The beginning of your journey...
Initial Impression: Who is has the power? What is the plan being enacted?
Symbols or Images in the Card: A man in armor sits on a stone throne with two goat's heads made of gold. He wears a red cloak (dare I say toga??) over his shiny armor. He has a scepter in one hand and the world in the other. He sits in nature along the river and he looks shiftily out of the corner of his eyes, like he's up to some plotting scheme.
The Emperor is symbolic of order, plans, jurisdiction, and authority. He has authority. He also has plans within plans. He is always thinking of the next move, the next strategy, the next way to conquer. The armor shows that he has protection should there be a problem and he needs it.
What is your domain? What battles are you embroiled in? What are you attempting to accomplish (read: conquer)? Where are you deep in battle with someone or something that is power hungry or in love with the power struggle?
What does this mean for today? When dealing with a challenging task, take a look at it strategically and head into it wisely. When working with a difficult boss or a challenging person, even if they treat you poorly, maybe there is something more going on in the giant chess game of life that is working this situation for your good. Breathe deeply. If you are in the driver seat, make sure you know the road map and that you are making the decisions you need to make to get where you want to be in the best way possible.
Greeting Card Message: There is a plan. Whether someone else, such as a boss, a bureaucracy, or a committee, created the plan or if you are the one implementing it, today is a day to look at the blueprint, the guidebook, the GPS, or your gut's inner compass. Make sure the road you are on, the battle you are fighting, the stands you are taking are ones you really believe in. Only die on the hills that truly matter to you.
Initial impression: Being down to earth and grounded is really important. Plus everyone needs to be friends with woodland creatures.
Symbols or Images in the Card: A woman sits on a wooden throne decorated with a goat's head and vines. Her feet are shod and she is wearing sage green with a deep red cloak. Her hair is brown and her crown is a simple gold wreath with a flower tucked into it. She sits in a pastoral scene with a river flowing behind her, trees growing above her, flowers fill the grasses surrounding her, and a white rabbit at her feet. In her right hand, she holds a large pentacle.
Benebell Wen in Holistic Tarot states the Queen of Pentacles has the most common sense of all the other queens. She is attuned with others and treats people with consideration. She is also vain, worried about her earthly appearance and her material possessions. She has a strong sense of duty and responsibility.
According to Liz Dean in The Ultimate Guide to Tarot, when you bump into someone who is the Queen of Pentacles, it tends to be someone whose work affects a lot of people from politicians to chefs and bakers. She likes to care for her home and garden and spends her money well and when she buys a gift, it is the perfect gift for the receiver. She enjoys physical affection and gets involved in projects personally, rather than directing from the sidelines. She is very much a nurturer.
What does this card mean for today? The Queen of Pentacles could show up as a person you admire for their looks and clothes, for their style and graciousness. If it's a part of your personality today, then it might manifest as looking for high praise for a job well done and feeling slighted if you don't get it. Or it could be that you decide to spend a bit more than you mean to on the perfect gift for someone. You might meet someone who appears to be really full of their looks, but discover an amazing heart of compassion, wisdom and affection under the surface.
Greeting Card Message: Be wise with your finances. Build the world around you according to your taste and style. Go plant a plant or bake a cake. When you see the perfect gift for someone, even if there isn't an occasion, buy it for them just because you know it's something they will love.
Initial Impression: What is in shadow today and what is in light? What do you see and what is under the surface that you're missing?
Symbols or Images in the Card: The moon has a full presentation and creepy face is looking down at the dimly illuminated world below. There is light from the moon enough to show a dog and a wolf together - the wild and the domesticated - howling as one. There is a crayfish crawling out of the water that some books states represents you, the viewer, with a soft fleshy inside full of secrets and tender parts, and a hard external shell that protects you physically and protects you mentally. I have taken that a bit further to say that the carapace on the crayfish protects you and me, as the viewers, from being able to see what are some of the subconscious motivators that our minds haven't recognized yet. There are two towers in the background that are traditionally believed to be the towers that flank the High Priestess in her temple and that this land we are viewing in this frame is all subconscious territory.
As subconscious territory, this is our shadow side, the dark side of the moon, which we never see from earth. This is the stuff (read fears, motivations, repressed memories and hurts, no longer remembered school lessons) that motivates the way we act when we don't even get why we act that way.
What does this card mean for today? There might be moments when you are reacting in ways you don't understand - either to benign or to stressful situations. There might be moments today that you see a moment of clarity to your shadow self - long hidden and maybe forgotten coming out of the waters of your subconscious onto dry land. Today may be a day when you have a memory long hidden rise to the surface and you don't even know what it means in the big picture but you know it's important. Today may be a day when you find yourself experiencing deja vu.
Greeting Card Message: However it manifests in your life today, the Moon card shows us that the subconscious view we have of the world and ourselves wants to surface and make us a little more whole. By embracing our shadow-selves, our subconscious, or unexplored reactions to situations we become more whole and more compassionate to ourselves for behaving and reacting in ways we don't always understand.
Initial Impressions: Be on the look out for a passionate, impulsive, and fiery younger person who goes after life and tasks with excitement and exuberance.
Symbols or Images in the Card: A knight on a bucking horse is looking off to the front left of the card. He is holding his wand almost like a weapon. He is clearly on the go and ready for action.
Benebell Wen in Holistic Tarot states the Knight of Wands is "hasty, competitive, yet also motivated and career-driven." She also states this person is a visionary, an extrovert, and full of potential greatness. This person has trouble finishing what they start and needs to "control their immaturity," according to Wen. "Fire-dominant, the Knight of Wands is highly motivated, creative, dynamic, individualistic, and often demonstrates an irrepressible, enthusiasm, and vitality."
So what does this mean for today? Look out for the young person in the office, in the staff room, or in the store as you're picking up the pizza tonight, who is hot-headed, driven, focused, and quick to start tasks but forgets what they are doing about half way through. They love to be social, love to tell stories, and love make big shows. They love to place $10 bets over silly stuff and they love to pull the penalty (think Sidney Crosby).... (Now that I say that, I might have just lost most of my audience as he is one of the most hated players in the entire NHL.) Think of that person who is loud, brash, boisterous, but so charismatic you actually like them deep down even if they annoy you on the surface. Then, for today, be patient with them. They are going places. Walk in your intuition a little and try to discern where this person is headed as they gain success, based on their words and actions. They won't be still for very long and might only be in your midst for a short time, as they are going places.
Initial Impression: The Queen of Wands is a person who can handle all of you, secrets and all. Are you willing to trust her?
Symbols or Images in the Card: A woman with a straight, interested, and no nonsense look on her face faces out of the card head on. She is sitting on a throne with lions as the armrests and a lion on the sun crest behind her. She holds a sprouting wand in her left hand and a giant sunflower in her right. On her right sits a black cat with yellow eyes. He is mostly facing away from the viewer of the card, but his head is turned and he is staring out of the card in same direct way as the queen.
Benebell Wen in Holistic Tarot states the Queen of Wands is an "energetic, self-assure, attractive woman." She goes on to say that the Queen of Wands is connected to nature, is strong-willed, and virtuous (which I actually wonder about because she does have fire as her element - she is passionate and irrational when angry, but doesn't that also mean she will be passionate and fiery in her sex life and her lust?). Wen states the Queen of Wands is organized, a planner, and a clear thinker - except when she is mad. When she is angry, she is impulsive and temperamental. Despite this passion, Wen states the Queen of Wands is the most "down-to earth of the four queens." She is able to channel her passions and energies to yield results. She is a strong nurturer of careers and/or creative projects. Wen says, "Fire-dominant, the Queen of Wands is highly motivated, creative, dynamic, individualistic, and often demonstrates an irrepressible enthusiasm and vitality. May have a tendency to exaggerate or be overly theatric."
When I first started with Tarot, I was drawn to the Queen of Wands - there was something in her straight-forward manner and her down to earth vibe that I wanted to emulate. I loved her connection to nature. She has a sunflower and I worked one summer in a green house, one of my more favorite jobs. She has a cat and I'm partial to animals though I don't have pets of my own for a myriad of reasons. To me she seems to be asking, "Can we cut through the bullshit and just be authentic with each other?" She seems to be saying, "I don't need petty nonsense; I want to know how you are really doing and please don't just say, 'Fine.'" She is also a person who is comfortable with herself and with her passions. She knows who she is, who she isn't, and she doesn't play games. There is definitely the vibe of don't piss her off.
Greeting Card Message: Look out for the down to earth and heart open person today who authentically looks to learn more about you, in your good and bad moments. Look out for the person who is creative, passionate, a go-getter, who makes plans and achieves goals.
Initial Impression: Am I spending enough time in nature? Am I spending enough time listening to my romantic, sexual side? Am I in touch with me as I am without all the judgement and negative self-talk?
Symbols or Images in the Card: A woman sits in an oversized armchair in the middle of nature in front of a roaring waterfall and river. She is on purple and red cushions and wearing the kind of white see in the Strength card. She has flowers along the hem, middle, and neck of her dress. She is wearing a crown with 12 stars, but her hands and feet do not have adornments of rings and bracelets. She is barefoot and sitting in lush grasslands surrounded by flowers, and growing lushness. She has a staff leaning against her chair which has a gold medallion at the top which bears Venus' symbol (which we saw at the lower abdomen of the 9 of Pentacles yesterday) and the staff (probably a wand) has a gold ball at the bottom.
The Empress is the card that gets in touch with her sensuality. She is all of the lushness of this world. She is self-acceptance, and self-love. She is contentment with her body. She is driven by passions. In contrast to the High Priestess' study and desire to lift the veil between subconscious and conscious, the Empress' study is feeling good, feeling passionate, sexuality, and fulfillment. I'll make the joke-not-joke that if you want a baby today's the day to have sex; if you don't want a baby, don't. She is the number three, which is the number of creation - so not just life and babies, but other creative acts like writing books or music or poetry, or creating art in any form. Today is a day to throw pots on a wheel, to push paint around a canvas, or to spend time with flour under your fingernails.
According to Benebel Wen in Holistic Tarot the Empress is the "patron saint" of marriages, second marriages, brides, women in large families, abuse victims, prisoners, and exiles. She can bring the omen of a female social worker in your midst - which I find particularly funny as I am a female social worker.
What I find interesting in The Empress, coming from a deck of cards created as they are in roughly 1400 in Italy, that here is a card that openly celebrates woman, a woman's right to inhabit and enjoy her body, and her sensuality. That may have come to be a more modern take on the card, but there have been people reading tarot for centuries and as you read, the depth of cards gets inside the reader. I am sure there were readers who saw the beauty of The Empress embracing her sexuality, her sensuality, her ability to give life, and to be all that being a woman means to her. With her bare toes curling into the lush grass and the sound of a waterfall in her ears, she is inviting us to fall even more in love with ourselves (in a pure not overly egotistical way). Many of us over doubt and criticize our normal daily actions. The Empress calls us to love ourselves just a little more than we do already and to give ourselves a bit of a pass for the mistakes that we make.
Greeting Card Message: Walk a little in love today - be gracious to yourself, forgiving, and kind. Be merciful to yourself as you show others mercy. Don't be afraid to embrace sensuality and sexuality today, but be careful and use protection to avoid STDs or unwanted pregnancy. Or find other ways to create: pick up that instrument today and write a song, paint a mural or a canvas, take your camera out; or learn how to do something you have always learn - knit, bake a loaf of bread for the first time, or sign up for a wood working class.
Initial Impression: Where do I have enough? Do I feel I have enough? What is almost complete?
Images or Symbols in the Card: A rather wealthy woman with a very nice house in the background (showing off just how opulent she is) is in her garden, which is lush and growing beautifully. She is surrounded by flowers and growth. She is also holding a bird on her left upraised arm. She has a symbol of Venus on her sash, right where her uterus should be.
Beth Moore who write the companion book for this deck states somethings I just didn't know. The bird she is holding is a falcon. (What is on it's head??) The falcon represents discipline. The Venus symbol on her sash is not just love, but values as well. The snail is fertility, stability, and security. Moore states some of the keywords for this card are, "Discipline, self-confidence, individual achievement, material wealth, safety, security...." The overall message of this card is that a person has achieved a goal and there is immense satisfaction over that. The goal was achieved through one's own work and is geared toward the individual in question. It is satisfaction about the achievement and contentment with what has been created. Moore states this card "is an homage to having confidence, knowing one's mind, acquiring the skills to achieve aims, and exerting the discipline to apply those skills."
So what does this mean for today? Look for ways that you are satisfied. Look for the successes. So often we look at the mess ups and failures - but what have we been doing well? I also get the sense that if there is a financial strain or worry, if there is a bill lingering over your head, or if there is a worry about the noise the car is making, or the refrigerator is making, the problem is not ask big as you think it could be. It is also a card that points to making and keeping a budget, being wise with money, and maybe waiting to start a project that will cost a lot. Create the world you want to be in.
Greeting Card Message: Be wise in financial decisions. Work toward what you believe in and try to find peace in the midst of the chaos that is life. There will be many pulls and strains and maybe for you today the savings account is bursting, but that is not true for everyone. Maybe today is day that you decide to create the tight budget for now so that you are able to afford the vacation or the house you are dreaming of.
Initial Impression: Who am I going to bump into today who it going to help me get in touch with my emotionally mature side? Who is going to bring out my inner father or remind me all the world of my own father? Or should I be reaching out to my own dad today?
Symbols or Images in the Card: A man sitting on a stone throne which is seated out in the ocean sits poised, reading and listening. He holds a scepter in one hand and a cup in the other. A dolphin out in the water over his right shoulder is leaping out of the water.
King of Swords is a man of passion and intuition. He is deep in his understanding of others and his love for relationships. He is the man at the club who is always putting together foursomes. He is the leader in the office who is always pulling the team together to discuss the status, the interconnectedness, and the communication patterns. He is the guy who makes things happen, who sees the deeper insight into the situation, and seems to be reading people's minds. He is a good listener, but is sometimes impatient, wanting to be able to implement his strategies and understandings - especially when it comes to reconciliation and open dialogue.
But he's reversed today. So what's up with that? Either it means today it's really important to get in touch with your inner King of Cups and place a priority on relationships, reconciliation, and making thing happen within relationships today - or it means that you are going to bump into someone who is going to be the King of Cups in the extreme - focused on his emotions, hard to calm down and focus at that task at hand, and easily offended by barely meant or perceived slights. It could also just mean - Go call your Dad. He is desperate to hear from you It's been awhile. He loves you, but also wants you to have space. If your dad has passed away, perhaps today is a day to celebrate the great ways he was in your life and to share those great gifts he had with someone else. (Everyone has good qualities even if over all it's possible your dad wasn't the greatest of men.)
Greeting Card Message: Go make dinner plans with someone who you've been avoiding or putting off. Go make dinner plans with your father. Or, find ways to pull people together and help people have open communication and solve some of their relational issues. Not an easy task, by any means. For me? I'm going to take this as a call to drop my agenda a little when I meet with people at work. To slow things down a bit and allow people the time they need to process the situation and where they are in the midst of the chaos of the things that are going on around them. Rather than just walking in with my desire to get my job down quickly and efficiently so I can move on to the next task, I'm going to work on being more peaceful and conciliatory.
Initial Impression: Where are you headed? Who is your trusted companion? What new thing is starting?
Images or Symbols in the Card: A youngish man is on an adventure. He carries a white flower in one hand - outstretched like a lamp guiding his path - and in the other hand is a wand being used to carry the few possessions he needs. He is high in the mountains and the sun is shining brilliantly. He has a loyal white pup as his companion. He is sticking his right foot out to step off the cliff - and it is unclear if it is just a short little drop, or if he is going to go pouring over the side. His eyes are closed and he is serene in his adventure, no matter the outcome.
Liz Dean in The Ultimate Guide to Tarot states that the Fool represents "calculated risk." She encourages that it's never too late to start listening to your heart and following it, to start fresh. There might be perils in the path ahead, but this is the time to "take a leap of faith." The Fool is the part of you that is ready to explore and discover. She encourages you to "look before you leap," but that when you do step out, "things will go well" for you.
Benebel Wen in Holistic Tarot encourages the seeker to be aware that there is a path ahead and there are options. The Fool gets to decide which path they are going to take.
These decisions matter. Adventure, lifestyle, and future prospects all depend on the paths you choose to take and those you chose to walk past. Robert Frost says, "Knowing how way leads onto way, I doubted I should ever come back." Once a path is passed over, the chance of heading down that path in the future is doubtful. But at the same time, choices must be made. We can't do it all and if we try, we will do none of it well.
Liz Dean encourages us to travel light when we go. I say bring a trusted companion along - the road is long and can be weary. We need to hold onto those who encourage and love us.
Greeting Card Message: Choose your path with both your eyes open and your eyes closed. At some point it becomes a leap of faith, but at the same time be aware of what you are getting yourself into and what potential potholes are along the way. We all need adventure and a sense of the unknown in our lives. Choose your adventures with wisdom.
Initial Impression: What are we celebrating today?
Symbols or Images in the Card: Two young women holding bouquets upraised are walking toward a chuppa like structure, festooned with flowers. The chuppah is made up of four standing wands that appear to be sprouting as they stand tall. There is a happy mound of flowers and a pumpkin in the center of the chuppah and flowers are floating in the air. The castle is close behind them and it has one flag raised and flapping in the wind. These women are clearly celebrating and it makes me think of weddings - from the chuppah traditional Jewish weddings cover the bride and groom as they marry and are often held by family members. It is also a harvest/festival image.
Liz Dean in The Ultimate Guide to Tarot states that it is a celebration - a social celebration that comes after a successful completion. It also predicts confidence and a fullness of health. It connotes a settling down, a getting to and completing home projects. Liz Dean points to the wands being stuck in the earth and sprouting, just like they are flourishing where they planted, you will too - growing in a pillar of community, getting involved in local or community affairs. This is a highly positive card - a new love interest will open their heart to you; this is a time to start new creative projects as they will flourish; at work your talent and enthusiasm will be appreciated. Liz Dean also says this is the honeymoon card - a time to get away and celebrate, travel, and take advantage of being alive.
Greeting Card Message: Take time to celebrate your "wins" today. Take time to value and cherish your relationships. If you've been putting off a home remodel/upgrade - today is the day to talk to the contractor.