Friday 25 March 2016

Flame out of flame!

I've recently started exploring the Margarete Petersen Tarot, which uses very different images to the ones I'm used to.  And with the Vernal Equinox and our ingress to Aries just past, what better card to look at than the fiery Ace of Flames!

Ace of Flames (trimmed): Margarete Petersen Tarot
The spark of creativity is burning bright, ready to see us off on a new adventure, a new year. What seeds have we sown, nurtured, incubated that are now ready to burn freely?  Wake up! Be aware of what surrounds you right here, right now! 

Margarete Petersen Tarot, AGM-URANIA, 2004.

Sunday 20 March 2016

Fiscal matters and the Vernal equinox Tarot Blog Hop 2016

Welcome to Alison’s Alembic!   You may have arrived here as a stop on the Tarot Blog Hop from either Siobhan's Mirror or Pure Blessed Tarot.  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! 

At 04.30 GMT today the Sun moved, astrologically speaking, into Aries.  This has special significance as 0° Aries also marks one of the two equinoxes, the points at which the celestial equator and the elliptic (the path that the Sun appears to follow, when viewed from the earth) intersect. The word ‘equinox’ comes from the Latin, meaning ‘equal night’ – because at these two points of intersection, we experience approximately (depending on our latitude) equal hours of day and night.  The points of intersection are referred to as equinoctial points, with 0° marking the vernal point, and 180° the autumnal point.  So, 0° Aries corresponds to the point of the vernal equinox, and – in the northern hemisphere - this day has come to be celebrated as the first day of spring.

It’s also the end of the financial year, in the UK at least. Our wrangler for this Vernal Equinox Hop, Ania Marczyk has asked us to turn our attention to finance – more specifically, how we use the Tarot in relation to financial matters.

I often do readings around financial matters – in fact, I quite enjoy them, as long as it doesn’t cross the line into giving financial advice. Then it’s time to recommend talking to a financial advisor, or the bank – someone who’s qualified to deal with the specifics.  Usually it’s the cards themselves that emphasize the need for that; in the last reading I did around finances, both the King and Knight of Swords appeared, which I saw as indications to talk to a professional and to seek out more information.

For me, the end of the financial year conjures up an image of books being balanced, of adjustments being made.  And the system’s supposed to be fair, right? Immediately I see the Thoth’s Adjustment (Justice) card in my mind:

Adjustment (trimmed): Thoth Tarot

But, astrologically speaking, at least, Adjustment is associated with Libra and the autumnal equinox (northern hemisphere bias coming out here, sorry!), so what opposes it here, at the time of the vernal equinox?

The card most commonly associated with Aries is The Emperor. Traditionally, astrologers view Aries as the first sign in the zodiac. It’s also a cardinal sign, so it’s a ‘mover and shaker’. Aries is the initiator, the pioneer – the one who comes up with the ideas.  It’s the first of the three Fire signs encountered in the zodiac, bringing drive and passion to the creative process.  It’s also thought of as ‘masculine’, or ‘active’ – ‘yang’ energy... 

Emperor (trimmed): Thoth Tarot
But money? The fiscal year? Well, it’s the beginning of a new fiscal year, so the idea of new beginnings is obvious. Plus when I look at the Crowley Thoth's Emperor I think of the King “sitting in his counting house, counting all his money”!  I’d like to think that the fiscal systems we bow to were created with wisdom as well as compassion for taxpayers (ah, there's the Justice sneaking in again!) but these days it’s sometimes hard to see this! To quote the Beatles, "it's one for you, nineteen for me"...

Now, I’m one of those sad organized people who does their taxes well before the deadline – usually just before the autumnal equinox!  I like to get them out of the way so I don’t have to worry about missing the end of January deadline. No surprise, perhaps, that the Emperor is perhaps the one Major card that I struggle with most, while Justice represents many of the ideals that speak to me...

But, as I dealt with my taxes months ago, I can greet the equinox and the end of the financial year with a light heart – bring on the bunnies and chocolate!!

Two of Stones (trimmed): Wildwood Tarot

Thank you for stopping off here on your own journey through this Imbolc 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 – Siobhan's Mirror or Pure Blessed Tarot. The Master List can be foundhere.

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

Tuesday 15 March 2016

Pisces in the DruidCraft court cards

Last but not least, by any means – Pisces in the Druidcraft court cards. Different traditions have different astrological correspondences when it comes to the Court Cards.  Generally  (but not always!) these correspondences depend on how cardinality, fixity and mutability have been assigned.  As Pisces is the mutable Water sign, I’m looking for the Cups court card that’s associated with fluctuating emotions and changes within relationships of all kinds – romantic, platonic, familial.

Prince of Cups (trimmed):
DruidCraft Tarot
So what court card does this represent?  If you work with a system that assigns mutability to the Knights, as do most of the Rider-Waite-Smith-based decks, you’re looking at the Knight of Cups.  This Knight will react through his feelings – his heart will rule his head! He’s kind and sympathetic, with an affinity for the underdog.  Not one of the speedy Knights, the image usually depicts the Knight on horseback walking slowly, often beside water – letting things happen in their own time, not pushing or rushing – and that’s exactly what we see in the DruidCraft’s Prince of Cups.   A dreamer, one who longs for an all-encompassing, ideal love.

Knights are often associated with quests: this one will be in search of love, or in pursuit of dreams and ideals, and will be willing to make sacrifices.  Full of good intentions, but with a tendency to lose himself in Piscean idealism or romanticism...

‘Emotional integrity’ is a good phrase for a Piscean court card; could this be the object of the quest?

The shadow side of this Knight/Prince could be a tendency to be moody, or to becoming lost in a dream world – possibly to the point of becoming addicted to something in the quest to lose oneself, to escape the reality of daily life.

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

Thursday 10 March 2016

Pisces in the DruidCraft Minor Arcana: The Ten of Cups

The Ten of Cups, in the astrological correspondence system I follow, is linked to Mars in Pisces, and the final third of Pisces (10th-19th March this year). 
First of all, what qualities does Mars bring to Pisces?  Fire and Water... Mars is assertive and determined, and takes the initiative – so in Pisces, we could be looking for assertiveness in terms of ideals or ideology. Assertive, but at the same time compassionate and kind.  The initiative and drive we associate with Mars will be softened by the sensitivity of Pisces.  Desires and dreams are achieved by following instinct, or those moments of inspiration. The shadow side of this could manifest in emotional vulnerability.

DruidCraft Tarot
And in the Ten of Cups?  Well, in the DruidCraft Tarot we see a fairly traditional (as in Rider-Waite-Smith tradition) image – the family sitting around the ten cups, but are they content?  To me the man seems to have an element of boredom in his expression, rather than contentment, and his son looks a bit on the wistful side.  Are they now looking for something new? That could be the Mars energy – the drive to push ahead, but in the Pisces world those Martian qualities might radiate more gently.  

That helps me to see the more permanent sense of contentment that we’ve come to associate with the Ten of Cups – as opposed to the moment of ‘bliss’ of the Nine.  With the Ten, we have a sense of completion – emotional fulfilment in relationships, be they romantic, familial, platonic.  To achieve and maintain this sense of fulfilment we need the effort and drive of Mars, allowing us to turn our dreams into reality, rather than let them stay a Piscean vision.

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