Monday 31 October 2016

Tarot Blog Hop: Samhuin 2016

Welcome to Alison’s Alembic! You may have arrived here as a stop on the Tarot Blog Hop from either Louise’s Priestess Tarot or Ania M'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!

(First of all, I have to apologise for any weird font sizes that follow. No matter how many times I reset them to 'normal', Blogger insists on making it all tiny again. If they still look odd, I hope you all have a good magnifying glass to hand!)

It’s the time of Samhain (“summer’s end”), a liminal time when 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. Our wrangler for this particular Blog Hop, Louise of Priestess Tarot, has asked us to think about how we might connect to the ancestors, to see what advice they might have for the coming year. She suggested we might want to design a spread, or a sigil, or anything else with the cards that connects advice from the ancestors to the year ahead.

Now, it just so happens that in another pagan group I work with, we’ve been set the task of creating an organic symbol which we’ve imbued with things we want to release – known and unknown - into our Samhuin fire. I thought I could combine this symbol with the challenge Louise has set. So, here’s a photo of my symbol, made of the sunflower stalks and dead fronds from plants in my garden…

…and here’s a spread based on that design. Not an original shape, by any means, but I hope you will find the concept useful. The cards are from the Margarete Petersen deck, and all card images are copyright Margarete Petersen.


Five of Flames (trimmed):

Card 1(at the top): What do I need to let go of?

The Five of Flames. I need to let go of anger, channelling it into something more useful, like clarification. As Margarete Petersen says “cleansing the atmosphere like a thunderstorm”. This certainly hits the nail on the head...I spend too much time railing against things I don't seem to have much control over. This feels much more productive!

Moving clock-wise around the symbol...

Four of Coins (trimmed)

Card 2: What do I need to protect?

Four of Coins. I need to protect my boundaries, work out where I need to be and maintain that – and then rest! Again, excellent advice. I've been letting too much 'crap' sneak in. Some time spent reviewing the situation (to quote Fagin) will help me gain better perspective, and show me what I need to hold onto and protect.

Hierophant (trimmed)
Card 3: What do I need to learn?

The Hierophant (V). I need to learn how to make the ‘outer’ rules work with my ‘inner’ ones – to stop kicking against all the restrictions by trying to understand the reasons behind them, and then working with them productively.

Mediatrix (trimmed)

Card 4: What do I need to create?

Mediatrix (XIV) - Temperance in other decks. A better balance in my life.

It's hard to see in this image, but the figure dances above the glyph for the planet Pluto. Now, I've always associated Jupiter with this card, but Pluto makes me think about transformation, about the urge to change at a very deep level... this balance isn't just about surface stuff!

Ace of Flames (trimmed)
Card 5: What do I need to pass on to others?

Ace of Flames! The spark of creativity, the seed of a new adventure…that new beginnings are not only possible, but are ready and waiting for us.

This card comes up for me time and time again. Clearly I haven't been getting the message... Perhaps I've spent too much time in unnecessary conflict, or fighting against perceived rules and boundaries that have kept me off-balance. Time to re-dress all of that over the coming year.

Thank you for stopping off here on your travels through this Samhain Tarot Blog Hop! Please do come back and read some of my other posts – I’m currently working my way through the Margarete Petersen deck!

The next stops on the Tarot Blog Hop are - depending on whether you’re moving backwards or forwards through the list - Louise’s Priestess Tarot or Ania M's blogs. The Master List can be found here.

Margarete Petersen Tarot, Copyright ©2014 Königsfort-Urania Verlag

Thursday 27 October 2016

Fighting in vain? Margarete Petersen’s Five of Feathers

The resting figure in the Four of Feathers has been replaced by five rather destabilized figures in the Five. One is about to run a sword through another, while one looks on in anguish. The other two might be laughing... We do see their faces, unlike the RWS version. 
Five of Feathers (trimmed): ©Margarete Petersen tarot

The feather has snapped in two, the lower half tatty and damaged, the upper half maintaining most of its form with only a little ruffling - losing end and winning end perhaps? The peace has definitely been broken. Margarete Petersen says, in her LWB, that it’s all about fighting in vain, and the need to forget your imagined triumph and surrender.  

The Five of Swords is linked astrologically to Venus in Aquarius, which I see as needing to recognize that there are limits (the fixed nature of Aquarius) 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.

Peace has been broken,
Fighting for imagined gain - 
Let go, surrender.

Margarete Petersen Tarot, AGM-URANIA, 2004. 

Sunday 23 October 2016

Still waters run deep

At 00.45pm GMT on the 23rd October, the Sun moved (astrologically) from Libra into Scorpio.  

Here in the UK, the leaves continue to change colour, but now they’re falling from branches, covering the earth in a blanket of gold, bronze, and orange.  The autumn winds lift them up; they whirl through the air, twisting and swirling in a vortex... Since the equinox, the nights are growing longer, giving us the opportunity to spend more time dreaming.   Here in the mid-latitudes of the northern hemisphere, people are planting bulbs – the ‘seed’ of life being sown underground where it will lie protected and nurtured until it’s ready to ‘spring’ forth in a few months’ time.  Is it any wonder that Scorpio, the scorpion, is the sign of transformation?  All around us, in nature, the world appears to be going to sleep; animals are starting to hibernate, the birds are gathering and forming their migratory v-shapes as they head for warmer climates.  

‘Scorpio’ ©Alison Coals
Before long it will be Samhain (“summer’s end”) the end and start of the Celtic New Year, the Day of the Dead – times of transformation and change, which is what we’ve come to associate with Scorpio.  In astrology, Scorpio is one of the three Water signs, along with Cancer and Pisces, as well as being one of the four Fixed signs.   It ends the second cycle of the elements (Cancer through to Scorpio), and opposes Taurus on the axis of resources.  While Taurus is interested in material resources, Scorpio – as a water sign – is more interested in emotional resources.  As a fixed sign, Scorpio wants to know what’s going on at a deeper level, not at the bubbly surface – “still waters run deep” is a good description of Scorpio’s focus.  Only by diving into the depths can Scorpio unearth the root of a problem and attempt to transform it – and it will probably take a crisis or something similar before Scorpio will take that plunge. 

The traditional ruler of Scorpio is the planet Mars, providing passion and drive.  It also has a modern ruler, Pluto, named after the Lord of the Underworld, reflecting the cycle of life and death and the change involved.  Both planets are associated with power; “knowledge is power” is another good description.  We’ve just left Libra, with its 7th-house focus on partnership, and the need for harmony and balance through negotiation and diplomacy. Now we’re about to move into 8th-house issues with Scorpio –shared resources; the fall-out, if you like, or follow-on, of the partnerships.    Emotions run deep, and power struggles within relationships can ensue.  Intensity.  Any transformation, under the auspices of Scorpio, will be intense!