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

The Lovers (NSFW)

In honor of Valentine’s Day, let’s look at the Lovers (really look at them, in one case).

The Lovers card is, of course, a portent of love.  Barbara G. Walker even included Eros (Cupid in Roman), the personification of love, in her Lovers card. However, being a critical reader of cards (like a critical reader of literature) involves looking at the details as well as the big picture, and reading between the lines. For example, the officiant of this marriage is a priestess, not the traditional priest.  This is not only a legal marriage; there is a deeper, subconscious connection.

Barbara G. Walker writes that since the young man is between an older woman and a younger woman, this card may indicate a choice between mother and wife, youth and maturity, body and spirit (Walker 8). If this triangle sticks out to you, by all means, that interpretation may be what your intuition is pointing you toward. On the other hand, the older woman may seem like a wise teacher, giving her blessings to the young couple. This may tell the reader that the relationship in question is blessed and approved, by destiny if not by the couples’ parents. If the teacher archetype really sticks out for you in this card, it could mean that the questioner should contemplate (or is contemplating) the pursuit of a passion, in all its many forms. They may be beginning a yoga practice, or starting a painting, or about to go on a date. This is a good omen that they are on the right track!

Venus is, of course, the perfect goddess to represent The Lovers in Kris Waldherr’s Goddess Deck. While Venus (Aphrodite in Greek) was a goddess of romantic love, she was also a goddess of beauty in general. Thus, if Venus (or The Lovers) show up in a reading, they may indicate a surge of creative energy, or simply that the questioner needs (or is being given) plenty of beauty to feast on.  This can also indicate a person with a gift for making things beautiful.

This is where it gets racy–

Sometimes The Lovers are just The Lovers. The card is simply telling the questioner she has a crush, or lusts after a new partner. Look closely at the moon in The Lovers card for the Celtic deck– Mary Guinan drew it as a waxing crescent. This could be the beginning, or the honeymoon phase, of a relationship, and it is swelling just as the moon does.

Okay, send the kids out of the room, if you’re squeamish–

I’ll give you a minute to get the staring out of your system.

All done? Good, because there’s more to this card then privates and thingies and naughty bits, as in all Robin Wood cards.  The nudity, while of course underscoring romantic love and sexual passion, is also symbolic of a pure, unashamed state. This could be speaking to a relationship where the couple is secure in themselves with each other, or the two are exploring new things together, a la Jasmine and Aladdin. This state can also describe a new interest in the questioner’s life. Remember “beginner’s mind”? This Zen concept is defined as the purest, most open state of mind, the mind most receptive to learning. The person’s interest is unadulterated.

Looking at other parts of the couple’s bodies besides the very obvious ones, you may notice the color of their hair. Yes, they have hair on their heads. The man has golden hair, and the woman has raven hair. You may also notice that the man is balancing a sun, and the woman is balancing a moon.  They are connected by a arcing rainbow.  This is symbolic of the balance between yin and yang, male and female, bright and dark.  The masculine attributes of strength, ambition, power, and consciousness is equal to, no more or less, to the feminine attributes of intuition, the ability to plumb the subconscious, and nurturing.  Combined, this leads to fertility (as can be seen in the blossoming flowers and fruit on the card).  This fertility may be physical, artistic, intellectual, or spiritual. If the question is about a couple, they would seem to be a perfect match (of course, nobody’s perfect, but they’re pretty happy, indeed!). If it’s about an individual, this means that this person is extremely harmonious internally.

The Lovers can also mean that the person has committed himself to a new spiritual or intellectual practice.  The beloved in this case is a Higher Power, or a new philosophy of life.  It may also show that the questioner has chosen to commit to her Self, and this is a romance that lasts a lifetime.

Reversed, The Lovers card means that He or She is Just Not That Into You, or there is a lack of commitment in the scenario being analyzed.  There is a mismatch.  It might not work out.

But enough negativity.  As we have seen, The Lovers is an excellent card for, well,  lovers. However, it shouldn’t be underestimated as a one-dimensional card. It can refer not only to the love between a lover and the beloved, but between the lover and a Higher Power, a Lover and Nature, a Lover and Art, a Lover and Philosophy– the list goes on, including between a Lover and the Self.  So, if you’re single for Valentine’s Day, don’t despair–as The Lovers have shown us, Love should flow freely wherever the heart wills it, not just on our romantic partners.

I’d like to leave you with some quotes by Rumi, who knew a thing or two about Love:

When life ends we are given another.

Love is the water of Eternal Life;

when you enter that immense sea,

you will know that each drop of it

brims with Life.

We are in love with Love

because Love is our salvation.

Our guide is the Soul

and Love, the water of life.

Woe to him who cannot find the source

for his path is barred by ignorance.

Your body is woven

from the light of Heaven.

Are you aware

that its purity and swiftness

are the envy of the angels

and its courage

keeps even devils away?

You stepped on the ground

and the earth, pregnant with joy,

gave birth to infinite blossoms.

The cheering spread up to Heaven!

The moon glanced  amazed at the stars.

Sources: Rumi’s Little Book of Love: 150 Poems That Speak to the Heart.  Maryam Mafi and Azima Melita Kolin, editors. Charlottesville: Hampton Roads, 2009.

Walker, Barbara G. Barbara Walker Tarot.  U.S. Games Systems, Inc., 1986.

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.

Gentle, Luxurious Taurus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Archetypes, people and animals associated with Taurus

The Cow

Hathor, the Cow Goddess of Egypt

Thor, Norse God of Thunder

The Gardener/Nature Child

Gaea, Tara, and other Earth Goddesses

The Sensualist

The Artist/Musician

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

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

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

Hints for bringing Taurus energy into your life–

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

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

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

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

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

Libra: The Sylph

Libra is the sign of people born from September 22 to October 22. It is represented by the scales.

Whenever I think of Libra, I think of grace and beauty, intellectualism and abstract acrobatics, all in equal measure. Like the rose, Libra’s flower, Libra can be soft, sweet, lovely, and romantic. Libra energy is also sylph-like; it is playful, expansive, even flirtatious, just like the fairies that rule the element of air.  However, this energy can also be jagged. This jaggedness is always there in the Shadow Libra, but it is hidden by the radiance of the petals.

Libra energy is one of opposites trying to reconcile. Libra is an air sign; therefore, it is intellectual, and comfortable in the mental realm. Yet, it is the sign of partnerships, romantic and otherwise. This carries with it certain emotional responsibilities, something air energy sometimes finds difficult to mesh with. In fact, it is hard for some Libras to understand that others can have a difficult time detaching from their emotions.

Libra is ruled by Venus. Being ruled by Venus, this energy thrives on harmony, beauty, and luxury. This sounds wonderful, but the problem is that people with this energy, being ruled by air, are acutely aware that facts, those treasures of the intellect, are anything but beautiful and harmonious. Arguing is a catch-22 for Libra. They hate it, because it’s inharmonious and ugly, but at the same time they need to argue what they perceive to be injustice, unfairness, or stupidity. A balanced Libra knows to pick his or her battles.

Balance is the lesson that people with the energy of Libra (and this is not just people with the sun in Libra, but people with other planets in the sign) spend their lives learning. It is very appropriate that Libra is represented by the scales, as people with Libra in their charts thirst for equality. They need to balance their need for partnership with the freedom and individuality of air.  They need to balance cold intellectuality with passion. They need to learn to accept the fact that reality is messy, and life is not fair.

Another thing Libra energy teaches is the need to balance everything out, tally up the pros and cons, hear all the sides of the story, and then make a decision.  Since Libras want life to be fair and for everyone to win, they can spend their lives putting off decision making, preferring instead to weigh, tally, and weigh again. It’s lather, rinse, repeat.   This can be very frustrating, not only for them, but for others around them, who can accuse them of being wishy-washy.

Being wishy-washy is certainly a symptom of Shadow Libra. Because Libra is all about harmony, and this includes aesthetic harmony, Shadow Libra can be quite shallow, only hanging out with A-listers. Wanting to climb the social ladder, because of a mistaken belief that everyone who is rich, famous, and beautiful will have an interior to match the exterior, Shadow Libra can use people, and be snobby. Libras can really hurt, or at least annoy, others with their talent for criticism. Libra betrayal, abandonment, and criticism are the thorns that prick those who are drawn to the beauty of the Libra. Because it is hard for Shadow Libra to understand the emotions of others, they may see another person’s hurt as messy, and something else to criticize. The Libra cannot understand why the person they used, abandoned, or criticized can’t see it from the Libra’s point of view. After all, they were just trying to help! Or, they were just taking an opportunity to advance their status–why do people begrudge them for this?

When Libra energy is healthy, however, it’s wonderful. Libra energy can make logic a thing of beauty. Astronomy and even physics, the very nature of the universe can become symphonic in the eyes of a Libra, and their skill at communicating this beauty passes the loveliness on to you! When they channel their critical eye in a positive manner, Libra can really help others increase the beauty and harmony in their lives, as make-up artists and interior designers.

Libran aesthetics are legendary.  Everything is in balance and in harmony. Contact with good Libra energy is a walk in a Zen garden. Because Libra sees all sides of things, and pays equal attention to hearing all points of view,  they can be very compassionate. This leads them to fruitful careers as lawyers and marriage counselors. Because partnership is so important to a Libra, they will do their best to keep their partner happy, which, for a Libra, should not be too difficult. As an air sign, they can have honey tongues.

I have personal experience with Libra energy, as I am a Mars in Libra. It is very difficult for me to have patience with what I perceive to be injustice and cruelty. I cannot understand why people act as they do, and this drives me crazy, because I NEED to understand. Sometimes there’s no explanation for why people act, and this drives me INSANE. I hate conflict of all kinds, and just give in, even when I know that a person’s actions are unfair, simply to avoid the conflict.  Other people with Libra energy might have the opposite problem–they seek out conflict like miners panning for gold. Others are like me, I think.

Libra archetypes and people:

Dike, the Greek goddess of Justice

Lawyers

Judges

Marriage counselors

Hera, Greek goddess of Marriage

Aphrodite, goddess of Love and Beauty

King Arthur–the legendary king who sought to create Utopia (a place of perfect justice and harmony) in Camelot, and then was crushed by romance.

Interior decorators

Make-up artists

Bringing Libra energy into your life:

1) Think about an area in your life that can use more beauty and/or harmony. This could be as simple as rearranging your living room so there’s less clutter. If you live with people, is there a space you can have that’s just for you, a place you can decorate and arrange for your tastes? It doesn’t have to be huge. This can bring the harmony of Libra energy into your life.

2) Visit a museum or a botanical garden. When was the last time you saw something truly beautiful, and really noticed it?

3) How do you argue?  This is an interesting thing, because of the Libra catch 22. When you argue, do you take the time to see things from the other person’s point of view?  From personal experience, I can tell you it is extremely enlightening spending a day really, actively listening to others.

4) Try this exercise–next time an urge to criticize comes up, compliment the person you were going to criticize. It must be sincere, however. This did my Libra Mars a world of good.