Blood

Posted in Tarot on October 31st, 2009 by Kristine Gazel

Being attracted to the Alchemical and the Vampire Tarots – as should be appearent by reading this blog – I started  wonder what it is about  blood and its symbolism, that so intrigues us?

I guess that blood has so many symbolic layers that you could write volume upon volume about it. And this has been done.

So now I want to turn my – and yours – focus on Blood and Redness as symbolizing Eros.

In the fairy tales three drops of blood can symbolize the defloration of the virgin, in a more unfamiliar freudian sense. This I choose to interpret as the point where the young girl become mature and able as a women to give herself to a man on the wedding night. The wedding symbolizes that there has been a true union, a conjuntion, between the man and the woman, the groom and the wife.

So, the mother in the fairy tale of Snow White cuts her finger on the needle, and tree drops of blood fall on the snow in the black wooden window frame and she says: “I wish that I had a daughter that had skin white as snow, lips red as blood, and hair black as ebony”.

And then she concieves and gives birth to a little daughter, which the royal couple names Snow White, soon after which the good mother dies. We all know what then happens. Btw, I have always been more attracted to the cruelty and vile in the original fairy tales, as supposed to the cute Disney versions, which I do like, but it is not just the same (more about this in a later post, perhaps).

What I find interesting here is that the blood and the Redness is linked to the Blackness and the Whiteness. These are – off course – the three alchemical stages; the nigredo, the albedo and the rubedo. The rubedo is pointing to the culmination of the Opus, i.e. the Great Work, the red Stone, the conjunction, the fusion of opposites, and – yes – the wedding between the King and the Queen.

The World in the Alchemical Tarot, symbolizing the Great Work, The Red Stone

The World in the Alchemical Tarot (Courtesy of Robert M. Place),
symbolizing the Great Work,
The Red Stone

So – Blood and Redness, the beauty and brilliance of the colour red, then is about the pulse, the spark of life, love and passion, ripeness and maturity, the ability to be whole and united with the opposite, yet be differentiated.

We also have the virgin, the mother and the crone, as aspects of the goddess trinity, where the mother stands for the mature woman, representing the fase in a woman’s life, that is about love, passion and eros, and where she, being able to give birth and create new life, is bleeding on a monthly basis.

My husband had a more earth-bound approach: “Blood is what runs our machine – it is liquid, yet coagulates easily, it is thick and warm, it is sort of alive, a living organism in itself”.

And as the blood runs thin, we are embarking on its scarier implications, we are reminded of death; It is at this point that the Redness turns back into Blackness. And the circle comes full.

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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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