18 Feb 18: Knight of Swords

Let’s go for it. The Knight rides in on his white horse, sword held high, face against the wind, damn the torpedoes. Who’s with me? 

The first thing I noticed tuning into this card this morning was the horse, having just come in from our morning walk, my horse and I. The horse on a traditional old European deck looks downright scared, legs stiffened straight out in front of him at full gallop and giving the enthusiastic hell-bent-for-leather Knight on his back a serious side-eye. I speak fluent horse, so allow me to translate:

you sure, boss? 

-Sancho Panza to Don Quixote

Curious, I started checking out the horses in the other decks, and there’s something off about each of them. One old deck has the Knight’s horse crosseyed, as if his manic master  wants to charge off in all directions and the poor horse doesn’t know which way to go. On the Russian deck, the horse is rearing, head turned backward as if refusing to move forward at all. The Morgan-Greer deck shows us simply the bust of a Knight, his sword bloody, a tower behind him is in flames. He is turning back to look at the damage he has done. He is smug.

Maybe he just hacked somebody’s computer and is sitting back in his little dark room cackling about it.

That’s the double-edged sword of this Knight of Swords.  He doesn’t care. He’s a pirate.  The old tales about white knights riding in to save princesses would have been this guy, the dragonslayer. Damn the collateral damage – he’s a soldier first.

Brave, yes. Somebody’s gotta be.




17 Feb 18: Four of Swords

Unplug. Hang the ‘do not disturb’ sign on the doorknob. Go back to bed. Auto-reply. You need to recharge your batteries. Maybe you’re finally getting over the flu? You won’t if you don’t rest.

The Russian deck shows us a man asleep in bed. Outside one window we can see that it is the middle of the day. The other window, or a heavy wooden door, is shuttered. 4 swords bar the shutter closed, as if to shut out the world. Sometimes that’s exactly what we need to do.

This is retreat – a temporary one, a break in the action, and some precious time to be alone with your thoughts. This is all about putting your oxygen mask on first before you can help others.

After the intensity and stress of the 3, the 4 gives us time to ‘stabilize’. Rest, meditate, and let the boiling cauldron of worries, thoughts, memories and problems in your head cool down.

If you are recovering from illness or addiction, treat yourself with kid gloves. Pretend you’re the nurse, and care for yourself, the patient. Care for yourself like you would a child or injured animal: gently.

This card also encourages you to ‘build in’ retreat time, alone time, mental health time on a regular basis. Don’t burn yourself out.

What is it they say, ‘cemeteries are full of indispensable people?’




16 Feb 18: Three of Swords

Time heals all wounds. Hearing that never seems to help at the time, though. This is a stormy, painful, sad card, no lie. Three sharp and sometimes bloody swords pierce a scarlet heart under gathering storm clouds. It hurts. This card has the tension and stress of the number 3, and is very emotional. This card is sometimes referred to as “the Artist’s Card” acknowledging the sometimes painful process of creation. The tortured poet, the angst ridden artist, the rejected  lover. They’re all here, hearts bleeding under swords.

Separation, loss – this card speaks of many sad things. In the Russian deck, the imagery is solemn, but not as bloody or violent. The three swords hang in front of the heart, but do not pierce it. The heart and swords float before 3 church bells , almost normalizing the suffering. The church suggests a funeral, or faith in that the pain and grief will pass. Rather than torturous, this card with beautiful traditional scrollwork and a solemn, quiet tone suggests that pain and sorrow are borne with grace and dignity.

It is pointed out in the Sukov deck that ‘suffering itself is believed to be a creative experience’ in Russia. Not sure that all Russians would agree, but the sentence, I believe, perfectly describes this Artist’s Card.

A cliche, maybe. But to express and purge deep, old hurts artistically is one of the perks of being human. Don’t want to talk about it? Write about it, paint about it, sing about it.

Use it, embrace it, channel it.

This card can literally mean surgery, or heart surgery. In which case we’d move on to the 4, a card of retreat and recovery. Get well soon!

15 Feb 18: The Magician

You can do anything. 

You humble me with your presence, o Wizard. #1 in the Major Arcana, this magician – who in ‘olden times’ was every bit as important as a priest or any advisor to the King – is the alchemist who has spread out before him on a table the seeds (aces) of the elements – a cup (water, emotion) a coin (earth, grounding, matter) a sword (thought and action) and holds to the sky his wand (receiving the spark). He is capable of transforming divine inspiration to matter, capable of manifesting the unseen and unheard through skillful combining of the natural elements. Too much fire will scorch earth, too much water will douse fire. This magician knows how to bring everything together to manifest something amazing and make it look like ‘magic’

Luckily, he’s not reversed, which would mean sleight of hand, a charlatan, fake, a slimy salesman.

The powerful message of this card is: you have everything you need, you always have, you always will, and that is your own power. Think about it: anything you’ve ever had, you’ve made happen yourself. You are the source, you created something, and you always will have the ability to create, to manifest an idea, a solution, a dream. We often make things harder than they really need to be. The only thing that we need to maintain is – balance. Your thoughts, feelings, actions and passions – when all cylinders are firing in sync, there is nothing a body and soul can’t do. The ‘trick’ is self-mastery.


What are you ‘cooking up?’






14 Feb 18: Ace of Cups

My exploding heart! Honestly, this card crawled out from under the deck like the Valentine gift that it is. I could never have picked a better card on purpose!

The suit of cups are all about love and emotion. The heart. This is a beautiful and moving card in any deck, and long one of my favorites in  imagery and symbolism.

On this card, traditionally, a hand emerges from the clouds offering a golden goblet from which 5 streams of water flow – “my cup runneth over with love” – love has taken over our 5 senses, there is nothing else. This is the ace, the seed, the start of something really beautiful. This is fertility as well, as the watery cup also represents the watery womb, and usually has an “M” or a “W” engraved on it, said to stand for Mary, the mother, or Mary,  who is said to have borne the children of Christ, took off to the South of France and lived happily ever after.

This is so perfect, really. Obviously a day to declare your love. Punch-drunk, dizzy-ass love.

..not necessarily romantic, though, this is loving life itself. Everything around you. Exploding with song, art, joy. Overwhelming emotion. Manifestation and creation from the purest source. Draw, paint, bake, cook, dance, sing.

As long as it comes from the heart..

13 Feb 18: Six of Swords, reversed

Why can’t I move on?  Sometimes for some very real reasons.

On this card, a man pushes off in a boat toward an unknown shore. In some decks he has a woman beside him, wrapped in a blanket. In some decks, there is a baby. Do they want to leave? No. But there is nothing left for them where they are, possibly even have grown up, established themselves. Or they have outgrown their very lives, and seek their destiny elsewhere. It’s a brave and proud card, and the man pushing the boat through the water with his long oar has at least faith in himself and his ability to deal with whatever awaits on the foreign shore. In the Russian deck, the boat is beautifully carved, the couple beautifully dressed, the man determined. Perhaps he has been transferred to or appointed to an important position elsewhere, and his wife is not too happy about it.

Reversed, the boat is weighed down, and simply cannot move. Something or someone is preventing this move or change. Baggage for sure, but swords suggests this is of a physical nature, something is unfinished before we can move on, but move on we must. Perhaps the very vehicle or person responsible for our transport has failed somehow, or the house didn’t sell when you thought it would.

What or who is holding you back?

12 Feb 18: Seven of Cups, Queen of Coins

Slap! Work before play. Happy Monday. Sure, you work for yourself, you can do whatever you want. You’re your own boss. Freelancer. Independent contractor. Or maybe you just have the day off for some reason…

The 7 of cups is a surreal and dreamy card. 7 beautiful cups float before our astonished gentleman/woman as if manifesting from a dream – each holds its own contents, but how does he choose? One holds jewels, another a snake. Which of the cups are of real gold, and which are cheap painted plastic? Choices! Offers! Decisions! This is a kid in a candy store, allowed to choose 1 thing. But what if the delicious looking chocolate he chooses has something crappy in the middle (you know, the one you’d put back in the box with a bite out of it)? Deception, illusion. Choose from your highest self (7).

Let’s blow the day off and do something fun, what do we want to do?

It’s Monday, says the Queen of Coins/Pentacles/Discs/ and money. This practical, grounded earth sign (Virgo, Taurus, Capricorn) is here to grab you by the ear and lead you firmly back to your desk and back to work. You should thank her. This Queen is organized, reliable, successful, secure. She’s a good hostess and definitely knows how to have a good time, but not today. It’s Monday, and there is work to be done.

So we choose the practical thing, the ‘adult’ thing, the responsible thing.

The Queen of Coins winks.