A Tarot Student's Journey

Archive for November, 2013

Daily Sketch – Nine Of Cups

Tarot 9 of Cups
You’ve overcome the emotional hurdles you’ve had to jump, have gotten in touch with your inner self, faced your fears and are able to face the world with an open heart and compassion. You radiate wholeness, happiness, and abundance. One thing remains…to come down off this pinnacle and put it all into practice in the real world. You have much to give and are capable of living a life of love .


Daily Sketch – Two of Swords


I couldn’t really see anything other than the traditional image of this card, but felt it should be darker. The swords crossing and protecting the heart were important too. Because I’ve often felt that self protection is an important element in this card.

She’s sitting in front of a sea of emotion but doesn’t dare look. She’s at a stalemate between the rational and the emotional. She can either dive into the sea or cut out her heart with the swords and move forward into that Swords Energy of thinking, mental processes, rationality, logic.

Swords Energy resides in the head and can give clarity, truth, fair judgements, good decisions. But thought patterns determine our emotions and if we don’t allow and nurture that heart energy (cups) then we can easily get stuck in negative thought-patterns, wrong judgements, coldness, cruelty etc.

Daily Sketch – Queen of Swords

Queen of Swords

The Queen’s cool demeanor is maintained by a mask covering her face. She holds her sword in front of her hiding half her face. The background shows a clear blue sky with white clouds racing.

Swords are associated with air and therefore with thought processes, rationality, logic, mental abilities etc. As the Queen of this suit I imagine her to be cold and unemotional but fair and just. She doesn’t show emotions and lives behind a mask of coldness. She can be ruthless, but also fair and will protect you if she’s on your side. She let’s her sword do the talking. She is blunt and to the point and is not concerned with diplomacy or treading carefully around someone’s feelings. Cuts to the point. Brutally honest.

I also have the sense that The Queen of Swords knows what suffering is all about. She’s been there many times and lived to tell the tale. But she’s is no drama queen. You’ll never hear her complaining, never see her shed a tear, never find her raising her voice in anger. She’s too calm and collected for any of that.

Daily Sketch – The Hierophant

Tarot - The Hierophant

Are you saved?!

I admit. I have never liked this card. The traditional image is that of The Pope or a priest in full religious regalia sitting between two columns giving a blessing with one hand while two lesser priests gaze up at him dutifully. The word literally means ‘the one who teaches the Holy things’. It represents the power to reel in our human base instincts and to lay down the moral law. The Hierophant is the intermediary between God and Earth. He can also represent a teacher, a therapist, a guru, good advice, a career path, morality, individuation. To me, The Hierophant smacks of hypocrisy and oppression.

I grew up, a lone voice of dissent, in the ultra conservative Bible Belt so what comes up for me around The Hierophant is not positive at all. Today I imagined into being a Christian Fundamentalist Street Preacher or maybe a circuit preacher as was common in the old days. Here he is all fire and brimstone laying down the moral law. I imagine that just out of site one of his flock have been overcome by the Holy Spirit and are speaking in tongues. The Hierophant is there to interpret the meaning of this divine message. But he’s holding his Bible upside down. And he looks a bit like Elvis. The performance and showmanship is important. The trappings of a pious life are part of the message. His teaching leads up the hill to the confines of a little white country church wherein one presumably finds salvation. Or maybe just some stale communion wafers.

“If you want to get anywhere in religion, you got to keep it sweet.”
― Flannery O’ConnorWise Blood


Tarosophy, Living The Archetypes and The Magician

Last week I picked up a copy Marcus Katz’ Tarosophy and plowed through it in a couple of days. While I have mixed feelings about the book it does have some terrific exercises to help open up your intuition and get to know the cards on a much deeper level.  After reading his book I decided to embark on his ‘Living The Archetypes‘ exercise. Touted as the ‘most powerful and life changing’ exercise in the book, the exercise can take from six to eighteen months to complete. Most people, Katz says, will only complete this exercise once in their entire life. (He’s done it three times over 30 years).

Living The Archetypes Method

This exercise is designed to show you how the archetypal energies of the Major Arcana are turning up in your life. Starting with The Magician you remove the card from the deck and place it somewhere of prominence where you will see it on a regular basis throughout your day. And then you wait. Eventually an event will occur that you will recognise as The Magician. When it happens, you return the card to the deck and move on to the next card. If you have to ask ‘Was that really The Magician?’ then it probably wasn’t. When the event happens it will be unmistakable.

Where’s My Magician?

Tarot - The Magician

The Magician channels divine energy into earthly manifestations.

I started this exercise 5 days ago by pulling The Magician from an old Rider-Waite deck and sticking him up on the wall in my living room. I read a few descriptions of The Magician in different books and tried to imagine how he might turn up for me but kept drawing blanks. I couldn’t think of one single example of something that could possibly happen to me that might constitute Magician-like qualities in my life. I secretly worried that it wouldn’t happen before I flew to America in two weeks time. I wasn’t sure I wanted to be sitting on a trans-atlantic flight worrying that The Magician’s trickster qualities might strike at any moment.

Keywords associated with The Magician are power, focussed will, creation, manifestation,skill, concentration, action, resourcefulness. The Magician is associated with Hermes, can be a bit of a trickster and balances that place between Sleight of Hand Con Artist and Magus. None of this particularly resonates with where I am at the moment, which is generally low – both physically and emotionally. I’ve been more Hermit than Magician for some time now.

This Is Where The Magic Happens

The Dog Tarot

Nostradogus – The Magician

Today, against every fiber of my body telling me to go back to bed, I decided to take the dog out for a long walk along a bit of the London Circular Walk from Finsbury Park to Highgate, a wooded trail following, for the most part, a disused railway line. Today was cold but bright and sunny. We walked fast, the dog running circles around me, dashing off ahead exploring, following scents undetected by my mere human senses but always coming back when I called. He was immediately happy to have space, to have fresh air, real dirt and leaves and grass under his paws, squirrels to chase, other dogs to greet. Have you ever seen a dog smile? It’s unmistakable. It wasn’t long before I realised that I was smiling too.

I took a deep breath and understood that this was my medicine. Nature. And that I’d been neglecting taking my medicine for the entire Autumn. Several times the dog would dart off to my left, dash up a bank of trees or into some shrubs and disappear long enough for me to worry that he wasn’t coming back. Each time, the second I began to go off to the left to look for him there he would be running up to me from the right. He seemed to understand it was a game – this disappearing and reappearing act. He was laughing at me. Enjoying the game. And he was totally in control. This was his game. Not mine.

Then something shifted. Everything began to slow down, the light filtering through the autumn leaves turned golden and sparkly casting shimmering speckles over the ground beneath my feet. Something stirred in my heart and I saw the dog as a pure flash of light, a spark of  instinct, totally in his element, at one with the environment and at one with me. We understood each other without words and were moving completely in sync and in tune with each other in the forest. Here was my Magician in the guise of a scruffy little dog delighting in this single, golden, moment.

Yes,  I thought, I can still see the magic.

Daily Tarot Sketch – The Tower

The Tower

Let’s Blow The Roof Off This Mutha!

The Tower is one of my favourite cards since it heralds the end of something making way for the beginning of something new. Endings can often be traumatic and The Tower portents a sudden ending, shocking, a flash of light delivering disaster. But you can also look at it as blasting away all the negative thought patterns, mental hang-ups, emotional patterns – all the things that bind us and keep us where we are. Once these are cleared away then we have the opportunity for expansion, raised awareness, and spiritual growth. I think there’s also an element of Kundalini Rising in The Tower, rising up the spine and blasting out the top.

I’ve always felt that the people being cast out of The Tower in Rider-Waite deck don’t look too unhappy about it. In fact they seem to be smiling in my deck. In the sketch I’ve captured that joy and freedom by adding figures dancing around the base of The Tower. They’ve pushed the nuclear button and are celebrating by holding a rave. On the horizon it’s a dawn of a new day…

It’s a new dawn
It’s a new day
It’s a new life
For me
And I’m feeling good

Trying Out The Wildwood Tarot Deck

Wildwood Tarot Cards

Mind, Body, Soul Spread With The Wildwood Tarot

First Steps Into The Wildwood

The following is a practice reading I did for one of this month’s questions over at TABI. Since this was just a practice question (i.e. not a real person) I feel like it’s appropriate to share it here. I’ve only had my Wildwood deck for a couple of weeks so am still getting to grips with it but it seemed to really resonate with the following question.

Question: I spend all my time looking after my young family and don’t have any time for myself. I am very unhappy. Please help!

A chill ran up the back of my neck when I saw these cards. All three cards are fire elements and two of them are majors. This feels like a very strong reading.

With so much fire it’s no wonder that you are unhappy with life at home. I wonder what your life was like before and imagine that you are a very passionate and driven woman. The day to day drudgery of mothering young children brings with it a  loss of freedom to follow your passions (wether that’s work related or hobbies or creative pursuits) And I’m sure you feel that more strongly than most. Perhaps the sense of loss has even begun to  manifest itself as frustration and anger?


1. Mind – The Sun of Life

 A man stands amongst a meadow of wild flowers with a giant sun blazing behind him. Light shines out from his heart as he channels the creative power of the sun. A hill in the background has a chalk drawing of a horse.

This card tells me that you must have a very active mind and I wonder if you are a writer, musician or other type of creative. There is a very strong creative drive being shown in these cards. This is such a strong card that I think you should be careful not to make rash decisions. I also wonder what your sense of power is in your relationship? Do you feel in control of your life?

2. Body – Five of Bows – Empowerment

 Four bows lie in the grass on top of a hill in the background can be seen another hillside chalk drawing of a giant man . He is holding a large club in one hand, a bow in the other, and has an erection.

I feel like this card is showing the need to ground all of that firey energy  in something hard and physical. If it’s a new skill or something you’ve never tried before all the better. Learning new skills will empower you to move forward in meeting other goals. Maybe try hiking, hill walking, climbing trail, running or even kick boxing to really work up a sweat. Although I see you outdoors rather than indoors. The cards are indicating that you have a lot of untapped potential and this card is telling me that in order to channel  all that primal energy you need to be more grounded and assertive.

3. Soul – The Green Woman 

 The Green Woman is the female counterpart to the Green Man, Lord and Lady of the forest and here she stands in front of a cauldron heated from below by flames. Her head is crowned in green leaves and branches.

This card is really showing your soul’s journey and here we see you at peace and empowered with your role as a mother. This card however isn’t showing the role of mothering as one filled with drudgery or sacrifice. This is a beautiful, powerful, fierce and nurturing goddess of the forest. I think she has shown up in order to remind you not to let your sense of self-worth falter. Connecting with this primal mother energy, learning to nurture yourself, could help you find peace with the position you find yourself in now? Do you want more children? There’s a strong drive towards fertility being shown in all of these cards. If another child is not what you’re wanting then be careful with your contraception.


You are someone with incredible passion and drive, someone who can really make a difference in the world. But at the moment you have so much pent up ability and energy that home life is feeling like a prison. It’s very important to find that nurturing mother energy and direct it towards yourself. Take some time, no matter how small, to honour and look after your own needs. If you are unable to make big changes in your daily routine while the kids are young then I think the way to start is through looking after yourself physically, learning a new skill, directing your energy into a new hobby. This will help you build a solid base of confidence from which to make other bigger changes in the future.

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Evolutionary Tarot & Circle Ways

Collaborative conversations with Life's wise whispers in service to personal and communal evolution. To book personal appointments and group experiences, contact me at circleways.james@gmail.com or at (416) 966 - 2685.

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