Reading #14: Fool’s journey

Posted in Alchemical Tarot, Journal on August 29th, 2010 by Kristine Gazel

Robert M. Place who is the brilliant artist behind the Alchemical Tarot, has just launched a new book, The Fool’s Journey. That inspired me to ask this question: Where am I, beeing the Fool, now on my creative and spiritual journey?

Again I’m using the Little Cross – telling about the situation and the challenge.

I draw Temperance for the Situation and Ace of Coins for the Challenge.

Temperance is one of the four cardinal virtues. Alchemically speaking, Temperance is about carefully balancing and mixing elements, and about delicately distilling fluids to get the right mixture of things. So. I guess Temperance has a lot to do with patience, with I’ am afraid is NOT one of my strongest traits. But this is where I am right now, in a situation that require me to be patient, calm and balanced.

And along comes a rabbit. I’m reminded about the white rabbit in the movie Alice In Wonderland, which I recently watched, the story crazily interpretated by genius Tim Burton. If that is the kind of rabbit that will challenge me, coolness is indeed called for.  But I guess this rabbit is telling me that if I keep my calm and do the right and virtous mixing of stuff, everything will come my way. This is a rabbit of abundance and fertility and growth.

There seems to be a subtle link between the Ace of Coins and Temperance that has to with the irises on the Ace of coins. Here I am quoting Leisa in the Alchemical Tarot Study Group:

“The iris flower refers to the lesser known Greek Goddess Iris. Her name means rainbow. She is usually shown winged and bearing a herald’s staff. Iris is the female counterpart of Mercury, the messenger of the gods. We find iris on the Trump XIV Temperance [on the waite-smith card”.

The rainbow as a symbol is about cherising the gifts of God, and that is also what the Rabbit is reminding me to do. Be content with what is given to you, but don’t forget about spirituality:

“You are on the right path to acquisitions, wealth, and success in the material world. Don’t forget, however, that every manifestation in the material world emanates from the spirit. Enjoy the material but don’t neglect the spiritual”.

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

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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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Day of Rest – The Fferyllt

Posted in DruidCraft Tarot, Journal on December 30th, 2008 by Kristine Gazel

This card shows us how to walk our path in a relaxed and confident way….with the ability to deal with stressful situations in a philosophical, detached way.”

The Fferyllt is about allowing “our awareness to flow naturally between inner an outer, between using our everyday common sense and using our intuition, our inner senses”.

I see this as very positive, since this alchemical blending, this approach as my ideal for the new year.

So the message in relation to the position in the spread must be about being able to intuitively respond to whatever I meet on my path in a well tempered way.

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Hopi Time of Renewal – 5 of Pentacles

Posted in DruidCraft Tarot, Journal on December 23rd, 2008 by Kristine Gazel

“This card indicates the best way for us to seek purification and renewal, and to build tolerance for others”.

The Book says Loss and Dissolution.

I think of the saying “Less is more”. Since this is about Pentacles and thereby about the material world, I’ll have to purify and renew myself by achieving less material stuff, buying less material things. Avoid getting caught up in the ten thousand things, self isolation, self chosen Temperance. Actually I thought about the Fferyllt – or Temperance - while and after shuffling – and that card was right above 5 of Pentacles. But the fact that it was this card and not the Fferyllt  points to me that this is not that self chosen after all – there is a tone of emergency and severity about this path.

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