Tuesday, April 5, 2022

April 5, 2022: V of Cups and Justice; a bit about Separation.

The image on the V of Cups cards shows Cups with cracks and leaking water, with a few seeming to be already empty due to a massive crack.  The image itself is pure black and white and seems depressing, desolate and "blah."  The keywords for this card are loss, defeat, sorrow, and difficulty. 

The figure on the Justice card stands tall and faces the observer, but her eyes and face are hidden behind a white veil held in place by a golden crown (representing the authority of impartial truth).  In her right hand (the traditional hand of power) she holds the sword that executes justice and equalizes wrongdoing; in her left hand (traditionally the receptive hand) she holds the scales that measure the weight of one's heart.  Behind her is a holograph of the constellation Libra, one of the four cardinal virtues of Rome (Prudence, Courage and Temperance are the other three).  The keywords of this card are fairness, impartiality, karma, and clarity.


The V of Cups is a card of painful emotions that might include despair, failure, arguments or discord, or the end of a relationship.  There certainly is no reason to see the V of Cups as unrelenting loss.  Yes it tells of some pain or difficulty, but the ending of an important emotional relationship could end up being a release from bondage, if the relationship was a toxic one.  The failure of one effort could offer possibilities to be obtained in a new direction.


The True Black version of the Justice card is about blind justice (rather than the Divine justice that is present when the figure looks into the viewer's eyes), although there are some interpretations regarding a blindfolded figure as representing ignorance of some necessary facts.  Arthur sees her as a sentinel who answers to no man or no power, but only to the searing light of truth (represented by the glowing orb behind her head).  Justice weighs both the cause of the issue in play and the effects of the manifestation of that issue.  The figure representing Justice must understand those concepts and then present a conscious and deliberate response to what has occurred thus far in a completely impartial manner, without allowing emotions or prejudices or expectations or favoritism to affect any outcome.   Not an easy task, by any means.  Her sword tells us that action must be taken based upon the facts of the matter, for choosing to not judge is not an option.  


As far as Dignities, we are dealing with the suit of Cups and element of Water, a passive element which represents cold that binds and wet that adapts, and the number 5, which can be seen here as something that stirs and roils still waters.  Justice corresponds with the element of Air, an active element which represents heat that separates and wet that adapts.  Both elements have the ability to adapt in common.  Perhaps the discomfort of the V of Cups can be eased by knowing that the right action has been taken, no matter how personally painful.


The next step in the Great Work is Separation, which is about sorting, filtering and separating the remains of Calcination and Dissolution in order to isolate what is programmed and to select what is real.  Here we begin to explore our beliefs and experiences in a non-judgmental way through our intuition rather than through our judgmental ego.  Separation encourages us to strengthen our ability to be mindful and to be aware of opposites; it is about the purification of courage, power, and the Will.  Separation corresponds with the substance of Air, the planet Mars, the metal Iron, and the color orange-red.  It corresponds with Manipura, the solar plexus chakra, and with the yogic path of the control of the mind and the senses.  To me, Separation corresponds with The Magician, the card of power, skill, and attainment in the physical world that corresponds with Air.


Monday, April 4, 2022

April 4, 2022: King of Wands and King of Pentacles

The card image on the True Black King of Wands shows a man standing tall and proud, wearing a golden robe and a crown of golden peacock feathers, holding his staff of office in his right hand and raising his left hand in a gesture of power and greeting.  He is stepping forward with confidence, eyes gazing directly at the viewer.  The keywords for this card are commanding, inspiring, uniting, and creating. 

The image on the King of Pentacles shows a ruler who is strong and sturdy.  His clothes are embellished with gold coins, and above he's head are huge golden antlers also decorated with gold coins.  He is leaning on a massive stone boulder, and holds a forging hammer in one hand with a large gold coin floating over the other hand.  The keywords for this card are entrepreneur, forging, supportive, and successful.


The King of Wands is about status and honor that bring both personal achievement as well as contributions related to creativity, knowledge, and quality of life.  This King is a charismatic commander who inspires others and rallies them to his cause, fearlessly leading his people into a prosperous future.


The King of Pentacles of this deck is reliable, sturdy and successful, and he is a master at playing the long game and planning ahead.  His forging hammer symbolizes his ability to create his own opportunities, his own wealth.  He is relaxed and confident enough to lean on that huge boulder, someone who can be depended on during difficult times. 


Since we have two Kings today, let’s explore this rank a bit.  The Kings sit at the top of the Pillar of Force on the Tree of Life, located in the sephira of Chokmah, representing the Sacred Masculine and the Catalyst of Life.  Chokmah is seen as dynamic thrust, the Ultimate Positive, the Great Stimulator and the Great Fertilizer (one of the symbols of Chokmah is the penis.  The energies of this sephira (and the rank of King) represent dynamic male (outer and active, not necessarily sexual maleness) energy and vital force.


Within Elemental Dignities, the Kings show us what happens when Air (the rank of King) is affected by Earth, Water, Fire and Air.  The King of Wands displays Air (heat that separates and wet that adapts) as affected by Fire (heat that separates and dry that shapes).  Air and Fire are both active and have heat that separates in common, which means they are friendly and supportive of each other.  This King can be said to use the intellect to strengthen the Will by manifesting both passion and his personal ideals. Our King of Wands enjoys the creativity and enthusiasm that Fire brings and the rapidly and visibly increasing growth that is stimulated by this combination can be exciting for him.


The King of Pentacles displays Air (heat that separates and wet that adapts) as affected by Earth (cold that binds and dry that shapes, with nothing in common with Air).  Air and Earth weaken each other; Air is active and does not like the heavy slowness of Earth and Earth is passive and does not like the restless and easily-moved Air.  However, in good circumstances (such as the presence of two Kings), our King of Pentacles can use his resources, his wealth, and his health to stimulate growth and support physical manifestations, for the good of all.


In the end, these two Kings can be a powerful influence in my day.  I do need to keep in mind that a bit of grounding might be a good thing, though.




Saturday, April 2, 2022

April 2, 2022: VII of Pentacles and The Sun; a bit about Dissolution

The image on the VII of Pentacles shows six gold coins on one side of a scale and a list of tasks on the other side; that list of tasks is just a bit heavier than the gold coins.  Below the coin side of the scale is some unharvested wheat; below the task list are Lily of the Valley in bloom.  In front of them all is a large gold coin, partially buried in the soil.  The keywords for this card are reward, evaluation, rest, and pride. 

The Sun of the True Black Major Arcana shows a woman joyfully and confidently spinning and dancing, scattering petals from the sunflowers gathered at her feet.  Behind her and centered on her head is a hologram of a beautiful starburst with rays stretching through more than half of the card image.  Imposed in front of the star are nine dots of varying diameter, representing the planets of our solar system.  The keywords for this card are warmth, joy, insight, and celebration.


We have recently dealt with the number 7 recently; it represents the pause that happens as growth slows and degeneration approaches that gives us the opportunity to check in with things and determine whether we have done sufficient work, or we need to do more.  The True Black VII of Pentacles is a great metaphor for this idea because it shows a scale with coins on one side and a To-Do list on the other.  Below the scale are some lily of the valley blossoms, representing protection and good luck, which bodes well even though the To-Do list appears to be a bit more heavy than the pile of coins.  The Sun is a card of illumination, telling us that we can successfully perceive our challenges and their possible solutions, and since we have done the work we should take our moment of satisfaction and glory.


Of course, The Sun of the Tarot Majors corresponds with our own Sol and with the element of Fire, an active element representing heat that separates and dry that shapes.  Tarot Major Arcana cards represent long-term effects so they are not greatly affected by Minor Arcana cards in the long run, but our suit of Pentacles and element of Earth (which is passive and corresponds with cold that binds and dry that shapes) might have a temporary and subtle ability to affect the Fire of The Sun.  A bit of clouds perhaps that will cause the sun to dim for a little while.  I’ll take those passing clouds, then enjoy the warmth and illumination of The Sun.  Once I finish my To-Do list, of course.


The next step in the Great Work is Dissolution, considered to be the process of purification of the vessel, and it is performed by dissolving the ashes of Calcination in water and washing away impurities, as well as emotions that no longer serve us.  Dissolution offers us psychological education and cibation, which is the purification of feelings through the salt in our tears, as well as ways to deal with and begin to understand the subconscious.  Dissolution corresponds with the substance of Water, the planet Jupiter, the metal of Tin, and the colors white or light blue.  It corresponds with Svadhisthana, the sacral chakra, and the yogic path of personal improvement and asana (or the freeing of body energy).  To me, Dissolution corresponds with The High Priestess, the card of intuition, hidden knowledge and higher awareness that corresponds with Water.  


Friday, April 1, 2022

April 1, 2022: VII of Swords and IV of Pentacles; brief notes about Calcination

The image on the True Black VII of Swords shows a white rat, a known carrier of disease and symbol of betrayal, in front of a dark and shadowy curtain that is pierced from behind by the blades of six Swords.  Dangling ominously above the rat, point down, is a seventh golden Sword.  The keywords for this card are betrayal, thievery, plotting, and dishonor. 

The image on the IV of Pentacles shows four heavy and large golden coins embedded in the ground.  Above them is an intricate spider web; trapped in the web are blue butterflies.  One additional butterfly appears to be flying toward that web.  The keywords for this card are hoarding, greed, materialism, and stagnation.


To me, the VII of Swords indicates the achievement of an empty victory by fighting hard to hold the current rules in place, even if they have become a danger to ourselves or to others.  The True Black VII of Swords represents this as well, with the added possibility this danger will be subverted or hidden to prevent interference.  In the Tarot, the number 7 can be seen as reaching a pause or pinnacle that offers us a choice, and it appears this choice could have life-changing effects, not necessarily good ones.


The coins in the image of the IV of Pentacles look heavy; to emphasize that appearance, they are deeply embedded in the ground to the point that removing them would be difficult.  The vines growing on the coins reinforce the idea that they are stuck for good.  This card reminds us that wealth does nothing if we keep it hidden safely away.  To make these coins valuable, they must become something, they must be used in order to create something.  Like the number 7, the number 4 tells of a pause, this pause caused by stability and control, rather than the opportunity to choose.


Pulling Elemental Dignities into the interpretation, we have learned that Earth (Pentacles) is passive, representing cold that binds and dry that shapes, and Air (Swords) is active, representing heat that separates and cold that adapts.  They are unfriendly, which means their effects actively cancel each other out or take away the power of the other element to act.  The IV of Pentacles represents holding onto something to the point of hoarding, and the VII of Swords represents fighting hard to hold the current rules in place, even if they are not benefiting me or have even become a danger to me.  Hoarding resources and deliberately choosing to selfishly subvert a situation by insisting on my own rules are the results of this unfriendly combination.


I certainly need to pay attention today.  My mind may be trying to cling to something that will not work, perhaps something in the physical world that is stuck or being difficult, or just being invisible through not moving.  Hmmmm . . . .

I've been exploring the rabbit hole that is the alchemical Great Work once again, in part because of my VII of Cups card that appeared in my previous post.  I find that typing things out helps to crystallize them in my mind, so here is just a bit about Calcination.

Calcination is the process of burning something over an open flame until only ash remains.  It is considered to be purification by fire.  Calcination is also seen as the destruction of ego, the first step in the Great Work because ego can not only cloud our perceptions, but also control them for its own benefit.  Thus we must experience the destruction of ego through psychological disintegration in order to meet and understand our Shadow.  Physically, the open flame can be represented by metabolic or aerobic discipline, which helps in the purification of thoughts.  Calcination corresponds with the element or substance of Fire, the planet Saturn, the metal of Lead, and the colors black, magenta or purple-red.  It corresponds with Muladhara, the root chakra, and the yogic path of abstention.  To me, The Tower is the Major Arcana card that best corresponds with Calcination, for this card represents sudden changes and upheavals, and corresponds with the element of Fire.  


Wednesday, March 30, 2022

March 30, 2022: VII of Cups and V of Swords; a hint at the 7 steps of the alchemical process

I just love the Tarot Minor Arcana Seven of Cups card!  The True Black version of the VII of Cups shows seven Cups arranged in front of a beautiful golden castle.  The seven floating Cups each contain a manifestation of desire: a hummingbird, a butterfly, a snake, a fish, a salamander, and a mouse or rat, with vapors rising up out of the seventh Cup and surrounding the castle, as if it had risen out of that seventh Cup.  The keywords for this card are fantasies, daydreams, illusions, and procrastination.  

The V of Swords shows a large sickle-shaped golden Sword with the handle down; the base is surrounded by white flowers which are healthy close to the golden Sword but the ones farther away are drying up.  Behind this Sword are four other Swords with points down and handles up; these Swords are cracked and broken.  Each of the four Swords is attached to the larger Sword by a gold cord.  The keywords for this card are selfish, criminal, immoral, and conflict.

We have several things to consider here.  Numerically, the number 7 is a passive number, passive for the moment anyway as it indicates some kind of pause while we consider our options, and the number 5 is an active number which imposes action onto stability in order to prevent stagnation.  Elementally, Water is a passive element that represents the cold that binds and the wet that adapts, and Air is an active element that represents the heat that separates and the wet that adapts.  These two elements are neutral and can tend to cancel each other out, but they do retain their individual energies, effects and consequences.  Both Air and Water are adaptable and if used with balance, the intellect and the emotions can coexist in a beneficial way.  

The V of Swords to me always warns of some kind of selfishness or devious action, but that is not necessarily sourced from within me.  What I need to remember whether I am on the doing end or the receiving end is that selfishness is promoting one's benefit at the expense of others; not an ethical thing at all even if it appears beneficial.  Forewarned is forearmed.  

The VII of Cups is a fascinating card.  It reminds us that dreams can sometimes blind us to reality, that too many possibilities could mean we end up with nothing, and that if we allow any one dream to shine brighter than the others, we might miss something important.  There are Major Arcana correspondences to the contents of each of the seven Cups, with the castle connected to The Tower, the veiled figure with The High Priestess, the jewels with The Wheel, the laurel wreath with The World, the woman with The Empress, the snake with The Magician, and the dragon with The Sun.  Thus, the VII of Cups is connected to each of these Majors, or at least connected to the possible manifestation of each of the Majors, if one or more is chosen. 

 I just read that the seven steps of the alchemical Great Work can be connected to the seven Cups of this card!!  The article did not offer which alchemical step was connected with which Cup, so I am off to travel down a new rabbit hole.  I am gathering together correspondences of the Major Arcana cards and the seven steps, so I can determine the commonalities.  Don't worry, I will share the fun once I get a grasp on things.

Monday, March 28, 2022

March 28, 2022: Knight of Cups and II of Cups

 Beautiful but cold sunny day today.  My son's solar return is today; Happy Birthday, My Dear!

The Knight of Cups wears beautifully designed armor fashioned from gold that looks dramatic and eye-catching but that might not work so well in a battle.  Our Knight wears a mask of gold that completely covers his eyes, with double wings and a stylized halo made of golden vines above and behind his head.  He wears fancy epaulets made of gold on his shoulders and a stylized golden kilt with many strands of gold coins hanging like a fringe at the front closure.  He has one hand on his heart, and the other hand holds a golden rose which is beginning to lose its petals.  Beside him floats a dagger made of water, which is beginning to drip into a cup floating just below the dagger's point.  The water in the cup appears to be sloshing about.  The keywords for this card are emotional, brooding, artistic, and dreaming.

The image on the II of Cups shows two Cups of clear water tilted toward each other, as if they were clinking together in a toast.  Above them circle two golden fish; above the fish is a golden arrow, broken in half.  The keywords for this card are connection, partnership, union, and romance.

My Knight of Cups hints at an intensity of feelings that could be associated with the physical world; after all, Water is one of the two elements that can be perceived by our physical senses (the other element is Earth).  The Knight of Cups is a dreamer whose mind is filled with all kinds of exciting ideas and possibilities.  However, because he is a Knight, he tends to carry his suit to an intensity that just might separate him from reality.  We have only to think about the purpose of the Knight in the hierarchies of his world to understand this.  He is a soldier, but usually he is not free to indulge his own needs or values.  Rather, he is pledged to a Liege or Lord.  He receives support, arms, armor, etc. as well as payment from his Lord, and in return he works to the benefit of that Lord.  Our Knight of Cups might not be the best soldier, but his ability to visualize, create, and think out of the box would be quite valuable.

The II of Cups shows an awareness or initial manifestation of emotions or feelings or visions.  The number 2 represents balance, polarity (such as night/day), duality (such as yin/yang), comparison, and bonding, and it offers both connection and direction (because it represents "distance between").  The number 2 can also be seen as a gateway (two pillars can represent a gateway), and in the Tarot the Minor Arcana II cards show us energy that is pure or at face value, without the influences of such things as catalyst, motion, stillness or action taken.

Using Elemental Dignities to bring more understanding, we find that the rank of Knight corresponds to the Element of Fire (which is active and represents heat that separates and dry that shapes).  Both of our cards are from the suit of Cups which corresponds with the element of Water (which is passive and represents cold that binds and wet that adapts), which has nothing in common with Fire.  Our Knight of Cups is in conflict because his mind is filled with dreams and ideas and creations and elegant stories, yet he exists within a rank that is about bravery and passions and dominance and power.  Oh, our Knight of Cups understands the passion part of this, just not the use of power to dominate others.  Our II of Cups reinforces this misunderstanding of dominance because the number 2 represents partnerships, and this encourages another skill of our Knight of Cups: the ability to ease tensions and find commonalities that will bring lasting peace, so everyone can prosper.  

Sunday, March 27, 2022

March 27, 2022: Destiny and the VIII of Pentacles

We're bracing for a cold front here, and I fear that my camilla blossoms will not survive.  Thankfully I have plenty of daffodils to enjoy.

The True Black Destiny card is the equivalent of The Wheel of Fortune of the Major Arcana.  The image on this card shows a near-human entity, seated with his legs folded in a lotus position.  Destiny, interestingly enough, has four arms and extremely powerful shoulders and chest, but those are not the most alien traits.  His face, what we can see of it, has a beast-like snout and the top of his head is actually a multi-dimensional infinity portal filled with dancing orbs and strands of fate that weave a future which cannot be predicted.  Destiny's two upper hands weave strands of fate from that portal, and his lower hands each hold a triangle, one upright and one reversed, representing opposition: good and evil, heaven and earth, beginning and end.  Below him floats the golden sphere that represents our world.  The keywords for this card are reversal, fate, luck, and inevitability.

The image on the VIII of Pentacles is of a worn and heavily used hammer or metal mallet; the two faces of the hammer are red, as if the metal was super-hot because of excessive use.  Floating around the hammer are eight golden coins, each embossed with a part of a star map.  The keywords for this card are crafting, work, quality, and diligence.  

Destiny represents the things that could happen to a person or thing in the future, things that are currently at least partially hidden but could present an almost unstoppable power to affect how things play out, although this power is not completely beyond our control.  All we can do here is prepare for the likely future that Destiny foretells so that we can get the most benefit (and the least discomfort) from the events to come.  

The VIII of Pentacles tells of action and effort applied to a situation in order to manifest something, even if that thing being manifested is a repeat or something already in place and just needs active maintenance.  In the Naples Arrangement, the number 8 tells of the effort to maintain balance as stability begins to erode and stagnation begins to appear.  In the image of the True Black VIII of Pentacles we see a hammer or mallet that is worn and heavily used, but still strong and effective.  This is a great metaphor for the energies of this card.  

As a reminder, Fire is an active element representing the heat that separates and the dry that shapes, and Earth is a passive element representing the cold that binds and the dry that shapes, making these two elements neutral toward each other.  Destiny (The Wheel) is associated with the element of Fire.  Since it is a Major Arcana card that is transformative and focuses on long-term effects, Destiny may not be particularly affected by my Pentacles card and the element of Earth.  Earth is a passive element, and while it offers fertility and stability, and the fuel that Fire needs to burn in order to exist, too much Earthly energy will snuff the Fires of Destiny.  

The message here is that I need to embrace the exploration of the unknown offered by Destiny, but I should keep a small part of my brain focused on being realistic and practical.  I don't want to allow that practicality to inhibit the benefits of experiencing what might occur (and what I might learn from that process), and while I need to keep in mind that Destiny offers me the opportunity to grow and benefit from a possible future, the way I minimize any discomfort in that manifestation is to be a Girl Scout, and be prepared.