Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tarot Blog Hop - Imbolc 2012

Many thanks to ARWEN for organizing this Tarot Blog Hop!

Imbolc... Oimelc... Brigit’s Day... Groundhog Day... Feast of Flames... Candlemas... All different names for the day that marks the midpoint of winter, halfway between the shortest day and the spring equinox.

As a participant in Tarot Blog Hop, I am exploring the question: How can I be the best candle?

To answer that question, I must first answer another question: What is the purpose of a candle?

According to the National Candle Association, candles have been used for light for more than 5,000 years. The first candles may have been developed by the Ancient Egyptians, "who used rushlights or torches made by soaking the pithy core of reeds in melted animal fat. . . Romans are generally credited with developing the wicked candle by dipping rolled papyrus repeatedly in melted tallow or beeswax. The resulting candles were used to light their homes, to aid travelers at night, and in religious ceremonies." (History of Candles)

These days (again according to the National Candle Association), "candles symbolize celebration, mark romance, soothe the senses, define ceremony, and accent home decors — casting a warm and lovely glow for all to enjoy."

I decided to design a Tarot spread that incorporates several of these candle functions. I arranged five cards in the shape of a vertical, cylindrical candle:

(1) How can I illuminate darkness?
(2) How can I enhance a celebration?
(3) How can I encourage romance?
(4) How can I soothe the senses?
(5) How can I cast a warm and lovely glow?

For this reading Spirit has led me to use the Legacy of the Divine Tarot by Ciro Marchetti (Llewellyn Worldwide). Here are the cards that came forward for me:

(1) How can I illuminate darkness?


I can illuminate darkness by being content with what I have -- or at least acknowledging and appreciating what I have, even if there are things I might still want to have, accomplish, or experience. I am fond of pointing out that if everyone were content with what they have, the human race would never make any progress! As Robert F. Kennedy famously said, "There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?" I realize that some of our so-called "progress" has caused more damage than we can ever repair. But many beneficial, useful, and beautiful things have been created because someone imagined something better than what he already had. So -- I can illuminate darkness by appreciating what I have and, as Leisa ReFalo writes in Gateway to the Divine Tarot (Llewellyn Worldwide), by looking "for ways to be reinspired."

(2) How can I enhance a celebration?


What a great card to pull in reference to celebration! I can enhance a celebration by expressing my joy in ways that are natural to me -- whether through music, dance, refreshment, entertainment, or some other means. Although I'm not about to dress like the woman on this card, I think it's important to note her colorful garb. Color has a significant effect on us, on our state of mind, mood, and even physical condition. I can enhance a celebration by "brightening the corner where I am" in whatever ways I choose.

(3) How can I encourage romance?


Another nice choice from the cards. I can encourage romance by connecting with the root of the power of water, by refreshing my emotional energy, and by fully expressing my feelings. The sensuous, receptive, nourishing qualities of this card offer an opportunity to begin a new stage or phase in the area of romance. I can encourage romance by tapping into my subconscious and allowing myself to be immersed in this life-giving element.

(4) How can I soothe my senses?


I can soothe my senses by being open to the gifts offered by this Queen and by seeking her most beneficial traits within myself. I love the sense of weightlessness and freedom I feel when I am in the water. Some of my most vivid, enjoyable dreams have taken place under water. I can soothe my senses by "going with the flow" and by allowing this soothing element to support me as I float peacefully in quiet waters. 

(5) How can I cast a warm and lovely glow?


Another perfect card. The woman on the Nine of Coins certainly does "cast a warm and lovely glow." So does the bird of paradise perched on her hand! In fact, the "warm and lovely glow" seems to be made tangible in the golden coin arch. I can cast a warm and lovely glow simply by being in a warm, lovely place emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and/or physically -- and letting those qualities shine through me. Although I can't ignore the connection to material success and comfort represented by this card, I think it is about finding our place in life, a place where we feel secure and satisfied, a place where we *belong.* This is easier for some people than for others. It may take trial and error, as we attempt to figure out where we belong, who we are, what we need, and what we can give.

First, I have to comment on the fact that four of these five cards are Cups! It seems clear that being the best candle has less to do with Fire than with Water. As a Sagittarius-Sun, perhaps I have the flame "turned up too high" at times -- which can turn the warm glow of a candle into a raging inferno. It's as if the cards are telling me that if I want to be the best candle, I need to tone it down (water it down?) a bit. The fifth card is an Earth card, another passive element. I am getting the distinct feeling that I am being encouraged to "stop trying so hard," to "let go and let God" (as the saying goes).

Here, then, is my answer to the question: How can I be the best candle?

  • I can acknowledge and appreciate what I have.
  • I can brighten the corner where I am in whatever ways I choose.
  • I can tap into my subconscious and allow myself to be immersed in life-giving water.
  • I can go with the flow and allow water to support me as I float peacefully. 
  • I can find a warm, lovely place emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and/or physically -- and let those qualities shine through me.


  1. interesting idea/spread and yeah, some very appropriate cards popping up there!

  2. 5000 years and all we get are a really fabulous spread? I can live with that. Great post, Zanna!

  3. I love that you look at the functions of a candle - such a different perspective. And what great and appropriate cards, even if they are watery. Thanks for another great read, Zanna.

  4. Thank you, Bonkers, Arwen, and Chloe! Who knew that the National Candle Association could be so fascinating?

  5. It's really a very sensuous spread and especially with some many cups coming in reply. Would be good for Valentines Day!

  6. Carol, you're right. It would be a good Valentine's Day spread! Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

    Thank you, Helen!

  7. Zanna, I only read this post briefly, but it is officially one of my FAVORITES of 2012! I have a copy of Ciro Marchetti's "Legacy of the Divine Tarot," that is for my exclusive use, and I cannot wait to use them with the "How Can I Be The Best Candle?" Spread you created. I cannot thank you enough for this but, in any event, THANK YOU!!!

  8. I'm glad you liked it, Robert. I hope you took a moment to "hop" to some of the other blogs participating in the Tarot Blog Hop. We'll do it again for Ostara!

  9. That is a fantastic spread. And I love that you included the history of candles and folded that into the mix.

  10. Thank you so much, Babs! I appreciate you hopping by. :)


Thank you for leaving a comment. I love hearing from my readers!
~ Zanna