Where Is Trust In The Tarot…?

Trust is a vital function in human interactions. We like people more when we know we can trust them, and there are fewer occurrences in the social order that are more relationship-killing than the breaking of trust.

Do you recognize your own default settings when it comes to deciding whether to trust other humans?

Some of us are inclined to trust everyone until a given person burns us, at which point, we move them into a sort of mental “penalty box” reserved for the untrustworthy.

Others are the opposite: they view everyone else in the world with a robust skepticism and a perpetually raised eyebrow until the occasional truly remarkable specimen can manage to amass enough evidence over time as to their inherent trustworthiness.

And then some people have one type of standard for most other humans, but a different standard for certain subcategories of them. For example, a young woman I know admitted to me recently that she’s generally someone who wants to trust others, but whenever she meets males who are older than her by more than a couple of years, her involuntary response is to not trust them. Most of us probably have similar “programming” around issues of trust.

So trust seems to be one of the constant underpinnings that colors our society in often subtle ways, but on a massive scale. Which means it must be represented somewhere in Tarot, right? Tarot is a microcosm for the human experience.

But where does trust actually appear in it? Trust in this context isn’t the same thing as faith. The latter is more about “trust” in some greater Force or in some greater Plan – “Everything will work out.” That kind of trust in the Divine can be seen glowing within the Star card. But which card(s) might flag issues revolving around the trust that humans have (or don’t have) for each other?

Maybe since this is a question about inter-human dynamics, we need to look more at the Minor Arcana than the Major? The 7 of Swords definitely seems to describe situations in which trust is being violated: theft, trickery, deceit. But that’s more like the absence of trust that’s being highlighted. Can you think of a card that emphasizes the presence of trust?

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More Animal-Themed Dreaming…

A couple of months ago, I wrote a series of posts about my adventures around sleeping with pieces of Leopardskin Jasper stashed beneath my pillow. Doing this often seemed to inspire dreams of animals for me, which, given the stone’s reputation as carrying a very shamanic type of energy, makes sense.

Last night, as I was drifting off, I thought idly about doing this again, but then decided I was already too far along in the downward spiral that leads to sleep to want to get out of bed. I figured I could try the Leopardskin Jasper another night. But apparently even just thinking about Leopardskin Jasper has some effect, because even with nothing under my pillow, I had an animal-dream anyway.

This time it was a Bull. In the dream, I was looking out the back door of the house that I’m in right now. Not unusual, as I look out there all the time in an ongoing effort to spot wildlife. The back hillside was very different out there in the dream, as the hill was larger, and facing a different direction. And the Bull was sitting at the top of the hill, gazing eastward, with me looking at him in profile. He seemed very calm, there amid all the overgrown flora, and he was jet black in color. I watched his ears and his tail twitch for a few seconds, able to feel the sheer weight and density of the beast even from half a stone’s throw away…and then I woke up.

The Bull as a symbol often signifies concepts such as power, virility, and wealth, all of which I will dutifully accept and embody, sigh, if I must… For more info on Bull-as-symbol, see various bodies of mythology (Greek, Egyptian, Celtic, Mesopotamian) and also Taurus, the Zodiac Sign.

I’m telling you people: LEOPARDSKIN JASPER!

The Death Card: Like a Snake Sheds Its Skin…

The Death card is one of a very small handful that seems to provoke immediate, visible unease for a lot of querents.  And that’s not too surprising: Death comes suddenly, and without warning, often with a lot of attendant suffering, and it steals away people and things whose departures we hadn’t necessarily signed off on beforehand.  Unless you’re Wednesday Addams, death is usually regarded as something that’s scary and/or sad.

But the Death card doesn’t have to be limited to fear and sorrow as its only sensible responses.  Try thinking about the Death card process as being like that of a snake shedding its skin.  Unlike many organisms, snakes continue to grow throughout their lives…but their outer layers of skin don’t grow with them like yours and mine would.  So it’s incumbent upon the snake to cast off its outer layers every month or so in order to continue growing.  If it fails to undergo this shedding process – called ecdysis, by the way – it will suffer, and become stunted.  Buildup of old, dead skin tissue will bind their bodies, and it also frequently occurs around the eyes, so without proper shedding, snakes can even go blind.

And metaphorically speaking, some of this does sound applicable to us humans.  We don’t shed our literal skins, but we do have the ability to shed many things in our lives.  Some are tangible: clothing, furniture, other belongings.  Some are intangible…and we often tend to shed things in this latter group way less than we should.  Think here about concepts like old programming, self-defeating beliefs, unhelpful behavior patterns.  If we don’t shed these things once we’ve outgrown them, they can trap us and make us go blind.

But just as a snake can rub itself against rocks and other rough surfaces during a shed to help speed the process along, we can do the figurative version.  When the Death card appears, it can actually be an empowering force.  When you leave Death’s logistics up to the Universe to determine, you will probably not enjoy the results…but what if you take an active hand in sorting through the detritus of your life?  What if *you* decide what gets stripped away?  Embrace ecdysis, and GROW…


Tarot: Gateway Cards, Part 2

IMG_4675A few days ago, I posted about this notion of The High Priestess serving as a sort of “Gatekeeper” who can allow passage through her pomegranate curtains to worthy seekers, where they will then suddenly find themselves in the landscape of the Moon card.  We talked about this in the Tarot Toolkit course, and one of the students – Mike (@magickmike7 over on Instagram) – asked the very astute question about whether other cards might similarly serve as Gatekeepers.  We were specifically talking about the Justice card, as that’s the only other Major that also features a central character sitting in front of a curtain.  Mike theorized that maybe passage through the Gateway of Justice would lead you to the realm of the Sun card, which is a suggestion that has its merits, for sure.

For my part, though, I landed on the notion that maybe Justice leads through into…Judgement.  I have three main reasons.

1) Both cards feature titles and concepts that have found their ways into our society’s legal arena.  Justice and Judgement are both terms and ideas that populate our judicial system.

2) Justice in Tarot is often about balance…and a balanced approach is arguably necessary in dealing successfully with the kinds of upheaval that can beset a person undergoing the processes symbolized by the Judgement card.  Just as The High Priestess might bar the gate and force people to take the long way to The Moon if she’s not satisfied that they can bear up under its energies yet, maybe Lady Justice similarly forces pilgrims to travel by the long path to Judgement if they don’t yet show a solid enough grasp on balance.

3) In Egyptian Mythology, when you die, you’re greeted at the entrance to the Underworld by the great God, Anubis.  He holds a set of scales – just like those of Lady Justice – and tests your heart to see if you qualify for either eternal afterlife or total deletion from reality.  In other words, if you get past his application of a very Justice-style evaluation, you’re ready to deal with a new phase of your existence, post-“death”…much like the figures emerging from coffins in the Judgement card might be poised to do.

Just some musings aloud, inspired by Mike’s great question.  Answering thoughts are most welcome!  #tarot #tarotcards #tarotcommunity #tarotreadersofinstagram #tarottoolkit #tarottip #divination #cartomancy #justice #judgement #Anubis #highpriestess #moon #ladyjustice #indigokyanite #crystal #metaphysics #metaphysical #esoteric #occult

Iolite Dreams, Part 2

IMG_4666Yesterday, I posted about a dream I had after I’d stashed three pieces of a stone called Iolite underneath my pillow.  The dream involved me discovering a sort of socket beneath a small metal plate in the back of my skull, and then me cleaning away from the socket a bunch of fairly nauseating goop that had built up in and around the socket over the years.  I took this dream to mean that I had just somehow cleansed my channels of communication with any “higher powers” that were seeking to plug into me and download some helpful info.

Last night, I decided to go for Round 2 with the Iolite.  And I dreamed like crazy!  It was the kind of dreaming that’s extremely busy, involving multiple storylines and a cast of dozens.  At one point, I was riding in a car, and an assassin pulled up alongside on a bicycle, and tried to destroy the car’s engine by reaching over and smashing it, although I managed to drift dreamlike out of the carnage without being hurt.

And then – and this is what I took to actually be the most critical part of the dream – I got a couple of new tattoos designed to help me channel my energy, and then I went to a gym, so as to keep fit for the next surge of intrigue.  I studied the tattoos at this point, and was very dissatisfied with them.  They were meant to just be two bold, straight lines, both of them on my left arm, one on the outside of my forearm, and one on the inside of my upper arm.  In the gym, though, I could see that the tattoo artist had applied them in this shaky, meandering fashion, and they were kind of thin and spindly – not promising at all for performing their intended function.  And this was about where I woke up.

In metaphysical thought, the left side of the body is often viewed as the receptive side.  So I took this as a message telling me that I have to be highly selective now in choosing which sources will be allowed to plug themselves into my now optimized “socket.”  Just because I might have boosted my own receptivity, that doesn’t mean I have to accept every jack that gets poked in my direction (and yeah, I realize how that sounds, but it feels apt…).  Choosing my input wisely now…

An Iolite-Fueled Dream

IMG_4656I’ve posted a bunch of times about how when I sleep with pieces of Leopardskin Jasper under my pillow, it seems to give rise to animal-themed dreams for me, and then cool animal sightings the next day. Animal stuff, by the way, is part of the province that shamans would call the Lower World.

Last night, I went in a different direction: I put these three pieces of Iolite under my pillow before bed. Centuries ago, Viking types used Iolite as a pathfinder stone to help navigate during long sea voyages, as Iolite does interesting and specific things with respect to the polarization of sunlight. This was especially helpful to sailors on overcast days. In modern times, Iolite is believed to join other indigo/violet stones in connecting us up with “higher powers,” or denizens of what the shamans call the Upper World: Deities, the Higher Self, guardian angels, aliens, you name it – the kinds of presences that can be symbolized in Tarot by the Star card.

So here’s what I dreamed of this time… In my dream, I had a small metal plate in the back of my head, just above where spine meets skull. Apparently the plate had been there my entire life, but somebody was only just making me aware of it now. I used a screwdriver to remove the plate, and then saw that there was all this built-up, gross gunk collected all around the socket (which was like a jack or a port) that was lying in wait there beneath that metal plate. I carefully removed all of the gunk, rendering everything super-clean, and then reattached the metal plate, ready for something to soon be inserted into that socket in the near future… Oh, and I was somehow able to see the back of my own head the entire time this was happening.

I kind of wonder if the dream means that I just managed to open myself up to a whole new level of reception with respect to incoming transmissions from the Upper World…