Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Tarot Blog Hop – Summer Solstice 2017

Welcome to Alison’s Alembic!   You may have arrived here as a stop on the Tarot Blog Hop from either Arwen’s or Aisling’s blogs.  Or you may have found this through TABI’s Facebook page, or though one of the many wonderful tarot bloggers in the ether.   However you came to be here, welcome to this instalment of the Tarot Blog Hop!

The Sun enters the sign of Cancer (04:24 UTC) tomorrow (June 21st), so for those of us in the northern hemisphere, it's the Summer Solstice. The longest day, the shortest night. It’s the time when the sun appears to have reached a standstill; the word ‘solstice’ means ‘the standing of the sun’.  The sun has reached its zenith in the sky - its furthest boundary of power, if you like – and as such, its greatest potency.  For those of us below, it’s time to stop and look back at what we’ve achieved on our journey, since the Winter Solstice six months ago.  

At this solstice, we also see the battle between the Oak King (or Cernunnos, or the Green Man, however you wish to name him) and the Holly King (Lugh, Red God, the Tanist).  At this time, the Oak King who rules the waxing half-year yields to the Holly King, ruler of the waning half-year.  The Green Man oversees fertility, while the Red God’s purview is the harvest.  Both represent two faces or aspects of life, rather than being two separate beings.  Waxing and waning are part of the same cycle.  The ‘battle’ between the two reflects the way we adapt our own duality in the process of creation.

Our wrangler for this Blog Hop, Aisling, has set us the task of using our Tarot cards to explore and explain the duality of our own natures, based on the lore of the Oak King and the Holly King. How is it that we are, actually, of “two minds”?

First of all, she’s asked us first to find a card that represents our Self, the card that represents what we interpret to be our basic nature and personality.

I had to think hard about this.  A number of cards came to mind, but in the end I chose the Queen of Cups. Why? She’s seen as emotionally self-contained, in control of her emotions, and very private.  I can see that in myself. Plus I don’t always find it easy to articulate my feelings - Water of Water!  

Queen of Cups (trimmed):© Shadowscapes Tarot
I link this Queen to the Fixed Water sign of Scorpio, which happens to be my rising sign in my birth chart; this reflects my need to get to the heart of things, to find out what’s going on underneath the surface. The detective.  Not only do I like to find out what’s hidden, but people – often complete strangers – end up telling me things I wouldn’t expect to hear, sharing their secrets.  That’s probably what led me to train as a counsellor at one point in my life.  I’m also very protective of my environment – be it the realm of family and friends, or the physical world I live in.

And then there’s my love of the sea... Water of Water again!  I’ve chosen the Shadowscapes’ Queen of Cups, because she reminds me of an amazing encounter I had with a sea turtle while swimming in the Pacific!

Next, Aisling asks us to find a card which, in our opinion, represents the “cognate opposite” of the energies of the Significator/Self—the other Self, or Tanist.

Queen of Pentacles (trimmed):© Shadowscapes Tarot
Another tough decision – again, I could come up with a number of contenders.  If the Queen of Cups represents my Self, my basic nature, then the Queen of Pentacles might be my other Self, the other half of me.  In her I see my practical side, as well as a need for comfort and security, although I’m not particularly materialistic.  I’ll work hard to achieve what I need to survive - and if I can be outside nurturing my garden or walking on rocky paths anywhere near water, I’m a happy bunny!

So the two Queens represent ‘cognate opposites’ of my Self.  The Queen of Pentacles acts as Tanist, bringing things down-to-earth, grounding me.  Both Queens reflect supporting and protecting those I care about, but in different ways – yin and yang.

Now we are to draw five cards at random to represent the energies, as we understand them in our own life, of Mind/Air, Will/Fire, Action/Earth, Intuition/Water, and Wisdom/Spirit.  We are to interpret them using our Significator and Tanist in turn to explain how the differing perspectives of the two guide our lives.

Knight of Swords (trimmed):
© Shadowscapes Tarot

Mind/Air: Knight of Swords

I have a tendency to rush in to defend my beliefs and ideas, but also to defend family and friends (working with the Queen of Cups). I won’t back down easily, holding my ground, with the help of the Queen of Pentacles.

I'm always on a quest for knowledge, too, perhaps explaining why I spent so much of my life in research! Imagination and practicality both play their part in that - coming up with ideas, and then seeing if they will actually work in reality.

Will/Fire: Page of Cups

Page of Cups (trimmed):
© Shadowscapes Tarot
Not an extrovert when it comes to exercising my will – I’m more reflective. The Shadowscapes' Page has found a quiet place far below the surface of the sea so she can contemplate what's emanating from the cup she holds in peace.

Hand in hand with the Queen of Cups, this Page reflects my need to withdraw to somewhere quiet, so that I can nurture my imagination and understand the feelings that drive my will. Meanwhile, my Queen of Pentacles Tanist allows me to enjoy my surroundings - ah, the love of the sea again! - and keeps me tethered.

Two of Cups (trimmed):
© Shadowscapes Tarot

Action/Earth: Two of Cups

My actions are often guided by the need to keep things in balance, and often there's a conflict between my head and my heart.

I love the way the figures grow out of the tree, out of the earth, in this image. Everything is connected, opposites unite and are brought into balance.

The Queen of Cups guides me in the connections I make, and the choices I make in order to keep things in balance, emotionally, intuitively, and creatively.

With the Queen of Pentacles already rooted in Earth, I'm able keep my feet on the ground and to enjoy the results of my choices.

Six of Wands (trimmed):
© Shadowscapes Tarot
Intuition/Water: Six of Wands

It's taken me a long to trust my intuition but I now have a lot more confidence in it. This represents success in battling self-doubt - but I also know that I need to be careful not to over-reach and wake that sleeping lion!

That success allows me to choose the Queen of Cups as representative of my Self. A few years ago I might have chosen the questing Knight, or even the less confident Page!

My Tanist, in the form of the Queen of Pentacles, helps me to be aware of all my senses, including my intuition. She also reminds me that standing on the back of a lion might not be the most secure place, and that my feet need to spend more time on the ground.

Knight of Pentacles (trimmed):
© Shadowscapes Tarot

Wisdom/Spirit: Knight of Pentacles

Another Knight, another quest.

Wisdom comes slowly, with perseverance and attention to detail, not by rushing. The earth dragon rises up, lifting the Knight slowly and carefully towards the treasure.

The Queen of Cups guides me towards wisdom, towards spirit, through intuition - I feel a pull towards a path that instinctively feels 'right'. But instead of rushing down that path, I feel my way slowly, paying attention to all that I meet along the way.

My Tanist comes from the same suit, so she works well with this Knight. As the earth dragon carries me along the path I've chosen, the Queen reminds me to enjoy all I see, hear, smell, touch, and taste along the way.

(Shadowscapes Tarot, created by Stephanie Pui-Man Law and Barbara Moore, Llewellyn Publications, 2010)

Thank you for stopping off here on your own journey through this Summer Solstice/Litha Tarot Blog Hop!  Please do come back and read some of my other posts.    

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

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed this. Interesting to see how many court cards turned up in the five cards drawn.