A naked man and woman looking very much like Adam and Eve face each other separated by a phallic mountain behind them. They stand on a verdant bank. Behind the woman is the tree of knowledge with a snake circling around the trunk gazing curiously at the woman, perhaps waiting for the right moment to entice her to try one of the delicious apples. Behind the man is a tree with fiery leaves. Passion is his as knowledge is hers. These are the choices for each of them. The man looks at the woman, the woman looks up towards the heavens. What will bring these two together? How will the choose to cross the divide? Choice is the crux of the matter with the Lovers in Tarot. After all they are building a relationship. What kind of relationship will this be? A bright sun shines above. The Angel Gabriel appears out of the clouds in the blue sky with a blessing. He encourages the two to appeal to their higher nature and marry the divine spirit with earthly passion as they make their way on the earthly plane. In this time of crisis when we are faced with a mindset of lack and confusion, we are called to calm ourselves, look within, listen to the still voice of our soul. Be safe. Be healthy. Be strong. Believe. Namaste.
It’s 6:30AM Wednesday morning. My half open eyes scroll through my twitter feed. “Nadal Beats Thiem in Marathon Five-Set Thriller,” “Another Epic Battle,” “Absolute Classic.” For close to five and half hours in severe heat and humidity, two gladiators with racquet and ball battled each other and themselves. In tennis someone wins and someone loses. That’s the game. However, this year’s US Open tennis tournament has a third player, a somewhat unwelcome guest at the table, namely the weather.
Record breaking temperatures reaching the hundreds on court with ultra-humid conditions have called for a variety of new rules encompassing an “extreme heat policy”—breaks between sets where players are ushered off court to rooms where they strip and jump into ice baths, ball kids rushing on court between sets to towel down pools of sweat where the players have stood in their hour long battles. Players, drenched to the bone, shouldering kit bags as they wander off court between games where they are allotted 90 seconds to change into dry outfits only to be soaked to the bone on their way back to the court to resume play. Commentators discuss ratios between games won in the shade as opposed to games won in the sun. But everyone knows that even when the sun goes down the heat and humidity remain the most stubborn of opponents.
And we, the spectators, what are we to take from watching these men and women battle in these severe conditions? I, myself, don’t see any semblance of the game I love. This is beyond the beautiful stroke-making, balletic moves, strategic chess moves played with racquet and ball. This is a battle against the elements. One player observes that it was “hard to get air.” Another complains about the pools of sweat creating hazardous slippery conditions. Zombie eyes, lumbering limbs, laboring breath, only the fittest survive. But what is this fitness? How do these athletes train for a steamy New York Indian summer? And is it purely physical? Is there a mental element?
What is it that drives these players to battle with such tenacity and perseverance under these ultimate conditions? Is there a switch that anesthetizes the body, mind and spirit against the agony of extreme weather? Some have described it as “a fire in the belly.” These special beings have passion, drive, they fight for each point and never give up. I would say this is the description of the tarot suit of wands. Fire, passion, action. They go into the fire and thrill at the agony with one burning intention—to win the match. At the end there’s the warrior’s embrace and then the victor’s outstretched arms defying the heavenly elements as if to say, “Even you I have conquered! Even you!”
As we gear up for championship weekend where the women and men will be battling for titles, I think it’s more than appropriate to suggest that for this year’s US OPEN the tarot card most resembling the champion will be the Nine of Wands so emblematic of the great battles we are witnessing each day and night. Who will be the last man and last woman standing?
What better way to usher in the end of summer and beginning of fall than to PARTAY! Three lovely ladies (three graces, vestal virgins) raise their cups in a toast as they dance amongst the pumpkins. Is that mulled cider I smell in the cups? Let’s enjoy the company of friends, lift a glass and celebrate the joy of life. These moments of camaraderie are precious and when the spirit moves need to be lived fully.
Of course, three can be a crowd and trios can have their moments of odd man out. But for now let’s dance.
You might think it ironic that I place this optimistic proverb side by side next to the Ten of Swords where a man lies face down on the ground with ten swords stabbing him in his back. Is this not the sorriest sight ever, the ultimate betrayal, death knell, no holds barred of an ending. And then right next to it a hopeful homily forecasting a bright future. It is a visual oxymoron.
The way I see it is that when you have reached the end of the line and what’s done is done and truly over, there’s really only one direction to go after that and that’s up. Even though the man is lying face down in a pool of his own blood, his body limp in death, even though the night is pitch black, and a body of water and mountains loom in a desolate landscape, my eye goes to the band of yellow light which signifies a new day, a new beginning and all the hope that comes with that.
It’s time to accept the loss and move on. Good things are to come.
A man in wealthy garb holds a scale in one hand while he tosses coins to a beggar kneeling at his side from his other hand. Another beggar kneels at the man’s other side hoping for a handout. Six golden coins or pentacles dot a light blue sky as if to remind us that wealth can be heaven sent and as so is part of the universal exchange of abundance.
The scales seem to point to sharing resources judiciously. This week we grapple with questions of charity and the choices that come with the distribution of wealth. When do we give? How much do we give? To whom do we give? Pentacles in tarot refer to the element of earth so we are dealing with material things, wealth, finance. Sixes in tarot numerology have to do with the resolution of the conflict or change that has occurred in the previous five card. We might remember that the Five of Pentacles shows two beggars wandering desperately in a snowstorm oblivious to the golden light of the stained glass windows in a nearby church. The situation has changed for the better in the Six of Pentacles as the two beggars have met a generous man of means.
We are guided by an inner light to share resources of all kinds, not just coins. The exchange between giver and receiver creates a balance of energy flow. Whether beggar or wealthy man, it is important to remember that the universe’s source will never dry up. It is fed by our belief in abundance and actions of love. Seek the light.
At the beginning of a Tarot card reading I shuffle the deck of cards and say a prayer inviting spirit to come to me. What does that mean? I am focusing my energies into a higher realm and asking for divine guidance. I want to clear out my ego with its personal thoughts and emotions and allow spirit to infuse my consciousness. I am essentially clearing the way for that which I don’t know to become apparent. Because I do not know everything. That is the first lesson on my way to grace. Accepting that beyond all the study in the world the intellect is not the final ruler is perhaps, for me, the greatest lesson of the esoteric. As Hamlet says to Horatio, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
To be sure, there is knowledge beyond the tangibles of this world and it is found in the ether of spirit.
What is this spirit I am inviting? Where does it abide? It’s the stuff I can’t see. The wind whistling in the trees. The breath of life, source, “creator” if you will. Our lives come to us through our senses and appear in tangibles—things we touch, feel, smell, hear, see. I’m most interested in all that is not apparent. Which is interesting, for me, because I am such a Taurus earth person with my feet on the ground, plodding along with my senses establishing a secure firm hold on my world.
Tarot, for me, is my gateway to the unseen, what lies beyond the veil in the space between dimensions. Historically the Tarot is a system of symbols, a language come down to us through the ages. At the most basic level it is a deck of playing cards with pictures of situations marking the journey of a soul through the vagaries of everyday events. Colored pictures of figures, events, stories with icons from Egyptian, metaphysical, esoteric lore are blended into a tapestry rich in symbolic meanings.
A tarot reading could be entitled “Where the Universal and Personal Collide,” as the vibrations of these symbols resonate on many levels of awareness for each individual reader. Those impressions blended with the archetypes of the collective unconscious create a unity of awareness. A system of symbolic meaning mythic and personal in their impact. As I parse through a reading I often wonder what connects the imprints of messages. What is the glue binding these “hits” to make a story, a message. I believe it is spirit which filters in and out of the bits and pieces of information like a ribbon.
As I watch the clouds drifting in the sky drifting in and out of shapes it seems to me that our experience on this physical plane is similar. Consciousness focuses on elements of tangible existence. Who or what guides the focus of consciousness? Is this the veil the High Priestess guards so intently? That which separates us from the mysteries of beyond? The fascination with the unknown is real and cries out for a key to help open the door. What is my key?
The tarot. These cards with their pictures, colors, symbols, are the tool I use to connecting to my intuition. My intuition is the bridge to the world beyond where the workshop of the divine exists. Angels hammer out messages of the divine guidance, readying them for my reception. As everyone’s experience of the divine is different and calls for different path enhancers, the tarot is my tool of choice. And this is my experience. I hope the experiences shared here may benefit you on your journey.