Thursday 28 January 2016

Aquarius in the DruidCraft Major Arcana – The Star

Ganymede (

Let’s continue our exploration of Aquarius in the DruidCraft Tarot with the Major Arcana. 

We already know that it combines the element of air with fixed energy, making it a very ‘in your head’ sign.   It’s associated with ideology and reform, humanitarianism and working with community and groups.  In Greek mythology, Ganymede was the cup-bearer to the gods, serving them with the nectar or ambrosia which gave them immortality – and was placed in the heavens as the constellation Aquarius as his reward.  The contents of that cup were life-sustaining – and what is it that sustains us, more often than not? Hope. And what card in the Major Arcana could we connect with hope? The Star!

The Star (detail): DruidCraft Tarot
The DruidCraft Tarot follows Rider-Waite-Smith tradition in its depiction of The Star with the young, naked woman with two pitchers of water – an Aquarian water carrier.  Her youth is said to symbolize renewal, while her nakedness represents truth for all to see.  She has one foot on land (past) and the other in water (the future), linking the two - and perhaps also linking the conscious and unconscious.   

The foot in water also links us to the Pool of Memory, allowing us to remember events which give us hope.  Her two water jugs sustain both the land and the pool.  See how the water falling onto the rock on her left separates into five streams before returning to the pool? This symbolizes our five senses.  Aquarius may be detached but it can certainly feed us, providing us with hope and optimism – the promise of a new day (dawn). 

The card carries the number 17, 1 + 7: in the sky we see the seven stars of the ‘Little Dipper’, the tail of Ursa Minor or the Little Bear.  Polaris, at the end of the dipper’s handle, is shown as brightest of all – the star that gives us direction and hope when we’re lost.  Sailors used to, perhaps still do, navigate by the stars at night. Polaris is one of the (apparently) ‘fixed’ star in the sky, making it particularly useful in celestial navigation – and therefore a symbol of hope in its own right.  

No surprise that Imbolc occurs during our sojourn in Aquarius – first signs of spring bringing forth hope. ..and only a few days away – watch this space!

Druidcraft Tarot created by Philip Carr-Gomm and Stephanie Carr-Gomm, illustrated by Will Worthington, published by Connections 2004

Sunday 24 January 2016

Aquarius in the DruidCraft Minor Arcana: The Five of Swords

Let’s start our exploration of Aquarius in the DruidCraft with a dip into the Minor Arcana.  In the astrological correspondence system that I follow, Aquarius is linked to the Five, Six and Seven of Swords (for more information on this system, I recommend Elizabeth Hazel’s Tarot Decoded, published by Weiser, 2004). Today I’m going to look at the Five of Swords, which corresponds to Venus in Aquarius – as well as the first ten days of Aquarius (so from the 20th to the 29th January).

Aquarius is the fixed Air sign, so we’re looking at maintaining lines of communications, and establishing ideas and concepts – but not just any old idea. This is the sign of the unconventional and the unorthodox, the reformer and revolutionary.  When we add Venus, the ‘principle of attraction’, to this we have a sign that expresses itself freely, perhaps flirtatiously – but very likely in an experimental way.  Aquarius can be detached and impersonal, so that flirtation might be very superficial and could impede the development of intimate relationships.  There’s a strong need for active socializing, for establishing groups based around a common cause, but this will be influenced by beliefs in individual freedom and expression, which could lead to conflict if not managed.

Five of Swords (detail): DruidCraft Tarot
So how might this play out in the Five of Swords?   The DruidCraft’s image for this card is a relatively ‘traditional’ depiction, with a figure standing in a triumphant – or perhaps defiant - pose, holding three swords while the other two lie at his feet.  A hunched figure behind him slumps away in defeat – the risk of defeat over his belief in freedom of expression, perhaps?  The victor in this case may have acted without compassion or humility – the downside of Aquarian’s detachment, maybe.

Juliet Sharman-Burke, in her Beginner’s Guide to Tarot (published by Connections), writes of needing to ‘accept the limits of both victory and defeat’.  The limits come through the fixed-ness of Aquarius, I feel – needing to recognize that there are limits to what we want to achieve, what we’re attracted to (the Venusian quality). Not that we have to give up, necessarily, but to accept a ‘temporary defeat’ or setback by objectively (Aquarius again) assessing how strong we are, be it as an individual or group, in relation to our opponent, be that another individual or community, and being able to step back from a battle that can’t be won.  A battle – not the ‘war’.  By knowing when to walk away from a situation or relationship, whatever it might be, we live to fight another day for what we believe in, what we’re pulled towards – the attraction principle, again.

Things are out of balance due to the tension or conflict between ideologies, say – the harmony that we normally associate with Venus has been lost.  Aquarius looks towards the future though – it’s the forward-thinking sign.  The challenge is to stay objective, to be able to look at the situation clearly and to assess the options open to us, rather than succumbing to the loss of hope – the Venusian/Aquarian ideal.

Druidcraft Tarot created by Philip Carr-Gomm and Stephanie Carr-Gomm, illustrated by Will Worthington, published by Connections 2004