The Fiery Daredevil

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kris Waldherr’s Prince of Staves

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

This guy knows what I’m talking about.

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

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

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Aries: the Beginning in the Middle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

The Sixes

The number six, in numerology, is associated with harmony, calm, recovery, recuperation, the past, acceptance, serenity, and family. It is an others oriented number, and is the number of service and community.
The keyword for the Six of Pentacles is generosity. Either the querent (the person the reading is for) is generous himself, or someone else will be generous to them.

Barbara G. Walker’s Six of Pentacles, shown here, shows a lounging woman donating to a musician who has come to beg her favors. She gives him a coin like it ain’t no thang.  The Six of Pentacles shows the opportunity to give in a way that makes the giver feel good, or receive with no strings attached.

The Six of Pentacles can also indicate the receiving of an honor or an award, as seen here in the Celtic deck.

The generosity of the Six of Pentacles is fair and just, which is why Robin Wood chose to show her benefactor holding the scales.

The Six of Pentacles is also generous with knowledge and friendship, as demonstrated by the Hindu goddess of luck, Lakshmi.

The Six of Swords is a card of flight, of respite, and of travel. It isn’t really a card of rest, more like a lull in the action where you can regroup.

This respite may not exactly be relaxing, as you can see in the Celtic deck. Some days you feel like the warrior carrying off the spoils of war, and sometimes you feel like you are the spoils. Either way, there won’t be a lot of resting going on. There may be some desperate scrambling, like the lady here who is trying to grab a sword. This may be a tense time, even though nothing may appear to be happening. Swords are mental, so other people may not see the struggle.

Here, the people in the golden boat look like they’re going to have to confront the Sphinx. Again, this may be a mental challenge, not a physical one, and may not be external, but internal. Life is full of riddles, and you may be stagnant unless you take a risk and answer one of your “riddles.” What riddles are in your life?

Isis, the representative of the Swords in the Goddess deck, is forlorn as she cruises the Nile. Perhaps she’s looking for pieces of her husband, Osirus, so she can put him back together. Have you ever had to “pick up the pieces” in your life? It sucks, but at least the worst is over.

Robin Wood’s Six of Swords is the most soothing. The ghostly figure can be a guardian spirit, or an angel, or a returning loved one. The swan is a symbol of grace, and the swan’s wings fold protectively around the figure as the swan floats him toward a new life. This reminds us that we are not alone.
I’m kind of going through a Six of Swords time of my life right now, so I’m going to focus on them.

The Six of Wands (Staves, in Kris Waldherr’s Goddess deck) represent victory and glory. However, it should be remembered that it is not the last stage of the 1-10 cycle of the minor arcanas. There is more joy and adventure coming up! Be sure to enjoy this Six of Wands energy!

This fiery redhead is Freyja, the Norse goddess of beauty and creativity. In Norse culture, the foundry was a font of fiery creative power.  Iron works were not only useful, but works of pride.

This Robin Wood card is full of details. Perhaps you are drawn to the horse, one of the children in the background, or one of the crystals on top of a wand. What draws you to this detail? Pretend you are the object. What does it mean to you?

The Six of Wands is full of joy and power!

The sun motif on Barbara G. Walker’s card is no accident.
Reversed, Six of Wands is a sign of “a dream deferred,” delays, even humiliation.

Six of Cups is the card of nostalgia, childhood, and happy family life. It tends to show up when daydreaming about the past, or when a childhood buddy is about to come a-calling.

Robin Wood’s Six of Cups makes me smile whenever I see it. Look at how cute it is! It suggests a happy, idyllic time with a loved one, where you’re just having innocent fun.

In the Celtic deck, an older couple looks happily at the six cups floating. It is a card of reminiscing of good times.

This card is quite simple. It’s a lovely cottage and six cups full of flowers. What kind of flowers do you think they are? Are they rosemary for remembrance? Little daisies for innocence?

Now we’ve all had our sunshine and flowers, and Barbara G. Walker wants to throw in some nightmare fuel. Here Six of Cups reminds us of vulnerability, and of being small, and how scary grown-ups can be. Is the mother towering over the child in this picture benevolent? It’s 9 o’clock–do you know where your inner child is?

Sagittarius

(Originally published in December 2011 at turtlephoenix.blogspot.com)
Don’t get me wrong. I love Battlestar: Galactica. But they have Sagittarians all wrong. Both my fiance and my older brother are Sagittarians, and they would be the first to tell you that refusing perfectly good medicine when you need it is ill-advised. Actually, they wouldn’t say that. They would come right out and tell you to your face that you’re stupid.

Sagittarians are known for being brutally honest. If you want to hear a certain answer, don’t ask a Sagittarius the question. They find little white lies repugnant. That is the dark side of a Sagittarius, along with being ludicrously protective of their independence. My brother walked at ten months, which is pretty impressive, but my fiance crawled at four months and walked at nine months. I’m sure it’s because they felt being carried about cramped their style and limited their exploration.

What is so beautiful about Sagittarius is its vibrant intellect. Out of all the fire signs, Sagittarius is the most philosophical. While Aries and Leo are symbolized by the Ram and the Lion, respectively, Sagittarius is the Centaur, or the Archer. Their animal magnetism (at least my fiance’s, I’m not going to go there about my brother) and fiery physicality is balanced by an innate love of the abstract. They are curious and love adventure. Sagittarius, in this sense, is the bridge from the element of Fire to its natural companion,  intellectual Air. There’s a reason why Captain Planet put those two Planeteers together. It’s science. Air feeds Fire. In Sagittarius you get the best of both–elements, not Planeteers.

Sagittarius shows its fire in any competition. The Sagittarius wants to be the best, but while Leo tends to go for the gold in theatrics and socializing, and Aries in sports and physical bravado, the Sagittarius wants to be the top of the class–and this includes gym and theater. When a Sagittarius is motivated, it’s best to just step back and watch. You’ll thrill at how much they accomplish, and the diversity of their interests. One Sag I know changed has changed his majors several times. Sagittarius, in balance, can love learning for its own sake, and not just to gain accolades.

With this competition, however, comes an obsessive need to be right. A Sagittarius will break hearts and balls over an idea. They’re like Artemis, who, after catching Actaeon looking at her while she was bathing, turned him into a stag to be ripped apart by his own dogs. Artemis took the idea of virginity so seriously that she was willing to kill over the tiniest insult to it.  In fact, if she found out that one of her nymphs had slept with a man, even through rape, she would kill her. This is the darkest side of Sagittarius.

That said, Sagittarius is charming, even with the bluntness. Sagittarius is a quick wit, and, because they love to travel and explore, always have something interesting to say. Also, since Sagittarius is ruled by Jupiter, the planet of luck and expansion, they have an attractive quality, a charisma.  And, although it is hard for a Sagittarian to fall in love (except with independence, the feel of their feet moving along a road, and learning itself), once it happens, there is no love truer. I know this from personal experience.

Archetypes, people, and objects associated with Sagittarius:

Artemis, the Greek Archer goddess of the Moon, known as Diana to the Romans. Although you’ve probably heard of her, there’s many things about her you might not know, such as she helped her mother give birth to her twin brother, Apollo:  really detailed biography of Artemis.
Wikipedia article 

World Travelers/Gypsies

Horses–animals known for movement and power

Taliesin, the Welsh hero, who started out as a little boy named Gwion Bach, who ate a potion he shouldn’t have, and, to make a long story short, turned himself into a piece of corn and was eaten by his witch foster mother. She ended up giving birth to him nine months later. At birth, Taliesin speaks like a Rhodes scholar, and so is named Taliesin, or “bright brow,” referring to his intelligence and precocity, something Sagittarians are known for. He also travels the world and has many adventures, as Sagittarians do, all in search of truth. And, the cool part is, he’s based on a real guy! You can read more about him here:  http://www.pantheon.org/articles/t/taliesin.html

Vainamoinen, the Finnish hero, whose magical voice created, manipulated, and destroyed, and whom Gandalf was modeled after. His end was brought by his hubris. Sagittarian tongues can also be balms or scalpels, and must take care not to become to arrogant. Read more about him here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Väinämöinen