Tarot Spread for Expansion

Merlinite.jpg

This weekend, I found myself some new crystal companions. Having grown up in Brazil, I've always felt an affinity for the quartz family. Quartzes have always felt like home, in that they often are literally pieces of my homeland. Lately, though, I've been feeling drawn to agates, and just got my first pieces of Dendritic or Tree Agate, also known as Merlinite. 

Dendritic Agate is a stone of ritual, shamanism, and magic. It can help part the veils between the worlds. 

It's also a stone of plenitude, abundance, and expansion. By working with or carrying Dendritic Agate, we are inviting these energies into our lives. So I developed a three-card tarot spread with this in mind:

  1. What area of my life is ready for expansion?
  2. What is my first step in allowing or welcoming in this expansion?
  3. What is holding me back?

On April 18th, Chiron moved into Aries, after having entered Pisces in 2011. Chiron in our astrological charts represents our deepest, primal wounds, and our work to fix them. When Chiron was in Pisces, this work was mainly internal. In Aries we move into projective, external energy where we are being called to heal our sense of Self. We are entering a phase of expansion through projection. With this in mind, we can use this simple tarot spread to gain insight on where the energies in our life are shifting with Chiron's sign change. 

Fire and Water: The Alchemy of Beltane and the Scorpio Full Moon

Yesterday we had a Full Moon in Scorpio, and tomorrow is Beltane. Today, we are in between. There is power in liminal spaces, and we are in the alchemical place between fire and water. Yesterday, we had a lovely Full Moon Meditation, where I asked folks to step outside of comfort and sit in their vulnerability. 

Beltane1.jpg

The Scorpio Full Moon brings about intensity, as it asks us to confront that which has been exposed but which we don't want to address. Scorpio pulls us into the shadows, with the message that only the darkest shadows can bring about the brightest light, and vice versa. In order to evolve, we have to sink into our depths.  

Scorpio is a water sign. It is axially opposed to Taurus, an earth sign, and seat of the physical realm and stability. In the Scorpio-Taurus axis, we are reminded of impermanence and asked to embrace transformation. Water takes us to the greatest depths and asks us to surrender. With Scorpio, we must turn inwards. The Death card is linked to Scorpio, and the Death card in the Major Arcana is a metaphor for ultimate transformation. It's the shedding of the old self, so the new self can emerge. Beyond that, the old self becomes the fertilizer for the new self. In a nutshell, the ultimate medicine of the Scorpio card is the Phoenix. It teaches us that we need to allow ourselves to burn down, so we can emerge from our own ashes. In the midst of the fires of Scorpio, we find fire.

Beltane2.jpg

Which brings us to Beltane. It's so interesting to me that Beltane and the Scorpio Full Moon always happen around the same time. Beltane is part of the Gaelic calendar, and is a fire festival and celebration of fertility. Here we see another parallel to Scorpio. Scorpio's magic is undeniably sexual in nature, and Beltane honors this through ritual sexuality. It celebrates fertility and procreation, both in the plant and animal realms, which includes us, though often we try to stand apart from our animal roots. 

In this liminal space, we can take the opportunity to sit with and understand what it means to hold both fire and water. It is a call to honor both the Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine energies within us. When we distill Feminine and Masculine energies down to their very basic elements, we are looking at Receptive and Projective energies. The Feminine Divine teaches us how to turn inwards and how to receive. The Divine Masculine teaches us to reach out beyond ourselves and how to project. 

I've talked a bit about the medicine of Temperance in a previous post, and this is a theme that comes up over and over. The teachings of the Tarot are constantly pushing us to challenge our boundaries, and circle back for integration. Temperance should be the constant pursuit, because when we balance our energies, we put ourselves in a liminal space, which is where we can tap in to our greatest medicine and power. 

Happy Beltane all, I'm off to start prepping for a bonfire!

From Contraction to Expansion: Coming out of Mercury Retrograde

We are finally coming out of Mercury Retrograde, after what has felt like a very long three weeks (culminating with a broken fridge in our home, but I digress). We generally move from contraction to expansion with the coming of Ostara, the spring equinox, but Mercury Retrograde both prolonged and intensified our period of contraction this spring. This came with the challenges of being confronted with turning inwards, but also the benefit of longer incubation. Now, as we move into expansion and projection, we can do so from a place of more preparation and intensity. 

5 of wands.jpg

The medicine of Mercury Retrograde was Temperance. I pulled a card for coming into expansion, with the question "What medicine should we embrace as we move towards manifesting the projects we have been incubating?" It's a bit unusual to see the 5 of Wands as medicine, as it's usually portrayed as a card of warning. But we need to remember that there is medicine for us in each and every card, and see beyond the surface interpretation. So what is the medicine of 5 of Wands?

Pictured are three decks: Smith Waite, Motherpeace, and Circo Tarot. We can see that across the board, this card is about group dynamics and group energy. Generally this is seen as a struggle within group dynamics, with posturing and competition. But with this comes advice: stand firm for what is important to you, but acknowledge other perspectives and reap the benefits of having your viewpoint challenged. These moments are opportunities to make sure our perspectives are thought through carefully, rather than resting on the comfort of long-held assumptions.

Fires are meant to be stoked. With the intense incubation of Mercury Retrograde, we have been immersed in shadow work. Now is the time to bring this medicine out into the more public realm, and test our growth beyond the confines of the private realm.  We should also remember the medicine of Temperance, and bring that into this next step. We can always build on the medicine of the previous season. The balance and ability to bring harmony to multiple elements will give us tools for working through the 5 of Wands. 

Temperance, Mercury Retrograde, The Magician, and The High Priestess

We are in the midst of Mercury Retrograde, which combined with the Aries sun, has turned out to be a moment of significant intensity. We entered Mercury Retrograde on March 23, and will remain here until April 15. We will be immersed in these energies for three full weeks. In the discussions I've been having with those around me, the theme of this transit is pretty clear: withdrawal and balance.

Temperance.jpg

When I pulled a medicine card for this week, I was not surprised to see Temperance. Temperance is both balance and alchemy. She has one foot on the ground and one foot on water, urging us to integrate the conscious and subconscious. She uses golden chalices to mix her potion, balancing the ingredients carefully. She reminds us of the importance of bringing the right amount of each element into the mix. Medicine is not a single thing, but the alchemical combination of many. 

Magician-HP.jpg

The Magician card is ruled by Mercury, and Mercury Retrograde is inevitably linked to the Magician's Trickster energy. The usual outward-manifesting energy of the Magician gets turned around, forcing us to pause. To find the medicine in this, we can consider the Magician within the greater context of the Major Arcana. The Magician is the great manifester, but he does not stand alone. His mirror is the High Priestess. Where he is the creation of will, she is the creation of soul.

Mercury Retrograde urges us to consider the medicine of the High Priestess, and turn inwards. This is the time to recognize and honor our knowledge, to remember that the true answers come from within. The ultimate medicine of Mercury Retrograde in Aries is in pausing, and connecting with our inner realm. In the last journal entry, right before Mercury Retrograde started, I spoke of March as a time of contraction. In this Mercury Retrograde period, that contraction is intensified, to the point of unavoidance.  This is the time for Temperance, the time to integrate our outward projections with our inner knowledge, as we prepare to set manifestation into motion once Mercury goes direct again.

The Third Lunation: Contraction and Energy Healing

We are now in the midst of the third lunation of 2018. In preparation for our last Full Moon meditation circle, I drew a tarot card for guidance on what medicine to bring to the meditation. This exercise was a reminder of the many levels of meaning in the tarot, and of how important context is.

I had been thinking a lot about energy - both our personal energies and universal energies, and how these interact and flow. Energy flows in the same way as water, following the path of least resistance. It carves out familiar paths, and keeps flowing along these paths unless we redirect it. We also lose energy on a regular basis, and unless we become aware of where we are losing energy and protect ourselves, we will continue pouring it out no matter how much energy we take in. 

Tarot-Hand.jpg

The traditional meaning of the Star card is one of hope - the renewed, calm hope that follows the foundational shifts of the Tower. The traditional reversal means hopelessness, perhaps even despair.

But there is so much more beyond this surface reading. The Star card shows a nude figure kneeling in front of a body of water, pouring jugs of water both on the ground and into the body of water. Above her are seven stars, with a larger shining star in the middle. She has one foot in the water, and one knee on the ground. I came into this reading already thinking of the flows of energy, and looking for medicine for the current lunation. The Star reversed showed me that this lunation is indeed the time for energy medicine - more specifically, for tending to our personal energy and identifying where we are losing energy. 

The seven stars in the card represent our seven chakras, which are the centers of energy in our bodies. The larger star in the middle reminds us to balance and cleanse our chakras. The figure in this card is pouring out energy in the form of water. She is nourishing the land, but as she does this, she is giving of herself. This is not inherently bad, but we need to know when to turn inwards and nourish ourselves. 

The month of March is a time for contractions, of harnessing energy in preparation for the thaw. There is so much significance in the imagery of tarot cards, and I often find it beneficial to look beyond textbook meanings and study the images. When the Star card is reversed, we now see a reversal in the flow of water. The water is now pouring into her containers, filling them. She is no longer pouring out her energy, she is replenishing herself. This is the medicine of our current lunation: to heal and balance our chakras, to learn where we are losing energy and heal those losses. 

PS - If you want to catch me in person, take a look at my upcoming workshop schedule