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Sunday, October 25, 2009



Today's oracle card is from The Green Man Tree Oracle by John Matthews and Will Worthington. Uniting tree lore with the ancient Celtic alphabet known as Ogam, this deck draws on "the innate wisdom of the natural world." This is one of two "tree oracles" I own, the other being The Celtic Tree Oracle by Liz and Colin Murray.

Our card today is BIRCH (Betula alba/pendula), associated with the Ogam name Beith and the Roman letter B. Its divination meaning is "Beginnings" and, indeed, it is the first letter of the Ogam alphabet. The Birch is also one of the first trees to flower in the spring. It is linked with the beginnings of the Celtic year and the sacred festival of Samhain (November 1).

One title given to the Birch is "The Lady of the Woods," based on the tree's willowy, fluid form. I have a Birch tree right outside my office window. I love the way it leans and bends in the autumn breeze, its leaves various shades of green and gold. The Birch is said to be ruled by the planet Venus. It was sacred to Norse goddesses Frigga (goddess of married love) and Freya (goddess of fecundity). In Welsh tradition, the Birch is linked with the owl goddess Blodeuwedd, treacherous as well as loving. In Classical Greek lore, the Birch summoned Ariadne.

The "Green Man Wisdom" provided for this card is: "A good beginning leads to a good conclusion."

Four Aces Spread

The Four Aces Spread was featured on Mary K. Greer's Blog. There is a link to Mary's blog in the sidebar under the title Great Blogs. You can get the details of this spread from her blog.

My reading focus was Life Sphere and my Aces appeared in this order: Wands, Swords, Cups and Pentacles.

Ace of Wands.....Wheel of Fortune.....Nine of Cups.....Ten of Swords
Work and Creativity are indeed the primary focus of my attention and energies right now. In the Wheel of Fortune I see the ups and downs of creative work and the need to maintain balance and keep myself centered. The 9 of Cups suggests bounty and an emotional "high," whereas the 10 of Swords seems to represent reaching "rock bottom." Just as the Wheel implies, there are highs and lows. I need to avoid being carried away in either direction, whether it be the direction of the 9 of Cups or the 10 of Swords.

Ace of Swords.....The Lovers.....Eight of Pentacles.....Page of Wands
I think not only problem-solving but also thought processes and self-communication (Swords) can be seen as interfering with my work and creativity. The Lovers reminds me that I always have a choice about how to view things and which attitude to take. Some of the problems I experience can be solved by hard work (8 of Pentacles). Others can be solved by a fresh, innovative, imaginative, creative approach and outlook (Page of Wands). I get a sense that I need to reconnect with the idealism and optimism of my younger days.

Ace of Cups.....The Devil.....Temperance.....Six of Wands
Love and relationships may help me resolve tensions between 1 and 2, or suggest helpful actions. My spouse as well as my friends and family are extremely supportive of my work and creativity, helping to offset my sometimes negative thoughts and self-communication. The Devil reminds me that I often place restrictions on myself or accept restrictions and limitations that I have the power to reject -- not only in my work but in relationships as well. Seeking balance and moderation in the area of relationships can help me do the same where work and creativity are concerned (Temperance). The 6 of Wands suggest the ability to succeed in reaching balance and stability.

Ace of Pentacles.....The Sun.....Eight of Swords.....The Hermit
The blindfolded woman on the 8 of Swords is flanked by a child on horseback (The Sun) and an old man with a lantern (The Hermit). She cannot see either of them, but perhaps she is aware of them anyway. She may be choosing not to let these powerful forces influence her at this time, or she may be accepting restrictions that she has the power to reject. I tend to see The Sun as representing confidence and strength regarding Money/Security matters, and The Hermit as representing inner knowledge and understanding about Money/Security matters (or an encounter with someone who can act as my guide in these matters). As a result of my interactions in the areas described by the other three Aces, I may find myself dealing with my attitudes toward Money/Security from both an external and internal perspective. I find it interesting that The Hermit is linked with the zodiac sign Virgo, my Rising Sign. I tend to be overly anxious (in typical Virgo fashion) about Money/Security issues.

The highest Major Arcana card in this reading is The Sun. I can triumph best by paying special attention to the solar qualities of energy, strength, success, prosperity, happiness, friendship, optimism, and good cheer. As a Fire card, The Sun is compatible with the Ace of Wands (Fire) in the first position, reinforcing the message that it's not what happens to me that matters but how I respond or react. There is at least one Fire card in every row. I am being encouraged to make use of the passion, energy, optimism, and confidence associated with that element.*

* My elemental associations are based on those established by the Order of the Golden Dawn (OGD).

Sunday, October 11, 2009


The oracle card I am sharing today is from the Egyptian Pyramid Oracle by Verona McColl. This deck was given to me by a friend -- it's one of very few decks in my collection that I did not purchase myself.

The Egyptian Pyramid Oracle consists of five "Houses," each consisting of five cards. They are the House of Change (linked with the element Water), the House of Power (Fire), the House of Wisdom (Earth), the House of Inspiration (Air), and the House of Temptation (Spirituality).

Card 13 in the House of Wisdom is Thoth, the god of wisdom and learning, and the inventor of writing. Thoth is also the divine governor of stability, the inventor of the calendar, patron of the exact sciences, inventor of the vital healing formulae, lord of time, reckoner of years, and helper of the dead. Here he is shown in one of his typical forms, that of an ibis.

In the little book that accompanies this deck, Verona McColl tells us that this card represents a wise, mature, prudent person who will lead us to our goals and provide us with the strength to succeed. If the card is reversed, we are advised to take care that we do not reject a mentor's help or turn our back on wisdom. We must also be careful not to follow bad advice.

Gazing at this card, I feel calm and receptive to the wisdom that is being shared. I feel that my inner strength is fortified by the energy of this card.

In addition to my 60 Tarot decks, I own a great many oracle decks. I love these decks, but don't use them as often as I would like. Every now and then, I am going to share a card from one of these oracle decks here on the blog. I hope people will enjoy seeing cards from various decks and will gain something from the interpretations of the cards!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Nine of Wands - Astrological Associations


Astrological associations for the Minor Arcana cards typically involve both a planet and a zodiac sign. The attributions established by the Order of the Golden Dawn (OGD) are by far the most commonly used. However, some Tarot decks use a different set of associations. As a professional astrologer, I find it interesting to compare and contrast these associations from deck to deck. The use of astrological associations with Tarot is completely up to the reader. This is merely intended to be interesting and fun.

Thoth Tarot by Aleister Crowley
For Crowley (and the OGD), the Nine of Wands represents the energy of the Moon (emotions, the unconscious) and the zodiac sign Sagittarius (a mutable Fire sign). Crowley titles the card "Strength." He writes that this card "is referred to Yesod, the Foundation; this brings the Energy back into balance." He also notes that the path of Sagittarius on the Tree of Life joins the Sun and Moon, giving the Moon "a double influence." Hajo Banzhaf and Brigitte Theler (in Keywords for the Crowley Tarot) describe the energy of the card as: "Confidence and urge to develop (Sagittarius) rising from the unconscious (the Moon)."

One World Tarot by Crystal Love
Crystal Love associates the Nine of Batons with the second subdivision of the sign Sagittarius, with Jupiter as the natural ruler and the Moon as the subruler. She writes: "Love of romance, home, and family and a strong imagination accompany the influence of the Moon as subruler of the second subdivision of Sagittarius. . . The influence of the Nine of Batons alternates between expansive and contractive and is often restless and changeable. Profound sensitivity and foresight accompanies a sympathetic and generous nature."

A.E. Thierens, PhD. (Astrology & the Tarot)
Thierens describes the Nine of Wands as having the energy of "Air on the Ninth house." This makes sense in that the Nine of Wands is the ninth card in the suit of Wands. In astrology, the Ninth house is associated with the zodiac sign Sagittarius, a Fire sign ruled by Jupiter. Thierens notes that the Nine of Wands is traditionally associated with such keywords as "obstacle, delay, suspense, adversity, slowness, contrariety, calamity, misfortune, renvoy, trouble." He writes: "It is at least strange to find only malific expressions of the co-ordination of the element Air and the principle of mind with the house of Sagittarius, the thinker." Ultimately, the keywords Thierens assigns include a number of positive traits: "Teaching, instruction, guidance, teachers, masters, guides. Planning, travelling, sport; journalism editors and journalists, public lecturers, orators; prophecy and predicting. . . controversy, contradiction, antagonism, mental strife, etc. . . . extension of thought, spreading of news, rumours, preaching, excitement of the people and revolution." (Note: The system devised by Thierens is radically different from that of the OGD. I will not go into detail here, but will simply provide the astrological associations for the card under discussion. If you are interested in learning more about this system, I recommend the book referenced above.)

The Mandala Astrological Tarot by A.T. Mann
Like the OGD, Mann's deck associates the suit of Wands with the element Fire. Mann describes Wands Eight, Nine, and Ten as "The Rainbows of Sagittarius." Wand Nine is assigned to the Second Decan of Sagittarius -- Mars in Sagittarius. On the King Scale of Color, Mars is linked with the color red and Sagittarius is linked with the color blue. Mann's keywords for Mars are ""will, desire, energy, enthusiasm, temper, arrogance, passion." For the sign Sagittarius, his keywords are "hibernation; advent; the inner life; meditation; expansion; realization; aspiration; higher mind; religion and philosophy; sport; freedom; rebirth."

The Whispering Tarot by Liz Hazel
Liz Hazel's suit of Wands is the suit of the Fire element, embodying "ambition, vigor, creativity, travel, high spirits, and energy." Her use of the colors red, yellow, and orange is a lot more subtle than what we see in the other cards in this set. Like most of the others in this discussion, Hazel associates the Nine of Wands with Moon/Sagittarius. In her excellent book Tarot Decoded, Hazel notes: "As ruler of the unconscious, the Moon has dominion over the inaccessible and uncharted depths of the mind. . . Her dark side represents loneliness, isolation, and sorrow." In the Nine of Wands, the Moon/Sagittarius connection can represent "Preparation, strategy, thinking through possible responses to a situation in advance. . . Patient and wary observation of a situation." Ill-Dignified characteristics include "Knee-jerk response without adequate consideration. . . unseen dangers. . . Betrayal by one who was thought a friend. . . Overproduction, oversupplied."

Personally, I see a great difference in the energy represented by the Moon as opposed to Mars. Therefore, A.T. Mann's Mars/Sagittarius Nine of Wands *feels* very different to me when compared with the Moon/Sagittarius attribute of other Tarotists mentioned above. With Mars/Sagittarius, I have the sense of Fire, Fire, and more Fire (Mars rules Aries, a Fire sign). The Moon, on the other hand, is associated with the Water sign Cancer. Fire and Water are considered to be incompatible elements, prone to conflict. When they work together in a balanced manner, however, they can be quite powerful as a team (think "steam engine").

Arthur Waite describes the Nine of Wands as signifying "strength in opposition." He writes: "If attacked, the person will meet an onslaught boldly." The phrase "if attacked" suggests a defensive posture to me. The energy of Mars is aggressive and assertive, not passive or defensive. The Moon's energy, on the other hand, can be seen as passive/defensive.

I welcome your comments!


Thursday, October 1, 2009


Today I would like to share a card from The Druid Animal Oracle. This was my very first oracle deck, and it is still one of my favorites. The card I am sharing from this deck today is the Wolf. According to Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm (the creators of this deck), the Gaelic word for wolf is faol (pronounced foil).

Key words assigned to the Wolf are Intuition, Learning, and The Shadow. Gifts, Qualities, or Abilities assigned to the Wolf are Sensitivity to the Otherworld and Shape-Shifting. The Wolf is paired with the Dog, and is viewed as a creature of elemental Earth.

Other details on the card include snowdrops (the flower of the Druid festival of Imbolc at the beginning of February). Indeed, the season depicted on the card is the time of Faoilleach -- the Wolf-month -- which corresponds to the last fortnight of winter and the first of spring (i.e., February).

In Celtic tradition, the Wolf was depicted as a fierce creature, yet it was also seen as highly social, intelligent, and friendly. Its wildness was offset to a large extent by its apparent affinities with humans.

As an Oracle, the Wolf conveys a sense of faithfulness, inner strength, and intuition, along with learning. The Wolf tells us that we have much to gain by spending time alone and that we should not fear loneliness or reject parts of ourselves that we do not yet understand or know.

Merlin, of course, found companionship in a wolf, and this is something we can do -- if not literally, at a spiritual level. We start by examining and questioning the age-old images of wolves as murderous monsters and by exploring the validity of more positive associations.

In addition to my 60 Tarot decks, I own a great many oracle decks. I love these decks, but don't use them as often as I would like. Every now and then, I am going to share a card from one of these oracle decks here on the blog. I hope people will enjoy seeing cards from various decks and will gain something from the interpretations of the cards!