Mother Nature in Tarot

Yesterday, I did myself the solid of heading over to a local nature preserve so I could be out of the house, off-line, unplugged, and out in the same forces that have been washing over humankind since we crawled up out of the primordial muck. I hiked around with the sun and the wind on my skin, the clouds and the trees in my eyes, gurgling water in my ears, and the naked earth and rock and twisty tree-roots under my feet. I saw more wildlife in a few hours than I usually manage to catch in a week (and I’m usually looking for it, too, so that’s saying something!).

And now today, I was trying to fit a Tarot card to the experience. That is, which card would best encapsulate the concept of the natural world – of Gaia, Mother Earth, flora and fauna, the elements?

I landed pretty immediately on The Empress. It’s true that many decks have her portrayed as a standard humanoid ruler-type, a female authority figure, sort of like an uber-Queen. I think my own favorite versions of her, though, are more like this one, from the Shaman Tarot, in which The Empress is deeply and inextricably connected with the natural world. She’s about fertility, creativity, abundance, and growth, and casting her as a Mother Nature analogue feels like a natural fit to me. I mean, you could make a case for, say, the Queen of Pentacles representing the natural world as I’m defining it here, or maybe the Ace of Pentacles, but if I have to stick to one card, I’m choosing The Empress.

How about you – do any other cards jump to mind here, and reference the natural world or advise a trip to the great outdoors when you pull them in a reading?

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The Decade Dance Tarot Spread

It’s the last Saturday of the month, and that means it’s time once again for New Spread Saturday, a monthly photo challenge I co-host over on Instagram with Tabitha Dial. Please enjoy this brand new, original spread, and feel free to contribute your own spread to the event!


Every decade has its own personality, with it own distinct musical stylings. Crank up the volume with me, and map the music of the last 100 years onto your own psyche!

1 = ’20s – Jazz – Where do you shine at improvisation?
2 = ’30s – Delta Blues – What makes you wail with anguish?
3 = ’40s – Swing – Where do you dance best when you have a partner?
4 = ’50s – Rock and Roll – What gets your inner rebel all fired up?
5 = ’60s – Psychedelia – How do you go about expanding your consciousness?
6 = ’70s – Heavy Metal/Funk/Disco/Prog Rock/Punk – Where do you need to take things to extremes?
7 = ’80s – New Wave – Where do you tend to infuse technology into your life?
8 = ’90s – Hip Hop – What part of you will burst free even if you try to suppress it?
9 = ’00s – Auto-Tune – Where in your life are you best able to fix your mistakes?
10 = ’10’s – EDM – What are the old things that you’re trying to make new again?


Tarot Tip: Work with The Empress to Invite Abundance

I had breakfast with The Empress this morning. Does anyone else in the deck say “abundance” to you quite as vigorously? Maybe the people in the happier 9’s and 10’s? Mostly, when I think about growth, fertility, and especially abundance…I think Empress.

Therefore…TAROT TIP: if you want to encourage The Empress to hang out with you more…try doing things in threes. Take three sips from your drink instead of one big gulp. Pat your pillow three times before you lie down. Clap your hands three times to clear a room of unwanted energy.



Tarot Tip: Conjure Card Energies!

My day was devoted to the first leg of one long-ass drive today. Day 2 tomorrow will see me tackling the back stretch of it. Before I left home, I decided to sit and stare at a version of the Chariot card, just to try to coax in some good travel vibes.

As you may well know, The Chariot can be about focusing your willpower so as to emerge triumphant from your attempts at forward progress.  It therefore seemed like a pretty appropriate card for this particular conjuring…

And hey, so far, so good: no mishaps, no speeding tickets, and no instances of me getting horribly lost (knocking on wood as I type this…). I might try the same trick tomorrow.

How about you: do you ever try to invite a relevant card’s energies into your day…?


Solstice/Full Moon Tarot Reading

Today is a big day, metaphysically-speaking. It’s a Monday, which means for a great many people, it’s the start of a new work week. It’s also the day of the Full Moon…which feels appropriate for a day that actually derives its very name from the Moon. Finally…it’s the Solstice! Depending on which hemisphere you’re in, this may be the longest daylight period of the year, with the shortest night, or it may be the exact opposite. Either way, it feels pretty big for all this to be coinciding.

With this in mind, I decided to give my recently-purchased Epic Tarot a chance to see what the new week, the new Moon Cycle, and the new Season have in store for us. And by “us,” I mean me and anyone who might happen to stumble across this post and read it. If you want to be included in this reading, then all you need to do is be here now.

And look what we have to look forward to: the Ace of Chalices (= Cups)! Seeing as how Chalices represent the Water Element, and Water is intimately affected by the cycles of the Moon, this feels entirely on point! And happy, too, as the Aces all speak of enormous amounts of potential, and of vast reservoirs of primal, as yet untapped energies of whichever Suit they hail from. The Chalices are all about emotions…so we may all be on the verge of powerful new emotional connections and experiences, including maybe love and romance (among others, of course). Chalices, and the Water Element, can also stand for concepts such as the subconscious, dreams, the collective unconscious, intuition, and psychic experiences.

Maybe strap in and prepare yourself for a big boost in receptivity and new Neptunian info in the days ahead! I recommend paying attention to the ways in which your own experiences might be tied to the waxing and waning of the Moon this Summer…paying attention to whatever might be revealed to you in dreams…being open to new or rejuvenated emotional contacts…and trusting in the workings of your psychic antennae. You are the Chalice right now, and the Universe wants to fill you to the brim with Wisdom and Love…

Happy Monday, everyone, Happy Full Moon, and Happy Solstice!


The Thoth Tarot Deck

Conceived by Aleister Crowley, and painted by Lady Frieda Harris during WWII, this deck has become a pillar of modern Tarot, second in worldwide use and acclaim only to the Rider-Waite-Smith deck. These two most-beloved decks do share some similarities, and this shouldn’t be surprising: Crowley and A.E. Waite studied many of the same sources, and both passed through the ranks of the mystic society known as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.

But the two decks are also quite different in many ways. They’re very dissimilar in terms of their respective visuals: the RWS has seemingly simple illustrations that mostly showcase characters that look like they just strolled in from some sort of Middle Ages cosplay event, while the Thoth imagery is more fluid and otherworldly. The two decks use different names for many of the cards, and most striking of all, the RWS’ Minor cards offer fully-realized scenes, while the Thoth opts instead for non-scenic Minors, concerned mainly with free-floating Suit icons.

There’s another difference that separates the two decks: the Thoth deck actually seems to make a lot of people uneasy in ways that the RWS does not. Most of this is probably due to Crowley’s reputation. The self-styled “Wickedest Man in the World” does seem to have gone out of his way to infuse more sexual and darker occult overtones into his deck, which puts some people off.

But I get the sense that Crowley and his deck are actually not things to necessarily be feared. As I said to someone yesterday, I suspect that if the ghost of Aleister Crowley were to actually materialize in your study, it would be more likely to jabber at you and try to hump your leg than to cast some sort of demonic sorcery in your direction. I personally believe that the Thoth deck can be separated from the public persona of its creator, and then used as a pretty magnificent tool for self-knowledge, divination, and meditation. But that’s just me.

How about you? Do you like this deck? Do you shun it? Do you fear it, and Crowley? Or does the Crowley mythology have no effect at all on your decision to use or not use the Thoth deck?


Tarot Deck Popularity

Here we see the two most popular Tarot decks in the world: the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot and the Thoth Tarot. I always liked the Thoth, despite lamenting its creators’ decision to steer clear of scenic Minors, but it took me a long time to warm up to the RWS. For one thing, I don’t love the artwork, which is a personal response…but for another, it’s so omnipresent in Tarot that I was sort of quietly rebelling against this idea that if you want to be a Tarot person, you must embrace the RWS (and that idea does get expressed out there in Tarot circles…).

I should explain. I have this personal, knee-jerk response such that when the world seems to unify and embrace something as one…it rubs me the wrong way. When something feels “too popular” to me, I feel repelled by it. And it’s not even the thing itself that repels me, but the response to the thing, which isn’t even the thing’s fault. And yet there it is, that response. Like, as I told someone yesterday, I’m sure Adele is super-talented and a real nice lady and all, but I won’t be able to listen to her until probably around 2020, 2021 – after the uproar has had the chance to die down a bit.

So I’m wondering if other people are drawn to, or repelled from, different Tarot decks due at least in part to their popularity levels. Do you flee in horror from Instagram images featuring the Wild Unknown simply because that deck has become so inescapable? Are you drawn to indie-created fringe decks precisely because they’re so below the radar? Or does none of this ever enter into the analysis for you, and you just buy whatever decks appeal to you based solely on their own merits, and it doesn’t matter to you whether they’re Wild Unknown-popular or wildly unknown…?