Every tarot reader feels there are some cards you just don't want to see in your readings, whether they are for self or others. The gods be damned Three of Swords is one of them. "Heartbreak!" it screams. "Despair!" Tears are sure to follow, right?
The dark and stormy skies in the traditional tarot image are deeply reflective of the very idea of having "the blues", and Golden Dawn tradition titles the card, "Lord of Sorrow". Heartache is a common keyword assigned to the card, but I argue that is not the best possible one. If this card was about heartbreak, it would most likely be in the watery suit of Cups, most often associated with emotions, or possibly Pentacles, relating to all things of this earth, including our bodies, because most of us are unfortunate enough to know that hearts really can hurt. A card signifying heartache could even be found in the Wands, dealing with our spirits and passions, but this card is found in the suit of Swords, which has to do with thoughts and communications. Threes can be related back to the creative genius of the Empress, so I put forth that this card actually has to do with the way we create our own thoughts, and the deep disappoint we feel when what we thought was true doesn't match up to the reality of what is.
The astrology of the card is Saturn in Libra, according to Mr. Crowley, and others, and Saturn has to do with our life's learning experiences, among other things, while Libra is mainly concerned with how we relate, and above all things, keeping it fair. One of our first life lesson comes at a tender age when we plaintively wail, "But that isn't fair!" to some seemingly uncaring adult, and we all know what their response generally was- "Life isn't fair. Get used to it." True, but harsh words.
By its' very nature, Libra desires to be balanced, but Threes are not balanced. They are the antithesis of balance, the very thing that can upset the careful balance of the Twos and lacking the stabilization of the Fours. Saturn does not mean to be a right ol' bastard, but the fact of the matter is most of us do not learn while everything is going our way, so difficulty and challenge tend to be the things that spur growth. The pairing is not very harmonious, and that brings us to the title of "Sorrow" for this oft-maligned card.
The advice this card offers is to go ahead and face whatever you need to face, because pain and love are alike in some ways- you can't go around it, under, nor over. The only way through is straight and narrow. The gift that can be taken away when this card shows up, and it will, is that we are in control of our thoughts. They may, in fact, be the only thing we are in control of fully, and the way we think about a situation has everything to do with how we experience the situation. That doesn't make it easier when marriages crumble or jobs are lost, or all the tragedies large and small that we all experience happen, but it does make it endurable.
And life always circles around to where we are not just getting by, but celebrating again.
These Three of Swords cards are from the Victorian Romantic Tarot by Karen Mahony and Alex Ukolov at Baba Studio, the Pamela Colman Smith Commemorative deck, and the Aleister Crowley Thoth Tarot, painted by Lady Frieda Harris, trimmed by me, both for US Games.
This is what I started to write when I drew these cards this morning- What these cards make me think about is the private face we all keep hidden, the ways we can't expose ourselves, but what would like to, and the public face we show to the world. The Devil card looks to me like the metamorphosis of the High Priestess, who has donned her armor. That was about as far as I got.
The way these cards played out in my day today was thus- Instead of speaking my truth, I tried to make nice, and I was miserable, which made my honey miserable, and we were all miserable. I did not want to lay myself bare, and it was not simple protection, more like wanting to come across like better than I am. The Wheel goes round and round, but sometimes we do get to decide where we are on it. Today I learned that speaking truth will always put me on the right turn of the Wheel, but denying it is the biggest dice roll of all, and the odds are on the house.
These cards are from the Victorian Romantic Tarot by Karen Mahony and Alex Ukolov at Baba Studio.
Today I need to make a decision to turn myself away from a deceit I perpetrate with myself. I know what it is, but I don't especially feel like sharing, which may be a giant tease, but it's hard enough to admit our shortcomings to ourselves, let alone the world at large. It's me I am hurting with it, no one else, though, as seen by the Queen of Cups turning away from the rest of the reading. She doesn't want anything to do with the sly ways of the Seven of Swords, who is making off with his ill-gotten gains. Goodness starts with good thoughts, and good thoughts lead to good actions, which leads to a good life. Peace is a choice we make.
At the base of the deck, the Two of Cups appeared to remind me that I don't have to live that way anymore. I am loved, I am valued, I love, I cherish, and this is a safe place for me to be.
These cards are from the Victorian Romantic Tarot by Karen Mahony and Alex Ukolov at Baba Studio.
Today's cards come from the Victorian Romantic Tarot by Karen Mahony and Alex Ukolov at Baba Studio. The deck is out of print and a bit spendy when you can find it now, but there are murmurings of a slightly modified reprint at some point in the future, so if you love it, keep on eye on their facebook page.
My cards today speak to me about the undertaking of a big study subject. The Hierophant is the master of structured learning, and that is what my project would require, or at least I feel it would. I feel like those boys, surrounded by open books piled up all around me as I try desperately to take this all in, by osmosis if necessary. The World speaks of what I am hoping the end result will be. Specifically, I am considering delving into the study of the Thoth tarot in all earnestness, something I have never done for fear of what a massive undertaking it is, and because I find Aleister Crowley's writings to be ponderous and heavy. The cars, however, have been popping up in my dreams, and I feel that my tarot study in general would improve with being forced to learn the astrology, kaballah, alchemy, and all the other nuances that went into the making of this deck. That World card, with the carefree attitude of the central figure, illustrates my hopes for the undertaking. I hope that providing what I feel is necessary structure for my intuition to really take off and fly will help me evolve into the kind of tarot reader I want to be.
The King of Cups shows my fears, heavily burdened as he is by the mundane cares of his life, and not able to let his intuition soar the way it should. I am worried about losing my love of tarot in the details of it, and that would be a shame.
The Page of Pentacles was hanging out on the bottom of the deck, just to make sure I knew what this reading was about. This studious fellow is prepared to learn just about anything, and I am thinking I am going to need to be too.
These images are from the Victorian Romantic Tarot by Karen Mahony and Alex Ukolov at Baba Studio.
This reading is inspired by Angelo Nasios' Soul Spread and I decided to do it with the Vanessa Tarot because it amuses me to juxtapose the seriousness of this kind of reading with the cuteness of this deck. It's also a chatty little thing, I am discovering!
I got my mind on my money and my money on my mind as I pulled these cards.
1. Logos – The rational thing, the truth of the matter, what can be learned? Six of Coins- It's just money, easy come and easy go. It ain't making me or breaking me to have it, because I don't treat it like the sum total of my existence. I am who I am with or without the bling, and money is just a tool to get by.
2. Thymos – The motivation behind everything, what you seek to gain? Knight of Cups- I want to make sure everyone I love feels loved, and for some people, that requires stuff, which requires money.
3. Eros – The self-gratification aspect, what you desire right now, the thing that should be controlled/limited. Nine of Coins- All those little luxuries I feel like I deserve, well for now they need to be regulated to "luxury" status. Dear Starbucks, I'll see you in September, okay? Let absence make the heart grow fonder...
I also want to be all independent, like I used to be when I was a single gal, but I am not a single gal . I am wed to my own personal Knight of Cups and he likes to take care of me and I hurt him when I pull away and try to act all like I don't need him.
The Coins in this reading reinforce the money theme, and the Knight of Cups in between shows the balance between love and money, and how sometimes it gets all mixed up in our heads and our hearts. I think the first card, the Six of Coins, really struck a chord with me because I want two things pictured in that card. First, to be able to give that freely and nonchalantly, and secondly, to have that freedom of trust in the provision of the Universe.
These cards are from the Vanessa Tarot by Lynard Narciso for US Games.
I am not a visual artist. The creators of the decks I use are. I try very hard to give proper credit to the artist when I use an image.
My most oft used deck on this blog is the Deviant Moon Tarot, created by Patrick Valenza and published by U.S. Games Systems, Incorporated. Check out his site to buy some fantastic Deviant Moon stuff, or a deck of your own!
A lovely, but digital only, Rider Waite Smith clone deck is the Aquatic by Andreas Schroter. You are allowed to downlaod and use the images.
They also make me tell you that readings are for entertainment purposes only. I'll tell you on my own that if you change your life based on a few cards something is not right there.
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“What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson~
“Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.” ~Ashley Smith~
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” ~Rumi~
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us.” ~Marianne Williamson~
“Your daily life is your temple and your religion. When you enter into it take with you your all.” ~Kahlil Gibran~
"First you jump off the cliff and you build wings on the way down." ~Ray Bradbury~
“If I discover within myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” ~C.S. Lewis~
"Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love." ~Rainer Maria Rilke~