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Thursday, July 22, 2021

"Letting Go" Spread from Tarot by the Moon

As promised in _my review_, I am doing a few readings using spreads provided by Victoria Constantino in her book Tarot by the Moon (Llewellyn). 

Since this is July, I am choosing one of the spreads in Chapter 7 – July: The Buck Moon. Constantino writes: “In the month of July, we can witness new antlers sprouting from the heads of bucks running wild through the forest, lending this month’s moon its name, The Buck Moon. July’s moon is also referred to as the Thunder Moon, the Hay Moon or the Wort Moon.”

I have chosen the “Letting Go” spread, a 9-card spread with the following positional defintions:

(1) Where do I need to loosen my grip?

(2) What do I need to let go of?

(3) How can I let go?

(4) How will letting go benefit me?

(5) Where do I need to surrender?

(6) Where do I need to shift my beliefs?

(7) How will this impact me?

(8) How can I better trust the universe?

(9) How should I move forward?

Here is a picture of the layout:

For this reading, Spirit has led me to use Tarot of the Mystic Spiral by Giovanni Pelosini, with Artwork by Giuseppe Palumbo (Lo Scarabeo)

(1) Where do I need to loosen my grip? 


What a fascinating card to see here! If anything, The Chariot seems to encourage us to “tighten our grip” or our control, rather than loosening it. We see the charioteer on the card battling creatures that point their twisted horns in opposite directions. Is it possible that I am “trying too hard” to exert or maintain control of my direction in life, when I actually need to loosen my grip?

(2) What do I need to let go of? 


The Hierophant is structure, tradition, and organization. Saying that I need to “let go of” this type of energy is quite compatible with The Chariot in Position (1). In both cases, a structure or level of control is being questioned as to its effectiveness in my life at this time. 

(3) How can I let go? 


I can “let go” by allowing my creative nature, my passions, and my impulses to intertwine and unite like the trees on this card. This can free me from the restrictions, desire to control, or “rules” represented by The Chariot and The Hierophant.

(4) How will letting go benefit me? 


By letting go, I open myself to receiving wealth and freedom in the physical, material world (Pentacles). 

(5) Where do I need to surrender? 

THE MOON (Key 18)

The Moon suggests to me that I need to surrender emotionally or subconsciously, deep within my Self, through dreams or meditation, perhaps also to surrender to my intuition.

(6) Where do I need to shift my beliefs? 


Instead of two trees intertwining (as on the Two of Wands), the Ace gives us two snakes intertwining their tails in a knot of love. The creative energy in this card is powerful and signals the birth or beginning of something new about which I can be passionate.

(7) How will this impact me? KNAVE OF CHALICES

This will impact my emotional state primarily, particularly as it might apply to my artistic sensitivity. There may also be an impact at a subconscious level (Chalices = Water).

(8) How can I better trust the universe? 


I can better trust the universe by being emotionally accessible, by opening my heart to the universe as a power that is higher or greater than myself. 

(9) How should I move forward? 


I should move forward looking for abundance and expecting prosperity or success in the physical, material world. With each step, I can experience the benefits of wealth in real time, building a sense of security and accomplishment in my life.

Major Arcana cards came forward to answer the questions, “Where do I need to loosen my grip?”, “What do I need to let go of?” and “Where do I need to surrender?” This suggests to me that those three questions are of particular importance and deserve extra attention. 

It is interesting that there are no Air/Swords cards in this reading. The focus is on Fire, Earth, and Water (two of each) rather than my mind or intellectual activity.

Monday, July 12, 2021

REVIEW: Tarot by the Moon


Tarot by the Moon
Spreads & Spells for Every Month of the Year
by Victoria Constantino
Llewellyn Publications
Paperback and Kindle

US Release: August 2021
UK/Canada: September 2021

_About My Reviews_

I hope this review is helpful! Below are links to sample readings I have posted using spreads from this book:

_Letting Go Spread (for July)_

Here are three of my favorite things about this book:

1. The Introduction. It covers so much great information, such as Tarot and the Moon, How to Make the Most of This Book, The Stance of This Book, Interpreting the Tarot, Numerological Correspondences, Tarot Symbols and Their Meaning, Preparation for Spells and Rituals, Days of the Week and Corresponding Energies, The Influences and Qualities of the Moon Phases, Unique Moons, and Color Correspondences.

2. The Spreads: These are grouped by month to go along with the Moon theme, but even if you ignore that, you have a fabulous collection of more than 60 spreads you can use at any time for any reason. A few of the titles, for example: What Is Developing (8 cards), I Direct My Attention (7 cards), Spiritual Illumination (11 cards), Trimming the Fat (8 cards).

3. Moon Descriptions/Names by Month: Each chapter features a few paragraphs about that particular month’s moon, for example, in July we have The Buck Moon, also referred to as the Thunder Moon, the Hay Moon, or the Wort Moon. Fascinating!

You are now probably wondering about the Spells and Rituals section. For example, Spells & Rituals for July are “Awakening Your Spiritual Gifts: A Tea Ritual,” “Turning Chaos into Order,” “Light of Positivity: A Healing Ritual,” and “A Thistle Protection Spell.” I don’t do spells or rituals, so I can’t really evaluate that part of the book. However, I will say that I’m pretty sure the quality and usefulness of the information on spells and rituals is equal to that of the rest of the book. I don’t think you can go wrong. 


“The energy of the moon has an undeniably powerful influence―on people, on plants and animals, and on the cycles and rhythms of the world. This book provides month-by-month tarot spreads, spells, and rituals to help you manifest the changes you want for yourself and your community.”


Victoria Constantino (Birmingham, AL) is a longtime tarot practitioner and seeker of visionary wisdom. She spent more than a decade as an editor and publisher of literary fiction and non-fiction, and was the managing editor for a prominent women's lifestyle magazine. She left the field of publishing to focus on her writing and spiritual practice. Her previous publications include poetry and fiction, and instructional guides for a business publisher. She attended the University of Oxford and holds a master's degree in writing.

In accordance with the FTC Guidelines for blogging and endorsements, I hereby disclose that this product was provided by the publisher for free. Other than the occasional review copy, I receive no monetary or in-kind compensation for my reviews.  The substance of my reviews is not influenced by whether I do or do not receive a review copy.

Sunday, July 4, 2021

USA Birth Chart -- a reprise

The following is a post I originally made on July 4, 2014 to coincide with Independence Day here in the U.S.

It is about America’s birth chart and the Tarot cards that one could associate with that chart. Please note that I am not ignoring the fact that there were many nations on this continent long before the arrival of European settlers and the writing of the Declaration of Independence. I am choosing in this post to deal with the formal establishment of the United States of America in 1776.

After doing a bit of research, I quickly discovered that astrologers do not agree on the date and time (mostly the time) for which the birth chart of the U.S. should be cast. I won’t go into all of that here. You can do a search on the net and find out more than you probably want to know about it!

The two main variances seem to be the “Sibly chart,” originally published in 1787 by English astrologer, physician and herbalist, Ebenezer Sibly (1751-1799). Those who use this chart note that Sibly was alive at the time of the signing and therefore could have had access to information that is no longer available. The Sibly Chart, cast for July 4, 1776, 5:10 pm LMT (Local Mean Time), Philadelphia, PA, has Sagittarius rising.

In contrast, we have the “Gemini Rising Chart” for 02:13am, attributed to Evangeline Adams in the 1920s. This chart places Uranus (planet of rebellion and upheaval) exactly on the Ascendant. Some astrologers argue that this reflects the “birth” of America quite accurately, but opponents feel the chart does not depict the true nature of American character. Anthony Louis explained his support for this chart in a blog post in 2012: http://tonylouis.wordpress.com/2012/02/25/why-i-use-a-usa-gemini-rising-chart/

So… which chart shall I use for this post? In Tarot terms, using the astrological attributions developed by the Order of the Golden Dawn, I have a choice between Temperance (Sagittarius rising) and The Lovers (Gemini rising). I think I am going to go way out on a limb and not only choose the Gemini chart but use the Aleister Crowley Thoth deck (U.S. Games Systems, Inc.) as my Tarot reference for this post.

This should be interesting…

Below is a chart for July 4, 1776, 02:13am LMT (Local Mean Time), Philadelphia, PA. I am using the Equal House System.

The Rising Sign, Gemini, is represented by The Lovers card. Because the planet Uranus sits on the Ascendant, I am pairing The Lovers with The Fool, which is linked with Uranus by modern occultists (Uranus had not yet been discovered when the Golden Dawn made its original astrological attributions, which attributed the element Air to The Fool).

In her book The Only Astrology Book You’ll Ever Need (Taylor Trade Publishing), Joanna Martine Woolfolk writes, “Your Ascendant is the sign that reflects your outward demeanor and to a great extent determines how the outside world looks at you.” It often represents the “mask” we wear or the way we act when our defenses are up.

In the Thoth deck, we not only see “The Lovers” in Trump 6, we also see The Hermit officiating over the marriage depicted on the card between the Black King and White Queen. The Hermit (linked with the zodiac sign Virgo and the Hebrew letter Yod) contributes a creative, virile, fertile energy to this card.

Notice the white child standing with the Black King and the black child with the White Queen. These four figures together can be seen as representing the integration of opposites which, interestingly, is one of the themes of the Temperance card (Art in the Thoth deck), which is linked with Sagittarius, the rising sign in the Sibly Chart I mentioned earlier.

The Fool is commonly seen to represent birth, creation, the very beginning of something – perhaps a new idea, since the card is associated with the element Air by the Golden Dawn. On the Thoth card we don’t have The Fool gazing in the air as he steps off a cliff. However, the fact that The Fool on the Thoth card is being threatened by a tiger and a crocodile tells us that he is not in a “safe” situation, that there are risks involved, energies that may distract or block him from moving forward.

It appears that the colonies did try to reconcile the conflicting views held by the Mother Country and themselves. Indeed, before April 1775, many of the colonists hoped for reconciliation with King George III and Great Britain. But by the time the Declaration of Independence was signed, the relationship was damaged beyond repair and the colonies were ready to bring forth “a new nation conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” ~ (- Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address, 1863). That “new nation” is The Fool, independent, original, and ready to face an unknown future.

The Lovers card from the Thoth deck can be said to represent equality in that we see opposites being integrated or brought into balance. Neither the Black King nor the White Queen will rule over the other. To me, this actually foreshadows the argument of the abolitionists in the 1800s, who pointed out that the Declaration of Independence states that “all men are created equal” and that slavery was in conflict with that belief.

America’s Sun Sign is Cancer. In Tarot terms, this gives us The Sun and The Chariot.

In Astrology, the Sun in a birth chart represents our general character, our ego, our identity and sense of Self. In the Tarot, The Sun is a positive, strong card associated with freedom, happiness, and good health. In The Chariot we see triumph over adversity, self-control, moving forward and taking advantage of opportunities. Cancer is a Water sign known for being sensitive, nurturing, emotional, loyal, and protective. The connection between the sign and the card can be found in comparing the protective shell on the Cancer crab with the armor, helmet, and shield used by the charioteer. Also, Cancer is a cardinal sign, which gives it the qualities of action, leadership, and outgoing activity – all of which apply to The Chariot.

In The Chariot I see a “new nation” that is fortified, armored, and steeled for whatever lies ahead, determined to direct its own path and to remove any obstacles in its way. But the armor is only necessary because the creature wearing it is vulnerable and sensitive. Cancer is the sign of home and family, concepts Americans have always held dear. America will defend its homeland and its friends with armed force if necessary.

The Moon (The Priestess) is in Aquarius (The Star).

In Astrology, the Moon represents emotions, instincts, and the unconscious – the hidden aspects of the personality. In Astrology, the Moon rules the sign Cancer. The Priestess holds the Book of Mysteries on her lap, a book containing esoteric knowledge that can only be accessed using intuition, emotion, and the unconscious mind.

The sign Aquarius (which happens to be ruled in modern Astrology by Uranus) is known for innovation, humanitarianism, idealism, and intellect. Aquarians are often described as displaying rebellious, unusual, even shocking behavior.

The Star card in the Thoth deck features Nuith (Nuit) pouring the Water of Universal Life upon the fertile earth. Nuith is based on an Egyptian sky goddess, Nut, who was appropriated by Aleister Crowley for use in the Thelema pantheon. Crowley wrote: “Nuit is All that which exists, and the condition of that existence” and "Note that Heaven is not a place where Gods Live; Nuit is Heaven, itself."

To me, these qualities of Aquarius and The Star beautifully depict the inner spirit, emotions, and “unconscious mind” of the United States of America that was “born” on July 4, 1776 – the motivation and deepest emotional needs of the people who journeyed to and settled in the New World. What I am getting are the hope and faith and high ideals within so many of those who settled here: the sentiments that inspired the words, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

The Lovers (and The Fool) rising, The Chariot sun sign, and The Star moon sign together create a picture of this country that reflects the past, mirrors the present,  and offers hope for the future.

Happy Birthday, America!

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Mother's Day with The Empress - a reprise

Since today is Mother’s Day here in the U.S., I thought I’d share a write-up I did a few years ago about the Empress card from the Mary-El Tarot by Marie White (Schiffer):

Marie White describes The Empress as “warm, nurturing, and overflowing with diversity and abundance.” White’s image of The Empress offers a change from the traditional Rider-Waite imagery, in which The Empress is typically pregnant. Here, The Empress has given birth and carries the child on her back. However, she is not just a mother to a single child, but a symbol of the mother of everything, “the abundance and fertility of creation.” (White)

I love the colors White used on this card, burnt umber, mahogany, sienna, goldenrod, dark red, pine, moss, and fern green. These are the colors of earth – of Mother Earth, if you will. A single rose hangs from a cord around the neck of this Empress, and she cradles a generous number of apples in a pouch created by her skirt.

The Empress wears a band of fabric across her chest, decorated with a pattern of triangles and circles. The triangle alludes to the number Three, as in Trump 3. The triangle tips point up, representing a strong foundation or stability, as they are rooted to the ground through a solid base. The circle, of course, symbolizes the cyclical and continuous nature of life, wholeness, eternity.

Regardless of our own personal experiences with or as mothers, The Empress reminds us that “mothering” is larger and broader than any individual or species. It is a force that embraces and infuses life itself, surrounding us, filling us, and renewing our spirit.

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Sun in Aries / Equinox 2021

As the Sun moves into the sign Aries today (March 20), we celebrate the start of a new zodiacal year, while also celebrating the Equinox and International Astrology Day.

One way I am marking the move into Aries is by creating and crafting pieces of jewelry designed specifically for people born with the Sun in Aries. Here are my two latest creations, along with links to the Etsy shop where they can be purchased (just click the name of the item under the pictures).

Aries Memory Wire Bracelet

Aries Silver Chain Earrings

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Ghost Spirits Reading

I recently did a 3-card reading for a client in which I asked the Ghost Tarot by David Corsi (Lo Scarabeo) what it could tell her about any spirits that are around her at this time.

After doing that reading, I thought it sounded like a cool idea to do one for myself. So I did!

The Question: What can you tell me about any spirits that are around me at this time?

Before I present the cards that came forward to answer this question, I have to exclaim at the similarities between my reading and the one I did for my client. Both readings contained one Major Arcana card, and in both readings, there were connections between each of the cards and the zodiac sign Sagittarius (or the planet Jupiter, which rules Sagittarius). I don’t necessarily attribute any significance to that – but it’s interesting! 

The Cards

THE WHEEL OF FORTUNE: The Spirit of Fate. Linked with the planet Jupiter. 

This spirit remains with me as the Wheel turns, between highs and lows, failures and successes, death and rebirth. It is not a spirit that needs to “move on.” Rather, I feel it is a spirit that is part of this world as much as any other. As I mentioned, Jupiter is the ruling planet for Sagittarius, which happens to be my Sun sign. 

KNIGHT OF WANDS: The Spirit of the Traveller. Linked with three decans between Scorpio and Sagittarius. 

The sign Sagittarius is known as the sign of the traveller, and the Ninth House (associated with Sagittarius) is the House of Long-Distance Travel and Philosophy. The spirit represented by this card shows me the vastness of the world that lies ahead of me and behind me. 

EIGHT OF WANDS: “Freedom is priceless. And boundless.” Linked with Mercury in Sagittarius. 

The saying for this card in the LWB is “Freedom is priceless. And boundless.” And yes, Sagittarius is known for its need and desire for freedom and independence. I love the image on this card, of the golden, glowing woman floating through the sky over hills and rivers, free as the birds who accompany her.

I would be remiss not to mention that Sagittarius was my father’s Sun sign (I was born on his birthday). He passed away in 1998, and I can’t help feeling that these cards somewhat represent his continued presence – not because his spirit “can’t move on,” but because it *can* visit and inhabit this realm as easily as any other.

If you would like a one-card reading about the spirits surrounding you at this time, just leave a comment below. I have to approve all comments, so I will be sure to see it. If you want the reading to be private, you will need to contact me to let me know how to contact you privately.

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Travelers Spread

In these days of “Covid confinement,” I am not doing any literal “travel” – but that doesn’t mean I can’t take a journey of the mind and spirit. The itinerary for this voyage is provided by the Sacred Sites Tarot (Massimiliano Filadoro, Federico Penco / Lo Scarabeo).

The positions are simply indications of the stages of the trip – i.e., card (1) is the first stop on the journey. To decide how many places I am visiting, I am drawing a random card from the deck. Ah, the THREE of Swords. It seems there will be three stops on this trip. Let’s see where we go…

(1) The KNIGHT OF SWORDS takes me to Mount Tabor in Galilee, Israel.

“Although it is not named in the New Testament, Mount Tabor is the traditional site of the Transfiguration of Jesus. The first churches on the mountain were built in the 4th century AD. At the summit of the mountain there are a Franciscan church and hospice and a Greek Orthodox church. From atop the summit, there is a panoramic view of Upper Galilee. Ruins of crusader fortifications are numerous.” (https://www.britannica.com/place/Mount-Tabor)

I have never traveled to the Holy Land and don’t have a particular desire to do so. But I think perhaps I would find a visit to Mount Tabor to offer a powerful sense of history.


(2) Next stop: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, courtesy of THE HANGED MAN, who invites me to visit Christ the Redeemer, a statue that stands about 38 meters (over 124 feet) tall according to the LWB for the Sacred Sites Tarot. Another source places the height of the statue at 98 feet/30 meters but in any case, it is one of the seven wonders of the modern world. Obviously this statue has tremendous religious significance. 

One of the things I always think about is that some people say this was the inspiration for Paul McCartney’s song “The Fool on the Hill.” There are several other interpretations of the song, but I didn’t know about the statue until I read that explanation, so I tend to associate the two.


(3) Last stop: Speaking of fools, THE FOOL escorts me to my third and final stop on this trip: Mount Graham in Arizona, USA.

For generations this mountain has been a fundamental sacred site for the indigenous San Carlos Apache tribe. For astronomers from the University of Arizona, the mountain was a prime location for their new observatory. In 1990 the Apache Survival Coalition was formed to save the sacred mountain; however, in spite of their efforts, a telescope was erected and dedicated there in 1994. Some San Carlos Apache still place their trust in medicine men, who journey to Mt. Graham to look for healing herbs—special plants and plant parts that can only be found there—and to learn healing techniques from the mountain spirits. (Source: https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/san-carlos-apache)

Although I am not Native American, I still feel drawn to the culture and spiritual practices of many tribes. I enjoy reading the legends and visiting places that are associated with Native beliefs and folk lore. I lived for many years near Cherokee land in North Carolina.


This has been a fascinating trip! Stay tuned for more adventures with The Sacred Sites Tarot.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

The Forgotten Tarot: A Deck Interview

The Forgotten Tarot
by Siri Soderblom
© 2018 ElecTech, Inc.

As Angie Buchanan puts it: “This unique deck stirs the cauldron of memory, and whispers a message down the ancestral line.”

And so for today’s deck interview we must travel back in time, to places and people forgotten -- yet perhaps not entirely forgotten, and to sights and sounds and scenes stored in and treasured by the universal subconscious mind.

(1) How would you describe your essence or essential energy?


My essence or essential energy
is such that I am able to make it clear 
exactly what the Seeker deserves (good or bad) 
in an impartial manner, in all fairness, 
and without prejudice.

I reveal what is needed 
to maintain or create balance in all things.


(2 Which card do you feel reflects my essence or essential energy? 


A key element 
of your essence or essential energy
is a desire for control and a fear of loss. 
In and of itself, this is neither “bad” nor “good.”
It can be quite useful when 
self-preservation is in question. 

It can be quite detrimental when applied 
without regard for reality.


(3) What story do you hope to tell me? 


The story I hope to tell you 
is a story of how best to deal with 
anxiety, worries, and fears 
that crowd your thoughts and repress your spirit.
Nightmares can be informative 
when viewed in the bright light of day. 

The secret is to understand which fears
are based on facts and which are based on irrational feelings.


(4) What should I not expect from you? 


Do not expect 
naïveté, inexperience, 
or “unbridled optimism” from me. 

I have been around the block 
more times than you can possibly imagine.



(5) Which card most closely represents us as a team? 


As a team, 
we move in cycles and stages 
around the Wheel – 
up and down – 
around and around – 
ever changing and evolving. 

What goes around, comes around, 
and truly, there is nothing new under the sun.


I look forward to doing many readings with this no-nonsense deck!