Showing posts with label year card. Show all posts
Showing posts with label year card. Show all posts

Saturday, April 12, 2014

2014: Another Year, Another Year Card

It's been a bit of a while now, since I seriously worked with the cards on any kind of regular basis. It was only when I finally dragged myself to the local tarot greet meetup last Saturday for the first time since last fall that I even remembered to think on the new year, and the new year card that comes with it.

Last year, the card of focus was the Hanged Man. It was a bit of a funny year, really. I intereworked and I moved, I wrote a thesis and struggled to finish my masters program. Yet, in many ways, it was a year of stasis. For a large part of it, I could not bring myself to work with the cards, though I missed it. The future loomed, and yet was not immediate. I tried and struggled, got so stressed I could not eat or sleep for three days, and yet still - was not able to finish my thesis work by the end of December as I should have done.

(Later there were profuse apologies, a polite, professional sort of groveling, an extension into the new year granted.)

6 + 27 + 2014 = 2047, added together gives us 13. Death is the card of the new year. Given that I've only gotten around to writing this entry now, in April, I do already have some insight into how 2014 might be influenced and guided by this particular major...

I fell in love with the Silicon Dawn's depiction of Death from the moment I first set eyes on in, even using it as an avatar on various corners of the internet, something I rarely do with tarot imagery as a rule. The monotone palette is perfect appropriate, and yet, even with such limited colors, this card feels far more vibrant and dynamic than the more traditional image seen in so many other decks: not the reaper on a horse, or standing still, scythe in hand. Here, Death leaps through rain that washes away the old even as it nourishes the start, here and there, of new life. Death advances, illuminated by moonlight, and below other, more human figures run, ride forward too. A flood, destruction, so many things wiped away and yet what you see and focus on is the sense of movement and forward momentum, the sheer energy shown so clearly.

Death is not so dire a card, newcomers to tarot are so often told, and indeed. Like the ouroboros snake I have tattooed onto my wrist as a reminder, Death too is a card not only of ends but of beginnings, of doors and gates that you move through, of the things you leave behind and the things you move forward into. We transform and we become, and what we think we know changes, and we are reminded again and again, that nothing is permanent, nothing lasts, all things must come to an end.

Last year did not feel uneventful, and yet, even in these first three months of 2014, there have been such great leaps of change. I did finish the thesis, albeit a bit later than I'd have liked. I graduated, my time as a student once more at an end. The real world, the need to find a real job, to pay those loans, to be a proper adult is more immediate, has settled in - a heavy, unpleasant weight.

That is though, in truth, by far the lesser of transformations - that was expected, the logical conclusion to the last two and a half years. No, what has me reeling was the fact that I, so very much an I Don't Do Relationships person for so very long, suddenly find myself involved in something very real. Not a brief, casual fling devoid of feeling, this, but rather a connection involving the heart, that fickle, vulnerable thing. A new year began and a friendship became something more; with it, the realization that someone could see the strangest, most disturbed, most difficult aspects of who I am, a decade's worth of scars, and still love me, want me. I found that I could feel the same.

And so, already my outlook and the way I interact with the world around me has been radically altered. On both counts, the end of some things brings with it stress, doubt, difficulty; it also brings unexpected joys, be that enjoying the touch of a person you love, or having the time to play a video game you enjoy without guilt for the first time in over two years.

Really, I don't know whether I should be excited or terrified to see what else the rest of this Death year might bring...

Friday, January 4, 2013

2013 Year Card

2012 was a Justice year for me, and overall I found the year card exercise at the start of the year useful. Not so much predictive, per se, as guiding. The idea of seeking equilibrium throughout the year stuck with me, and helped me figure out some things. 2012 was definitely more about balance than any possible legalistic interpretations of the card, as I had thought right off - fortunately I do not currently have any legal issues to deal with.

That said, I thought I would do this again. For 2013, my year card is the Hanged Man.

I admit that the prospect of the Hanged Man as a year card does not immediately fill me with excitement: a year of hanging, suspension, feeling stuck in place? That does not exactly sound like what I am seeking to achieve. But of course, that is only one of many takes on the hanged man. This is a card associated with the water element, as the de la Rea here shows. Water is flexible, associated with dreams and emotions, depths, the obscure, neither fully solid nor gaseous.

The Hanged Man is associated in many tarot texts with the Norse god Odin, the AllFather, who hung himself from a tree for nine days in order to obtain runes, the key to all knowledge. He sacrificed his body, his power in exchange for that wisdom. He did not fight that sacrifice, did not try to cheat or find some kind of alternative. No, like this major shows in almost all decks: he hung with serenity, with acceptance of the situation as is.

Acceptance and even hanging do not have to mean stasis, doing nothing, giving up. Again, the reminder that all things have a cost - currently I am sitting on a bus driving back to DC. I am intensely motion sick and I am watching a very beautiful sunset while going over a bridge that enchants me from an aesthetic architectural perspective. Most things are like this, pros and cons. I could sleep and feel good and lose time and miss out on many lovely sights. Costs, decisions. Sometimes we reach a crossroads, a certain point where yes, there is stasis, repetition, doing the same thing again and again long after we have grown tired of it. What then?

A willingness to let go is called for - of the familiar, of the comfortable, and of control and distrust, at least to some degree. The hanged man in the Corte dei Tarocchi is particularly interesting to me in that he is not hanging from a branch or tree but rather from a rope of leaves held in the beak of two birds. How absurd! How could he believe that they would hold him up? He does though - he is willing to place himself in that position, and calmly.

The figure here is upside down, and at first glance it's easy to think that maybe we have drawn this card reversed. That is the spirit of this card too - the energy to turn things on their head, to look outside the box, the established way of doing things. You hang between realms and between phases of life. You let go and you find, grasp. The key is the serenity, the acceptance. This is not sacrifice for its own sake - there is a reason for this, something for which to strive.

In a way this image is not unlike a butterfly or moth still cocooned, waiting beneath the waves with held in breath. I used to do that too, as a kid. I liked to dive into parts of pools that were twice as deep as I was tall even though I couldn't really swim and I liked to hold my breath under the water for as long as I could, until my lungs burned. Why? It felt freeing. There is freedom in the way that you can move underwater even though, of course, all swims and baths must come to an end.

And so, a year under the Hanged Man's influence. A year for development and growth, sacrifice and letting go and finding the new, the better, the wiser and more fulfilling. A year for thinking differently, for stepping away from some of those careful caveats and limits of what you will do, for acting within a frame of acceptance - of self and of situation, of how things are and how things could be and what must be done to bridge the two. Of not only weighing out those costs but taking them on in self-awareness. Strength within constraint.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

current strength and weakness

So to start off a new week with a rather more conventional deck than the last, I'd thought I'd do a bit of self-inventory. A short sort of spread, two cards:

What is my greatest Strength right now?
What is my greatest Weakness?
Again here we have my year card, Justice. As I wrote a week ago or so, I've been making some strides, small though they may be in the grand scheme of things, to bring some more equilibrium and balance to my life. In the last couple of weeks I've gotten a better handle on some more problematic habits of mine; I also feel more caught up on/on top of my school-work than I did earlier this semester. I've been working more actively on trying to build on my to do list system, to get more organized about things in the longer term as well.

The Druidcraft tarot is known for its rather big-footed people, and this card is no exception. Here, the bare feet on stone remind me that I have gotten more grounded, particularly in the daily type of things I need to be doing. The owl reminds me of wisdom I have, experience, the sword of my ability to harness logic and critical thinking to my advantage. Self-reflection and self-awareness. I generally have confidence in my ability to assess things and think of solutions, when I make an effort at being objective. Both with personal and professional/academic issues, I think this objective, balanced logic of mine is a major strength indeed. I trust my judgement, my ability to weight things. I can follow authority when I feel it is worth following and question it when it needs questioning, and I can separate my personal feelings from my objective assessment in both cases (ie., I hate this, but it is the right thing to do; This is great for me, but the fact that you allow it shows your incompetence.)

The second card in this spread reminds me that, despite my awareness of this and the work I've done to try to develop a more pro-active and positive-minded approach to things, I nonetheless still tend to...focus over-much on the negative. I see both positives and negatives, can appreciate the good, the progress, and yet in my mind I tend to minimize the formerand dwell and brood on the latter. This card is especially apt because for me, it often isn't the dramatic kind of sorrow of the five of cups, but rather the kind of listless apathy of this four - I see the bad cups, the defective cups, the problematic empty cups, and I dwell on them. I think about the future and consequences and implications if the problems remain unsolved, but solving them seems so impossible, such a pipe dream. I dwell and do nothing, despair and resign myself and rediscover my apathy and worry some more and withdraw again into nonchalance.

Of course, changing thinking is especially hard. Action however, is less so: you can, deep down inside, believe that you will never get those cups filled up again, but that doesn't mean you have to continue to just lie there on the branch. You can force yourself up, force yourself to pick up those cups and get to walking towards the water. Perhaps you are right, perhaps you will never make it - but you can certainly still try. My weakness is this kind of resigned apathy that tempts me to give up before I've really even started; self-paralysis, inaction. 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

small leaps towards balance

A note: this is definitely one of those relitively few decks where I very much feel the need to read the book/get the creator's perspective before I approach reading the cards, and thus what I write will surely be influenced accordingly.

Two majors to start off the week with the Mary-El tarot - a rather appropriate set, on a couple of levels. Though the card in this deck is titled Justice, I see in it more of the Thoth Adjustment influence than the tradition of the RWS. We have the Egyptian mythology here, Maat with the feather to weigh, to judge. The point of life, in that tradition, was to seek balance, equilibrium, to live and act in such a way that, when the time to be weighed came, your heart would balance out with the feather and your soul would not be eaten up but rather allowed to continue on to the afterlife.

Equilibrium is what strikes me, and reminds me of that word of the year project/idea I wrote about back at the start of the year. A word to focus on, an idea and a goal - I chose Equilibrium because this year is also a Justice year for me, as far as year card calculations are concerned, and I felt that its very much something I could use more of in my life. I must say, on the whole, though I have had some amazing adventures and experiences this year, particularly this summer, up until this week I would have to admit that I don't really think I have made much progress on the whole bringing more balance into my life goal. We have the Fool next to this Justice card though, a dynamic fool, full of energy and passion and most importantly, movement. The waterbearer, dancing with dragon-gods from Mesopotamian mythology, the earliest of human civilization beginnings, and butterflies for transformation. Air is the element of this card, the association in the Thoth. Air can represent intellect, thoughts, the swords suit in the tarot, but also freedom. Is there any greater freedom than the feel of flying through the air, the sky?

I think I may have made progress this week, small, limited, much-caveated but nonetheless real progress. I feel more capable of taking on some things than I did just a few days ago, and that is something.

Speaking of which, the other level at which these cards seem relevant deals with the academic - a very important paper I must write for my Terrorism class by Monday. The fool here I see as myself, at the beginning of my writing process, some ideas spinning around my head but much work still to be done. We had to pick one of six questions to respond to and I wrote a vague outline of an idea for two of them yesterday, since one answer I had to run by the professor and I wanted to have a backup in case he vetoed it. He approved it though, leaving me debating which idea to go with. In the Justice card, I think I have an answer. A prompt to compare the professionalism of two terrorist organizations. My thesis is a rather nuanced, balanced one - that neither was more professional than the other, per se, but that they are/were fundamentally different. Organization A was a hybrid terrorist group and insurgency, with significant conventional force at its disposal at its height. It's armed forces were quite well trained, as were its suicide bombers, etc. It controlled territory and governed it to some degree. Other group, on the other hand, is more professional at pure terrorism, a transnational network with no set location, its leadership having a history of moving when necessary, outsourcing to affiliates around the world, etc. The more conventional nature of the former group was what ultimately allowed it to be defeated, while the more purely asymmetric and loose network structure of the latter why it continues to be a major threat. They were both very professional, but different natures, strengths and weaknesses, etc.

Well, now that I have an idea even more worked out (I do love it when tarot helps me do my academic work), I suppose I should apply some of that fool energy and write a proper outline/draft.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

another take on the year card

So this came up in a draw today, reminding me that yes, Justice is my year card for 2012 and I am supposed to be working on that whole Equilibrium achieving theme word thing...

I'm really realizing now that the majors in the Sun and Moon really are quite Thothy, by and large, in a kind of playful-light way. Here we have the same kind of woman, standing on tiptoe with the moon-hilt sword pointing downwards...maintaining that careful balance, equilibrium, and discerning, weighing, yes. I really do prefer the Thoth title for this card the more I think about it though....Adjustment, a force of nature that simply is, without any human societal value judgement. Justice is too...variable, really. Is the death penalty justice? Is stoning a woman justice? Is a public flogging justice? So much variability and room for argument. Adjustment is simply about....bringing things into the proper balance.

Anyway, there are the familiar Thoth scales here, alpha and omega etched into each but also the ancient Egyptian symbolism of the feather weighed against the's kind of funny how that particular bit of mythology has gotten to be so pervasive across the esoteric...the same blue-green color as in the Thoth justice too, for wisdom and contemplation, the coolness of air, libra and even the hints at those spheres uniting masculine, feminine, above and below...very much balance, yes. Except here there is also color: the bright yellow dress, energy and light, and of course those vivid orange butterfly wings...

Energy, light and transformation. Active engagement in the adjustment process of equilibrium finding, the balancing act - continuing from the swiftness theme of yesterday, the idea of proactive engagement, in taking what you can for yourself, letting yourself grow and transform into something better, brighter. The yin-yang on the top of the scales here, uniting brightness and dark:

How can I bring my life more in line with that concept? What issues can I take that sharp sword to, wear my bright dress and balance, and adjust?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tarot Math: logic stays IN the equation

So I decided to have another go at the tarot math spreads from Tarot Dame's blog, since the last time I tried turned out so well for me, and it's such an interesting idea. Today, the simple subtraction spread:

 Adjustment - Queen of Swords = 8 of Cups

Well then: if you remove those Queen of Swords tendencies from a delicately balanced situation, you will fall into indolence, bleakness.

As always with this deck, the message is perfectly apt for me personally, but also interesting to ponder on more in the abstract. I do identify a lot with the Queen of Swords personally, both in positive and negative respects. Logic logic - you can get quite far following cold, hard logic. I like logic because, well, it makes SENSE. If your premises are true, you have access to appropriate information, and your reasoning is sound, you WILL get the right answer if you approach the problem with logic. Your heart and your jerkbrain tendencies can tell you all kinds of things, but if you accept those, listen to them and say: thank you for telling me this is impossible, that there is no way I can do this; logic suggests otherwise, however, and so I am going to go with that... Well, you can make a good bit of progress through life even in the most difficult of circumstances.

The Queen of Swords is cold, logical, and when necessary, ruthless. Sometimes she lacks compassion - for others, and for herself. Sometimes she can grow bitter. Sometimes she might chop away a good bit more or quickly than actually necessary. She might fall prey to all or nothing type reasoning, a kind of tunnel vision, that can be limiting. Approaching ALL situations from her perspective is most definitely NOT a recipe for a healthy, fulfilling life.

And yet nonetheless. The situation from which the subtraction is happening here is Adjustment - another take on my year card, and actually, a title I feel is perhaps even more appropriate than the RWS tradition Justice. Justice has so many connotations of legal systems and established moral or ethnic codes, the idea that something must be 'right' and something else 'wrong'. Adjustment is more of a FORCE, more impersonal, less socially constructed and more simply part of the world. There is a balance here, but it is precarious - standing on tip-toes, everything positioned just so: the slightest change in weight, the littlest shift could send it all tumbling. It requires grace, patience and wisdom to keep it up, adjusted properly. But then, aren't all situations of equilibrium like that? Its that one certain POINT where everything matches up properly, equals out: just a little bit above and below and you have problems again. How many economists have spent how many countless hours calculating equilibrium points for this and that?

Sometimes life situations are certainly like that. You are juggling so many feelings and responsibilities, duties, obligations, needs and wants and problems that you are trying to keep under wraps and people who demand this or that of you - the key to handling those is to find some kind of system that works for you, that lets you work out some kind of balance. For me, this is based heavily on logic, logic, constantly ruthlessly telling myself that no, despite what I feel, I WILL do this or that because I MUST, etc. The queen is a harsh mistress though, and sometimes it could be tempting to just...let go, to just say whatever, screw it, I want to do what I want to do and so I will do it!

But in these particular circumstances it looks like, that would not be a good idea at all. Subtract the Queen and we have the 8 of Cups, Indolence. We have dark skies, thick murky water that would just pull us under, make us slow and heavy and useless. We have no enough water, not enough resources to fill all the cups - scarcity surrounded by plenty but not for us, no. We have dwelling on negativity, on problems rather than acting to find solutions. Self-pity, self-indulgence. It is a miserable experience, waiting in this card, though an easier one: easier to sit around weeping about you troubles and how everything is too complicated and hard so why bother, waiting for someone else to come save you, whatever. Much harder to pick up the sword, force yourself to think of a reasonable game plan to fix the situation, break it down into manageable steps, and then give yourself the kick you need to actually go do it.

Yes, the Queen is useful to keep in the mind sometimes, quite. No subtracting logic, for that leads to bad things.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

"Equilibrium" - Roots and Branches

So I found this idea I quite like on the AT forums, about choosing a word for the year - something to work around, keep in mind, perhaps meditate on or write about or whatever. After spending a few days trying to think of an appropriate word I decided to take a cue from my year card, Justice and go with Equilibrium.

I like that word because it speaks of balance and fairness and all the stuff I wrote about in my year card post, and there are a LOT of areas in my life where I could really use some positive changes in this direction. Also, there's a kind of objective, logical quality to the word equilibrium that I like - it makes me think of my economics courses in college, the fact that on graphs, equilibrium was the point at which supply and demand met at a sustainable rate. Otherwise you'd have shortages or surpluses, problems, but at equilibrium, things are sustainable in the long term - even if things aren't perfect, at equilibrium you can let out a breath and know things are ok like this for a while. Again, something I could use more of for sure.

Decided to pull some cards for how to bring more Equilibrium into my life in a kind of roots/branches spread I've seen variants of on the forums...roots being the heart of the issue, the foundation, and branches being possibilities, outcomes, next steps.

Ace of Wands seems rather apt, in terms of foundation for trying to work more equilibrium into thing I have to say about the Deviant Moon is...the majors are nice enough, sure, but this is one of those decks where it's the minors that really seal the deal for me. I love the Aces in this deck especially. Here, the ace of wands is a kind of wood/nature spirit woman. She holds a baby swathed in leaves, a kind of seed ready to grow, sprout. Her wand burns with possibility. Nurture it she needs to, though, right? Some work is needed, real work. And butterfly wings on her back, for transformation, transition, growth. Wands for energy, creativity, passion. Aces for initiatives and new beginnings.

Changes, even modest, realistic goal changes like 'I want more equilibrium in my life' (rather than more ambitious phrases like renewal! recovery! transformation!) don't just *happen* to you all on their own. I need to do something to make them happen, really approach this as something, a new initiative to follow through on, apply myself to with the best of my abilities.

This I find interesting as a branches card, because at first, it doesn't really seem to...well, stem from the Ace. If making positive changes is a project like this, like growing a garden, something that requires positive energy and creativity and drive, then why would the result, the branches, be this? We have a sad figure, sitting with his mask still on, in a comfortable enough place, well lit, orderly, looking not very happy at all...

But thinking about it more, it makes sense. See, just because you can recognize that change is necessary, that taking this and that step would improve your life significantly, doesn't mean that doing so is EASY. If it were EASY, you would have done so already, right? You are a creature of logic after all, or at least strive to be. If something is advantageous and easy, you go for it. But sometimes things aren't easy at all. Sometimes, letting go of what is familiar, even if it is not good-familiar, is terribly difficult. Sometimes you don't want to risk the crushing sense of defeat if your serious efforts at improvement don't work out. Sometimes you don't know where to start. Sometimes you make a great start and then don't know how to sustain that forward movement; you run out of energy, you sink to the ground in frustration and say, well I've already done this one thing, isn't that enough? But it isn't of course.

This card says to be realistic in expectations, and it commitments - it's not only about the Ace at the start. It's about continuing on even later, when that initial burst of start-energy dissipates. It's about continuing even when the motivation feels like such an ephemeral, intangible thing. It's about if you are serious about things, you need to know it won't always be easy, that things might get worse before they get better, and you need to be prepared for that. It is a clear-eyed, non rose-tinted vision.

lord of the root -
curl around us, here,
in tear-blackened earth. 
we are waiting for you,
waiting to sprout, to climb
higher, grasping for sky - 
we want to know you, 
wish to become
better than what we are
now, a sort of seed,
rough-edged and small. 
Nourish us.
Appreciated, cards, and duly noted. We'll see how this whole Equilibrium word thing goes...

Friday, January 6, 2012

2012 Year Card

So, just out of idle intellectual curiosity, decided to calculate my personal year card for 2012, plus 2011 while I was at it, since that year is over now, to see how applicable it in fact was. Pretty simple really, add your day and month of birth to the year in question and voila, there be your card for that year.

It turns out that my year card for 2011 was the Wheel of Fortune - you know, the card that speaks of life's ups and downs, fortunes changing for the worse, then for the better this sense, describes the year pretty well for me on a micro level. I had some really good experiences, and some really difficult times as well. Some experiences were even kind of both, in different ways. This card also speaks a lot about changes - like, major life changes - and again, as I've mentioned in previous posts here, that way very much a 2011 thing. In fact, on my personal journal I kind of wrote out a list of major things that happened in 2011 for me and yeah, there were a lot of moves, shifts, new things happening, trying or doing things for the very first time. I ended the year in a different city, in a new school, in a different job, in a different social situation, with a whole list of new things I'd done, compared to the begining of the year. Mentally too, though less drastically, I think it was a year of some shifting 'wheel-turning' as it were, so yes. I can totally see this as being an appropriate card to describe 2011, in retrospect.

Which brings us to 2012. The year card for this new year is apparently Justice.

So what exactly should I take this to mean, then? Well, Justice is really in a lot of ways a card that speaks to balance, equilibrium, getting things the way they should be and maintaining that. It's objective right, fairness - cold logic. The logic of the sword, sharp and intellectual and unyeilding. It's about deferring to yes, this the right, objectively so, rather than whatever you may feel about the matter. It's connected to society, the people around you, morals as influenced by your surroundings rather than only your own beliefs. It's about doing right - not being judged for it afterwards, really (that's Judgement) but the actual act of DOING it...Setting things right according to objective standards...

This does make a certain sense. There are areas in my life where my approach has certainly been less than balance. See, I have a remarkable ability to be very fair and understanding and empathtic towards other people, and very harsh, judgemental, illogical in my approach to myself, my own actions. There are reasons for that, which this isn't the place for getting into, but suffice to say this is an area that I could very much benefit from working on. I like the objectivity and logic aspect of this especially. I am, as I often state, and INTP. I like logic very much. Many of my actions are dictated by it, and in general I find that doing the thing I know is logical rather than the thing I feel like doing tends to be for the best. So in broad strokes - do that more. Try to bring more balance, more fairness to myself, more equilibrium into my life.

Trying to think too, what this card might mean more externally. I can't imagine it's really a reference to any legal matters, as there are none of those in my life right now (though, I guess, you never know). I suppose again, more proper balance in school, work, social relationships...

A year of...gradual, steady improvement and not too many dramatic changes or shocks, inshallah.

(Incidentally, the last time I had a Justice year was apparently 2003. I was still pretty young then, but I very much remember that as a pretty craptastic year where a lot of things went to hell, so to speak, especially personally/mentally. So uh, I suppose that was a year in which balance was in the forefront for its lack?) In any case, yeah, inshallah in 2012 there will be plenty, not dearth :]