With Halloween and winter fast approaching, it’s a good time to light some candles, burn some incense, play some atmospheric music and work with the shadow cards of the Major Arcana for some serious self-exploration:
The Hanged Man, Death, The Devil, The Tower and The Moon.
The late Hajo Banzhaf (Tarot and the Journey of the Hero) assigned these cards to the Arc of the Night of the Major Arcana, the descend into the underworld, which starts with the Hanged Man and ends with the Moon.
These are not the most welcome cards when they appear in readings, but when we face them and examine our dark side (including those past experiences we’d rather forget), they can help us turn our darkness into light.
The best way to do that is through self-enquiry. Here are some questions you can ask yourself for each card:
The Hanged Man – What do I keep avoiding? Where am I stuck in my life? In what situations did/do I find it hard making decisions? What sacrifices have I made in order to make progress? What do I refuse to give up?
Death – Endings in my life that were painful. Changes that were unsettling. New beginnings that resulted from these endings/changes. What do I need to let go of now (habits, things, people…)? How can I transform anguish, loss and grief into a new sense of purpose and understanding? What transformations have I experienced in my life?
Tarot spread: 1. Me now / 2. Me a year ago – What has changed?
The Devil – What is controlling me / what am I controlling? Where do I feel trapped? How can I break free? Where am I complacent? Where am I wasting too much energy that isn’t worth it? What am I obsessed about? Where have I been despondent? A taboo in my life / family / society.
The Tower – What am I angry about? When was the last time I showed my anger? What incident or situation shook my world? How have I recovered? When did I feel that my life was falling apart, and how have I rebuilt it? What has gone out of control? What have I destroyed on purpose in order to start again differently?
The Moon – When did my imagination last run wild? What are my fears / insecurities and doubts? What am I confused about? A nightmare I can remember I once had. My lunar fantasies: visions and illusions (pull a card for each). What is obscured and needs to be revealed? Where and how am I deceiving myself?
Make this Halloween a date with your shadow and descend into the underworld with these cards. Enjoy!
Strength embodies qualities such as passion, creativity, resilience and soft power, which I am hoping to utilise and develop during 2017.
My special word CREATE indicates activities I would like to focus on, such as making and creating things, including arts and crafts.
Together with Strength, it also relates to becoming more assertive, ruthlessly expressing my values and opinions openly without fear, which is especially important in today’s divisive isolationist world of Trump and Brexit.
This means that instead of avoiding debate, I will engage in a constructive way and not turn away from people with different opinions.
You cannot CREATE change, if you retreat to the echo room full of like-minded folk.
Strength isn’t about running away from it all; it’s about having the courage (or CREATE-ing it) to face that lion and roar back into his face
With regards to Tarot, CREATE will involve completion of my tarot deck and a new tarot journal ebook, Cosmic Journaling Through the Year.
If you love journaling, then you know how therapeutic it can be. If you haven’t really done any regular journaling yet, then perhaps because blank white pages in a notebook don’t inspire you, or you just don’t know where and how to start.
I am at a stage now, where writing down words alone is no longer enough, even if it’s in a pretty notebook. I need to express myself on a visual level, too.
Don’t worry if you think you’re not very good at art. You don’t have to be. The resources I am offering are designed to spice up your tarot journal and even help you create your own unique journal from scratch.
If you are learning the Tarot, then journaling is a powerful tool to help you connect with the cards.
Journaling can help you put your mind in order, relax, loose yourself in words and art, and switch off from an otherwise busy life at least for a while.
Visual journaling with your tarot and oracle cards creates mindfulness and awareness in everyday living.
This is the kind of thing I want to work on this year, helping you to help yourself with creative tarot art journaling, and I hope you are interested in joining me on this venture.
You can download plenty of creative journaling freebies here, where you can also sign up to my newsletter for more free stuff and updates on the latest developments at Cosmic HQ.
And until the end of January, I am offering 20% discount on Cosmic Faery’s Journal workbook to get you into the swing of things straight away (use coupon code CREATE20) on checkout page.
Samhain / Halloween is fast approaching, a time when the veil between the world of the living and the dead is at its thinnest.
So it comes to no surprise that if you wish to make contact with dearly departed, this is the perfect night to do so.
I am no spiritual medium and therefore no expert in making contact with dead people, but I do feel it is possible to have a conversation with them through the Tarot.
Many years ago I tried to make contact with my mum, who had died the year before, and even though nothing spooky happened during the reading, I did have some interesting dreams on several occasions afterwards, some of which where astounding to say the least.
This year I intend to make contact with my Dad, who passed over in July this year, so while I’m still going through the process of coming to terms with it, I have the need to reconcile with him in some way.
I do believe that making contact with a departed loved one can help to bring some closure and therefore contribute to the healing process.
So, my advice is only to communicate with the dead, if your intention is reconciliation, closure and healing.
Before you begin, think about the questions you would like to ask your loved one. Write them all down, so you won’t forget during the reading.
Although it’s always worthwhile wording your questions wisely, you can ask anything you like, because you are trying to talk to someone you once loved (and still do), and they loved you too, so they won’t mind!
Questions like “How are you?”, “Are you at peace now?”, “What’s it like?” are perfectly okay. You don’t need to censor yourself. In addition you can also ask your loved one for advice just like you used to when they were still with you.
Do your spirit reading later in the evening on the 31st October. The best time would be around the witching hour. Make sure you won’t get disturbed by anybody, like those pesky trick-or-treaters or whoever lives with you.
3. Sacred Space
Set the scene with seasonal decorations, candles and crystals (see also Halloween ideas).
For this kind of work I love using my Black Obsidian Skull. The energetic vibrations of carved crystal skulls are said to make a mental connection with your brain, thus helping you to be more receptive to messages from the spirit world.
Start with your usual grounding ritual and include a request to the spirit world, such as “Spirit world, please open up to me, so (insert the person’s name you wish to talk to) can talk to me.”
It also helps, if you have a personal item from your loved one you can hold whilst asking him/her to come forward.
Once you feel you are ready, or you may even feel the presence of your loved one, you can begin the reading.
Shuffle your deck while thinking of your loved one. For each question you have, pull a card. The messages you receive from the cards may be from your loved one.
I say “may”, because they may also be from your own subconscious, which knows the answers all along and has the desire to reveal them to you, so you can heal.
Either way, this reading can contribute to your healing process by helping you feel connected to your loved one and getting some answers you need.
If you are planning to do a reading that is focused on self-exploration, then you can try out the spread in the box on the right.
I am hoping for a miracle, and perhaps The Star is an early indication that this will happen.
Sometimes cards make sense much later.
2. A card that doesn’t seem to make sense can also ask you to look at a situation from a different perspective.
For example, you draw The Sun for the week ahead, but during that week you lose your job.
Surely you should have drawn the Tower or any such negative card to prepare you for what’s coming, but no.
Instead, The Sun may want to tell you that what’s happened may well be a blessing in disguise. It may also suggest that you should take time out and enjoy life despite what’s happened, and now isn’t a good time to feel sorry for yourself.
3. The Tarot (or any Oracle deck) wants to make you think and go deeper.
Forget about drawing the obvious cards and getting clear answers. If it was that easy, there wouldn’t be any personal development and growth.
On reflection during and after the week has passed, you can reassess how to apply the positive aspects of the card to what has happened. You can also explore, what the card is asking you to avoid or improve.
Draw a card for the next week and see how your story continues. After a while, you may notice a pattern, repeating messages or even things falling into place.
And to do this effectively it’s so important to record your readings, so you can look back and learn to read the hidden messages of the cards.
Nothing is as difficult and frustrating as trying to memorise Tarot card meanings from a book.
Since 2006, Tarot students from all over the world have worked with me to discover a better – easier – method to connect with the cards.
If you are just starting to learn the Tarot or find it hard to remember card meanings, here are my tried and tested powerful ways to connect with the Tarot without ever having to look at a book again:
1. Choose a Tarot deck that speaks to you
The best beginner’s Tarot deck is one, where all cards are fully illustrated, each image tells you a story and you find the artwork appealing.
The most famous and popular Tarot deck of all, the Rider Waite Smith (RWS), is one I do recommend, but you may prefer the Sharman-Caselli deck, which has been specifically designed with the Tarot novice in mind.
On the image here on the right you can see both decks together with the Crystal Tarot, on which the Minor Arcana cards are illustrated with just the symbol of the suits.
Which images do you find easier to connect with? And what different stories do they tell?
2. Describe the images
Yes, this requires you to actually LOOK at the image carefully and explore the scene. Give me your first impression: is it positive, neutral or negative?
Then tell me why. What do you see? What is happening?
Go into more detail. Are there any people in the card? What are they doing? How do they look?
Notice their body language. What is the landscape like? Can you see buildings, plants, animals?
Some cards are easier to read than others. Don’t be disheartened, if you draw a blank with some of them. You will learn to read them in time. Build your confidence by focusing on the easy cards first.
3. Be the person in the card
This is a fun yet insightful way to connect with the cards. Imitate the posture of the person in a card.
Stand with open arms just like the Fool, sit like the High Priestess, kneel like the woman in the Star image – will you take it as far as being naked?
You can personify the Hanged Man by doing a headstand, perhaps against a tree, or if that is too strenuous for you, lie down and lean your legs upright against a wall or a tree.
Replicate as much of the image as you can.
For example, stand by a field and look at the crops just like in the Seven of Pentacles. What goes through your mind? Harvest? Hard work? Reaping rewards? Sowing new seeds and a new cycle?
How do these postures make you feel?
Close your eyes and imagine the landscape of the card surrounding you. How does it affect your mood, dreams, ideas or imagination?
4. Connect each card with your own life experiences
The archetypal images of the Tarot live in all of us. For example, we have all been a Fool more than once in our lives, but that doesn’t necessarily mean in a bad way
The Fool suggests amongst other things new beginnings. This is how some of my students associate the Fool with events in their lives:
“My first day at school. I can remember being so excited.”
“When I went backpacking to South America. I was naive when I started but so much wiser when I came back.”
“My first marriage. We were too young.”
“Starting my business. I didn’t have a clue, just jumped in, and it was quite a learning curve. But I loved it.”
All these statements are short, but they tell you so much more.
By linking the cards to your life, you will find it much easier to remember their meanings, because you connect them to feelings, lessons and advice you have experienced.
5. Start A Journal
When you start exploring your Tarot deck, make notes of your observations and new discoveries about the cards. Writing things down helps your memory, too.
Be a Fool today and start your Tarot Journal by downloading my Tarot freebies.
You can add your own pages as you continue to work with the cards, and over time you will create a unique Tarot reference book full of your personal wisdom and inspiration.
By signing up to my mailing list, you will also receive more freebies in the future and learn about exciting new journalling products available soon!
6. Play with the cards every day
Even if it’s only for five or ten minutes, spending time with your cards every day will help you learn the cards more quickly.
Pull a card on an evening and make a note of it. How does it reflect the events of the day you’ve had? Or what message does it offer you for the following day?
Even if you cannot think of anything, at least you are looking at the card, begin to memorise its image and associate it with its name. Soon you can picture the images in your head without having to look at them, e.g. you will know by heart what the Six of Wands looks like.
7. Card meanings can be found in the Name
The names of the Major Arcana images all trigger some associations you have stored in your head. Quite often, Tarot novices are not aware of them. They see the name written on the card but don’t take it further.
One of my students couldn’t make sense of the Hermit. So I asked: “What is a Hermit? What does a Hermit do?”
Her answer: “It’s someone, who lives on his own. Far away from civilisation.”
We have then talked about the archetypal Hermit personality, and how it fits into our modern lives and in readings.
So, what does an Emperor do? Well, I suppose he rules and makes decisions. And what does Justice mean? It makes me think about the law, and how we associate it with objectivity, truth and fairness.
As you can see, the names of the cards already tell you a lot about their meanings, so they are worthwhile exploring further.
Find your own favourite inspirational quotes for each card and record them in your journal. I started doing that a few years ago, and in the process began creating my Tarot of Quotes.
Last but not least, if you still feel stuck connecting with the cards, consider booking a brainstorming session with me via Skype. It’s great to talk, and you will already notice the benefits after just one call.
Or check out my transformational Discovery Tarot course, with me as your personal guide and mentor along your tarot journey.