The Wolf

Posted in Alchemical Tarot, Meanings, Tarot on January 2nd, 2010 by Kristine Gazel

The Wolf

I’ve have met the wolf in my readings with the Alchemical twice. Actually it is a frightening card, and perplexing too, the Nine of Staffs. Which the discussion in the Alchemical Tarot Study Group at AT also points to.

Last time I read it as it meant that some part of myself has to be sacrifed, my egoism. But I have been doing some soulsearching recently and I have been working on my tendency to take upon my shoulders all kinds of responsibility and guilt that is not mine.

And that tendency is a like a predator preying on me and my relations with other people. Because then I’m not able to distinguish between my responsibilty and theirs.

I think that what must be sacrificed is my guilttrip, and my tendency not to guard my personal borders.  I’m working on that.

Actually I see my tendency to guard my borders as a dog, a border collie, tending to its herd, and all material coming in from others and from my self, from the unconsciousness, as a wolf.

It has to be dealt with. It has to be purified so that it can rise as something else, a greater level of consciousness.

I’m writing about this, not  because all of my previous  interpretations nor the general meanings, that Place has attributed to this card are wrong, not at all, of course.

But I realize that I have slowly started to really connect with this particular deck of tarot, on a personal level. The wolf means something specific to me, now.

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Death or Transformation

Posted in Meanings, Tarot on November 22nd, 2009 by Kristine Gazel

At the Aeclectic Tarot Forum somone asked how the renaming of cards is perceived. The discussion there inspired me to write the following:

The classic example is of course Death – often renamed as Transformation. I think this obscures the whole idea about what Death is about in the Tarot.

No doubt that Death in a actual reading can mean transformation, or letting things die, letting go, thus making room for change. But does not the Wheel of Fortune express this idea very well also? You know, the notion of  “what comes around, goes around”.

There is a tendency to think – and perhaps ensure the querent, that Death is not really about the real physical death, about dying. But about “Transformation” – whatever that may mean in the context. It seems to me that the grim urgency of the Reaper is somehow being denied and euphemized here.

In the “original” tarot – emerging in  the 15′th century Renaissance Italy – Death was quite literal and ever urgent. The Plague swept over Europe in the course of five centuries, came and went several times only to return again. You never knew who was next in line. Often young people and children died first, leaving no new generations so that cities and rural districts was almost void of people year after year.

Death from the Alchemical Tarot

Death from the Alchemical Tarot

We have the idea of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse bringing with them Pestilence, War, Famine and Death. And the motto Memento Mori  – Rememeber your Mortality. Actually we find this at the back of the beautiful and scarily intriguing Bohemian Gothic Tarot cards.

This is not to ruin your day, just to say that Death always has been ever present to the individual. But there is a tendency – whenever it is possible – to distance ourselves from this harsh reality. I guess that this “Transformation” talk is a symptom of this. The true is that Death is and will always be a something we human beings must be confronted with, no matter our life conditions, and no matter how nice these are to make us believe that Death is not an issue to us personally, to make us foolishly believe that Death is something that happens to somone else.

I think that Death in the Tarot – coming after the Hanged Man and before Temperance – is about accepting this and looking this fact of life right in the eye. Memento mori. I did not say anything about accepting it without anxiety or fear. Angst. I guess that is too much to ask for. But never the less.

When you have accepted Death, not as a abstract idea – like me dealing with it now (see I’m also fooling myself) – but after having been hanging upside down for a few days or weeks, you are ready to pursue. An maybe, just maybe, at this point you have the courage and peace of mind and knowlegde – to do as the Temperance Angel does. To mix.

But you are only able to do the Mixing, after having stepped over the treshold of Death, that is having accepted your very own, very literal mortality: That this very body, and this ego are dying and you can’t avoid it nor do you have not the faintest idea about what is going to happen on the “other side”. If there is an other side.

Having accepted this, you are ready to Mix Fire and Water. There is a lot of Power in Mixing, don’t doubt that. And this in turn makes you ready to deal with the Devil.

Images from The Alchemical Tarot, copyright Robert M. Place, are used with kind permission. Visit the Alchemical Tarot website.

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Reading #4: The Grey Wolf

Posted in Alchemical Tarot, Journal, Meanings on January 26th, 2009 by Kristine Gazel

6 of Vessels

So I asked the Alchemical: What do I need to do this last week of my maternal leave – before I go back to work?

And I drew:

6 of Vessels: The Gardener -nuturing, not too much, not too little; 9 of Staffs:  The Grey Wolf  – sacrifice, overcome with passion; and Queen of Staffs – presenting a choice between the raw and natural and the refined.

The first card makes me think that I have to nuture my kids and my family, to see to what has to be done at home, while I still have the time and energy.   The second card – The Grey Wolf – seems much more complicated. This is about sacrifice, somehow.

The Alchemical Tarot Study Group says:  “A wolf is sacrificed in a fire. This is an alchemical symbol representing the restoration of the king, who was devoured by the wolf. 

Tarot wisdom: You face a calamity, a fire out of hand. Fire consumes you to exhaustion or illness. The message also suggests sacrifice, especially for a higher purpose, like suffering for the good of others, or being a martyr, or subduing the animal passions for spiritual purpose.”

9 of Staffs - The Wolf

Hmm. This may make more sense seen with the message of the Queen: The choice between the natural raw and the refined .

The Alchemical Tarot Study Group says:  “A crowned woman in classical dress stands in the desert holding two torches. The torch in her left hand is raw and natural left as it was when taken from a tree. The other is refined, and has been carved in a decorative classical design.

Tarot wisdom: Like the Queen of Swords, the Queen of Staffs is presenting us with a choice. In this case, it is between that which is natural, unprocessed, or possibly crude, and that which is refined or sophisticated. For more insight into these choices, look at the cards that flank this one in your layout.”

So: the Wolf may be the natural, raw, instinctive, while the King – that shall be restored – being the refined, intellectual, conscious. The Wolf also reminds me of my “motherly instincts”, taking care of my offspring. The 6 of Vessels – nuturing – also has to do with cultivating and refining.  

So this apparently is a message about the possibility of making a transition from one state of mind to another. I say possibility – because the Queen of Staffs presents this as choice. I have to use this week to make this transition and put something behind me – and step out of the cave, so to speak.

 Apart from that – this deck is really “cool” to work  with, as I have suggested in an earlier post. It does not give much – don’t tell me what to do, just shows me the possibilities, then I can go figure out  for my self.   

Queen of Staffs

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Reading #3: The Triple Goddess Spread

Posted in Alchemical Tarot, Journal, Meanings, Spreads on January 19th, 2009 by Kristine Gazel

This spread is inspired by a post at Mary K. Greer’s blog on variations on the 3-card spread. I commented on this, suggested to let the 3 positions be:

1. White: The Virgin (purity)
2. Red: The Mother (passion, maturity)
3. Black: The Crone (experience, wisdom)

We could also call them the Spread of the three Ps : Purity of Innocence, Passion of Life and Power of Knowledge.

Using the Alchemical Tarot Renewed, I drew:

6 of Coins

1. 6 of Coins: Youths;  generosity, sharing, innocence, trust

2. Lady of Staffs: Dance, love of the new

3. 9 of Vessels: The Mountain goat; experience, confidence, perspective

I can’t help getting the feeling that the deck has distanced it self a bit from me this time, and is now showing me what it can.

I’m asking it about innocence, and it is showing me the two nude children, exchanging the coins, (one them has an owl – symbol of wisdom – on it), like saying: This is (one of) my image(s) of innocence.

Lady of Staffs

The Lady of the Staff is an image of the dance of life, love, newness and passion, and the goat with it’s nine vessels barried in the hill side is an image of – well, knowledge, experience and perspective. It is a treasure, waiting to be dug out by living the life itself. 

The Tarot Wisdom for this card, according to the Alchemical Tarot Study Group, is: “Take all your emotions and memories, and let by-gones be by-gones. Be on your way. The emotions and memories associated with the past are your foundation, and can be built upon, but cannot be changed. Don’t try to change the past, but look to the future. Don’t worry; you are sure-footed and will not stumble.”

This remind me of this first step on my journey, that I took today. 

9 of Vessels

Images from The Alchemical Tarot, copyright Robert M. Place, are used with kind permission. Visit the Alchemical Tarot website.

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Reading #2: How can I balance my life?

Posted in Alchemical Tarot, Journal, Meanings on January 13th, 2009 by Kristine Gazel

This year I’ve decided to focus on Temperance. The idea of Temperance (and the card also) is very much about Equilibrium and Balance.

Therefore I asked the cards about how I can best balance the different aspects (roles, task and identities) of my life. As a mother, a wife, as a co-worker, a friend and as, well, me. How can I make all that a whole person?

In a short while I’m going back to my job after 11 months on maternal leave, and would like to know how to balance things so my life with my little projects, work, family etc does not end up being too stressfull and chaotic. In fact I’m a little bit afraid to get drained of energy in the swing of things.

I drew 10 of Staffs: The Phoenix : rebirth, strengthened by ordeal, renewed strength; 3 of Staffs:  The ship: a new wave, reinforcements, replenishment;  and the Lovers: The Minor Conjunction, love, sex, attraction, coming together.

One of the things I have to get used to by this deck is that Place connects Staffs (or Wands) with the feeling function, not the intuitive function, of the Psychological Types coined by C.G. Jung. So the two Staffs card makes this very much about feelings and about valuing. (Appearently feelings should not be confused with emotions. Emotions can rise from all of the four psychological functions).

There is some passion in this reading, I should say.

10 of Staffs

The Alchemical Study Group at AT says about the 10 of Staffs: “The phoenix represents the birth of a new personality. Tarot wisdom: You have been transformed by your experiences. You have been tested by fire; your old self has died away, and a new self is being born. You are renewed .”

During the months of my maternal leave and by giving birth to a new little child, some changes have already happened to me. A transformation has taken place, so that I am actually ready for the new phase in my life. I can start anew. I am also at a point in my life where I am proactively starting changes for myself. For example I’ve decided to let go of my overweight and a lot of bad habits. Im ready to let go, purify, and let something new into my life. 

There certainly is a lot of power in this image of fire. 

The Alchemical Study Group at AT says about the 3 of Staffs: Tarot wisdom: Your ship has come in. Energy has been put out, and now it returns in reward. What you have been waiting for is arriving; the project will be complete. Or, the message may point to the arrival of reinforcements to help out in a tough situation.

3 of Staffs

I guess that this means that I need not to be afraid to get drained. I have the power in my self to sustain, and there will come reinforcements from my reserves, as long as I stick to my course. Here I also have in mind the UW 3 of Wands. I also think of this ship in connection to the Six of Swords, and my soul journey, I’m going to embark on this spring. That will provide me with energy too.

The Alchemical Study Group at AT says about the Lovers, that “The Lovers mark the first or lesser conjunction of the masculine and feminine principles, symbolized by the union of the Emperor and the Empress, with their spiritual essence, Sol and Luna, in the background. This is called the alchemical wedding, and was depicted in the texts as a wedding ceremony, or more often as a consummation of the marriage. [...] [A]nd ideally balance between the male and female aspects of our personalities. The Lovers are in harmony with each other, and therefore with the entire physical world”.

The Lovers are in fact doing what the Temperance is ultimately doing on a more sophisticated level: Mixing and combining opposites; female and male energies, solar and lunar. This is the alchemical wedding in the more mundane, sensual form. I’m also thinking about my husband and about my marriage, and that tending my love for and with him really is a key to make things work – of course. All you need is love. Well, love certainly is the x-factor to make the world go around. That goes for our little world too.

Lovers

Something is also telling me that a key to balancing and healing (making whole) my life is passion. To be passionate about things. If some activity does not “do it” for me or fail to make me want to “just do it”, it has to get out of my life. 

The overall message seems to be : The balance will be right. Just do it.

Images from The Alchemical Tarot, copyright Robert M. Place, are used with kind permission. Visit the Alchemical Tarot website.

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Reading #1: What can I learn?

Posted in Alchemical Tarot, Journal, Meanings on January 5th, 2009 by Kristine Gazel

What can I learn using the Alchemical Tarot as tool for my spiritual journey:

I drew these three cards:

Lady of Coins:  Wealth, patronage, aesthetics, art ;  Ten of Coins: The Materialist: Selfishness, Only seeing the physical, and Queen of Swords: Presenting a choice between the red, mature side and the green, unripe side.

lc

The Lady is symbolizing a love for the aestetichs, and here I interpret her also as a Page, something new, that will be promising. But both she and the Ten of Coins are  essentially about materialism – all though they represent different approaches to materialism .

10 of Coins
I guess the Queen is telling me to make a profound choice. She is literally flying above the skies, and being the Queen of the Element of Air, she is telling me to reach higher – for the spiritual and for wisdom.  Thereby she is demanding of me to choose between maturity and immaturity, between spiritualism and materialism and between virtues and vices.  The work with this deck will be learning process and process of choosing, and this deck will encourage me and guide me through  this process.

Or, at least the Queen is telling me about the choice, because elementally she trumphed out by the two Coins that represent Earth, which is an “enemy” of the Airy suit of Swords.

They’re both abot materialism, the Lady enjoying it and what a well founded material life can bring her. But she is turning her  back at the moon, and she is being too superficially and aestechically oriented and way too materialistic  (10oC). This card center card is weighing down towards materialistic matters, and his blinded by all his coins. So I think the process and journey will not be an easy one. But identifying myself a lot with the Queen of Swords, I’m not loosing hope. 

Queen of Swords

 

Images from The Alchemical Tarot, copyright Robert M. Place, are used with kind permission. Visit the Alchemical Tarot website.

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