Thursday, 31 October 2013

Tarot Blog Hop - Samhain 2013

Welcome to Alison’s Alembic!   You may have arrived here as a stop on the Tarot Blog Hop from either Joanna Ash's or Lynda Hardy's blog.  Or you may have found this through TABI’s Facebook page, or though one of the many wonderful tarot bloggers in the ether... It doesn’t matter – what does matter is that you’re here! 

We’ve been asked, for this Samhain blog, to write on the theme of ‘Love’, linked to tarot or other forms of divination. I struggled for a long time with this, not knowing where to start. I mean, what a huge topic, and what a range of approaches that could be taken!  ‘Overwhelmed’ only begins to describe my feeling.  Finally, I sat down and thought, OK, what is it I love about tarot and divination in general? And here it is...

The thing I love most about life is its cyclical nature. On a very literal level, I love watching the changes of the seasons, watching what nature is doing as things move from one stage to another – all part of the cycle of the year.  As an astrologer, I love how the way that the zodiac demonstrates the cyclical, or spiral perhaps, nature of life. Perhaps not surprisingly, given that I have a Scorpio Ascendant (!), this is my favourite time of that cycle (in the mid-latitudes of the northern hemisphere, at least).  As a child I loved kicking through the piles of red, orange and brown leaves, to and from school.  I loved the mystery of Hallowe’en, of collecting a ‘soul cake’ – far more intriguing than the sweets generally on offer!  Leaves fade, decay, and rot...all around us are signs of death and dying, as nature prepares for winter and a deep sleep before waking up again to the warmth of spring, ready for the seeds that have been buried underground now to burst forth.  Scorpio reflects that darkness, that compulsion to go deep underground and explore what’s underneath – our shadow, if you like.  

The Guardian (15), Wildwood Tarot
I love the idea that this is the time when this world is closest to the ‘otherworld’, that the veil that separates us from those who are no longer walking in this world is thinnest. The Day of the Dead, a time to honour the ancestors.  And, in the old Celtic tradition, the end of the year.

Five of Vessels, Wildwood Tarot
...and from there I come to the tarot. I love the way that tarot and astrology come together, the rich tapestry of mythology that underlies it all enriching the cards, allowing the readings to take on a greater intensity.    

My love of this time of year is reflected in my favourite cards in the tarot, some of which are linked astrologically to Scorpio (no surprise there either!).  I love the image from the Wildwood’s Five of Vessels, for instance... reminding me of the ecstasy that comes from shamanic trance dance, which seems to me a very Mars (traditional ruler of Scorpio) in Scorpio energy... 

Death, Thoth Tarot
The Journey, Wildwood Tarot
I’m often drawn to the Death cards in decks – the Thoth and Wildwood images being particular favourites.  

Here it’s not just the images, the artwork – although that’s powerful enough in both cases - but also the knowledge that’s come through working with this card about the power of transformation, challenging and difficult and painful though that may be.  As Jung said, the shadow is 90% pure gold!

This time of year is associated with the alchemical process of nigredo, the breaking down and ending of a cycle, out of which new possibilities come forth. Glennie Kindred, in her magical The Alchemist’s Journey (published by Hay House, 2005), writes of this being “an opportunity to explore emotional depths at the deepest level. I become aware of where I am disconnected from Love and where I am emotionally stuck.”  So many thanks, Glennie, for the inspiration for my Samhain spread... (using the Wildwood Tarot)
Knight of Arrows

Where am I disconnected from Love?

The Knight, or Hawk, helps me realize how I allow doubt and uncertainty to undermine Love in my life.   

Six of Bows
What is hidden in Shadow?

The Six of Bows reminds me that there’s abundance all around me, if only I’d take the time to look in the shadows! 

Great Bear
What will help me to re-connect?

The Great Bear (20 in the Wildwood's Major Arcana) suggests that being more patient, more honest, and more forgiving – not just with/of others but also of myself will help me to re-connect with Love.

Thank you for stopping off here on your own journey through this Samhain Tarot Blog Hop!  Please do come back and read some of my other posts, looking at astrology in the tarot.  

The next stops on the Tarot Blog Hop are - depending on whether you’re moving backwards or forwards through the list -  Joanna Ash's or Lynda Hardy's blog. The Master List can be found here.

Thoth Tarot created by Aleister Crowley, illustrated by Lady Frieda Harris, published by US Games Systems, Inc.
Wildwood Tarot created by Mark Ryan and John Matthews, illustrated by Will Worthington, published by Connections