Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Empress III

The Empress smbolizes creation and life. She is a motherly figure and is suckling her child while pregnant with another. The child in her womb represents the gestation of something new, whether it be an idea, a project, a new business, a blossoming love or perhaps a pregnancy. The expectant Empress is advising us that, whatever it is we are embarking upon, we need to take care and be patient, we need to give careful thought to our plans, be kind and considerate and nurture this new thing with a mother's love, just as she is caring for her child.

The close-grown forest is still there in the background. It is not yet a time for looking ahead into the distant future, but a time to cater to the needs of this time and day. The stream is also still there but it is no longer running quickly downwards. It is travelling more slowly now and it also says that we need to take things steadily, build a secure platform on which to place our future hopes and plans. We needn't worry that our plans will not come to fruition because the Empress is surrounded by symbols of fertility such as the Hare and the pomegranate, a fruit composed mainly of seeds and representing abundance. And the cherries, also known as 'the fruits of Paradise', symbolizes sweetness of character, indicating success in good works. The lotus flower on the Empresses staff also signifies the blossoming of wholesome deeds and because it is wholly opened, it represents full enlightenment. There also is the Robin, a bird that traditional gypsies believe are bringers of good fortune. What we have to do is place our trust in the Empress and be assured that the universe will provide what is needful to us, and we have a protector in the form of the Stag, the only male aspect of the Empress card. As well as a protective symbol, he is there to add balance for, as male cannot survive without female, neither can female survive without male.

Of course, we must not surmise that the way ahead will always be easy. We will sometimes be vulnerable like the moth and we may also suffer hardships, just as the sacrificial lamb suffered but if we remain steadfast, following the example of the woodpigeons - gentle birds of homing instinct - we will be blessed with love (as in the symbol of Venus, goddess of love, on the Empresses shield) and abundance, signified by the ripe wheat.

I would love to hear from anyone who would like to comment on my interpretation or who could add to it.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The High Priestess (II)

The High Priestess represents someone, male or female, who is very knowledgeable. They are a person of great intuition and with a vast store of secret esoteric knowledge. Behind her there is a forest of close-grown trees. They block out any view beyond, signifying that there is much we don't yet know but perhaps with the help of the High Priestess, we may be inspired by her intuition to look further into meanings and answers that are, as yet, unknown to us...... solutions we could not see clearly until now.

Behind the High Priestess we can see a Unicorn, a magical beast of legend. Just as the lion stands for the strength and courage of men, the Unicorn is a symbol of goodness and honour in women. When we encounter someone like the High Priestess we can be sure that this person can be trusted and will help us to look into our inner heart and mind to reach the solutions we need.

There are also two pairs of white doves. White doves are symbolic of peace. They are birds that mate for life and work together in the building of their nest and the rearing of their young, therefore they can be seen to represent dedication, honour and loyalty.

Hares, two of which we see beside the High Priestess, are associated with Lunar Goddesses such as Ostara and Diana. In this card, they are there to act as messengers for the High Priestess, carrying messages between the spiritual and earthly realm. They are also symbolize fertility.

The High Priestess is gently stroking a female deer. The doe represents compassion, caring and gentleness. It asks us to find the gentleness of spirit to accept people for what they are and not to try and change them, to find the deep love that it takes to heal all emotional wounds.

The black cat at the feet of the High Priestess is, again, a strong representation of esoteric knowledge. The cat is stoic, silent and mysterious and a master secret keeper. It is a symbol of protection and guardianship and, like the hares, it is there to aid the High Priestess in her work.

The little grey squirrel next to the cat is a symbol of trust. It is amongst the few animals trusting enough to feed from human hands. Just as the other creatures are at ease in the company of the High Priestess, the squirrel lets us know that we can put our full trust in the message/s that this card is sending us.

The card of the High Priestess is all about secret, hidden knowledge. When we become frustrated and discouraged because we feel overwhelmed by our situation, meditate on the butterflies in the card. Try to imitate their example. They sit for a while on a flower and then flit away, returning time and time again and always with grace. We musn't become totally discouraged if we do not find our answers immediately.

The plant at the bottom right-hand side of the card is the herb, Valerian. Made into a tea, it calms the nerves. It is only when we slow down and remain calm that we are able to find the answers that we need. The Valerian is symbolic of reaching that meditative state when solutions appear effortlessly to us.

To the right of the card we can see a snake/serpent. Because of biblical connotations the snake has attained the undeserved reputation as being evil. This is not so. Here, it is sending us the message to leave behind old ways and habits and nurture our more spiritual self.... just as the snake sheds its skin as if it is being born again. And, like the hare, it also is a symbol of fertility.

Right down at the bottom of the card, in the left-hand corner, is a spider's web. As the spider weaves her web, she is telling us that we are responsible for 'weaving' our own lives. We must think about the choices and decisions we make. We must ask ourselves if we are making the most of our lives and how our choices and decisions affect others. The spider's web is a beautiful and intricate construction and, like the spider, we are fully capable of constructing our lives so that we are living it to the full.

Whereas the card of the Magician was one of actively seeking answers by magical means, the card of the High Priestess is one of calmness and looking within. She is serene and loving, as can be seen by the trust shown by the creatures that surround her. The overall message that the High Priestess gives us is..... although we may feel as though we cannot see beyond that dark forest, there is a fast flowing stream of life that leads us through and beyond. Like her animals, we must place our trust in the High Priestess that the answers we are desperately seeking will, without a doubt, be shown to us.

Please leave a comment if you have anything to add.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Magician (I)

As you would expect, this card is all about magic, intuition, connecting with one's innerself and the communion between self and the gods.

There are many magical symbols in this card, such as the stone circle where people would worship their gods. It is a symbol of communion between man and god. The moon and stars are celestial bodies and the forked lighning represents the joining of heavenly forces to the Earth.

In this card, the fool is now seen to be the magician..... surrounded by everything he needs to commune with the heavens and lead him on in his spiritual journey. As he consults the rune stones, he is in communion (the goblet of wine is a symbol of communion) round the fire with his friend the Wolf. In modern times the wolf has acquired an undeserved reputation as a fearsome creature. In reality, the wolf symbolizes learning, intuition, wisdom and loyalty. Wolf tells people to seek out solitude to find the teacher within the self. He helps people to learn to trust insights when they learn to value the inner voice.

The Unicorn is a magical creature which has come to symbolize beauty, purity and goodness. The Unicorn is there to help the magician to work good magic and protect him from evil.

The magician wears the antlers of a Stag. The Stag is a very wise animal, one who is unwilling to assail enemies rashly, who would rather stand his own ground than harm another wrongfully, and one who will not fight unless provoked. The Stag was associated with healing, for he knew which medicinal plants to take in order to shake off the hunter's arrow. The person bearing this symbol was considered impervious to weapons. Therefore the Stag's antlers represent protection from illness, disease and attack.

Like the magician, we too must seek out people or animal totems that will help us on our spiritual journey. Those who would protect us from evil and show us the way of wisdom.

If you can comment any further on this interpretation, please do so.

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Fool (0)

Although numbered 0, The Fool is the first card of the Major Arcana. It represents a journey, particularly of a spiritual kind, since the Major Arcana deals with spiritual issues.

In the foreground there is a baby reaching out to touch the fire flames, unaware of the danger he is in. His mother hurries frantically to pull him away from the impending danger. Behind them, we see a young man setting out on a journey in all innocence, like the baby - unlike the baby, he will not have anyone to protect him from danger. On the journey of life, he will learn how to shoulder his own responsibilities, through experience, and he alone will need to make decisions and select choices.

On the road ahead there are many alternative routes to be taken; these represent the choices and decisions in our life. There are many forests, dark and mysterious, to test his bravery and determination. Will he go on or will he turn back?

The plant in the foreground is Ragwort, a potentially toxic plant. There is also a partridge, which symbolises deceit. Along with the obvious dangers of fire, these symbols represent the difficulties that could lie ahead on the path of life, but the butterfly emerging from its chrysalis (top right-hand side of card) reminds us that our journey is a spiritual one and, depending on which roads we choose and upon the wisdom we exercise, the outlook is set to be bright..... just as the sun is shining brightly in the card.

This is my interpretation of the card as I see it. I would be very interested to hear if you can add anything to it.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Seeds of thought......

The purpose of this blog is to record my study of the Tarot. The deck I use is 'Tarot of the Old Path', which is pagan orientated. I like the artwork, the fact that the artist has incorporated animals and plants very much into the meaning of the cards.

Whilst the Tarot can be used as a tool for many purposes such as divination, I like to use mine to meditate upon the symbolism and the lessons that can be learned within also. Sometimes, if I have a problem or need to make a decision, I will turn to my cards to see what advice they might have for me. I'm a firm believer though, that everyone is in control of their own destiny and it is one's own choice whether to act upon whatever the cards have to say.

Altogether, there are 78 cards in a Tarot deck. I will choose one card at a sitting to study the symbolism and meanings within each one. However, the cards are personal to each person and what one might see, someone else could see something different, so I welcome input from anyone who might want to join me in my study.