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.

 

 

 

 

29 January 19: The Devil reversed & The Lovers & Four of Swords

Get thee behind us, Satan. You stinky, mangy hairy, horny old f***. At least that’s how he’s depicted in the old decks, crouched like a gargoyle on a pedestal, all teeth and claws and bad breath. He sits between and has enslaved 2 naked humans with one of his many devilish (de)vices, and they stand as if entranced or mute on either side of him…or her, for that matter, who holds the chains to their rather loose dog collars, not in a good way,  These people are voluntarily and willingly ‘hooked’. It’s all fun and games – for now.  The Devil has many names, as it is said. Fear is one of my interpretations, as I think that’s when he wins, is when we let our fear hold us back. Generally speaking, without diving down the rabbit’s hole, he or she brings addictions, sexual dysfunction, greed, excess, vice and materialism.  The Devil may represent a shared ‘vice’ or even crisis that may have brought these together in the first place, even a ‘frenemy’ aka a devil in disguise, but in the end, came between them. There are a lot of humans here between all 3 cards.

Reversed in the past position, any and all negative influences have been recognized, dealt with, and overcome. We’ve hopefully seen the last of our Capricorn devil, and may your own demons stay gone.

But the stars of the show today in the here and now are the beautiful Lovers, #6 of the Major Arcana, also nude but embracing peacefully in a beautiful green garden of calla lilies, no one and nothing coming between them. Dark and unhealthy vices, habits, secrets, fears, people, or all of the above because often they come as a bundle are gone. Get rid of one, and another usually goes with it. Alone together, everything seems better than fine between these two.

In the future is the restful, restorative 4 of Swords (Libra/Gemini/Aquarius) showing the effigy of a Knight in repose, laid out on a stone tomb. His 4 swords are displayed on the wall behind him. He is at rest after the trials and angst of the preceding 3.

It seem that if not both, at least one of these humans is doing a lot of work in order to be their best selves inspired by what else? Love. Each wants to be at their best for the other.

French philosopher Jean Paul Sartre famously said, “Hell is other people.” This today, I believe, is that.

 

 

 

26 January 18: Four of Wands & The Hermit & Ten of Swords

Back to the future. Literally. The wise old Hermit (Virgo) stands alone on his (or her) snowy mountain, holding his glowing yellow lamp up against a black, starless sky. He wears a white beard and the brown, hooded cassock of a monk. The Hermit, #9 of the Major Arcana, is all about solitude and reflection. This is not a young person, or at least not young in spirit – an old soul at the very least, and the yellow light of his lamp illuminates not the future card, but the past – the joyous 4 of Wands (Aries/Sagittarius/Leo).

A happy, yellow card, this is the card of a happy home and happy, stable life. On the olde versions of the card, there are 2 humans dancing in celebration under a canopy of garlands of flowers and ribbons -the planted 4 staves holding up the festive decor form 11:11. It’s a peaceful, loving vibe. Heavenly, really. This is being perfectly in tune, and, very simply, happy.

But the Hermit has turned his back to the future card, the bloody, potentially fatal #10 of Swords, (Libra/Gemini/Aquarius). The thing I notice immediately about this picture is the weather. The flat, black sky of the Hermit card continues on to the next card, and he lays bloody on a snowy beach and the water looks frozen in the distance. The brown cassock has fallen away to expose a white shirt stained with the red blood from wounds sustained from the 10 swords that pierce his back. It has started to snow. This, if anything, is an anti-future card. The wise hermit knows this, and shines his light instead on the past.

But this is not a card of wistful nostalgia. This is more about reflecting on what exactly it was about that place or time that was particularly resonant, where and when and with whom you felt you belonged. Where was home. Not necessarily a specific geographical location but a feeling of being inspired, happy to wake up in the morning. The Hermit’s tall walking stick tells us he’s been around, but after having been there and done that, he thinks he may like to retire to that little warm place he or she visited so long ago, or even grew up or used to live. That’s where the ‘home fires burn’ for this Hermit, who seems to be considering a trip back down the mountain. On the Morgan-Greer card, there are no dancers under the garlands in the garden, the ‘stage’ is empty.

The 10 is the ending of a cycle and the beginning of a new one: 1+0=1.

This may be about having a strong feeling about something you may not feel right about doing, or people you may not completely trust aka the ‘backstabbers’.

Or the Hermit has wisely decided to turn back, because he can’t drive in the snow. Or, any more traveling will kill him.

His old back hurts, and one of those swords looks like a serious pain in the neck.

Pass the balm.

23 January 19: The Hermit & The Lovers & 5 of Swords, all reversed

Agree to disagree.  I believe what I believe, you believe what you believe. Can we just agree to disagree? If only.

The Hermit, #9 of the Major Arcana causes no one any trouble, because he’s a Hermit, and never leaves the cave. Every once in a while the odd seeker, guided by the Hermit’s ever-glowing lantern, will brave their way up the snowy mountain to pick his brain. The Hermit has dedicated and committed his life to meditation and understanding, and like Buddha who sat under a tree and let the world come to him, will share his knowledge but only with those who care enough to make the trip.  Upright, this card is a card of voluntary solitude. Reversed, our Hermit does not hold his lamp up so that others may find him on the dark, remote mountain, but rather down, dimming his light – he seems to be in hiding. This Hermit is, or rather, was, in full retreat mode. This is an unusual and lonely path he has taken –  did everyone leave him, or did he leave everyone else?

The Lovers reversed is in present position. An old-fashioned read of the olde tyme image  shows a man having to choose between 2 lovers –  ‘virtue and vice’ or the classic  ‘whore/madonna’ complex. I do believe ‘The Choice’ was also a name for this card, and it’s a big one. The Lovers is #6 of the Major Arcana, the number of peace and karma. The choice here doesn’t seem to be between 2 lovers, though, this could be about any  important relationship or partnership, or the potential of one. Gemini rules this card, the sign of the twins. Why are they even reversed? This is a beautiful card. On the simpler, more peaceful Morgan-Greer card, there is not a choice between two people but the choice is whether or not to enter into the relationship in the first place. There are compatibility issues here – deep ones. Like really, really deep.

In the future position is the dreaded 5 of Swords, the card that’s spoiling for a fight just for the sake of it. A cackling human has just ‘won’ a fight with 2 other humans, or at least he thinks he did. Gemini is also involved in the battle on this sharp card of the suit of Air (also Libra and Aquarius), thankfully reversed. This wasn’t a ‘winnable’ argument in the first place, but you started it.

Ok, if it’s that important to you, you win. Fine. You’re right.

The naked Lovers on the Morgan-Greer card don’t look like they’re really into discussing much of anything, so perhaps they shouldn’t.

Someone’s beliefs or the way they live their life is in the way of a potential relationship, but if you were to ask me, I’d say love conquers all, and nothing else matters.

There is an old saying about not discussing religion or politics in polite company. Look long and hard enough and we can all find something to disagree or even fight about. Or, conversely, is this an important conversation that needs to be had before starting any sort of relationship regarding personal spiritual or religious beliefs that are either  important to the foundation of the partnership or – now that I see you naked, who cares?

Make love, not war.

Couples therapy might not hurt, either.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20 November 18: Justice & The Hermit

Retreat: no longer an option, but a necessity.  Someone’s life direction needs serious examination and consideration. The solemn and sober Justice card says, “you know what you should do. Do the right thing.” The Hermit, well, is a Hermit. Hermits know stuff. That’s all they do is meditate and study and contemplate and see that one flickering light in the snow way up on the mountain there? That’s the Hermit’s lamp. He’ll know  what you should do, but he also knows that, deep down,  you yourself probably already know.

There are some things we have to decide for ourselves all by ourselves. You need to do what’s right for you, says the Hermit if you were to ask, but how can we know what’s right for us when people are all up in our sh**  day and night, whether physically in our faces or electronically? It’s a cluster**** of contradictory images, mixed messages, and relentless, aggressive subliminal advertising. There’s nothing more depressing than a commercial for anti-depressants.

It is crucial to regain your balance and equilibrium. Justice is ruled by Libra, the sign of the scales, and in her left hand she does hold a pair of scales that are slightly uneven. How do I level out? Retreat, advises the Hermit, ruled by the ever-cautious Earth sign Virgo. He is wise, and he doesn’t come down from the mountain often. He holds his lamp aloft for all to see –  sharing his wisdom and knowledge willingly with those who seek it.

This is one sober pair and strongly suggests steering clear of any situations that could throw you ‘off balance’ and into an unhealthy mental or emotional state this joyful Holiday season. Both of these cards represent teachers or healers, often both one in the same person. Knowledge and truth are ultimately healing on any level. ‘Know thyself’ is a/the major message of the Tarot,  and only by going deep within and being brave enough to look ourselves in the faces and do the right thing – by and for ourselves – can we even know wtf we truly are. The Hermit wants to study and contemplate the Big Questions.

How can you know me if I don’t even know me? 

Airy Libra, who rules Justice,  is a people-pleaser, and that can get us into trouble – deep trouble. Do you really think a lifetime of being who you think people expect you to be and acting like you think you should because that’s what your friends, family or God forbid social media, expect of you won’t lead to a total nervous breakdown? I hope this Hermit’s face is glowing in the dark from within or from a nice fire or warm candlelight and not from his computer screen Googling himself in the middle of the night.

Go within for your answer, says the Hermit, and looks as if he’s about to place his lamp on the uneven scales of the previous card, which should bring them into balance. Or, you’re the one holding the uneven scales, and this counselor,  healer, doctor, or revered elder will help you ‘sort out’ your life. You can trust this person since they don’t care if anybody likes them anyway.

You can’t lie to yourself. The unflinching, serious face of Justice as she stares us down may as well be a mirror.

The Hermit may be hibernating, but he’s not sleeping, rather making very good use of the hours when everyone else is.

A local cop told me that Thanksgiving is the #1 day of the year for domestic violence, at least up here in the High Desert. If the mere thought of a family or social gathering makes you want to tap the sponsor or therapist you have on speed-dial, then Do. Not. Go.

I daresay they may be the reason you ‘self-medicate’ in the first place. Doesn’t mean you don’t love them, it may just be that this year you need to love yourself at least as much.

If not more.

 

 

 

 

 

18 September 18: Strength & Four of Swords

Replenish your strength. Time to settle down a bit after a busy summer? The Strength card is number 8 of the Major Arcana, and actually is a summery-looking card in the Morgan-Greer deck. Under a hot yellow sky, green palm trees, and what look to be a couple of volcanoes a woman sits in a green field wearing a white, billowy, summery dress with a garland of flowers in her hair. She is calmly and gently closing the jaws of a huge, snarling lion at her side. Incredibly, the lion does not attack or bite, but is soothed by her voice, her manner, and her quiet determination. He is tamed. Suggesting the astrological sign Leo and the 8th month of August, summer’s over. This card can literally mean strength, as in your actual physical strength and health.

The 4 of Swords (Libra/Gemini/Aquarius) shows us a Knight – almost always on horses and in motion in the Tarot, except for that slow-ass Knight of Coins, whose horse just stands there – resting, sleeping or deceased. He is in a stone building, and through the window we can see the sky has darkened to a misty, streaked, cloudy indigo color. Burnt-orange colored oak leaves sprout from a fallen tree. Swords demand action, but this Knight’s swords are hung up for now. 4 is the number of stability, and this human needs stabilizing.

This means chill out and rest of your own free will or wind up in a hospital bed with a nice nurse patiently prying your jaws open to give you your meds. This could be suggesting someone temporarily ‘asleep’ while the dentist works.

Hibernate. Get a massage. Retreat, spend some quiet time with your dog. Or cat. But stay rested, you need your strength.