Elephant Bush Tarot

It looks a little like rain outside, an unidentified sapling is brushing cool green leaves against my window while soulful folk guitar fills the air. Its a crisp morning, and still just early enough that I feel like the world outside is more plants than people. A good time to wander in the woods, and if I were camping I think I’d be out exploring.

It seems lonely to think about anything but the present at times like these. I just pulled the nine of swords, and it echoed my morning so well – laying in bed, remembering my troubles just the same as I laid down last night, as if sleep was just a brief interlude between bouts of preoccupation. The swords against the black background is so bizarre contrasted with the peaceful light coming through my windows.

I began this blog inspired by my daily cards. I had just quit a job I almost hated and had decided to give myself, at least for awhile, over to the things I loved. A dear friend had recently moved away to study love and landscape, and I found I suddenly had nothing to do, and no-one to see. I was lonely, but free. I would spend whole days swimming in my daily cards and cobbling together blog posts to express some of the things I thought about.

Lonely freedom is a quality of the big nine, the Hermit. It is only lonely if the focus is on what isn’t present, who isn’t there with you. The Hermit himself may be at peace, no more lonely than if he were surrounded by people. But the nine of swords, today I think the Hermit of Swords, is tormented. The symbols stitched to the bedding offer no comfort. The swords press heavily in the background, pointing all in the same direction. I notice today there is less confusion in the card than raw misery. The swords all pointing the same way tells me that perhaps the card depicts a struggle against knowledge, a struggle against truth, a relentless search for a solution to a reality we can’t deny but also can’t accept.

The search may be conscious, unconscious, or both. In the card, it is subconscious, coming out in the night, but during the day we can consciously struggle against the way things are when they don’t feel right. Consciously, we may search for symbols to comfort us, a frame to understand, some way to make the reality more palatable. But the deepest parts of us may still be suffering, struggling, long after we’ve found a balance in our conscious lives. This is where expression is most important, where we stifle our thoughts and feelings for the sake of others, or even for ourselves to make relating simpler. I know I do this, I hide my difficult feelings to simplify my life, but in the end it comes out like it does in the nine of swords – misery in the dark, depriving me of peace, and in that way it complicates my life much more. I’ve often buried my feelings because I felt they didn’t match my values, who I wanted to be in my life and in my relationships. But that habit of burying has in my life compromised much more than my private world and my self image. It has compromised my ability to be honest, open, and loving in my conscious life. The nine of swords for me is my way of hiding inconvenient feelings, of struggling against reality by denying it, of being exhausted and feeling separate by keeping my words and feelings so tightly to myself, of walls so strong others rarely knowing how to get close enough in to soothe me.

The green light from the leaves outside my window and the small plants I keep make this card feel more natural. Plants express themselves as fully as they can every moment, never turning down an invitation to thrive, never hiding shriveled leaves or dying stalks. I try so hard to balance how I feel like I ought to show up for others against how I am feeling. My lesson is that I need to be more open and honest in my life, so I don’t feel so alone in my thoughts and feelings. Each sword might be a word I didn’t say, a loving word or an honest feeling. Today I’ll try not to hide my feelings so much, but I’ll also try and be present so I can feel the real space I actually inhabit, instead of running into the sharp edges of what I’m missing.

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Nines

October 27, 2009

Today was a fascinating day. I found myself in a coffee shop early in the day, so I set out my table cloths and pulled my daily card there. A friend whom I read for was there, and I explored that card – The World – in depth, pulling out all the numerically and thematically related cards in the deck. I attracted a potential client and felt very connected to both my friend and the World card; The ritual of the reading is powerful all on its own, even if it isn’t for anybody :)

So I got the Nine of Swords about a week ago, and had some real quality time with not just that card but the nines in general. Some of my ideas are pretty abstract on this one, thankfully the writing process is a rapid way to crystallize ideas. I’m curious how others receive some of these concepts.

Observations on Threes squared into the Nines of the minor arcana.

Observations on Threes squared into the Nines of the minor arcana.

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Nine of Wands

October 2, 2009

A call for perserverence, hardships, stubbornness, distrust – visually, those are my responses to this card.

In readings, I depend on the context and position to help give this card fuller meaning, and have always felt the picture is strangely negative

Nine of Wands, Waite-Smith

Nine of Wands, Waite-Smith

as compared the the number/element combination I envision.

In the Crowley-Harris deck, the Sagittarian aspect is directly on the card at the base of an upward thrusting arrow. The arrow is fletched with the Moon and headed by the Sun, which I understand as a movement from an intuitive, subconscious act of will resulting in manifestation, expression, and conscious wisdom. Astride the central arrow are the other 8, headed by the moon and falling downward.

The BotA deck shows three triangles composed of wands, two upwards and the lowest downward; The material, as expected, assigns all Nines to Yesod on the trestleboard.

My personal response was to first imagine Sagittarius, bolstered by being both a nine and the ninth sign of the zodiac. Yesod is associated with the moon, so to balance that emanating, Jupiter presence in the card is a powerfully subconscious aspect speaking to hidden wisdom and intuition.

Ultimately, I’ve felt a little closer to this card. The bandage on his head can be seen as the consciousness being inadequate, his posture of defensiveness comes from an instinctual reaction. The wands in the background can represent the powerful, wealthy Jupiter, either as spiritual wealth gained by physical/mental travel or as the weight of huge potential – another contributer to his withdrawn, defensive stance. The wand he clutches is the final act of will he must allow to manifest to complete a cycle; He must put it into action, light that fire and move into the Ten in order to proceed. It is the arrow of sagittarius, crafted carefully and loved by it’s maker; It must be loosed in order to fulfill its purpose.

Let go of a project, allow it to manifest as it is, perservere in the face of doubt or ridicule. Don’t let the conscious mind control you, but let your intuition guide the arrow of your will, its ready!

Curious card, but I feel like I’ve had some crystallization of understanding. Fantastic!