Category: Tarot

Tarot for February 8th, 2017: Pleasure, reversed

Today’s Tarot card is the 6 of Cups (Pleasure), reversed.  Given the astrological jostling of our emotions and instincts today, the phrase “Pleasure, reversed” in itself is probably not far from the mark, though the meaning of the card in this position is even more apt once we delve into it further.

The 6 of Cups is ruled by the Sun in Scorpio.  This is the current placement of Black Moon Lilith, the lunar apogee, and she has just entered the critical 29th degree where she will remain until this time next week.  This critical 29th degree transit is a time when the last lessons of Scorpio must be learned in relation to Black Moon Lilith before moving on to the first lessons of Sagittarius.  Black Moon Lilith is about letting go, surrendering to our own powerlessness, and understanding our frustrations, and in Scorpio that can mean a double-whammy, since Scorpio is jointly ruled by Mars classically and Pluto transcendentally.  Mars deals with our focus, drive, sexuality, and aggression, and Pluto deals with our issues of control, how we assert or deny our power, intensity, transformation, and death.  Black Moon Lilith in Scorpio then asks us to surrender to the mystery in our lives in ways that are likely to feel scary, intense, and sometimes even hopeless.  Through this surrender we not only gain wisdom and understanding of our own depths and endurance, but also in opening ourselves to the void we make possible the entry of that which we desire into our lives.  We experience the death of ego for this time so that ego is no longer our stumbling block in the areas of our lives governed by Scorpio.  Ironically, by surrendering our desires we create the space for our desires to be fulfilled.  Embracing Yin is necessary in order to equally embrace Yang.

Thus, we experience the tumultuousness of our emotions in response to multiple challenges between the Moon and outer planets today, the big forces in our lives that we cannot control battering our feelings and instincts, and in the wee hours of tomorrow morning the Moon will trine Black Moon Lilith, connecting our feelings in the aftermath of this day with all of that helplessness and need to surrender.  And there we will find our space of emptiness with which to welcome our own power that we could not see in the light of our own ego (the Sun).

Yes, seeing the 6 of Cups upended can feel like a kick in the gut.  We want pleasure in our lives, and to feel and enjoy the fullness of our emotions, the fulfillment of our desires.  At the same time, when we are experiencing difficult emotions like frustration and helplessness, there is a very real danger of turning off emotionally, stifling what we feel in order to be able to get through our days without tripping up on potentially disruptive feelings.  But as Black Moon Lilith is currently pointing out, we need to be willing to face our own dark depths and dive down deep into all of the awfulness of what we feel if we are ever to have that pleasure that we so desire.

On the plus side, the 6 of Cups reversed can signal that we are finally ready to shuck off our rose-coloured glasses, let go of the past, and do the hard work necessary to bring what we desire into our lives.  The critical 29th degree of Scorpio that Black Moon Lilith is transiting is after all the place of the last lessons of the sign, signaling that this is a time for completion in this stage of our life.  Sometimes the physical and emotional healing and transformation that are signaled when this card is upright requires that we undergo a healing crisis, a time when things get worse before they get better.  Seeing the 6 of Cups reversed today shows us that we are ready to confront our own fears of letting go, and step forward into the darkness on our way to a better future.


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Tarot for February 4th, 2017: Queen of Swords, reversed

Today’s Tarot card is the Queen of Swords, reversed.  We’ve previously seen the Queen of Swords back in December here and here, and given her ice queen reputation, it seems fitting that she should be upended tonight when the combined forces of the Moon in Gemini and Venus in Aries have us a little fed up with seriousness and problem-solving, and just want us to play for a bit.

As you may recall, the Queen of Swords is a mature woman who has been through the school of hard knocks and come out on the other side with a well-honed intuitive discernment, applying reason and logic to problems and cutting through emotional distractions in order to get to heart of the matter.  She can seem aloof and detached because she does not allow emotion to sway her from what must be done.  She is especially good at cutting through corruption, abuse of power, and bullshit, and as cold as she may seem, there are plenty of times when we desperately need what she has to offer, particularly her gift for communication in service of clearing through confusion and deception.  This has been especially the case during the past couple of weeks.

But all work and no play makes Jill a dull girl.  Isolation breeds loneliness and resentment.  And when we value only our rational capabilities and cut our emotions out of the picture entirely, ironically enough our rational capabilities become blunted, tactless, unable to relate to the very people with whom we most need to communicate in order to be effective problem-solvers.  The Queen of Swords asks us to be a bit less cynical and jaded, a bit more open and sympathetic, and a bit kinder to ourselves and others.  We don’t have to be “right” all of the time.


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Tarot for January 27th, 2017: Defeat

Today’s Tarot card is the 5 of Swords (Defeat).

The fives in the Minor Arcana of Tarot represent the trials of humanity, stumbling points that we need to work through as part of the self-teaching process of the Major Arcana (V) The Hierophant.  We saw the 5 of Wands (Strife) yesterday.  Seeing the 5 of Swords (Defeat) today suggests that this is part of a pattern, and that we are in a time when we need to burn through a lot of karma in order to get unstuck and progress.

The Swords are the suit of elemental air, invoking reason, communication, and all mental processes.  The 5 of Swords is ruled by Venus in Aquarius.  This is something of an uncomfortable place for Venus.  On one hand, Aquarius is socially-minded and friendly.  On the other hand, Aquarius is often more interested in many people than one, more inclined to be drawn to groups than to individuals, and as an air sign is more comfortable with thoughts than feelings.  Venus wants affection, pleasure, creature comforts.  Aquarius will happily sacrifice all of those in the name of the greater good.  Venus in this space then becomes thwarted by subverting the needs of the one to the needs of the many.

Venus governs what we value, and her placement here is ultimately concerned with what is the value of the individual to the group.  Aquarius is very concerned with the evolution of the individual as a means toward the evolution of humanity as a whole.  The danger comes when, in the quest to meet the needs of the group, we ignore or deny the needs of the individual.  Aquarius is distinctly prone to becoming a victim of group-think.  It should be noted that while social clubs and many worthy political causes are Aquarian institutions, so was the Third Reich.  The group is not always right, yet because of our Venusian need for affection and connection, all too often we go along to get along, allowing that need for connection to connect us to very poisonous attitudes.  And when we value what the group thinks more than our own feelings, we set ourselves up for a fall.

It is notable that so many modern astrologers consider Aquarius to be a sign of the individual, the rebel, in large part because they view Uranus as the modern-day ruler of Aquarius and have discarded the classical rulership of Aquarius by Saturn.  Yet Aquarius is still the sign that rules the 11th house, the house of friendships and causes and group relations.  Aquarius is the sign that governs the social order, and order is within the realm of Saturn.  Yes, Aquarius is concerned with the future (Uranus), but what society worth continuing isn’t?  Aquarius comes at the end of January, named for the two-headed Roman god Janus looking both backward and forward, appropriate for a sign ruled by Saturn in the past and Uranus in the future.  This dynamic plays out in the 5 of Swords with negative thought patterns that we’ve internalized in the 5 of Swords keeping us trapped in the past, resenting our defeats and despairing for the future.

The Thoth deck version of this card shows the fallen petals of the rose of love and wisdom that has been torn apart by the five swords, forming the downward-pointing pentagram that symbolizes the ascendancy of matter over spirit.  The mind here is not a stabilizing force, the well-being of the group at the expense of the individual’s spirit is confining and destructive, and the classical Saturnine rulership of Aquarius asserts itself with depressive force.  The 5 of Swords gives us the opportunity to recognize this dynamic and learn from our defeats rather than simply railing against fate.  Instead of dividing our minds between what we think and all of the internalized beliefs we have absorbed from others around us, it is time to cut away the excess mental chatter that our affection for our social structure has saddled us with.  Rather than passively accepting our lot and becoming weaker for it, we need to stop wallowing in the past and in the sensations brought about by group fears, sensations that have hijacked our wills.  We need to stop fighting old battles, recognize that we are feeding our own defeat, and seek a new direction.

Tarot for January 26th, 2017: Strife

Today’s Tarot card is the 5 of Wands (Strife).

This card falls under the rule of Saturn in Leo.  Saturn is currently in Sagittarius, a fellow fire sign to Leo.

As noted in previous posts, Saturn is the Lord of Karma, the cosmic taskmaster who governs restriction, limitation, time, and discipline.  Saturn forces us to confront our fears and insecurities, showing us where we think we are not up to the task, yet also encouraging us to be serious about whatever area of life he touches and apply discipline to overcome the obstacles that he points out.  He’s not known for being fun, but with his help we can get the job done.

Leo, however, rules the 5th house, which is very much about fun.  The 5th house governs self-expression, creativity and the arts, children and games, lovers and all other pleasurable pursuits.  Saturn in Leo can be a big wet blanket thrown over the party, so that we find ourselves afraid to express who we really are, and afraid to enjoy life as a result.  Leo is a room-filler, wanting very much to be the center of attention, and when Leo is well-aspected all eyes indeed turn to this royal of the zodiac, who is ruled by the Sun and can shine just as brightly.  Under Saturn’s influence, however, that light becomes dimmed.  Now the soul that was sure and confident is deeply insecure, and that desire for attention devolves into so much narcissism.

Unfortunately, that narcissist is in control in this scenario, for Saturn also governs authority as the ruler of Capricorn, the sign that rules the 10th house of career and reputation, whose cusp is the Mid-Heaven that shows how the world receives us.  And when egos run rampant as a result of deep-seated insecurity, and try to hide from the discipline of Saturn’s authority, or worse still wield Saturn’s severity without that discipline, strife is the end result.  The power that was once joyful and vital and creative now becomes an instrument of abuse, stamping out all who would oppose it.

In order to counter this effect, we need to see our fears and insecurities in Leo’s realm for what they are:  a signpost that illuminates where we need to take our self-expression, creativity, and pleasure more seriously, applying our discipline and patience in bringing out the best of what we have to offer rather than using ego and usurped authority to become the mask behind which we hide our fears of showing our true selves.  And if we are to overcome strife, we must find a way to express our vital selves without oppressing others in the process.  Leo under the worst of the Saturnine influence is a megalomaniac and a tyrant.  Leo having overcome Saturn’s fear through patience and discipline is a vital and creative leader capable of inspiring all.


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(All aspect times are calculated for Pacific Standard Time.  I tend to speak in broad terms when I reference time on this blog, referring to time-frames like “morning” or “afternoon” rather than specific times, since I still have a lot of friends on the East Coast who read these posts and I’d like them to be pertinent to those friends as well as folks here on the West Coast.  Readers from further abroad will need to adjust time-frames accordingly.)

Tarot for January 24th, 2017: The Empress, reversed

Today’s Tarot card is (III) The Empress, reversed.  Given the political shenanigans of the week thus far, that probably comes as no surprise, but it’s still worth exploring further.

The Empress represents the core of the divine feminine, all of the abundance and raw, creative power of Mother Earth.  She is not the first female figure in the Major Arcana – that would be (II) The Priestess – but she is more fully female than The Priestess, who combines both masculine and feminine principles and like (I) The Magician, can be seen as more of a sacred Androgyne as a result.  The Empress fully owns her female power.  In the Thoth deck, she is shown with one arm in a receptive position and the other hand holding the (apparently phallic) stem of the lotus, the emblem of love held over her heart; all other symbols on the card are oriented toward “feminine” qualities of love, creativity/procreation, intuition, protection (via the shield), and self-sacrifice (via the image of the pelican nourishing her brood with her own blood).

This is the card of the Supreme Mother, she who generates all of the resources that (IV) The Emperor will put to use via his ordering capacity.  Keep in mind that he cannot use any of those resources unless she permits it; all sovereignty proceeds from The Empress, and she can just as easily take it away again.  This is an ancient principle, that of the king who is married to the land, and cannot rule without her approval.  It is a principle that would-be rulers of this age would do well to remember.  For what happens to those who take the Earth’s resources by force, depleting her creative capacity?  Starvation, disease, pollution, natural disasters, rising tides and droughts resulting from climate change…  A ravaged land yields no kingdom worth ruling.

The Empress reversed is definitely pertinent in today’s astrological environment via tonight’s combined alignments of the two personal planets related to gender, Mars and Venus.  Mars and Venus are both currently in Pisces, emphasizing connection through universal experiences of our masculine and feminine energies.  Mars tonight trines Black Moon Lilith in Scorpio, the rejected feminine of Lilith in the nocturnal sign of Mars’ rulership, encouraging our active, masculine drive to dive deep down into the waters of repressed wisdom, to uncover all of our most intense and difficult beliefs about gender roles and interactions, and integrate the wisdom we find.  Venus tonight conjuncts Chiron in Pisces, the trans-Neptunian object that brings us face-to-face with our deepest pain, the wound that we cannot heal for ourselves but can help heal in others through the insights gained from our own suffering.  These two aspects come late tonight, just eleven minutes apart, and this combination suggests the potential for deep connection around gender and sexuality at this time, and a re-examination of our relationship to the feminine at a time when the feminine is under serious attack.  We cannot effectively fight against misogyny when we do not acknowledge how deeply internalized it is in ourselves.  No matter what our gender identities or sexuality, we cannot be complete beings without experiencing the full spectrum of masculine and feminine energies and acknowledging the damage that has been done and continues to be done to both men and women in the name of subordinating female power.

We also need to recognize the myths surrounding motherhood that are used against us, the ideals of sacrifice and loss of identity in service of baby-making for the sake of feeding the corporate machine rather than truly nurturing family and community.  In an over-populated world, forcing people to bear children they cannot support either emotionally or financially is an abusive power-dynamic that has nothing to do with “family values” and everything to do with control.  Expecting mothers to give up everything for their children without community support just adds insult and further injury to the heap of systemic abuse.

The Empress is a card of Venus, who governs what we love, what we take pleasure in, and what we value.  Seen upended here, our true values are being subverted by false equivalencies through our collective virgin-whore complex, our punitive attitude toward sex and treating children as punishment for pleasure rather than valued beings in their own right, and our commodification of women and sexuality in service to the very system that seeks to destroy female power and mold women into frantic consumers eternally in search of the next product to make us appear (artificially) beautiful and acceptable, confining our image of “good” women to a very tiny cage and condemning any woman who wishes to live outside of it.  This tangled nest of chains imprisons men as well, fostering unhealthy relationships both internal and external, forcing men to conform to toxic ideals of masculinity for fear of being lumped in with the undesirable feminine and similarly disempowered.

After this past weekend’s powerful expression of feminine unity through Women’s Marches around the world, we should not be surprised at the backlash, both now and in the months to come.  Recognizing where our own relationship with the divine feminine has been injured and needs healing is the first step toward resisting that backlash and reclaiming our own power as complete beings, regardless of gender.