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

She Smells of Gingerbread and Pine Trees: The Queen of Pentacles

The Queen of Pentacles, like any court card, is usually associated with a person in the questioner’s life. She can also represent an aspect of the questioner herself.  Since she is the Queen of Pentacles, she has certain qualities. While the Queen of Swords is the Queen of the modern, jet-set woman, the Queen of Wands the successful social butterfly, and the Queen of Cups the artistic romantic, the Queen of Pentacles (or Coins) is the archetypal nurturing mother or grandmother.

What do you think of when you think of the perfect mother, or grandmother? Probably a warm bed, and yummy food cooked with love, and big hugs. This is someone who is patient, solid, and reliable, someone who knows exactly what to do in a crisis. She pampers, but it’s practical. She will dish out solid advice along with tea, sympathy, and amazing baked goods.

This is a person with wisdom. In fact, this archetype is one of the oldest there is.

This is Erda, an ancient Earth goddess, chosen by Barbara G. Walker to represent the Queen of Pentacles. You’ll notice that she has large, maternal bosoms and wide hips. This speaks to her fertility and nurturing ability. Her cave entrance leads to the warm, dark womb, where all life begins and ends.  Her pentacle promises abundance and protection.  The word “Earth” comes from Erda’s name, and the word material (which used to imply rocks and plants and all things from the earth) has the same root as Mother.

Kris Waldherr chose a different goddess for her deck. Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth and beauty in Hinduism.  Her beautiful costumes and jewelry underscore this association. Queen of Pentacles people, with their practicality and good sense, can accumulate quite a bit of wealth. Out of balance, they can be miserly, but in balance they are generous, including with themselves, and love fabulous things.  Lakshmi is known for giving riches to those she loves, just like Queen of Pentacles people.

Please do not think that this Queen can only be seen in women.  Men, too, can be nurturing, giving, and sage with advice.

Robin Wood’s Queen of Pentacles cradles a Pentacle gently, looking at it with loving eyes.  She proves, along with Lakshmi, that the Queen of Pentacles is not necessarily an older woman.  In fact, Pentacles women can be very sensual, because of the alignment with Earth, and its material blessings. The Queen here is also fertile and abundant–she is surrounded by flowers, fruits, vegetables, and our favorite little fornicators, bunnies. Her green gown and orange apron make her one with the Earth’s grass and leaves, and her purple embellishments symbolize richness, royalty, and abundance.

Mary Guinan’s Queen of Pentacles, for Julian De Burgh’s Celtic Deck, is also decked in orange and green. Her red hair is different from the brunette associated with Pentacles court cards, but I like it.  It makes me think of the marriage of Earth and Fire, with volcanos and magma flowing underground. There’s a kinetic energy along with practicality and reliability associated with Earth.  Her arms and gaze are open, waiting to hear about your issues. She will be a fabulous listener, and then she’ll clap her hands and say, “okay, here’s what you gotta do! Let’s go!”

Archetypes/People associated with the Queen of Pentacles:
–Nurturing Mothers and Grandmothers who are practical and loving (and men who have these traits)
–Gardeners
–Sensual people who love textures, colors, and fine things
–Great chefs
–Pregnant women, expectant fathers preparing a nest
–People with a gift for money management and are extremely generous.

Out of balance, Shadow Queen of Pentacles:
–cold, hard parents who care more about wealth than family
–a nosy, bossy person
–a lazy person
–a stingy miser
–someone who can’t even nurture herself, preferring to work herself to sickness

A Dream Come True: King of Cups

The King of Cups, like his wife, represents beauty, poetry, and dreams.  He is the King of the emotional realm, the watery subconscious.  He is romantic and poetic. He is the masculine principle of unconditional love and devotion.

The King of Cups is gentle and empathetic, and, even though the Air signs are known for their communication skills, those strong in Water have their own comforting eloquence–they know what to say, and also when to stay silent.

Dolphins, the playful mammals that live in the sea, represent the King of Cups’ comfort both in the land of reason and in the water of feeling.  The King of Cups is aware that the human imagination and capacity for compassion is limitless, like the ocean itself.

The King is gazing far off, indicating the intuition associated with Water signs.  The King of Cups can see into the future, using his heart (or his gut) as his guide. The watery King does not rely exclusively on his brain.  Because he is so empathetic, he is also pretty good at anticipating what another person may need.  However, because the person in question is a human being, don’t be too hard on them when they don’t!

Robin Wood’s King of Cups is dressed in the same watery yet powerful colors his wife the Queen wears, and the background is colored in pale, soft, colors.  These colors show both the majesty, splendor, and tenderness of the King of Cups.

The King of Cups is a man who is “in touch with his feminine side.” He is nurturing, and has a comforting presence.  As you can see here, on Kris Waldherr’s King of Cups, the King is dressed in the feminine color of lavender; however, the King of Cups should never be thought of as weak.  The people whom this card represents are loyal, strong, and true, and willing to take on anything for the people whom they love. Lavender is a healing, peaceful color, and peace takes power and courage, perhaps a different kind of courage than the more masculine Wands and Swords, but courage nevertheless.  The soft glow that surrounds this King is his true nature, but keep in mind that the Water signs can be intimidating–Lunas have claws, Scorpios have the stinger, and Pisces–well, you’ve heard of barracuda, piranha, and great white sharks.
The King of Cups has a pensive, dreamy quality, which can be seen in the way the King gazes down into his cup. That cup is full of mysteries and wonders of the subconscious, the beauty and power inside every person, and the inner peace accessible to all.
Little side note: the Suit of Cups are sometimes associated with blondes.

The Celtic King of Cups looks concerned, even though he has all the qualities embodied in the King of Cups. This can be a common pitfall of the King of Cups–even though he has all of these loving qualities, and intuition, and imagination, they can be plagued by insecurity and doubt.  Yet, this vulnerability can be a great strength. Openness and exposure is an act of courage.

Barbara G. Walker chose the Welsh god of the sea, Dewi, to be the King of Cups for her deck.  Dewi later became known as Davy Jones, and Saint David (Walker 24).  He is the ruler of all the oceans, the symbol for the subconscious, its mystery, its power, its beauty, and its terrors.  The Welsh god was a protector, like all King of Cups who are balanced and whole, and was a symbol of “ageless power and strength, [and] irresistible forces underlying a calm surface” (Walker 25).  Still waters run deep.
The King of Cups, like all Kings in a tarot deck, typically represents a father figure. The King of Cups is the kind, loving, affectionate, and nurturing father.
When the King of Cups is imbalanced, he can be narcissistic, needy, estranged, or even bipolar.  He can also be emotionally cruel or abandoning.
Archetypes and people associated with the King of Cups
Kind, loving fathers
Artists
Poets
Devoted husbands
The Lover
A Sensitive Man
Priests
Monks
A good therapist
The Romantic
Males born under the Water signs and have a lot of that energy
Work Cited:
Walker, Barbara G.  Barbara Walker Tarot.  Stamford: US Games Systems, Inc. 1986
Like my Emperor post, which was dedicated to my beloved Grandpa, I dedicate this post to my dearest Uncle Tim, who passed away on November 13 (and was a Pisces), and my lovely Uncle Mike, who just celebrated his birthday (and is a Scorpio).

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.

Moon Signs

When people think of astrology and personality, they most often think of the Sun sign.  This is the sign people mean when they ask “What’s your sign?”  However, a person has a Sun sign, a Moon sign, a Rising sign, a Venus sign, a Mercury sign,  a Mars sign, a Jupiter sign,  a Saturn sign,  a Uranus sign, a Neptune sign, and a Pluto sign. My hope is we will talk about all of these.

The Sun sign is the sign of the outward personality.  Jung called it the “persona.” It is the personality traits that people see, and that we are most comfortable showing to the world. That is not to say that this personality is fake. It is a part of us; its energy is the energy that most of the time feels most natural to us. It is also the most “social” energy of ourselves.

However, we have other types of energy that we are born with, and other energies that we can develop.    This energy is closely related to the archetypes that Caroline Myss speaks of in her book Sacred Contracts: Awakening Your Divine Potential. Caroline Myss takes Jung’s work with archetypes and expands upon it, but keeps many of the original archetypes Jung worked with.  One of these archetypes is that of the Shadow.

The Shadow can be seen as being an opposite of the persona.  It is the part of ourselves that we may not be very comfortable with, energy we are not sure what to do with, or energy we are not even consciously aware of possessing. Just as the persona is associated with the Sun and the energy of that sign, the Shadow can be associated with the Sun’s opposite–the Moon.

The Moon has long been associated, in astrology, with emotions and the subconscious. The Moon sign, or the sign the Moon was in when you were born,  thus tells how you handle your emotions. It tells about the personality that you may not show outwardly, and that you yourself may not be very familiar with, as the Moon, in traditional astrology, rules that particular realm.  The Moon is also the ruler of the five senses, and your instincts. The energy with which you react to your environment is ruled by your Moon sign, according to astrology.

I myself am a Moon in Aries, which is interesting, since here a physical, fiery sign is in the watery realm of emotions and the subconscious.  My sun is in a sign aligned with water–Luna (the sign formally known as Cancer and also known as Fegerri or Selene. We’re still working this out. At least here at Turtlephoenix).

First, let’s discuss the Shadow as I feel it, in my Moon placement. As a Moon in Aries, I am ashamed of my anger, which sometimes feels consuming.  I am also very competitive, but, because I am insecure and frightened of displeasing others (a common complaint of people in my Sun sign), it tends to show up in self-destructive tendencies when I am feeling off balance–I constantly compare myself to others and never quite measure up.

As a Moon in Aries, however, I feel I have a certain passion for pursuing matters relating to the subconscious, the emotions, and the instinctual.  When I am balanced, this competitive spirit helps me push myself. Also, when I am emotionally committed, I am in it for the long haul. This can be a double edged sword, as I don’t take rejection easily. Going into the more personal realm, I see my exes, both erotic and platonic, as competition in the imaginary contest for whoever is more lovable, desirable, successful, etc.  They usually have no idea they’re running against me. Sometimes, I’m not even aware I’m in the race until my emotional legs give out.

Raven Kaldera chose Macha, an Irish goddess who was faster than anything on earth, including the King’s horses. Her mortal husband bet she could outrun the King’s horses, and the heavily pregnant Macha won the race. When she reached the finish line, she gave birth to twins, and then cursed all the men of Ulster.  This is the Arien anger magnified by the intensity of the Moon.

Arien Moons are always quite open in the expression of their emotions, even if they try to hide them. As a weepy Luna, I have many a time bruised my Arien Moon pride by sobbing in front of people. That is the peril of this fire sign in the Moon, though. It’s too strong to stifle.

Currently, the Moon is in Libra, and tomorrow it will enter Scorpio.  Libra, being an air sign, is an uncomfortable place for the emotional moon, and the Shadow side is charm, flattery, and manipulation–as well as a tendency to play favorites–but it lends a romanticism, and an instinct for harmony and peacemaking that can’t be beat. Raven Kaldera chose Isis for this placement, a goddess whose love and devotion brought her husband back from the dead, but marked her son as a tool for vengeance.

The Moon in Scorpio is powerful, indeed. The emotions here tend to be taboo–the sign of Scorpio rules sex, death, and rebirth–and the subconscious mind can be full of disturbing images that can peek out as disquieting thoughts. On the other hand, a placement here leads to a richness in imagination, fertile dreams, and a deep compassion.  Raven Kaldera chose Hecate for Moon in Scorpio, the Greek goddess of death, crossroads, and the underworld, but also the goddess of midwives. As matriarchal medicine fell out of favor, the midwife became synonymous with witchcraft.  This misunderstanding is very familiar to anyone with a lot of Scorpio energy, who understands that decay brings fertilization.

You can find your Moon sign here, at the Lunarium. Knowing the time of your birth is important, as the moon can stay in a sign for only a day.

Your Moon sign is not alone. All the archetypal energies of the signs and the planets interact with one another, and manifest in similar, but not identical, ways with each person. The fact that watery Luna is my sun affects how my firey moon expresses itself.

I want to take a moment here before we close to remind us that these signs are energy that is accessible by anyone. For example, if you are having relationship difficulties, call on Libra energies to help you balance your emotions.  If you are preparing to do psychological work, either for yourself or for another, bring in Scorpio energy. Here is a quick visualization to help you.

Imagine that you are lying on your back in water of a comfortable temperature. You are completely safe in this water. Breathe smoothly and naturally. As you lie on your back, you are gazing up at the moon.  This moon is a new moon, just a thin slice of silver in the sky.

As you gaze at it, the moon begins to swell into a full moon. As if swells, it fills with the color associated with the energy you want to access–if you need the strength and power of Aries, it shines red and orange.  For Libra’s peace, harmony, and charm, soft pink and blue, and for Scorpio’s courage and insight, scarlet and black.

This light flows down on you, and pours into every cell. It lights up the chakras, the energy centers that form a path from the coccyx to the top of the head.  Absorb this light. You may want to chant a mantra, repeating the quality you most want to draw into yourself–such as “peace,” “courage,” or “strength.”

Soak in this power as long as you need. When the moon is full, bask in it, and feel the water supporting you. Then, let the moon wane until it is again a simple crescent in the sky. Afterwards, say thank you, and go about your day.

Archetypes associated with the Moon:

Virgin/Mother/Crone

The Heart

The Inner Child

The Moody One

Kindness

The Inner Parent

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.

A lion with the sun for a mane

Leo energy is associated with the lion, which is very apropos.  Leos are loyal, royal, and confident.  This energy is proud and bright, just like the sun that rules the sign.  Leo energy can be happy, whimsical,  and childlike (the sign traditionally rules children), like a marmalade- colored kitten, or noble and majestic, like the lion.

Leo is the sign of the Performer, of those who shine out from the crowd with personalities larger than life.  This energy instills a self-esteem that makes the bearer feel like a typical house cat, preening and luxurious.  After all, the sun is the center of the solar system, and that is where Leo feels most comfortable.  The sun is the spring board of creation, of life on this planet.  Leos are the lives of the party, the stars of the show, flamboyant and exuberant.  If out of balance, they are demanding and pouty, and throw colossal temper tantrums, just like Ishtar, the Babylonian goddess of love and war.  Ishtar was so angry that the hero Gilgamesh turned down her sexual favors that she had a wild bull sent to kill him.  When Gilgamesh’s companion, Enkidu, slays the bull and tosses the bloody hide into Ishtar’s temple, she kills Enkidu (MythAstrology 152-153).  The pride of this placement, and of those who have this energy, is not to be trifled with.

As the Performer, Leo brings joy to people by changing himself to fit his audience. His creativity is expressed by making people laugh, and by creating characters and scenarios. He is born for the stage, for the arts, for the microphone.  If Leo energy does not call its owner to act, it will push him to express his exuberance in some other way that enables him to interact with people. This can be as simple as being known for his friendliness and openness.

Balanced Leo energy loves an audience, but unbalanced Leo energy cannot live without one.  The unbalanced Leo energy causes its bearer to keep a mask on continuously, a mask that attempts to portray its wearer as perfect.  Underneath the cultured regality, and/or the perpetually sunny exterior, there may lurk a deep insecurity (MythAstrology 22).  The person may actually adopt Leo energy as a defense against these feelings of inferiority. This insecurity, instead of being handled in a healthy way, is a catalyst for an intense need to be the center of attention and narcissism.

When out of balance, the warmth of the Leo energy can be too encompassing. It can engulf and burn.  It can turn into rage–not the berserker rage of an Aries, but the sly, “catty” anger that can sneak up on its victim and slice him to ribbons.  It becomes a sense of entitlement, born from that hidden sense of insecurity.

On the other hand, when out of balance, the Leo energy can become cold.  Laughter fades, and creativity becomes fallow. Curiosity vanishes. The flip side of the Sun is, as we all know, the Shadow. Leo sadness is as cold and dark as Leo happiness is warm and bright.

Leo energy, when it comes to love, is pure and childlike. Since Leo is aligned with fire, the energy is passionate and active. Arien energy, also aligned with fire, is physical, competitive, courageous, and adventurous.  Sagittarius, also a fire energy, is philosophical, itinerant, blunt, and independent. Leo is glamourous, cultured, urbane, and charming.

A person with balanced Leo energy is friendly and inclusive, like the sun itself.  Its energy puts a spring or a slink in a step.  It seems to radiate from the person. Leos are full of curiosity and amusement.  The Leo, in allowing herself to be vulnerable, finds that her insecurity goes down.  In being open about her love for others, she will find that this wonderful Leo energy will grow and shine effortlessly, and she will find herself in her natural habitat–the spotlight.

Archetypes, People, and Animals associated with Leo:

Cats (especially Lions)

Actors, Comedians, Dramatists, and other Performers

The Diva

Sun gods and goddesses, especially Apollo, god of the Sun and Performance

Cybele–an Anatolian Mother Goddess who became the Greek “Mistress of Animals”, a Goddess whose worship included wild music, dancing, and performance

Ishtar

Colette–the 1920s French author and actress. Though she is an Aquarius (and has that archetype and energy) she is also very strongly a Leo.

How to bring in Leo energy:

1) Visualize yourself surrounded by the light of the sun. Imagine this sunlight pooling into your body, pouring into the top of your head (your crown chakra) and traveling down your spine into your heart. Feel your heart pump that warm brightness through your body. Let it relax your muscles. Feel your face muscles relax as you smile. Stretch like a cat.

2) Take a step toward being in the spotlight–tell a joke to a group of trusted friends.  Tell a story about an adventure you had.  If you ever had a craving to act, write, or make art, take a class.

3) If you are used to being in the spotlight, the next time you are with a group, encourage someone else to speak, and really listen.

4) Think about your favorite things to do as a child–fly a kite, run through the sprinkler, water color, put on shows.  Do one of those things soon. Note how you feel afterward.  Leo is the energy of children, and it will bring sunny joy into your life if you return to your roots.

5) Put on sunscreen and walk outside on a sunny day.

6) Meditate on your favorite animal.  What qualities of the animal would you like to assimilate into your own personality?  Carry a small charm or picture of the animal as your totem.  Leo is a strong animal energy–very pure and noble, like the energy of children. Think of the lion’s strength, the cat’s contentment, the grace of the deer.  How can you adopt these qualities?

By the way, MythAstrology is pretty much amazing and you should buy it.

The High Priestess

In review:
In the beginning was The Fool, the beginner’s mind, new experiences, birth and rebirth.

Tara, the Tibetan goddess of compassion and protection, symbolizes New Beginnings in Kris Waldherr’s Goddess Deck. If she appears, she will keep the questioner safe from harm as they begin their new adventure. In fact, Tara translates to “She who causes one to cross.” So, the first step of the Tarot Major Arcana journey is one of getting the courage and security to set out on your adventure.
Next is gaining mastery over the self and the environment, represented by the Magician:

And now, after there is self-control and external power, the adventurer becomes introspective, and looks to the abstract.

And we have moved from the Magician to the High Priestess. While the Magician is about skills, the High Priestess is about knowledge, especially knowledge of the Self, and knowledge of the Spirit.   Kris Waldherr chose Sarasvati for the High Priestess of the Goddess Deck, and called the card itself Wisdom.  Sarasvati is the Hindu goddess of wisdom, music, education, spiritual knowledge, and the arts.  She floats on a lotus, a flower that symbolizes resilience. The lotus can grow out of the murkiest depths, and knowledge and enlightenment can occur in the most unlikely places.
Kris Waldherr added many wonderful details to her illustration. Look closely at Sarasvati’s arms, of which she has four. This shows the reach of wisdom; enlightenment can be found in all four corners of the earth. Also, to connect her to the Magician, I would say that the four arms can symbolize the four elements, of which the High Priestess would also have mastery. The four limbs can be spiritual, mental, physical, and emotional well being and balance, as well. The book is education and commitment to learning. The beads represent spiritual commitment and ritual, and the lute she strums symbolizes music, the marriage of both the left and right brain, showing both emotional and logical balance.

The Celtic Deck’s High Priestess is shown standing in front of the moon, a symbol of feminine intuition, wisdom, and the subconscious. The moon is full to show the fertility of her imagination. Her robes are those of a priestess, someone who has been initiated onto the path. The inside of her robes is dark blue, the color of the night and the subconscious. Her sash is gold, the color of solar or male energy, showing her ability to translate this knowledge from subconscious to conscious, abstract to concrete.  She stands on a verdant green lawn, vines climbing up the bricks. This is a place of mystery.  If the High Priestess comes into a spread, secrets may be revealed.
Since The High Priestess is shown outdoors, she shows an understanding and a closeness to nature, a potent source of wisdom, and a source as beloved and valuable to the High Priestess as any book.

Robin Wood’s High Priestess shows a woman wearing a robe in shades of blue and green, the colors of night and of water, both associated with the feminine, the subconscious, and dreams. She holds a book, to show her devotion to study, and a crystal ball, to show her sharp intuition. Her hair is black, in keeping with the mysterious colors of night, and is highlighted with silver, a feminine color because of its association with the moon (gold and the sun are masculine).  Her necklace is, if you look closely, a pentacle. She also has mastery over the four elements.  Her headband has a crescent moon, which is a symbol of rebirth and regeneration, as well as the cyclical nature of life, as the moon wanes or “dies” and then waxes, or is “reborn.”
In a reading, the season depicted in the card may seem to be autumn/early winter, or early spring.  The beauty of the Robin Wood deck is the careful detailing. One detail may stick out to you out of all the others on the card.  What does this detail tell you? What does it mean to you? Why does it stick out?

Barbara G. Walker’s Papess is also full of exquisite detail. What stands out to me, right now, are the Alpha and Omega symbols on the pillars behind the Papess. Her knowledge is the beginning, the end, and everything in between. She studies the book in her lap, calm and alert, flanked by the ivory towers of accomplishment. These ivory towers may mean something else to you. On the ground in front of the Papess are two keys, which allow insights, foresights, and treasures of the subconscious to be yielded to the questioner.
At first glance, the Papess may appear to be wearing a Devo hat. This is actually meant to represent a beehive, and at the top is a crescent moon, the symbol of cycles and regeneration.  The High Priestess/Papess, because of her wisdom, understands and accepts the cycles of life. The beehive is symbolic of devotion, for she is as intent on gathering wisdom as the bees are at gathering nectar. Just as bees instinctively go to the best flowers, she uses her intuition to guide her. She is wearing purple, the color of royalty, and the other dominant colors of the card are red and white–red is commonly associated with passion, and white with purity. What do these colors mean to you?
If the questioner receives this card,  it could represent aspects of the questioner. The questioner may be going through a period where they feel passionate about learning. They may be having very intense, even prophetic dreams. They may be feeling very close to nature, or may have had a transcendent experience in a sacred place.
The High Priestess/Papess may also represent someone in the questioner’s life.  This person may be very encouraging, intuitive, and/or intelligent. This may be a female teacher, therapist, or mentor, especially in a spiritual capacity, a mother in an initiator role, or a friend who gives good advice.
The archetype of a High Priestess, which can also be found in a male, is that of an intuitive, wise, spiritual woman, a woman who perhaps is close to nature.  She may be mysterious, but nurturing.
In its reversed aspect, the High Priestess could indicate a stinginess with wisdom–the questioner or a person in the questioner’s life is choosing not to help a someone seeking answers.  It can also indicate someone who thinks he or she is wise but is actually not experienced enough to give accurate counsel. It can also mean an estrangement from one’s own intuition or subconscious, or a refusal to follow one’s gut feelings. The High Priestess in reverse can also show that the questioner, or someone close, is having a full-blown spiritual crisis.

Luna

I think it’s time to change Cancer’s name.  Please don’t take this to mean I’m arrogant enough to suppose a name thousands of years old can be changed because I want it to. It’s more that I personally feel uncomfortable referring to myself and my brethren as a disease. Let’s face it, we don’t think of the constellation; we think of the illness.  I don’t know about you, but that makes me feel kind of shitty.

Just for fun, what could Moon Children call themselves? Here are some ideas:

1) Selene. Selene is the goddess of the Moon in Greek mythology. This name is easy to remember, and sounds as lovely as the goddess herself.

2) Fegarri. Fegarri is the Greek word for moon. I think it sounds harmonious with Sagittarius and Virgo. The bad part is that it sounds like an alien race from Star Trek. 


3) Huitaco (pronounced we-tah-co) (thanks to my awesome soul sister and colleague, Whitney. Check out her blog, wheresmytower.wordpress.com). Huitaco is the Columbian goddess of the Moon and protector of women. She was also the goddess of pleasure and happiness. The frequently tangled with her consort, Bochica, the god of hard work and sorrow. Bochica reminds me of Saturn, the planet that rules Capricorn, the sign of hard work and hard lessons. Moon Children oppose Capricorn (not OPPOSE oppose, but are opposite each other on the zodiac wheel).  There’s some nice synchronicity there, but the name sounds like “Wheat Taco” which is what we will forever be known as to people who don’t know about the myth.

4) Luna. Italian for Moon, and the Roman parallel to Selene.  Yes, it’s a Harry Potter character (and a character with very Piscean energy, at that, but Leo is a DiCaprio).

I think, for this article, I will refer to this energy as Luna/Lunar. It is the name of our Moon.

I myself am a Luna, and far from perfectly balanced.  I tend to focus on what is difficult about this energy. Luna is a water sign, and Lunar energy is highly emotional. I mean, EXTREMELY so.  It is difficult to separate this energy from these emotions and look at things rationally and impersonally. Also, this is an intense energy. Irritation quickly becomes raging frustration.  The blues and everyday disappointments can lead to sogginess from copious weeping.  On the other hand, contentment becomes joy, happiness is euphoria, and love turns into rapture. We are also literally quite watery; we tend to weep a lot.

The stomach and the breasts are the organs ruled by Luna.  It’s fitting that the breasts would be the organ for Luna–these are the mothers of the zodiac, after all, and the stomach keeps us alive through nourishment, another forte of Lunar energy. The stomach is also full of associations of being loved and mothered with food.

Lunar energy also helps you think with your gut, and aligns you with the third chakra, the bright, sunshine yellow spot of energy located behind your navel.  This spot in your body corresponds to your personal power.  While Capricorn’s lesson is that of mastering perfectionism, and to release the need for external validation, and Scorpio’s lesson is to learn to accept the dark parts of the Self, identify the dark parts that are useful, transmute the useful and let go of what’s not, and eventually rise above the dark parts as a new Self-creation, the energy of Luna is to discover power.  Notoriously timid, this energy’s lesson is to develop a belief in one’s Self, and in the Self’s worthiness.

 Luna rules the stomach, just as Capricorn rules the knees (the work horses of the body) and Scorpio rules the genitals (the seat of birth and death–“Le Petit Mort”).  This is the location of the third chakra. The third chakra is the seat of self-esteem, responsibility, and courage.  Out of balance, this is the seat of low self-esteem and fear, especially fear of rejection and failure (Myss 167-168).

The dark side of Lunar energy is a mess of insecurity. Luna energy that is out of balance give themselves impossible standards, standards so high the person becomes frozen out of fear of failure. It is the same kind of fear that keeps people lonely, because they aren’t willing to approach others.  Lunas are extremely hard on themselves, and tend to say “I’m sorry” a lot.

Lunar love is intense and maternal. It is so intense, in fact, that it hurts. The goddess Raven Kaldera associates with the sun in Luna is Demeter.  Demeter, the goddess of the grain, deeply loves her daughter, Persephone, and when Persephone is taken away by Hades, it sends her into a tailspin, a tailspin that takes the whole world down with it. Crops stop growing, and the earth becomes a cold wasteland. When a Luna feels hurt or abandoned, the psyche becomes a wasteland. A Luna attaches herself to a loved one, not in a creepy stalker way, but a Luna opens her heart to any one she loves, and  gives freely of it.  When the person they love goes away, there is a definite ripping sensation in the heart.

Perhaps this is because Luna is self-protective. When they do trust and love someone, they have to remove layers of their hard, protective shields, the “shell” of the crab. When that trust feels violated, Luna rebuilds the shell again, and reinforces it.

This metaphorical shell is also like a turtle’s shell.  If a Luna is in balance, he can feel at home anywhere  he goes. He will be grounded and secure, and he will help others feel secure as well.

Lunas are all about the love. A Luna will give her all to her loved ones, and will feel guilty if she feels she comes up short.  They are warm, comforting, and sensitive, when in balance. However, when out of balance, Luna becomes clingy and possessive. Unable to express “negative” emotions (and thus possibly anger a loved one) Luna becomes passive-aggressive and as brackish and bitter as a polluted ocean. Alternately, if the Luna is not secure enough to set boundaries, the roiling anger builds up until the dam breaks, and the Luna drowns the world in her rage.

Like the Moon, and the tides the Moon makes, Lunar emotions ebb and flow. This is very feminine; the word “month” comes from the same root as Moon, as do the words menses and menstruation.  I have found that my physical energy, creativity, and motivation also ebb and flow, and I wonder if perhaps other Lunas feel like this. I actually find it rather comforting–I know that when I feel low or dry, the tide will rise and I will be nourished again. Meanwhile, I have spare energies that I can tap.

The Moon is a symbol of illusion. Lunas must be careful to see past illusion. They must be especially careful not to fall into the all-or-nothing thinking common with the shadow aspect of this energy.  When they feel unloved, they must ask themselves if it is really true. They must exercise their minds to see the opposites of their negative thoughts. Can a Luna think of three people that like her? Then, the negative thought is not true. If you feel abandoned by a friend, is it true? Did this friend abandon you? Or are you abandoning yourself by letting this event change how you perceive yourself and your own innate goodness? Did this friend really abandon you? Did a friend abandon you, or just an acquaintance? Or, worse yet, someone who was using you?

Lunas are blessed with great intuition and imagination. Even an out-of-sorts Luna can intuit for her loved ones, even if she can’t intuit for herself. Even if the Luna is suffering from depression or garden variety writer’s block, they have a rich inner life. Sometimes, they must sit down and let the ink flow freely, like water, without any censorship. This helps them access that powerful Moon energy. Since the tummy is the provence of the Lunas, many would do nicely to just think with their “guts” and not overanalyze a decision.

It must be remembered that the energy of the signs is not just for the people born in the sign alone. You may feel you have more energy associated with one zodiac archetype than another, but you can access the archetypal energy of any sign.

Questions for Reflection, and Tips to Bring Lunar Energy in:

1) When making a decision, pay attention to how your body feels, instead of endlessly reasoning yourself through it.

2) Keep a dream journal. Lunar energy, like the other watery energies of Pisces and Scorpio, works with the subconscious.

3) When you nurture others, do you also nurture yourself?

4) What illusions do you maintain? How do they benefit you? How would your life be without these illusions? How can you let go of them?

Archetypes, People, and Animals for Luna

1) Mothers

2) Nurses

3) Family Historians/Museum Keepers

4) Demeter

5) Kwan Yin, the Chinese Goddess of Compassion

6) Turtles and Crabs

7) Wolves and Dogs,, symbols of loyalty, family, and friendship

Book recommendations:

MythAstrology: Exploring Planets and Pantheons by Raven Kaldera (You still haven’t bought it yet? It’s awesome!)

Anatomy of the Spirit: The Seven Stages of Power and Healing by Caroline Myss (I cannot recommend her books highly enough. Expect more discussion of the chakras!)

Loving What Is, by Byron Katie (This is what inspired the suggestions for working with illusions. I’ve worked with Byron Katie not only through her books but on a stage in front of hundreds of people. It changed my life!)

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