The Energy of a Beginning – How Ace!

Welcome to the Imbolc Blog Hop – thank you for stopping by! The links below will nagivate you around the Hop. I hope you enjoy everyone’s posts.

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To me, the Aces are always a reminder that just as things end, things always have a beginning. What we do with that beginning is entirely up to us but the potential is just sitting there, waiting to be taken up. Life has a habit of beating us up, sometimes it feels as though we’re drowning in everybody else’s crap and there is no lifeline to be found. It’s not often we find ourselves believing in new starts, new beginnings or possibilities because we get so ground down by the mundanity of life, the negativity of the press, the sadness that lives within this world or the heartbreak of loss that never seems to end. There was a time in my life when I would have looked at the Aces as something that happened to that happy, person over there that I was secretly resenting and hating because they had everything I wanted but couldn’t seem to find. The energy of the Aces was foreign to me because life felt like something that happened to you instead of being something of a vehicle that you could steer toward the outcomes or dreams that you wanted to see materialise.

But one day I saw a card on a website and it hit me, the damn card stuck in my mind and made me fall in love with it. It was the Ace of Wands from the Crystal Visions Tarot. Now in theory, this card is everything I normally wouldn’t look for in a deck. It’s pretty, pink, floral and just exudes that happy-happy vibe that normally makes me want to close my eyes until it goes away. I ended up buying the deck, it’s not a deck I use often, but it is a deck that most of the time can cheer me up when I look through the cards. For me, at that time, there was just such positivity and power in the image on that card, it grabbed my heart and squeezed, forcing me to pay attention.

The Aces were talking and they had something important to say.

Never give up.

Always believe in a new beginning – find your own or beat a path to it if you need to.

Sometimes you need a little neon pink in your life to make you smile.

And so in honour of the card that spoke to me this one bleak and sad day, here are the Aces from The Crystal Visions Tarot. There is about each and every one of them that exudes an energy. (I have to admit, second to the Wands, I do so adore the Swords). They all have such a powerful message, one that can be applied to each day of your life, and one that I am trying to now begin to work with. It’s not easy but they are each a reminder that you can do amazing things if you put your mind to it, all you need is a little reminder sometimes of what you’re actually capable.

Ace of Wands

It is time to harness creative energy and move forward, putting fears aside in order to cultivate a dream

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Ace of Cups

A time for new spiritual and emotional growth, a new partnership, marriage or mending of a relationship

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Ace of Swords

New beginnings, a new point of view or inspiration

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Ace of Pentacles

The ability to attract what you need in order to prosper while remaining grounded and down to earth

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All images by Jennifer Galasso, Crystal Visions Tarot, US Games 2011

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Why Tarot?

People often ask – what made you get into reading tarot? The short version is that it came by way of being Pagan. I was going through a rough time health-wise, laid up on my feet most of the time and not particularly doing anything or going anywhere because I couldn’t. So I meandered about online and found a Pagan school; I’d disconnected a lot from my faith and belief system throughout my teen years so it was nice to be able to dip my toe back in. The online school had a tarot course and my little eyes lit up because it had always been something I was quite fascinated with. Coincidentally timed with my birthday so I could talk family into getting me the deck I wanted for my birthday (being sick meant no work which meant not a lot of money which meant I could not buy the deck myself), and I began to immerse myself in learning the art of tarot.

What I learned very quickly is the glamorous image I had in my head was not at all realistic. You know the one I mean, where the woman sits on her beautifully dressed table with her crystal ball and well worn cards, incense permeating the space, low light – all very mysterious and enchanting was not at all what tarot was about. Don’t get me wrong, there can be a shed-load of mysticism in tarot but it takes a lot of work and experience to be able to lay your cards out and get the story. Even though I’ve been doing it for a while, sometimes I can lay out a spread and not have the faintest clue what I’m looking at. It takes time and effort and definitely practice. I also learned that while I can (and do) channel some “predictive” information through tarot, I more often than not find myself being the counsellor, advisor, advice-giver extraordinaire (okay that’s me being overly generous with myself). Ultimately my ability to read and interpret tarot comes through my desire to help, a knack for giving guidance – in some ways tarot has now lead me to perhaps what is going to be my life path. Psychotherapy and Counselling (which I will be studying this year) is not something I had ever considered to my journey – God knows half the time I hide from people but tarot and counselling actually fit perfectly together as a healing modality.

But I digress – or tangent (which I do often do), tarot for me became a doorway into understanding myself, the things going on in my life and a way to look at a situation and see possible outcomes, speed bumps, obstacles and ways round. I found a home in a deck of cards and it spoke to me. I’d love to lay it out as though I am a selfless individual channelling divine guidance in an act of purity to help those who need a guiding light in their life (yeah, I’m really not that saccharine sweet) but honestly, it occupied my mind and gave me something to think about. What intrigues me I learn about, what fascinates me I try to understand; my mind constantly craves stimulation, knowledge and actionable problem solving and tarot offered this to me. I could look at the cards and before lay a challenge, a message needing to be worked out, interpreted and put back together into a coherent narrative that made sense.

Once I began to get into the flow of reading for myself, I tentatively started reading for others and found I had a knack for it. It was a surprise – still is most of the time. Some people I was able to give sound advice to, show a path forward, others I seemed to be able to do a long-range view for. I never found myself particularly “predictive” but sometimes things would come out in the cards that presented as future events – or rather future possibilities because one thing I have also learned with tarot is that nothing is set in stone. The future is fluid; it’s never a straight line so the smallest decision can change the future. I found that I enjoyed the challenge of understanding the symbols, signs and messages within the cards; to this day I sometimes look into certain cards and see things I missed the first time round and it opens up a whole new meaning to the card or the reading.

Tarot can sometimes have a reputation as “new agey” or “woo woo” but I have found it can be an incredible tool for personal growth, self awareness and insight into your thoughts and emotions. While I find that it doesn’t always give you the answer you want to hear, it does often have a straightforward truthfulness that to this day is surprising – or aggravating – depending on your mood when you read. Between some tarot friends and I, we often say ‘if you don’t want the truth, don’t ask the tarot’ and I do firmly believe that. Tarot is simply the messenger, it has no agenda, no ulterior motive, it simply is and it simply delivers.

TBH – From Darkness to Light

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Welcome to the Tarot Blog Hop, I hope you enjoy my entry and continue on to read all of the fabulous entries by my fellow Hoppers!

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Everyone is a moon and has a dark side which he never shows to anyone” – Mark Twain

I’ve always been fascinated by the Moon. It never spoke to me when at Her full lusciousness but rather in depths of the night when Her face was not visible. The energies always tugged at me more than any other time and it was within this fullness of night that I begin to wonder about the darkness that is so often hidden from view and how the Moon can illuminate right to the core of the soul.

My journey as Pagan and Reader has always been to try and work to the depths of the soul and find truth, light and a path through. And like the Moon, we all ebb and flow, follow cycles and become something new but something familiar all at once. There has never been more of a time than this year I feel to really tune into the inner darkness and find the road to light. While I am anything but a proper love and light sort (my flavours sometimes run to the darker themes), I recognise that one can’t always live in the light nor can one live completely in the dark either. There has to be a balance, a culmination of the Soul’s journey and everything we learn along the way.

The cards that best illustrate that to me are The Journey, The Mirror and Moon on the Water (gorgeous cards from the Wildwood Tarot)

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The Journey (Death)

It is time to face the inevitable, to let the bones be laid bare and acknowledge the deepest aspects of your fears and desires. Do not fear change, because this is also a time of purification and realignment.”

The Crow is one of my Spirit Animals, my guides – as is the Stag and in some ways this card hits me the hardest because it brings to bear the stark realities of life – whether it be magical or mundane. It is the beginning of working with the Shadow, of wading through the Darkness toward a clearer path. This is one of the cards where the Moon is quite prominent, leading one toward the light or illuminating the path that lay ahead. Crows have always been aligned with Darkness, the occult, the Other but ultimately I find them to be powerful messengers; creatures that can not only survive but thrive using their keen intellect, connections and ability to adapt.

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The Mirror (Hanged Man)

In The Mirror, a surrender of will is required. Insights may come from dreams and meditations, but now is not the time to force the pace or drive on with a plan or desire until you have heard what your soul has to say, and your bruised and wounded spirit has been healed.”

The Mirror reflects our struggles, our highs and lows and the truth of things whether we wish it to or not. Ultimately our experiences, our ideas and our dreams are mirrored into the real world whether we want them to be or not. Reflection is a good way to walk through one’s darkness, one’s struggle and while it is never comfortable, it is sometimes necessary. To surrender will is to surrender to the darkness, the light and to the path that will ultimately find you making your way back to the centre of who you are. I won’t pretend that illumination is easy, there are parts of myself that I’d rather pretend were elsewhere or non-existent but as it stands, it’s not always the case. The Mirror is a portal to other worlds, it is the doorway to spirits and the contraption that trips us up, delivers self doubt and criticism so the Mirror is also the hurdle that we must overcome to be who we are. To learn to look beyond the reflection and see the naked truth that lay beyond.

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Moon on Water (The Moon)

Now your soul brings into your physical world the symbolic keys to the collective human subconscious. This may take the form of a desire to investigate or study a doctrine, philosophy or esoteric pursuit, or the wish to explore untapped sexual energy and experience a tighter spiritual bond with a partner through honesty and the expression of your hidden desires.”

This card is always a mystery to me, it speaks of things hidden or not yet revealed. It can herald secrets, darkness, intuition and oftentimes a truth hidden. As the moon moves through phases, so too does life and one must understand that change is inevitable, it may not always be welcome but it will happen. The tides change and new things are upon us, but the Moon also reflects the surface back to us and now may be the time to reflect upon yourself, your dreams and desires and see if you are now ready to follow them. Can you reflect on the hidden depths of yourself? Accept them? Embrace them? Work with them and understand them? Are they something you can let go of? The Moon can cast a shadow as easily as she casts light, it is up to us what we hold out into the light and what we let stay within the shadow. But sometimes, however hard or however frightening, we need to expose our Shadow to the Light and begin to see ourselves in all our resplendent glory.

And now for perhaps my favourite card of all time that beautifully illustrates moving from the darkness into the light, of engaging our entire soul for the journey and of finally shedding our old skin and becoming:

13death

Out of dark, stormy clouds comes a bright beam of sunlight which illuminates the moment of victory. What was perhaps looked upon as a painful death or great loss has been revealed as a rebirth into something better. Knowledge, willpower and trust in spirit have helped to create gold out of dross. Like the fabled Phoenix, the dragon rises from the symbolic ashes of an outworn existence or experience into a new and brighter cycle of life.”

Every time I see this card it brings forth the idea that nothing is permanent and change is always possible; a new day will dawn and with the chance to rewrite the direction of your life. I think it really does remind us that we can take any darkness and change it to light; with a roar and sense of purpose we can achieve great things. If I’m feeling down I look at this card, I think it is the most powerfully potent symbolism in any tarot deck for the Death card. It truly encapsulates the journey of the human spirit from despair to triumph, powerlessness to powerfulness and from the darkness into the light.

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Card Images: Wildwood Tarot/Will Worthington/Sterling Publishing Co Inc/Jun 2011
Celtic Dragon Tarot/DJ Conway & Lisa Hunt/Llewellyn Publications US/Nov 1999

10 Questions Every Tarot Reader Must Answer

The fabulous Left Hand Tarot blog had this tantalising ‘10 Questions Every Tarot Reader Must Answer‘ questionnaire and being that I sometimes like to do them, I had to put my hand up and give it a go.

*Breathe*

Here goes….

1. Were you mentored, or were you self-taught? I was a bit of both. I went to an online school that was Pagan in nature and one of the classes offered was tarot. I’d always been fascinated by tarot so I decided to take the class and that began my foundation knowledge in tarot. I’d say for the most part, I am self taught – while the course gave me a beginning, my continued education came from my love of learning (book nerd over here). I wouldn’t knock back mentoring but I appreciate having to learn mostly by myself because it gave me the opportunity to understand the cards in my own way and develop my own style of reading that works for me. I think it is important to do a lot of the legwork on your own, it makes you discover your voice, your interpretations and your understanding of the cards as opposed to maybe just echoing someone else’s.

2. Are you a psychic or a Tarot reader? I’m not a psychic, I am a tarot reader, I read the cards by looking at the story laid out in front of me and form a narrative based on the information the cards provide me. ‘But Ms Three Cats, you said you were claircognizant in your About page’ I hear you say and yes, I am somewhat claircognizant but I don’t really ascribe that to being “psychic”, it’s just another facet of who I am, like my red hair or go-in-the-sun-and-fry pale skin. I don’t think you have to be psychic to be a tarot reader. There are those who think you do but I have discovered that you mostly need an analytical yet creative mind that can see signs, symbols or messages within the cards and be able to relay that into something that makes sense – no psychic ability needed.

3. Are your predictions accurate, and is accuracy important to you? Accuracy is very much important to me and it should be important to any reader who wants to be successful. However, at the same time, no one person can guarantee you 100% accuracy and if they do, they’re funning you. There are so many messages within the cards that it can be very easy to miss things, to misinterpret things (Death card anyone?) or simply just not see what is right in front of you. But I would hesitate to trust someone running about claiming 100% accuracy. That being said, there should always be a good level of accuracy within a reading, throwing out vague assumptions or pale interpretations doesn’t serve anyone so if you can’t at least make sense or see things most of the time in a reading, tarot might not be for you.

4. Is there anything you can’t predict in a reading? Being that I am not psychic, I wouldn’t claim that I could or could not predict things. I offer a window into situations, possible outcomes; I could share with you the consequences or rewards of taking particular actions in situations. If you’re looking for the name, age and occupation of Mr/Ms Right, I can’t tell you that but I could help with strategies in getting yourself out there and being available for your next lover/partner. Every action we take changes the future at any given time which makes the future fluid and malleable, so it is almost impossible to predict the future with any amount of certainty.

5. Do you use only Tarot, or are you multi-disciplinary? Tarot is my main tool; I do also read oracle cards and once upon a time dabbled in the art of tea leaf reading (side benefit of drinking lots of tea). My main preference is tarot and oracle cards, I use them relatively interchangeably depending on what kind of information or reading I’m after, but otherwise, no, not really multi-disciplinary.

6. Is the message in the cards, or in your head? That’s an interesting question, a bit of both I think. The message is in the cards but it almost goes through the mind in order to come out as something understandable. I think your mind has to be able to put together the message in the cards so to a degree, the message is in your mind; on the flipside of that, the cards are the tool that creates the message so the message is in the cards. I’m not sure if that answer is particularly clear, but ultimately I think the cards and the mind work together in a symbiotic relationship to bring out the message in a cohesive and relatable way.

7. Are you a priest or a fortune-teller? I’m not really one or the other to be honest; but in the spirit of the questions, if I had to choose then I would say Priest (of a kind I guess). Oftentimes you can become someone’s confidant, advice-giver, secret-sharer and guide so in that respect it could fit the “Priest” role. I’m certainly not a fortune teller since I don’t tell fortunes, and although I am a spiritual practitioner, I am not religious so it’s kind of hard to give this question a well rounded answer.

8. Are you a fixer or a looker? A little of both (I seem to be giving that answer a bit), I look to see the issues or problems or situations in a reading, an overview of sorts but I also offer practical solutions or options if such presents itself in the reading. But I would never take it upon myself to fix someone’s life. It’s not my place to, any growth a person experiences comes from making their own life choices and decisions and dealing with whatever comes from making those choices. I can’t do that for someone and I wouldn’t attempt to. Tarot can offer a road map, a way of navigating or showing the different roads that can lead you to where you want to go, but ultimately you’re the one who is going to be taking those steps.

9. Do you read for free, or for fee? I read for a fee most of the time. I will occasionally read for free (most often for family and friends), but it is not something I offer often simply because I have found that people will get to a point where they don’t value your time or efforts because you don’t have a price on it. People will also have a tendency to then always expect free readings. It sounds rather mercenary I am aware, but tarot is a skill, and like any skill, time and money goes into learning it, practicing it and honing it – there are hours of learning, the purchasing of books and decks, the blood, sweat, tears and frustration that goes into becoming a skilled reader. That effort, that time, that energy is worth something, I didn’t put all of that effort in to give it away. I’m sorry if that appears harsh, but ask any craftsperson (and yes, Tarot is as much as craft or trade as any other) and they will tell you the same thing. There are those who read for free and more power to them, good for them – I just don’t happen to be one of them.

10. Is there anything you won’t predict in a reading? That word – predict (see #4). It still implies psychic ability of which I have minimal to none. So no there is nothing I won’t “predict” because I don’t claim to be able to and never will claim to be able to. However there are things I won’t read for – death, divorce, pregnancy and health. These are topics that are very touchy and very sensitive and I won’t cover those topics in any reading no matter how much you ask. The above mentioned topics are best left to your health practitioner or whoever else looks after your emotional/mental/physical wellbeing.

Choosing Your First Deck

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Tarot is a phenomenally interesting art form, and when you learn to read the cards properly, the accuracy and insight it offers will surprise you – it still surprises me to this day and I’ve been reading for a good long while. There are a plethora of decks out there for every taste or interest so it can be quite daunting to know which one to buy for your first ever deck. Now some say your first deck should be gifted to you – and while the gifts of decks are always nice – it is better to choose your own. The last thing you want is to be stuck with a deck that you can’t read with because you don’t connect with it on any level whatsoever. I’ll admit my first deck was a birthday gift, but I chose the deck I wanted for the very reason that I didn’t want one I didn’t like or couldn’t read with.

Most articles, blogs and books recommend the Rider-Waite Tarot, a lot of tarot books (that do not come with their own decks) generally base their card meanings and interpretations on the Rider-Waite deck. Personally, it wasn’t one that resonated with me, I know many readers who love that deck and swear by it, I just don’t happen to be one of them. I wouldn’t say don’t get it, but if it doesn’t speak to you then don’t buy it. I have found, and this is the one thing I always say when asked, that if you want a deck buy one that screams ‘take me home’ or one that the minute you clap eyes on it, you know you can’t go another day without having. This is the deck you will do your best reading with; this is the deck you will become most connected with and use more than any other. I had this with my first ever deck, The Celtic Dragon Tarot. I’ll admit, it’s not a deck for everyone, some people find it hard to read with, I don’t, I have never regretted getting this deck because it works for me. I do most of my readings with this deck especially if the readee has specified that they have no preference on deck choice. I find time and time again, that it is the one deck that gives me the best results and the best insights

You must be able to connect with your cards on a visceral level to truly be able to read properly and accurately with them. This has also been the experience of those I know who have been reading a lot longer than I and of course, myself. I made the mistake of buying the Gilded Tarot because I liked the artwork but I couldn’t give an accurate reading with that deck to save my life, I couldn’t connect with it on any level – that in of itself is another lesson. Don’t buy a deck because you think the art is pretty, it has to mean something to you. Tarot is a tool and like all tools it needs to work; now you can get the basics down and know what it is and what it does, but if it doesn’t feel right, you’re not going to do your best work with it.

Tarot cards are divination tools that should reflect you and your personality. Love Faeries? Get yourself a Faerie deck, believe me there are plenty available. I have no doubt that you would find one that you connect with. Love Vampires? Again, so many available, in fact any theme you can think of, there is more than likely a tarot or oracle deck to match; so whatever your fancy, look around, do some research – you’ll find what you’re looking for. The same with Oracle decks (everything I have said about tarot decks can also be applied to oracle decks), there are so many themes, ideas and types; you’ll never not find something that suits you.

Just remember, you have to feel like this is the right deck for you. Really look at the pictures of cards and see what you feel when you look at them. If you’re thinking “Oh they’re nice” move on but if you’re thinking “I have to have those cards, I know it!” then you know you’ve found your deck.

Note: My favourite site to check out decks is Aeclectic Tarot. I think just about every single deck (and not just tarot and oracle, any sort of divination deck)is listed in this site. They have the newest decks, reviews, categories of the different themes of decks and more.