14 February 19: Four of Swords & King of Coins & Seven of Swords

Nobody ever called Pablo Picasso an Asshole* is a lyric from a song back in the day by a band called Jonathan Richmond & the Modern Lovers (great name for Valentine’s Day), and when I came across this little gem (KEEN articles) I thought some of you people whose mail and  messages sometimes pile up may appreciate this :

It is said that Pablo Picasso painted his masterpiece Les Demoiselles D’Avignon with the Four of Swords affixed to his studio door. 

..and he didn’t even HAVE a phone! So the 4 of Swords (Libra/Gemini/Aquarius) today in past position is like the little card hanging on the hotel doorknob you flip over when you don’t want to be disturbed before they disturb you anyway. There may have been a period of extended rest and stillness that has been valuable and restorative.

What is the purpose of retreat, rehabilitation, rest, reflection, recovery, all meanings of the 4 of Swords. Swords are mental, 4 is stability. Peace, although this card is often referred to as a card of ‘truce’, that is, a temporary peace, not a permanent one.

If it’s grounding, healing, health and balance, we couldn’t have a better card in the present position in the solid, steady  King of Earth (Taurus/Virgo/Capricorn). Secure, confident,  rooted to his favorite spot in his lush, abundant vineyard, vines and purple clusters of grapes hang all over him.  If this isn’t you, this is someone who is a good person to have in control of things. Honest as the day is long, reliable, successful, he’s the ‘common sense’ King. He’s slow as gravity, being of the Earth, and doesn’t make quick decisions or ‘quick’ anything at all. This not only works for him but has worked for him (or her) so well, he’s the King. When he was but a Knight, his shield was engraved with the image of a tortoise (Scapini deck).

Thinks of Coins (earth)  and Swords (air) as tortoises and hares.

The Thief seems to not want to go away until we get the message, and in the future position once again, the 7 of Swords shows us someone stealing away from the crowd with whatever he can get – and once again in the future position he faces backwards, not forwards.  This though, I get as a very positive outcome: this needs to be a regular thing, this ‘stealing away’. The thief on the card does not steal all of the swords, but leaves 2, taking 5. As in:

‘Just give me 5 minutes.

The ‘takeaway’ from this reflective and restorative period of retreat was that this needs to be a regular thing – a permanent lifestyle change.  This can be seen as a selfish card, but look at that homebound King of Coins. This is a card of a successful home business, and you could be ‘gathering information’ as the sneaky swords like to do, taking ideas that work for you and leaving the rest. You may be researching ideas as to how to expand or franchise, having realized and accepted that you function better in your own environment and that’s where you do your best work, so let them call you selfish, stubborn, secretive, anything they want, but now you know what you need – and don’t need – to do your best and it’s serving you well. So put your mask on first and ‘steal’ some ‘you’ time. The ‘ratio’ of home time to social time may be the change to make, or lying low both on social media and In Real Life, consciously limiting your online time to a couple of hours a day and spending more time in nature or working with your hands. Does a mind and body good. In any case, when you feel that anxiety (the 7 is an anxious card) you know what to do. Get back to that happy place and re-charge.

Of course, this is the card of the thief, but it looks like whoever is in charge of the money is well in control, and if it’s you, you’re doing a great job.

 

Nobody steals from Picasso.

 

 

 

 

7 February 19 : Temperance & Six of Coins & Queen of Swords

Forged in fire. The center card in the present position today is the 6 of Coins or Earth (Virgo/Taurus/Capricorn) and what immediately strikes me is that unlike the olde tyme images, the gentleman (or woman) of the Morgan-Greer image who dispenses coins in an apparent act of charity carries not an uneven pair of scales but, held in his left hand, which is the hand associated with the heart, his (or her) scales are perfectly even. We have a nice balance of elements in the spread of Fire/Water/Earth/Air. There are usually 2 beggars on their knees before the obviously well-dressed and better off human who gratefully accept the generous donation, but not on this version, which emphasizes the 6 large gold coins equally divided on the left and right side of the card with a large column of crimson straight up the middle behind the man holding the scales. This to me more clearly demonstrates the idea of a redistribution of wealth rather than random charity. Money is energy, and the red stripe up the middle reminds me of the red Chinese paper wallets meant to ‘stimulate’ and ‘energize’ thereby multiplying the cash contained within.  This could be talking about utilizing our waning or limited physical energy in the same way.

In the past is the alchemist of the Tarot, Temperance, the giant angel who, like the Star, has one foot in the water and one on land. The angel is a Sagittarius, of the suit of fire, and I get a ‘forged in fire’ feel out of this spread. The angel patiently pours liquid back and forth, mixing and measuring between 2 gold cups. There is a red triangle on the breast of the gown of the tall, androgynous angel, right over the heart, and should we give it a spin, we get the symbols for fire and water, both methods of purification. Temperance is time, tiempo, tempo, tempering, refining, even negotiating. Back and forth. For a very long time. Until. We. Get. It. Right. Now, let’s try this again. Judging by the even scales and exactly divided coins, all has been handled fairly and everyone treated equally.  This could be a divorce settlement or any kind of legal dispute after a long period of mediation, resolved satisfactorily if not altogether amicably. The Queen’s not here to make friends.

The Queen of Swords (Libra/Aquarius/Gemini) is the card of a divorcee or widow, so it does seem like some sort of settlement has been reached. If she was a pub,she would be called The Thorny Rose. Even in her garden, neck-deep in lush, red roses, she holds her sword ready although she looks quite safe surrounded by all those mature, glorious, full blooms. I want to say that the long sword she holds up straight and strong is well-tempered, that is, forged in fire, as was she. Someone may have had to ‘hold their temper’ for a long time. She’s one tough lady (or man) , yet, the way the cards are positioned, one of the hands on the center card looks as if it could be hers, reaching into the picture, directing her minister to dispense the coins – or, in the future position, accepting a coin herself, but only after the scales are even. She brings to mind the image of Justice, sword raised, gesturing to the balanced scales, but she is not blindfolded, and  her eyes are intense and penetrating, as if she can see right through you. She can. I hope he doesn’t think he’s hiding all those coins behind his back, because her sword is still as sharp as ever.

Someone may be looking forward to being single now that they’re older and wiser. The past defines us, of course, Temperance suggests the way a diamond is formed, under pressure  and heat – the way a sword is forged to diamond-edged perfection and sharpness.

Make sure grandma gets her meds or vitamins – or stay on yours.  This could also be a female doctor you should think about visiting for entertainment purposes only, but generally speaking, whatever you’re doing is working.

It may have taken a long time to achieve a body/soul balance, and it looks like some alone time would be beneficial. You don’t have to explain it, you don’t have to be bitchy about it, just take care of yourself, especially if you’re aging gracefully (’cause I know you all are) and whatever that is, you’d at least like to be healthy in mind and body. This Queen can be quite ‘mental’ which is a proverbial double-edged sword. This is either ‘mellowing’ with age, or…not. I get a ‘time is money’ vibe out of this too, and we have to think about the realistic allotments of time and physical energy, as we get older.

 

But the Queen of Swords, she still dances.

 

 

 

 

5 February 19: The Moon & The Star & The Hanged Man

Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. The Moon can be an ominous card. If I were a dog or a a wolf, both seen on this card, #18 of the Major Arcana, baying and howling at a massive supermoon, eerily pale against the indigo sky and framed by 2 dark, stone towers, I’d be scared, too. The Moon looks loud, the howling animals are loud:

What the hell is it?

I don’t know!

The Moon, in the past position next to the Star in the present looks like the same picture, like a panorama. In the moonlight a little purple crawfish crawls up to the shore as if being called, the way fish beach themselves to spawn under a full moon. How do animals know that stuff? They have some kind of inner ‘thing’. The crawfish looks like he’s about to crawl out and up to a road that leads through the barking animals and dark towers over the distance hills and straight up to the moon, but he doesn’t come all the way up out of the water – ’cause he doesn’t know what that thing is either. I can’t resist, he says, but..what if it’s just a pile of rocks up close? The little purple one is the only one really  ‘in tune’ on this card, which in the past position reminds me of my favorite Disneyland ride, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. Strapped into a little Model T, you careened around in crazy foglights in the dark as things popped out in front of you, above you, behind you, and it was all very weird and surreal and you can’t tell what the hell’s going on then it’s over. This is that. Sort of. Juvenile delinquents (ahem) would jump out of the cars, sneak around in the dark and mess with stuff and then jump back on, but they got wise to that a long time ago and now have people hiding in the dark and watching. This is the fine line between visions & illusions, illusions & delusions, intuition, animal instincts and ‘full moon madness’. Glad to see it in the past.

In the center, the nude woman under the stars seems to be drawing water from the same pond – she says nothing, but appears to be listening to something: a glowing 7 pointed star shining down on her as she draws and pours, from the past to the future positions.

This is serious stuff – all 3 of these cards are Major League Arcana, and all three address the subconscious. The past and the present merge, and the naked woman always reminds me of the character in the Lars Von Trier film “Melancholia” who lays naked on a grassy bank at night by a stream, offering herself to the approaching mysterious planet Melancholia, whose effects she subconsciously feels before anyone else does. The Moon and the Star are also all about stage, theatre, music, singing, and ‘the land of light and shadow’ which it is said is the Native name for what is now Hollywood, which I can’t swear is true but would make sense. The Star is a healing card, and if all these cards have one thing in common, it’s about seeing, or even hearing things in a way others do not. These cards are all upright, suggesting to me that listening to and trusting your subconscious, instinct, intuition or however you feel it, has served you well. This woman may seem a little ‘spacey’ to onlookers but does have one foot planted solidly on dry land.

In the future position is the legendary Hanged Man, calmly hanging from a scaffold of his own making, in a deep meditative trance. The thing that immediately jumps out to me today is the same deep, nocturnal blue on all 3 cards: the deep night of the Moon, the starry night sky of the Star, and just a patch of it on the Hanged Man. A big bank of clouds rolling in, it’s almost as if he hopped up there to avoid the fog – master of dreams, visions, illusions and collector of funhouse mirrors Neptune rules this card, also a card of escape via drugs or alcohol – Neptune likes a drink.

What I like about this card is also something that could be a warning. I like that he has ‘one foot’ in the patch of blue sky, the same blue sky as on the Sun and the Moon, and if there is a message, this is that. It is that same instinct and following your own path that got you through the confusion and chaos in the past – being in touch with your own inner voice. This human sees things ‘from a different point of view’.  Like the Star, this is a card of healing, restoration, wholeness and health.

Looks like a possible ‘dust up’ in the future, from what I can see judging from the wall of incoming clouds. Some kind of ‘weather’ may be blowing in and I like the way he’s handling it, calmly detached, making sure to keep that one foot – instead of on the ground, since that seems to be where that nasty exhaust is coming from – firmly in that clear patch of blue, where he or she can stay in touch with that ‘higher’ or ‘inner’ voice – like the Moon and the crawfish.

The exhaust is probably coming from a careening Model T, and, like the painted wooden mole and frog and mice and all the other terrified characters on the wild ride, he’s jumped up out-of-the-way, staying clear until the dust settles, but when he drops, he drops: 12= 1+2=3, the mighty number of Creation.

Upright, this is a period of going deep, reflection, healing, and the re-balancing of spiritual and earthly priorities, but above all (excellent pun!) staying in touch with one’s inner voice, which is the higher voice.

‘Surrendering’ to higher powers, plain and simple.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

25 January 19: Eight of Swords reversed & Three of Swords & Four of Coins reversed

Do you want to talk about it? You probably should, rather than carry all that around inside.

The most unwelcome 3 of Swords (Libra/Gemini/Aquarius) is a violent and painful card, no doubt about it. Three sharp swords stab through a bleeding heart in a stormy sky. The only redeeming thing that can be said about this unfortunate draw is that this is sometimes called ‘The Artists’ Card’, 3 being the powerful number of creation and the often tense and angst ridden process of. A bloody birth, so to speak. But no matter how you spin it, it’s never a welcome card. Emotions are raw and wounds are fresh, and we’re walking around in a great deal of psychic pain. This is depression with a capital D.

In the past where she belongs is the 8 of Swords reversed, or the card of self-limitation and ‘prison’. Mental jail. Those makeshift jail bars of sharp swords she’s surrounded herself with make it rather difficult to get to her, and that’s what this is about today. Reversed, those ‘bars’ are falling away, and it seems safe to approach. This is good. But having just come out of painful situation or state, we’re finding our ‘land legs’, sort of.

In the future position is the careful, guarded and rather miserly 4 of Coins (Virgo/Capricorn/Taurus). This card shows a human holding on to his stash of 4 gold coins for dear life. We’re not just talking about money here, but a mindset. Perhaps they’ve realized that living in a default state of worry and material insecurity was what was holding them back in the past. No risk, no gain. On every level.

I sometimes call this ‘holding your cards close to your chest’ in that this human does not easily open up to other people, but reversed, this may be about to change. It has to. Look at that gory red heart! Look at those black clouds hanging over it! Yet there is a soft, yellow glow emanating from the heart, like a sunrise. The heart heals itself, and has already begun.

What will this process look like? Who can you talk to? This card reversed can mean overspending or, as it’s called, ‘retail therapy’. Horrible term.

This can mean a period of grief that may – like the faint glow around the heart that I swear looks brighter the longer you stare at it (Morgan-Greer) – be coming to an end, and you’re finally able to talk about it.

Better yet, write about it,  paint about it, or sing about it.

 

 

16 January 19: The Hanged Man & The Magician & Ten of Cups

The Butterfly. 

The Hanged Man. Why had he tied himself up there, away from everyone and everything?

I say ‘had’ because today we have this Zen card of retreat and meditation in the past position. This human quietly and peacefully hangs from a rope tied around one ankle in a beautiful cirque-de-soleil yoga-like pose, looking resigned yet not uncomfortable. He or she always reminds me of Edgar Cayce, the American  ‘sleeping prophet’ as they called him, who put himself into a semi-sleep state (you know, that weird in between zone) during which time he would receive his solutions and remedies – he correctly diagnosed thousands of illnesses during these sessions, dictating to his secretary what was being dictated to him from, as he called it, the Source. It is difficult to hear the Source down there in traffic, says the Hanged Man, no one will see me up here. The world has to turn. Caterpillars can’t fly, all they can do is hang there and think of all the gorgeous vacation spots they’re going to visit when that magic moment comes  and their new wings spread out, flutter and soar.

Inspired, and having contemplated, meditated and slept on it (his eyes are open, but my horse sleeps with her eyes open, too), and having been forced to and having had time and space to consider things from a rather unusual angle and from a higher place in himself, he or she, like Dorothy who is cited so often in these musings, has the epiphany of realizing  that they ‘had the power all along’.

The Magician is in the present position, and #1 of the Major Arcana, contemplating his next creation. I have before me 4 aces, he says, and so he does. A coin, a cup, a sword, a staff.  In a secret garden protected by stone walls he works behind the scenes,  wand raised to the sky as if ready to conduct lightning. #1 of course, is the beginning, as is 1+0=10=1, and the card in the future position, the ‘happily ever after’ card, is the 10 of Cups. If love is a cocktail you are about to be over served.

2 humans hold up a single golden cup into which a rainbow is marvelously pouring itself into from the sky. 9 more are floating down ready to settle – on a beautiful bit of green land by a calm body of water. Deep satisfaction and contentment, who are these people, possibly even a marriage or same sex marriage away from prying eyes.  We can see their uplifted arms and entwined hands around their shared cup but we don’t see the rest of them.

This is saying that, he or she has realized how important, how crucial someone else, or others,  is or are to your own emotional fulfillment, The Hanged Man has become the beautiful butterfly that seem to exist only to inspire us with their delicate, psychedelic, otherworldly beauty. The caterpillars stretch their little green necks to the sky and watch in awe.

But if a butterfly is not seen is it still beautiful? I have no idea. But if 10 people are standing there watching a cloud of monarchs rise up into the sky, they’ll all agree it’s a beautiful, magic moment. We are all inspired. But Quicksilver Mercury rules the Magician, and so the moment has come and gone.

I never looked at it that way, said the Hanged Man. If I could do it all over again, I’d have different priorities, as in love. Now that I finally know myself, he or she says, I am able to ‘find my true tribe’.

They may not be who you thought they were, my little butterfly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

29 December 18: Queen of Coins, Temperance & Four of Coins

Sustainability. That fine line between frugality and hoarding. That urge to go ahead and spend it all as it comes because, well, we could all die tomorrow and the scrimping and saving and self-deprivation will have been for nothing because, well, no one wants to be found dead on a pile of empty cat food cans someday. This is not that.

When we talk about the Coins or Pentacles in the Tarot, the suit of everything earthbound and material (Virgo/Taurus/Capricorn), we talk about money, yes, but also the things we need to live. The basics. What we need in order just to survive and function in society, never mind life’s little luxuries. What once were luxuries are now considered basics: a car, a phone. Indoor plumbing.

The Queen of Coins is a natural manager, whether of a household (what a beautiful house, and probably has lots of animals crawling, running and hopping around) or a business, which is probably her own. She cradles and nurtures a large gold coin, almost as if it were a baby. She is dressed in the colors of Autumn, the harvest season, but the hills we see far in the distance behind her are blue, the color of dreams, feelings, and heaven, as I like to think. As in the ‘blues’ and ‘blue heaven’. In the past position, on the left, no matter what your sign, up until now security and money have been your primary concerns. She is upright, so she has done well. Perhaps you’re retiring from a management position. You could have a mother or grandmother on the other side moving and shaking on your behalf. They don’t really rest until they know we’re ok.

Today,  Temperance is in the center and there is no better card to have between the Queen and her money. Sure, she knows how to make it, but she knows how to spend it, too, so she’s lucky he’s around, this Angel, pouring blue water back and forth, back and forth, wings spread, expression serene. Everything is ok, and everything is going to be ok from now on, says this Angel, telepathically. 4 is the number of stability, and besides the careful, penny-pinching miser on the 4 of Coins, Sagittarian Temperance is #14 of the Major Arcana.

His or her worries are over. Temperance is a card of healing and overcoming stress and strife and since angels like to fly, I’d say we’ve reached cruising altitude. Takeoff was mighty rough. Bumpy climb. But we’ve leveled off, and now we can relax. But even cruising requires vigilance and attention. Even autopilot measures and detects and predicts and calculates and advances so that the pilot can do whatever he does when he or she is not piloting.

To me, this is a strong message that it’s time have a little more fun overall. You can sit at home with your money, I suppose. This human on the 4 of coins is literally using all of his or her limbs, fingers and toes, not to mention sheer energy, to hold onto those coins as if the world is conspiring to snatch them from him, which is ridiculous. Only the IRS is.

You can – and should – invest, but I’m not talking about stocks. Something fun, like a Greek cooking class cruise. Great investment! You won’t feel guilty because you’re learning something and that’s something Earth signs like, practical fun.

Someone up there/over there/right here is making sure you’ll always have what you need.

Don’t blow it all on those expensive drinks on the plane and you’ll be good.  Those, you don’t need.

 

28 December 18: The Star & Six of Swords

Leaving Las Vegas. A lot of people have been getting the wistful 6 of Swords this year (Libra/Gemini/Aquarius), a card of moving on from something or somewhere, not necessarily knowing what lies ahead, but recognizing that peace and fulfillment certainly must be elsewhere.

We usually see a boat headed away from and out of agitated, churning, violent waters toward open, calm sea, and the vague outline of city or village in the distance. There are 2, sometimes 3 humans in the boat with their backs to us as the one standing pushes the boat out of the chaos with a long pole, a woman and child huddled at his feet. There are usually 6 swords stuck into floor of the front of the boat, points down, and seem to be all they carry with them on this risky journey. Baggage. Why bother moving if you’re taking all that crap with you? I don’t mean stuff like the crap in storage, in the attic and in the shed, I mean the attitude. Someone knows it’s time to move on and someone is afraid to – a part of you knows it’s time to move on and a part of you is afraid to. I get it.

You do realize you have The Star here, which, yes, does mean Divine inspiration. intervention and guidance, especially your own ‘inner voice’. The beautiful, naked woman kneels under the starry sky beside the stream, one foot in the water, the other on dry land. In a trance, she’s filling and emptying the pitchers from the stream, watering the parched, brown ground beneath her feet.

I’m reading the Russian deck today, and there are as usual some interesting differences: rather than stuck point down into the front of the boat – always strange, but makes the point, no pun intended – that you can’t run from your head. As I always say about this card, no matter where you go, there you are, and that ‘somewhere else’ won’t be any more peaceful if you’re bringing all those swords. Before they even get there they’ll poke the bottom of the boat and it was all for nothing. On the Russian card, the swords don’t seem to be in the boat, but almost swimming behind the boat trying to jump on. That’s the point, pun intended. He’s churned up quite a wake behind the boat, he can’t get away fast enough. The Zen maiden of the Star is not naked, but wears a light pink nightdress, her overgarment tossed onto the rocky ground from which we see 2 tiny flowers, one red and one white, have sprung up. It is hardly practical to be naked outside at night in cold Russian weather, obviously. Interesting that Aquarius is the astrological sign associated with Russia. Could it be my Russian Grandmother? Could be.

You could be leaving behind or moving on from a flashy, prestigious position or could be well known yourself, and taking your shiny ass somewhere else, or want to, but someone doesn’t want to go or loves the night life too much. You’re not following the same star, as it were. She always looks so damn miserable in the boat, no matter how hard the gondolier is working to get them out of ‘troubled waters’.

Both of these cards talk about distance – something’s telling you it’s time to move on, move on.  Could be an overseas offer for work, or even moving out of the country. Water’s too choppy where they are. I notice it’s only choppy on her side of the boat, though.

Maybe his inner voice is telling him he’ll need those swords wherever they wind up.

Or maybe she’ll learn to like it.

Or he’ll just dump her over the side. It’s his show, and he’s the Star.