pentagram on her Pentacles.  Instead, she uses a lotus flower. Lotuses are the symbols of the goddess Lakshmi.  Lotuses are prized for their abilities to rise out of the murkiest, muddiest waters, inspiring people to rise above their circumstances.

 

 

Barbara G. Walker’s Ten of Pentacles is subtitled “Protection.” It is in agreement with the preceding decks that the Ten of Pentacles/Coins represents security.  Here, however, it has a more mysterious, esoteric meaning. The young woman on the card is connected to the circle of pentagrams by a red cord, suggesting the umbilical cord.  She is tapping into the fertile, protecting energies of the Earth. The circle of Pentacles reminds us of the cyclical nature of the cards, and that the ten represents both an end and a beginning.

 

We can also see the young woman is as a weaver.  She is weaving a strong, healing charm in her circle of pentacles, and her thread is thick with bright red life.

 

The Ten of Pentacles, like the Ten of Cups, generally represents good, healing, joyous energies.  If you choose to read cards reversed, it can mean a thwarting of the dreams they represent, or simply a postponement of their attainment.

Pee, Fawns, Genital Piercings, and the Color Pink: Not What You Would Think

This is a demonstration of a dream interpretation.  If anyone would like me to interpret a dream–with or without posting it anonymously online–please let me know.

A note on anonymity: all dreams are used with permission. No defining characteristics will be shared that may lead to a discovery of the “donor’s” identity.  The gender of the dreamer is kept intact, unless requested.

Here are the dreams:

The dreamer was lying on a couch in pajamas. Her brother is lying on the couch across from her.  They are both very lethargic, even though it is late in the day. The dreamer pees all over the couch. The dreamer panics. She runs to get paper towels and a spray bottle. Her mother cannot know about this, and she tells herself that she will just blame it on the dog.

Interpretation: The dominant feeling in this dream was that the mother might find out about the accident on the couch.  Is the dreamer hiding anything in real life? Is there anything she is frightened about her mother finding out?

Urine most obviously symbolizes shame/embarrassment, or a feeling of a loss of control over oneself. Urine, being water, can also symbolize emotions.  Upon further investigation of the dream, the dreamer recalled not feeling any particular urgency to get off the couch. Along with the fear of discovery, there was a sense of relief.  Urinating symbolized releasing emotions, and releasing these emotions brought about relief.

After this realization, things fell into place. Couches are associated with therapy.  The dreamer had recently begun seeing a therapist, something she felt she needed to do, but she didn’t want her mother to know about it. So, although she was relieved to be seeing one and expressing upsetting feelings, she was also very nervous about her mother finding out.

The next dreamer had a dream with what she felt was rather disturbing imagery.  In this dream, she had a genital piercing, specifically, two safety pins that pinned her labia shut. She was desperate to remove the safety pins, but she was in a very busy bookstore.  She went into the bathroom, which was hot pink, and went into the first stall, but the toilet wasn’t flushed. She found a clean stall, and tried to remove the piercings while a friend (nobody from real life, just a dream friend) called out to her outside the stall.  She managed to remove one of the piercings, with great fear of “tearing herself up.”

Interpretation: This dream caused some anxiety to interpret, as the dreamer was embarrassed.  It was concluded that perhaps the piercing of the labia shut was an expression of shame about sexuality. However, the fact that she wanted the piercing removed was a sign of healing, and reclaiming of this sexuality.

It must also be noted that labia is another word for lips, that is, the lips of the mouth. The dreamer had been feeling stifled in waking life, but was getting better at communication. Again, the removal of one piercing was a good sign–she felt stronger about speaking her truth. However, the fact that one piercing still remained indicated that there was still work to be done. Perhaps her subconscious was telling her that she needed to communicate better with herself.  The dreamer felt that there were messages coming from a very primal part of her, but she felt like she was “blocked” from this information.

The appearance of the friend outside the stall indicated a need for boundaries and periods of solitude, balanced with friends who cared.  The dreamer was touched that the dream friend was concerned about her, and didn’t want her to go away–just give her five minutes alone.

Pink, since it comes in many shades, comes with different interpretations.  The hot pink of the bathroom  was described by the dreamer as warm, flirty, fun, and glamorous–all can be adjectives used to describe a healthy female sexuality.

Public bathrooms are places associated with embarrassment, shame, and filth, and also symbolize boundaries and privacy.  Going to one stall, deciding she wasn’t going to use it, and moving on to another, cleaner one shows autonomy and some power to make decisions. She is also getting better at placing boundaries, because there are stalls in the bathroom.  A stall-free bathroom indicates a lack of privacy and frustration about this lack.

The unflushed toilet shows a need to resolve emotions, to “flush” them away.  When questioned about this, the dreamer said she had been feeling frustrated, and was working out some unpleasant memories.

The third dream involved the dreamer being in a friend’s bedroom. The bedroom was very large, dimly lit, and in soft, soothing rose colors. Along the walls were little rooms with glass windows. One was an aquarium, full of small, phosphorescent fish and a very tiny glow- in -the- dark turtle. In another “room” were some wolf cubs. One of the wolf cubs was in the room above, cuddling with a new fawn.

Deer, particularly fawns, are symbolic of gentleness, grace, and innocence.  This fawn was cuddling with a wolf cub, a symbol of the balance between loyalty and individuality.  Both of these symbols can also be considered “feminine” (the deer because of its delicacy, and the wolf for its association with the Moon). Turtles are symbolic of a talent for negotiating Earth and Water.  Both are feminine elements, the Earth the element of practicality, the physical, fertility, and abundance, and Water the element of the emotions, the unconscious, and the imagination.  Both are elements of creation, making the Turtle a creative, sustaining creature in mythology.  The phosphorescence of the turtle and the fish meant that they were equipped to go diving deep to find treasures, something the dreamer hoped she would do, metaphorically, with her friend. Further, fish are symbolic of the Water attributes, as well as the long life (they looked to be like tiny, glow-in-the-dark koi) she hoped for the friendship.

The dreamer had this dream after arranging to talk to her friend after a period of very limited contact. She was excited to speak to this friend, and saw her as having all the qualities embodied in the animals. However, she wasn’t exactly sure what to expect after so long, and it was concluded that the dream was her subconscious reassuring her that the conversation would be quite comfortable (as seen in the lighting of the room and the bed). There was also a hint of sadness to the dream, as the animals were behind glass and she couldn’t touch them or interact with them.  She decided that she would love to see her friend in person.

Going deeper, it was suggested that, since all elements of a dream are aspects of the dreamer, that these animals were reminding the dreamer that she, too, must strive to be gentle, loyal, and willing to dive deep and create.

So, those were the interpretations! What did you all think? Please leave any additional insights in the comments. If you would like a dream interpreted, either privately or to be posted here (with 100% anonymity) please e-mail me at turtlephoenix@gmail.com

The Wheel of Fortune

The Wheel of Fortune is the tenth card in the Major Arcana.  Ten is the number of completion and new beginnings.   The Wheel of Fortune reminds us of cycles, and that all endings bring new beginnings, just as every beginning inevitably grows, changes, and sometimes becomes an ending.  It also reminds us that downs are a part of life, and every down must have an up.

It also is good to know that The Wheel of Fortune is the card halfway through the Major Arcana, and is the gateway from the materialistic, practical first half into the more spiritual, abstract latter half (Barbara Walker Tarot 10).

Robin Wood’s Wheel of Fortune shows the rise and fall of the fortunes (and the joy) of a woman.  The colors whose tips touch oppose each other, with bright, sunshine yellow at the zenith and indigo at the nadir.  Night must follow day, just as day follows night, and if this is accepted, life becomes easier.  As the wheel turns clockwise, the warm yellow fades to the cooler colors of greens and blues as the wheel descends, and then the colors warm into fuchsias, reds and oranges. Life is made up of all shades of emotions, from euphoria to despair.

The silver ball going around symbolizes the arbitrariness of fate. Sometimes life doesn’t rise and fall in an expected rhythm.

Julian De Burgh and Mary Guinan’s Wheel of Fortune shows an image that, depending on the other cards in the reading, can be comforting or alienating. The blonde woman watching over the wheel may be a guardian angel, reminding the questioner that no matter what, help, comfort and love are always available.  On the other hand, she may be listless and apathetic, showing the randomness of fate.

The Celtic Deck’s Wheel of Fortune also shows two men, one rising and one falling.  Looking closely at the man going up, one can see that he is climbing. This could mean that the questioner must strive and work to achieve his desired fate, and that it is in the questioner’s power to create his destiny.

Keep in mind that I am only writing what I am seeing in this card on this particular day. When you look at the card, you may be focusing on something else.  Or, you may be focusing on the man on the upswing, and seeing something totally different.  That’s wonderful!

On Barbara G. Walker’s deck, you may see some familiar creatures in the four corners of the card–they are the masculine versions of the animals seen on the card for The World. Traditionally, these are the four elements–the Lion is Fire, the Angel is Air, the Bull is Earth, and the Eagle is Water. Of course, they can mean more than that–the Eagle can represent farsightedness and freedom, the Lion courage and nobility, the Angel protection and wisdom, and the Bull hard work and fertility. What do the male animals signify to you?

An interesting aspect of Barbara G. Walker’s Wheel is that it could be seen as rotating counter-clockwise, as the figure on the left with the head of an ass is falling down, while the figure on the right with the head of a hawk is climbing up. While a clockwise movement is associated with the Sun, masculinity, and the bringing in of energy in Wiccan tradition, counterclockwise is the feminine and repelling.

Barbara G. Walker writes that the figure with the Hawk head is Horus, the ancient Egyptian god of the Sun, and the plummeting man with the Ass head is Set, who represents darkness and the sterile desert (Barbara Walker Tarot 10).  Using the cards and your own intuition, you can decide whether the questioner is Horus or Set in the situation, and whether it is the right time to make a move and achieve an end, or to wait and avoid disaster, or to expect delays or obstacles.

At the top is Justice, reminding us that our actions always have an effect, whether now or in the future. She keeps track of our karmic debts, and makes sure we are rewarded through the Ankh, representing love and protection, or punished through her sword.

The mention of karma leads me through association to the concept of samsara, which is the great cosmic wheel of life. In Hinduism, being in samsara means that the soul is still going through the process of reincarnation, and therefore has not reached the enlightenment necessary to enter Bhraman, or the Great Cosmic Spirit.  If The Wheel of Fortune comes up in a reading, it may mean that the questioner is reaching an epiphany, or that the questioner is not quite ready for an undertaking.

Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth and luck, is the goddess chosen for the Wheel of Fortune by Kris Waldherr for the Goddess Deck. She flies on Garuda, the King of Birds, with a lotus as her cushion, accompanied by her companion Vishnu the Sustainer.  When the card is upright, she symbolizes abundance and good fortune, but if she is flying upside down, it means that the wheel of Samsara is still turning, and things may be on a temporary downswing.

The Emperor

 

Barbara G. Walker’s Emperor, shown above, is a confident man with a long beard, which is a sign of masculine maturity, tights not withstanding. The fact that the beard is black shows he is in the prime of his virility. His eagle-blazened shield symbolizes his honor and nobility.  His orb and scepter illustrate his kingship.  The mountains and broad sky behind him show the reach of his power and possibility.

Robin Wood’s Emperor also has the full beard of maturity and virility, but it is shot with gray to temper that virility with wisdom. It is also gold, like a lion’s mane, to show his regality. He is crowned with the laurel leaves of a philosopher king, and clothed in the red of fire-y power and the purple of royalty. He’s got the whole world at his feet, and his arm rests have ram’s heads, a symbol of sexuality and power. His codpiece also has a ram’s head ;).
His animals are also important symbols.  His head is flanked by two birds. I see these birds as ravens, and they remind me of Odin’s ravens, Huginn and Muninn. Huginn means “thought” and Muninn means “memory.”  They are Odin’s loyal servants, who keep him informed.  Thus, the Emperor in a spread may indicate that the questioner must know who their friends are, and whom they can trust to be honest and true. It also may be telling the questioner that they have intuitive powers and shamanic prowess.  This is underscored by his silver-y armor. This isn’t just brawn; it’s brains too. A real man embraces the Feminine.  Sometimes, the Emperor may want to remind a powerful questioner of that fact.
Sometimes, the Emperor reminds me of Odin in his sacrificial aspect. One important thing about Odin is that he gave himself over to great pain to obtain knowledge of the Runes and give it to the people. Sometimes, the Emperor is there to tell us that the ultimate manly act is to sacrifice oneself–either to gain knowledge, or, even better, to help others.

Mary Guinan’s illustration for Julian De Burgh’s Celtic Deck shows the Emperor in a state of meditation, even melancholy. Did he see something in his orb that has brought him to this state? Or is he simply weary?  What has him so worried?
Or, is he thinking of a solution to a problem?
Has he forgotten that, as The Emperor, he has the power to solve the problem, and the wisdom to find a solution? Is this what the card is trying to tell the questioner?

While I mentioned that The Emperor may remind the questioner that real masculine power must also have elements of tenderness, The Emperor may also want the questioner to embrace power, action, and force, no matter what gender.  Kris Waldherr, creator of The Goddess Deck, chose Freyja, the Norse goddess of beauty and love.  Freyja, a member of the peaceful Vasir, was given in marriage to broker peace between the Vasir and the war-loving Aesir.  She balances action and rest, strength and gentleness. Waldherr writes, in her companion book for the deck, “Freyja becomes the link between the old world–before iron tools–and the new, where power was often expressed in violence instead of through diplomacy and tolerance. She shows that true power lies in the ability to discriminate between aggression and passivity–and the ability to choose between them at the correct time” (Waldherr 26).
Power comes from balance between opposites.

If the Emperor does not represent the questioner, he (or she, in Freyja’s case) may represent someone in the questioner’s life, usually a figure in power, typically a father figure, or another male presence in the questioner’s life, or a woman with traditionally “masculine” attributes. This person is a good leader, someone who is kind and powerful.

Reversed, The Emperor may indicate someone who is either too weak, and is being used as a doormat, or someone who is aggressive and bullying. It may also indicate a person who is simply incompetent, especially in a leadership position. Knowing the situation will help you figure it out.

This post is dedicated, with love, to Jim Carmody–1922-2012.