The Magician: A Magical Lunar Cycle Spread

TarotTuesdayBannerLet’s talk about magic.

1-magician-rider

When The Magician came up for today’s card, I had to grin: of course! Today’s a big magical New Moon, and new moons are generally a great time to play with tarot for divination, exploring thoughts or beliefs that no longer serve you and are ready to be released, planting new seeds of intentions, or making reflective space for new ideas to come to the surface. Today’s new moon in particular comes right on the cusp of Capricorn and Aquarius, as we straddle the boundary between the gravity of tradition that weighs on our bones and the electric future sparkling before our eyes. It’s also conjunct Circe, an epic magician adept at powerful magic in the service of self-care and transformation. Tomorrow, Mercury turns retrograde, which deepens the pull to slow down and turn our gaze inward. Time for tarot, meditation, or journaling during this window promises to yield some pretty powerful and useful insights.

The Magician asks us to take advantage of this opportunity. The Magician is all about taking our awareness of cycles, patterns, environment, and energy and introducing our will, our hopes and desires, into the mix. The Magician reminds us that we can not just notice all these things, but take action and participate!

MoonFabric
Attribution disappeared into the internet – if you recognize this image, let us know ❤

Here’s a spread you can use to explore the opportunities this period holds for you. It follows through the lunar cycle as it interacts with Mercury for the month – because what better structure to follow for magic-making reflection than the dance of the moon’s own rhythm with the hermetic magician himself? You can lay it all out at once, or pull cards for each part of the cycle as we move through it – or both!

1TheVision0° Aquarius New Moon + Circe (Jan 20): The Vision.

How am being called to evolve beyond my traditional or habitual boundaries? How does this image illustrate possibilities for serving my community, in a way that actually meets my needs and serves me too? What intention can I set to participate mindfully and heartfully in this magic?

2TheKnotMercury Retrograde 1° Aquarius (Jan 21): The Knot.

Where is the Trickster drawing my attention? What kink is being unraveled in the service of this magic? What needs to be lost or released in this process?

3TheGardenWaxing Quarter 0° Taurus (Jan 26): The Garden.

How do I meet my intention in the sensual world? How can I enjoy myself and find pleasure in this process? How can I get creative with this magic?

4TheRoaringHeartFull Moon 14° Leo (Feb 3): The Roaring Heart!

This is where your intention for this cycle finds full expression. How does the card you pull here reflect an image of your own power? Are you aligned with your own power? Do you feel overwhelmed or disempowered? What do you need to express out loud?

5TheUnexpectedLessonMercury Direct 17° Aquarius (Feb 11): The Unexpected Lesson.

How does this shift your intention, moving forward? How can you adjust to weave this into your ongoing magic?

6ThePurgeWaning Quarter 23° Scorpio (Feb 11): The Purge.

What has surfaced in this cycle that you no longer wish to house within yourself? What can you do to shed these elements and make fertile room for new growth?

7Renewal29° Aquarius New Moon (Feb. 18): Renewal.

An image that reflects your dedication to honoring yourself as a part of your beloved community. Rinse yourself clean after the lessons of the last cycle, and know that you are devoted to your own process of evolution, whatever your journey is. What is your vision, moving forward from here?

Blessings on your magic-making endeavors!

—-

Kaeti is a therapist, teacher, and dreamer based in Long Beach, California. All of her work (and play!) is interested in dismantling intersections of oppression and breathing magic and radical healing into all the daily corners of her life, into all the spaces of community she helps weave.

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The Flow of Creativity: 3 of Stones

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I’ve been drawing today’s card a lot lately (twice this week!) – and it has me kind of loving the Wildwood Tarot’s take on the three of pentacles:

3 of Stones

3 of stones

A traditional take on this card would have us thinking about work – specifically collective work, work that joins you to your community or is a harmonizing effort of all the parts of yourself. But I think that emphasis tends to get redirected in our cultural focus on work as linear, directed, goal-oriented, productive, and commodified – our thinking that work is about what you produce, and its value, and how that defines your value. This particularly trips us up, I think, when we feel the lack of creativity in our lives. I often hear people say “I’m just not creative,” “I miss being creative,” I need to be more creative,” and they tend to be talking about making things. Making artistic things, maybe, but making things nonetheless. Producing.

The 3 of Stones offers a different view: work as process. Work as connection to being. Work as being grounded. Work as being in the flow – the flow of the earth, the flow of intuition, the flow of inspiration. The flow that roots in its own place – and gives energy back to its own place, becomes part of the ecosystem. The flow that communes with what cannot be seen. The 3 of Stones reminds us that all of these process are themselves creative, and part of what it means to be creative.

I love that this card challenges us to just get into our flow, whatever that looks like today – whether giving or receiving, connecting to nature, dancing with intuition and ideas, taking care of our physical needs, meditating, connecting to source, drawing strength or inspiration up from our roots – and say: “I’m being creative.”

Because a dimension of “work” is recognizing or attending to the ways energy flows through us, connecting us in partnership with the living and more-than-human world around us. Our deep connectivity is a font of creativity. How does your work change when you send roots down into this place? What dimensions of creativity open up to you when you see this image?

Kaeti is a therapist, teacher, and dreamer based in Long Beach, California. All of her work (and play!) is interested in dismantling intersections of oppression and breathing magic and radical healing into all the daily corners of her life, into all the spaces of community she helps weave.

Swords and Resolutions: A New Year’s Meditation

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I rung in 2015 this year with a small tarot party of old and new friends, all of us filling up my kitchen table with tea and sass and little charms and laughter, a few tears, and of course a gaggle of tarot decks. It was lovely and fun and super orienting – and a little surprising! It has me actually excited to talk about something that’s often spoken of in tones of dread, confusion, disappointment, or bewilderment.

RWaceofswords

That’s right: let’s talk about Swords.

Or some aspects of them, anyway. I think talking about swords, despite their (rightful) reputation for pain, vulnerability, grief and distress, is an apt way to come into the new year. Because New Years generally has us doing a lot of swords-y activities from the quiet space after the holidaze and before 2015 gets into action:

Taking stock. Looking back and making some judgements about how things went. Taking accountability for our parts in all that. Looking forward and crafting visions of how we’d like things to go. Taking responsibility for nurturing those visions into reality. Setting goals. Breaking those goals down into pieces, making plans, committing to taking steps. Discerning and choosing. Dreaming and scheming.

RWS deck's dreamy Page of Swords
RWS deck’s dreamy Page of SwordsWS

The thing about swords – particularly the Ace, the quintessential sword that holds all the possibilities of swordiness – is that they cut both ways. And how we treat ourselves in going about these things is a great litmus test for how we are using sword energy. Do our resolutions hold us with their promise, inspire us, give us definition and motivation and evolve with us as we get into action? Or do our resolutions become another weapon that turns on us, another reason to cut ourselves down, punishing us when we slip or fail or don’t achieve something the way we hoped?

Swords talk about mentality – our thoughts, beliefs, fears, judgements, goals, unconscious scripts, critical thinking, ideas, inspiration, vision, discernment, communication, language – and our relationship to these things in ourselves and each other. They can also be about how these things interact with particularly intense and deep emotions – how they support or impede us in the thick of those feelings. Swords are tools, too, and they can be used in service to ourselves. I think it’s very common to feel at the mercy of one’s thoughts – whether they are oppressive one-liners that run on loop, or unconscious beliefs that continually undercut our ability to make change, or suffering that cuts so deep it feels impossible to think through and cuts us to pieces instead. Our relationship to these dynamics are very much connected to how we feel empowered to make the changes we want in our lives. Sometimes, it’s revolutionary just to remember that you can pick up the sword and use it to cut yourself out of such patterns, and to reflect on them instead of being pinned down by them.

queenofswordsrws
This lady is The Queen of facing even the most difficult reflections…

Take your deck and lay out the sword cards (or google up some images). Do any remind you of how you talk to yourself, how you react when things don’t go your way, how you treat yourself when you feel like you’re doing a bad job of something, or what happens when you try to make a change?

Swordsknight 8s-rws

Do any images remind you of tools you have, skills you’re learning, different perspectives available, helpful stances to practice? Is there anywhere in the images you feel a sense of balance, lightness, or empowerment?

swords
Thoth deck’s 2 of Swords & Mary El deck’s 5 of Swords

Can you give yourself permission to be with the Ace of Swords – and remember what it’s like to feel empowered and purposeful? Or know that things will change as the new year gets into gear, and you are capable of discerning and then making whatever adaptations are necessary, and this is not failure but its own kind of strength?

AceofSwordsWildUnknownEven the word resolution acknowledges that things change: resolution is re + solve – to loosen, free, figure out or cut apart again. Hidden in the word itself is the implication of swords at their cutting, discerning, liberating best. A resolution is not a bond, which one is punished for breaking. It is acknowledging that even when you think you know something’s form, it will dissolve into pieces and become something else again – which you can then examine, learn from, make new decisions about. It is knowing that there is more than one solution. It is realizing that judgement and accountability are processes in motion, with plenty of opportunities for taking responsibility in new ways.

I know I’ll keep checking in with the Ace of Swords this year as a reminder of all this, and of how my relationship with swords energy is of just service to me and my own vision. I offer this meditation to you in hopes it sparks some interesting thoughts and helpful ideas for you as well. Please share them in the comments, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the suit of swords and how you use its imagery.

And of course, cheers to your 2015!

Kaeti is a therapist, teacher, and dreamer based in Long Beach, California. All of her work (and play!) is interested in dismantling intersections of oppression and breathing magic and radical healing into all the daily corners of her life, into all the spaces of community she helps weave.

The Light in the Dark

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Winter Solstice is this weekend, and has me thinking a lot about The Sun…

The Sun from The Gaian Tarot
The Sun from The Gaian Tarot

Here she is in her full glory – something we remember as we connect to her during this shortest, darkest time of the year. The light in the dark. The core of heat and vitality in the cold emptiness of space. The force of warmth and life-giving power that rests as deep in the earth as it does inside each of us. We celebrate our ability to endure, share, and honor what’s born anew. We surround ourselves with reminders of what sustains us and nourishes us in dark times – community, color, sweetness, spice, warmth, fire, food, drink, joy, solitude, cozy comfort, and more.

Here is one of my favorite meditations on Winter Solstice, with a little bit about tea and magic, from the lovely creatures of Worts and Cunning. My Winter Solstice tea this year includes St. Joan’s Wort for sun and light, Star Anise for stars and dreaming, Transylvanian Mountain Mint for calm, ease, and a reminder of the year’s magic adventures, Hawthorne Berries for heart and movement between worlds, Rose Hips for sacred heart and vitamin C, and locally gathered pink peppercorns for the flavors of home and a little peppery kick. Have fun brewing and charming your own holiday tea!

Some teatime magic from Worts and Cunning!

I am loving practices like candlelight yoga – basically candlelight anything. (Attended by music about the descent to and return from the Underworld no less!) Being with the quiet and the dark, tending the spark and seeing by its light. Holding the spark of whatever comes to me in these quiet moments as a seed, held and nurtured by the darkness as it germinates, waiting to bring new magic  into my life in the coming year.

What might you do to mark this time of honoring the light in the dark?

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Kaeti is a therapist, teacher, and dreamer based in Long Beach, California. All of her work (and play!) is interested in dismantling intersections of oppression and breathing magic and radical healing into all the daily corners of her life, into all the spaces of community she helps weave.

Show Off That Wild Heart Of Yours

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Happy Tuesday y’all – this is a full week for me, rich with travel and rainstorms and teaching  and a sparkly full moon and rolling birthday celebrations, so today I bring you a wild and juicy little tarot meditation:

Apprentice of Bottles from The Collective Tarot
Apprentice of Bottles from The Collective Tarot

What if you wake up tomorrow and decide it’s time to dress up and show off your courageous heart?

Where would you most like to bring some charming extravagance to your world?​

And how big a splash can you make ​bringing it?

Your imagination defies gravity.​

Use it well!

xo

Kaeti

Kaeti is a therapist, teacher, and dreamer based in Long Beach, California. All of her work (and play!) is interested in dismantling intersections of oppression and breathing magic and radical healing into all the daily corners of her life, into all the spaces of community she helps weave.

Kingfisher Lessons

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Last week, we took a first look at the 4 Directions spread, one of my favorite and most used spreads. Next week, we’ll take a second look and deepen that conversation. I meant to do so this week, but so many other things have been coming up that it feels appropriate to take a pause and draw a card instead. There’s a lot of rough news out there today. The holidaze is upon us. Let’s just do a little draw to support us keeping our heads and taking good care of ourselves and each other.

King of Arrows from The Wildwood Tarot deck
King of Arrows from The Wildwood Tarot deck

The King of Arrows watches from his perch, and moves with rainbow clarity of mind and purpose ​into the water, under the water, catching his prey and returning to his perch.

​Kingfisher asks us to consider: How do I move between airy and watery realms? What can I learn from this figure about purposefully bringing the sharp discernment of my intellect into play with my emotions?

This could look like maintaining one’s calm and reason when someone is blasting you with their emotion. ​

​ This could look like a mindfulness practice, creating little rituals or moments of witnessing from your perch, from within your busy day, and honing your focus.

This could look like remembering to take a break from all the feelings, pausing to take deep breaths, consider what you need in this very moment, having a snack, and using whatever support systems you have in place, before diving back into the depths.

​This could look like initiating a dreamwork practice, beginning to write down patches of remembered adventures as you break the surface of sleep, bringing something back with you as you come into your waking mind for the day.

How does your mentality support your emotionality? What tools or tricks do you lean on when you need a little more Air in your Water World?

Whatever they are, use them well this week –

Kaeti

Kaeti is a therapist, teacher, and dreamer based in Long Beach, California. All of her work (and play!) is interested in dismantling intersections of oppression and breathing magic and radical healing into all the daily corners of her life, into all the spaces of community she helps weave.

4 Directions Spread: Cosmic Snapshot Part 1

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Happy Tuesday y’all – did you know we welcome submissions to Tarot Tuesday?

A reader wrote in, “I don’t really know how to interpret a directional spread,” but she’s playing with it – and she included a photo of a beautiful full moon spread she did while camping in the Cascadian forests.

4 Direction spreads have been my bread and butter for years – I love their flexibility and use them way more than the other common small spread, PPF or “past, present, future.”

(PS, “Spread” is what us tarot folk call the particular design guiding the cards’ layout after you draw them. It’s like laying out a feast. What a spread!)

Here’s what I love about the 4 Direction spread: It creates a little cosmos, giving you lots of room to explore aspects of relationships. That little cosmos is both circular and linear. Take a look:

Reader-Submitted "4 Directions Spread," using the Marseilles Tarot deck
Reader-Submitted “4 Directions Spread,” using the Marseilles Tarot deck

You see the circle clearly – the wheel created as your attention moves around the perimeter of the spread. It moves in both directions.

The linear is in the axes it sets up – I find myself using the word “axis” a lot when I read cards. These are the axles, the load-bearing places of support between cards: they give strength, seal connection, channel energy, and create oppositional movement.

Taken together, the two form an ancient and deeply archetypal symbol that has as many interpretations as we could throw at it, and then some.

The wheel and axes; also, the alchemical symbol for Earth.
The wheel and axes; also, the alchemical symbol for Earth.

Sometimes I’ll put a card in the center: a hub. This spread doesn’t have one. That’s okay. That’s part of the flexibility of this spread, and I often don’t include a central card when I’m just asking for a general picture of things (cosmic snapshot). Or, I’ll do the spread and then pull a card for the center about how to deal with all the lessons the outer cards have presented. To ground me as I move back into the mundane world. Anyway, this spread clearly has some beautiful ritual & magic going on in the center and that will have its own power in this reading for Our Dear Reader.

Some positions have more than one card: that’s cool too. Sometimes you need a little extra for certain positions – you have a question, it sparks another question, or you just don’t know what to do with the first card (the wtf factor). I am a big fan of just drawing another clarification card, even if you’re not sure why yet.

Another thing I love about this spread is that it is deeply orienting. Imagine me, or you, the querent, or the issue in the center – and then the spread encourages us to ground into that center, and then to take a minute to look in each direction, and then to really be with what’s there. Before I start playing with axes, I go around the circle and be with the card/s in each position. It has the effect of making a place, giving some ground from which to consider whatever the issue is, and understanding that issue not as a thing but as an ecosystem.

One kind of ecosystem. Clickthrough for some ecosystem basics :)
One kind of ecosystem. Clickthrough for some ecosystem basics 🙂

Part of sitting with each direction will include bringing your associations and meanings for each direction to bear on that image. This kind of practice (associations with directions) shows up in a lot of cultures, and we tend to take it for granted (especially in pagan communities) as something that belongs to us, just something we do. One of the places it comes from is Medicine Wheel, which belongs very specifically to various indigenous American tribal traditions. This is not something we can just take wholesale and plop into: East means this, West means this, according to the Great Indian Shaman, case closed. Especially for those of us practicing on this land, I feel very strongly that awareness of this history and our capacity to participate in its legacy of violence via cultural appropriation is a part of right relationship. Many Western pagan traditions do have their own sets of directional correspondence: great – use what works for you. But if you’re copying lists of meanings from (books about) indigenous cultures to whom you do not belong and with whom you have no relationship outside of your consumption of them, this paragraph is especially for you.

And so this is not to say we can’t practice directional spreads, or some form of Medicine Wheel meditation. It is to remember the importance of doing our own work, and to remember that personal spiritual practices are part of the web of collective life and history. To remember that the 4 directions are not lists of meanings but experiences of aspects of the ecosystem we live in.

That said, you probably have a blend of associations and meanings that belong to the different directions for you – a mix of personal experiences, things you’ve read, practices you’ve studied, and sheer intuition. I can’t encourage you enough to start practicing bringing your awareness to the different directions, and thus building your own library of associations to those directions for you. Maybe you regularly encounter a certain animal, or color, or goddess, or feeling when attuning to a direction: these are associations full of potential exploration.

Our dear reader, chillin' in the East with Kwan Yin at Sekhmet Temple, creating new associations to her personal East <3
Our Dear Reader, chillin’ in the East with Kwan Yin at Sekhmet Temple, creating new associations to her personal East ❤

Bringing them to bear on a spread might look like: “The East is where the sun rises, a place of light and hope and restoration and newness. I associate it with qualities of Air, and stillness, thoughtful practice, and a refreshed heart. How might the Page of Wands embody those qualities, or what would she have to say about them?” Look how, in the actual spread, she even faces the East, and perhaps the coming dawn. I might close my eyes and connect with the East, visualize a landscape or setting there, and then allow the Page of Wands to wander on stage. What happens next?

Or: “The West is where the sun sets – where the darkness grows, the home of night, the gateway to dreams. I associate it with qualities of Water, especially ocean, because I live on the west coast; also I link it with change, and moving between worlds.” Look at how, in the spread itself, the two queens in the West regard each other; what kind of tone does their interaction have for you? How might this go down in the wild West I described? What kinds of power are at play?

Then, I might think about the axis. This horizontal axis I often associate with time. The West may reflect what is passing away from the present, where the sun is setting, what has come before – while the East reflects what is on the horizon.

It may also reflect different choices or influences: on the one hand, on the other, a kind of weighing. It may speak to fears (the growing darkness of West) and hopes (the rising sun of East). It may talk about where your emotions are at (the Watery West) vs. what your head is doing (the Airy East). Western Moon speaks with Eastern Sun?

You can see how deep a spread like this can go. And we haven’t even really gotten into more magical directional correspondances, or specific meanings of cards outside our immediate reactions to them. We haven’t even touched the cards of the vertical axis, or gone around the wheel. I’m telling you, 4 positions + your central attention is all you need to explore your mini cosmos, to get a snapshot of your psychic ecosystem.

Another "4 Directions" spread, using The Collective Tarot deck - and another way to trace relationships in a reading!
Another “4 Directions” spread, using The Collective Tarot deck – and another way to trace relationships in a reading!

Clearly we could go on (and on) with this one, but that’s about all the time and space we have for today. Next week we will look at the vertical axis, and dig a little deeper into this particular spread. I hope this little intro has sparked some ideas and excitement about using this spread for you though! I know Our Dear Reader who submitted this lovely query would enjoy any of your thoughts, for anyone who wants to jump into the comments and practice interpreting, or share their 4 directions stories. I encourage you to send in other questions, spreads, or ideas for us to play with too!

Be well!

Kaeti

—-

Kaeti is a therapist, teacher, and dreamer based in Long Beach, California. All of her work (and play!) is interested in dismantling intersections of oppression and breathing magic and radical healing into all the daily corners of her life, into all the spaces of community she helps weave.