After a dark and gloomy January here in the UK, February has finally arrived.
I can sense a sudden exhilarating shift in my mood as if a button has been pressed in my brain.
The days are getting longer, the snowdrops are blooming, the crocuses are on their way, I’m looking out for buds on shrubs and trees…. on our tarot journey, it’s the return from darkness into the light. Yay!
The return to the light is symbolised by the Sun in the Major Arcana. Before we embrace this positive energy of joy and enlightenment, we can put closure on the darkness with this little spread:
Now that we have put the darkness to rest (at least for a while), we can focus on the lighter side of life – creation, success, clarity, simple abundance, vitality.
In the tarot, when the Fool reaches the Sun, he has reached his goal. He is exactly where he wants to be.
In the RWS deck, his achievement is symbolised by the red feather on his head on both cards and the sun in the sky, which has turned from white (beginning) to golden (completion):
In the Cosmic Faery Tarot, I have illustrated the Fool’s milestone as a seedling growing into a beautiful sunflower:
Working with the Sun, ask the following questions:
What has come to fruition?
What commitments have I made?
What do I now understand?
What can I celebrate today?
What is making me happy right now?
The Sun is very much about living in the moment, the here and now. Just for a change, there is no need to make plans or think about the future. What is most important is to savour the present and just be.
The Sun’s energy is linked to various cards in the tarot, most notably the Ten of Swords (Sun in Gemini), which depicts quite profoundly the emergence from darkness into the light.
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!
Quite a while ago, I came across a discussion in an online tarot forum about querents asking the same question again and again, especially with regards to relationship issues such as breakups.
Many tarot readers were adamant that they refuse such repeat requests, as the querent has apparently “not moved on yet”.
I didn’t want to get into an argument, so I refrained from admitting that I was totally fine with that.
The simple reason is that I don’t assume anything, when I get a reading request.
Relationships can be full of drama, and I trust that my readings will reflect these issues and make the querent aware.
Relationships can be on and off. People meet, get together, split up, get back together again… and this can carry on for a while.
Yes, you may not think this is healthy, but it is not down to us to pass judgement and then refuse to help someone, who needs guidance.
Energies around the querent change despite the same question being asked, and this will usually be picked up by the cards you draw.
You may be answering the same question differently every time, even if there are just a few adjustments.
Usually after the third time of asking the same question, I offer the querent a quick phone consultation to establish what is going on in their life.
These conversations have always revealed the bigger picture of their situation and also how accurate my readings had been in the past relating to the issue.
Emotional turmoil can take some time to come to terms with. In that situation the querent may need reassurance, encouragement, a new insight or perspective.
The last thing I want to do is take the moral high ground and turn them away for asking the same question yet again. I see it as my job to support them with compassion and an open mind.
Is he/she coming back to me? Sometimes they do!
Life is not black and white.
We cannot expect love to follow a straight forward pattern or even make it so, because it is not always straight forward.
We cannot base our answers solely on our experiences or that of people we know. This is where we can get it badly wrong as professional readers, if we are not careful.
Only because my friend got back together with her husband after a two-year separation, that doesn’t mean everyone else will, or nobody else will ever get back together with their ex.
If they made the right decision is a different matter.
What counts is how you answer the question. How much you empower your client.
For some it is hard to move on, for others there is still unfinished business. And then there are those, who are being played with, who are confused and try to make sense of an ongoing saga.
They need someone, who can see the bigger picture from far, far away. Someone, who patiently answers their repeat questions, knowing that at one point it will create a positive shift in the querent’s mind.
It is all down to your judgement without prejudice to make the right decision when faced with repeat questions.
One of those ethical dilemmas Tarot readers have to grapple with are third party readings.
There are different kinds of third party readings; some are subtle mainly found in relationship readings, others are more blatant, where the question doesn’t relate to the person requesting the reading at all.
One of those blatant third party questions I once got was How is my sister, and is her husband treating her well?
The lady, who asked was from the Asian community, and although I can only guess why she asked about her sister, it may have related to an arranged marriage.
I can completely sympathise with the querent; of course she wants to know how her sister is and if she’s okay, but I have explained already in this post that it is difficult to connect with third parties in a reading, and often as a result the messages from the Tarot can be confusing, unclear or even wrong.
Still, who wouldn’t want to put the querent’s mind at rest, reassuring her that all is well and her sister is happy.
But then I’d be guessing, at worst lying (what should I say, if I drew the Tower, Death or any other such card?).
Whatever I’d say about her sister couldn’t be validated, whereas a reading for the querent directly can be. That’s another reason why third party readings such as this example are risky and should be avoided.
Most questions Tarot readers get asked are about love and relationships.
are all questions focusing on someone other than the client, yet when it comes to a relationship it takes two to make it work (or not).
How many relationship spreads include positions such as What person A brings to the relationship/what person B brings to the relationship (and person B not being present during the reading).
Person B’s strengths, weaknesses and whatnot are analysed and dissected in a reading, while that person is absent; it’s very much talking behind someone’s back, judging them and making choices about the relationship without them, all based on a reading.
In my time as a professional Tarot reader I have noticed that questions about other people, especially in relationship readings, are deep down about the client.
When we examine in a reading what the other person is bringing to the relationship, I always point out that the answer is likely to be the perception of the querent.
For example, the Hanged Man is drawn in that position. Rather than saying “it seems like your boyfriend doesn’t want to commit or wants to take your relationship further”, I’d ask “do you feel your relationship isn’t going anywhere?”, “Are there circumstances that prevent you from moving forward together?”
Here you can see the difference between a third party (first answer) and a client-focused (second answer) reading. The latter can be validated by client and offers more scope to explore the bigger picture.
And yet, we still take the other person into account by looking at the relationship as a whole but from the client’s perspective.
Whereas blatant third party readings should be avoided, relationship readings that take into account both parties (where one of them is absent) can be explored by focusing on the feelings and perceptions of the client in relation to their partner. This way we don’t guess the other person’s intentions, and perhaps we can also help the client figure out for themselves how the other person is feeling.
How do you feel about third party readings? How do you answer them? Have you been using relationship spreads that include questions about the other – absent – person?
A friend of mine told me recently that she found the transition from summer to autumn hard.
The falling leaves make her feel depressed, and she was dreading the unavoidable approach of the long cold winter months ahead.
To a certain degree I understand her sentiment, but once you consciously decide to tune in and embrace the light and dark of all the seasons, you discover the magick and beauty of each one of them.
Just like the trees shed their leaves in the autumn, so can we shed old stuff that is holding us back.
The shedding of leaves is preparation for new life and growth in spring, and we can do the same in order to pave the way for new experiences and growth.
Today is Virgo’s (the Hermit) last day in the sun until Libra (Justice) takes over tomorrow.
Over the last four weeks, the energy of the Hermit has encouraged us to go inwards, reflect and explore what new skills to learn, new knowledge we can acquire and how we can turn it into wisdom that will serve us and others well in time to come.
The New Moon in Libra tomorrow invokes the energies of Justice, encouraging us to create and appreciate harmony in life, especially in relationships, including friendships that need building and nurturing.
So there is much we can do, and the approaching darkness will help us focus on what we need to do including planning and implementing.
Perhaps today at the time of the Autumn Equinox, or over the coming weeks until Samhain, you may want to consult the Tarot to explore some of the following questions to help you gain focus and direction:
What is holding me back right now that I need to let go of?
At this time of year with the energies of Libra/Justice, explore your options rather than making a decision. It’s about weighing up the pros and cons, so you can make your final decision by Samhain (31 October).
What new skills do I need to learn to help me reach my goals?
Depending on the card/s you draw, these could relate to
leadership and creativity (fire, wands),
emotions and relationships (water, cups),
mental challenges and conflict resolving (air, swords), or
hands-on practical skills and money management (earth, pentacles)
What can I do to strengthen my relationships with people that are important to me?
Remember that important people in your life are not restricted to your partner or close family, but also extended family, friends, co-workers, professional networks… Explore how you can build bridges, overcome conflict, encourage solidarity and teamwork, bring people closer together etc.
And here are a few other practical ideas to get you started:
make a to-do list
declutter your bookshelf to make room for new knowledge
network with people and see what you can do for them
when it comes to friendships, it’s not about quantity but quality. Only two genuine friends are worth more than a large bunch of acquaintances, who don’t care about you.
get your finances in order
avoid drama and the people creating it
enrol on a course
Wishing you a Happy Equinox and a magickal autumn season ahead.
When clients approach me for a reading, they are often tempted to ask questions like
When will I find new love? When will I get a new job? Does he still love me? What does the future have in store for me? Will my business be successful? etc…
Although I don’t rephrase questions and aim to answer them as best as possible, I also include some additional insight clients may not have thought about, which are meant to provide opportunities for personal development and growth.
It is important to ask the right questions, which put you in control and empower you. Strive to “know thyself” with the help of Tarot.
Through self-exploration you will find the answers within you rather than hoping to find them elsewhere.
Here are some personal questions you can explore with the Tarot, which you can also adapt to a specific issue:
“Who am I?”
“What do I need?”
“How do I function best?”
“How can I achieve my dreams?”
“How can I fulfil my potential?”
“What are my strengths and weaknesses?”
“What is blocking me?”
“What do I need to pay attention to at this moment in time?”
“What do I have to give?”
“How can I help and support others?”
“What’s the next step I can take right now?”
Self-inquiries like these help you
stay true to your values and principles
pursue your dreams and desires
take responsibility and make the most of what life throws at you
recover from setbacks
grow through challenges and adversity
set and maintain healthy boundaries
learn from your mistakes
accept and embrace change with confidence and resilience
add value to others and the world around you
“At the end of the day, the questions we ask of ourselves determine the type of people that we will become.” Leo Babauta
The right question should encourage you to take action rather than sitting back waiting for something to happen or surrendering to fate.
The right question should also discourage you from regarding yourself as a victim, and instead inspire you to step into your power in order to heal from any negative experiences.
For more information on asking the right questions, you can also check out relevant posts here and on my journal blog.