Two of Wands

Two of Wands

Please note that this series of interpretations is intended to assist specifically in personal healing and shadow work. There are many incredible websites that offer traditional meanings and correspondences. I am not a mental health professional; these are my personal reflections and experiences that I hope you will find helpful.

The Two of Wands is a perfect example of taking the seed offered to you in the Ace and tending to it by creating a clear and workable action plan. The spark of creativity has inspired a project and the next steps are being laid out.

In this card, while there is a recognition of the goal, we are cautious enough to sit with the excitement and work out the new path. There is a feeling of discovery and curiosity but with hesitancy. It will take courage to let go of our current position in order to pursue something greater. This may result in a feeling of being pulled in two directions–do we stay in the familiar or step out into the new and vast landscape?

What was your most recent creative project? Remember that creative simply means an idea put into action in any fashion. Did it take some discomfort, or the decision to leave something behind? What did you learn in the process? Even when new ventures end poorly, the important thing is that you took a creative risk and without that, our human experience can become incredibly dull. What will your next creative project be? How can you step out of your daily routine and do something inspired?

“It’s through mistakes that you actually grow. You have to get bad in order to get good.”
-Paula Scher

“There is only one of you in all time. This expression is unique and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost.”
-Martha Graham

Until our paths cross again…

Ace of Wands

Ace of Wands

Please note that this series of interpretations is intended to assist specifically in personal healing and shadow work. There are many incredible websites that offer traditional meanings and correspondences. I am not a mental health professional; these are my personal reflections and experiences that I hope you will find helpful.

Have you been fortunate enough to experience that divine spark of initiative and creativity that wakes you out of your day-to-day routine and demands attention? This is the fiery energy in the Ace of Wands.

As with all Aces, we are presented with a fertile seed that can grow into a creatively fulfilling venture. This requires careful tending and nurturing in order to grow into fruition. The energy is there, the inspiration is there, but we must be willing to funnel that energy into a new project. Often the term “creative” can be disarming and sometimes as adults we have lost the willingness to call ourselves “artists,” whereas children will excitedly announce that they are just that. It is important to remember that we are all creative. We all have gifts of innovation that we use on a regular basis. Perhaps you are naturally inclined to mathematics. Maybe you whip up nourishing, belly-warming dinners for your loved ones. Is it that you pull together outfits in a unique and memorable way?

Creativity is simply having an idea and doing what it takes to bring it to life! It is problem-solving.

How have you nurtured your creative spark? How does the energy of the element of fire translate for you? Have you harnessed this energy in the past? If so, how did it manifest? Contrarily, have you ignored this spark? Have you let this seed wither and wish to pick it up again? The Ace of Wands suggests that it is time! Let this spark spread into something beautiful!

“To be creative means to be in love with life. You can be creative only if you love life enough that you want to enhance its beauty, you want to bring a little more music to it, a little more poetry to it, a little more dance to it.”
― Osho

“Blessed are the weird people:
poets, misfits, writers
mystics, painters, troubadours
for they teach us to see the world through different eyes.”
― Jacob Nordby

Until our paths cross again…

 

 

 

 

 

21 – The World

21 - The World

Please note that this series of interpretations is intended to assist specifically in personal healing and shadow work. There are many incredible websites that offer traditional meanings and correspondences. I am not a mental health professional; these are my personal reflections and experiences that I hope you will find helpful.

We have arrived at the final card in the Major Arcana–The World. The World is all about taking time to savor our accomplishments. This is the breathing room after a long journey. It is the respite for the battle-worn but satisfied human. This card asks you to sit with this feeling of fulfillment and really drink it in. Your journey is not over but this chapter is. What would you like to take forward from this period of your life? What would you like to edit? Now is the time.

When did you last take a moment to reflect on just how far you have come? We spend so much of our time and lives thinking about what we haven’t accomplished that it is easy to lose sight of how many incredible things we have done! The World brings integration and synthesis. It brings a sense of completeness and satisfaction.

Consider this. How many people have you helped? How many unfavorable habits have you left behind? Have you completed a challenging course or degree? Have you given your all to parenthood? If you are not in touch with your accomplishments at the moment, remember that you are here and you are trying. Most of us have hit a point in our lives where the temptation to give up presented itself in a neat little package. If you are here, reading this, you are a warrior. You kept going despite your circumstances.

How do you measure success? What does achievement look like to you? If you were able to completely remove the concern of what others might think, what would an accomplished life look like? Are you bringing that life into actualization? If not, The World brings you a perfect opportunity to take stock and move in a new direction for the next chapter of your life.

“A word of advice, my sweet Emmett – mourn the losses because they are many. But celebrate the victories because they are few.”
― Debbie Novotny

“I may not have avoided certain wounds in my life, but I do appreciate these scars because they are a constant reminder of my victories.”
― Gift Gugu Mona

 

Until our paths cross again…

 

 

 

 

 

20 – Judgement

20 - Judgement

Please note that this series of interpretations is intended to assist specifically in personal healing and shadow work. There are many incredible websites that offer traditional meanings and correspondences. I am not a mental health professional; these are my personal reflections and experiences that I hope you will find helpful.

The Judgement card represents a spiritual awakening and a call to action. Where cards like The High Priestess have allowed us to lean into our intuition, Judgement shakes us out of inertia and asks that we step forward with the knowledge of who we were meant to be! This will require a blend of logic and intuition but what a wonderful place to find ourselves! We know what we are meant to do and how we are meant to serve and are ready to take steps to get there. Through our journey, we have learned from past experiences, good and bad, and are ready to apply these lessons moving forward. There is often an image of the angel Gabriel blowing a trumpet suggesting that we will not be able to ignore this call.

This card also tells us that we are in a period of good and sound judgement. We might be in the middle of a large decision and when this card shows up we know that we are in a good state of mind to make a wise choice.

This card does not refer to judgement in the sense of choice and legal matters but reflects the idea of Judgement Day in Christianity. In the Druidcraft Tarot, this card is known as “Rebirth,” which might be a better fit. The truth is, we can decide when we want to reinvent ourselves. We can acknowledge ways of thinking, spiritual paths, and relationships that no longer work for us and release them. With this, we gain a new understanding of ourselves and gain freedom from things that are holding us back.

Maybe this card is urging you to take stock of how you spend your days. Are there habits or belief systems that you adopted early in life but that no longer align with your values? Are there patterns that you have fallen into that are not contributing to the healthiest version of yourself? Perhaps you can write a list of things that you would like to let go of. You may wish to destroy this list. Releasing things into fire (safely) can be incredibly satisfying! Imagine yourself as a phoenix rising from the flames. It is never too late for a fresh start!

“She remembered who she was
and the game changed.”
― Lalah Delia

“I actually plan to mess up my life and start over every seven years. That way, I’ll never get in a rut. I read somewhere that most of your cells only live about seven years anyway, so in theory you literally are a new person; I figure that’s the best time to start over.”
― Jody Gehrman

Until our paths cross again…

 

 

 

 

 

19 – The Sun

19 - The Sun

Please note that this series of interpretations is intended to assist specifically in personal healing and shadow work. There are many incredible websites that offer traditional meanings and correspondences. I am not a mental health professional; these are my personal reflections and experiences that I hope you will find helpful.

When we find ourselves steeped in darkness, our one hope is for the light to return. In tarot, nothing brings this light to us like The Sun. This beautiful, warm and reassuring energy rekindles our joy and this positivity radiates to those around us. The Sun is responsible for the light, warmth, and food necessary for our survival.

If you have ever experienced a time where you find yourself emerging from a dark mood with an overwhelming feeling of optimism and internal illumination you have experienced the power of this wonderful card. Similarly, if your health has been poor, this card often indicates a renewal of vitality and healthy energy.

The Sun asks us to share this joy with others. When we can create this infectious spirit, we create a ripple effect that can positively impact others.

There is a story shared in shamanic societies about “The Four Universal Healing Salves.” If someone came to a medicine person with depression or a lack of spirit, they would be asked four questions:

  1. When did you stop dancing?
  2. When did you stop singing?
  3. When did you stop being enchanted by stories?
  4. When did you stop finding comfort in silence?

In much of Western culture, we rarely spend time in any of these activities and it shows in our disconnection. The Sun invites you, and provides you with the energy, to participate in these vital practices. It also asks you to share this with others. Celebrate for the sake of it! Having loved ones in your life is reason enough to rejoice. The child that appears on this card in many decks reminds us of a carefree time of innocence and joy just for the sake of it.

The Sun shines light in all dark corners so occasionally truths that were hidden by The Moon are illuminated. This can sting, just as the beauty of the sun can burn if you stare at it for too long, but these truths are all there to lead you to your highest good. You will find yourself with the energy, optimism, and vitality to endure and honor these truths.

What does paradise look like for you? Is it a cabin nestled on vast, green land? Is it a massive feast surrounded by all of the people you adore? Is it late-morning snuggles with your littles? Is it hours in a lush, vibrant garden with the intoxicating smells of nectar? Perhaps it is time in solitude where you can tease out your creativity. If you like, find a guided meditation or sounds that reflect your idea of paradise, such as this one, and allow yourself to sink into these blissful surroundings. Then, perhaps you could create a list of all of the characteristics this has. How can you begin to create this in your life? What actionable steps can be taken to come closer to this ideal lifestyle? Even if you are in a tiny apartment but crave the forest, consider ways to bring that feeling in. Maybe you could invest in some air-purifying house plants. Perhaps some green furnishings and rich, natural-dyed linens and blankets could bring that feeling closer.

While enjoying the energy of The Sun, it might be fun to create a vision board with all of the things you deeply want to manifest in your life. Images have power! Pair these images with statements that reflect your desires such as: “I spend my days tending to our acreage and growing nutritious food.” It is important to phrase these statements in the present, as though they are already happening. Visit your vision board daily and continue to be open to possibilities!

Perhaps you could devote a period of time (such as a month to start) to actively participating in the Four Healing Salves as a daily practice. You could do this alone or in groups as you wish. Perhaps you could enlist friends to join in the challenge. When you practice joy, you create a vibration that invites more of these wonderful, celebratory gifts to you and others.

Note: I am deeply grateful to Jess from Red Hawk Healing for her guidance with vision boards and many other wonderful lessons.

“Even
After
All this time
The Sun never says to the Earth,

“You owe me.”

Look
What happens
With a love like that,
It lights the whole sky.”
― Hafiz

“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”
― Thich Nhat Hanh

Until our paths cross again…

 

 

 

 

 

18 – The Moon

18 - The Moon

Please note that this series of interpretations is intended to assist specifically in personal healing and shadow work. There are many incredible websites that offer traditional meanings and correspondences. I am not a mental health professional; these are my personal reflections and experiences that I hope you will find helpful.

The moon has been celebrated in many cultures throughout history. Song lyrics, poems, and literature have made reference to delightful events happening “by the light of the moon.” In truth, the moon does not create light, rather, it reflects it. Similarly, in the tarot, The Moon may hold less intriguing secrets than those in art.

When we encounter The Moon in tarot, we are often looking at some form of hidden truths, deception, or the place where fears, anxieties, and nightmares are conceived. This may be a time when following the landscape of your inner world has led you to an unfamiliar place and you are unsure how to return to a safer, more illuminated area. This is the secret domain where our shadows take refuge and cultivate new and unpleasant thought patterns. It is a place where unhealthy and deceptive deeds occur. Things that we are so deeply familiar with in the daylight become twisted and unrecognizable in the moon’s reflection. Although we can skillfully find our way through the dark in our own home, navigating new and unknown territory requires trust in ourselves.

The Moon also warns us that we may not have all the necessary information and may be looking at “partial-truths.” Making large decisions based on what we believe we know is unwise. This is a good time to deeply tune into your intuition and your inner knowing.

As with all things that ask us to confront shadows, the degree of the discomfort we experience from doing this will come from our perspective. We can observe the shadows that challenge us in these dark places and draw them into the light. We can honor the pain that comes from all healing.  It is wonderful and nourishing to explore the positive, loving parts of ourselves but incredible growth comes from trudging into the darker parts of ourselves that remain unacknowledged. Many of these shadows are born from imposed societal rules and norms. We may have been a child who was repeatedly told to be seen and not heard, so as adults we learn to be silent even when life requires us to scream. We may have impulses that are not shared with the majority of society so we wrestle them down into the basements of our existence. When we do this, these shadows cast themselves on our personalities, our self-identity and our interactions with others. So, when we are ready, with a courageous heart, we can begin to cast an honest light on these shadow aspects and draw them out to be healed. The more we do this, the less weight they have–even on the darkest days. Past experiences can be powerful catalysts for projections on current and future circumstances if we let them.

The moon can be a beautiful sight to behold and the more we work with the shadows, the less we have to fear in its illusory light.

Does the idea of confronting your shadows cause fear or exhilaration for you? If it causes fear, how might you describe that fear? What does this fear look like? What does it smell like? Can you recall where this fear may have been born? What about shame? Do you have secret behaviors, wishes, or desires that you hide? What are your reasons for doing this? Would these desires be harmful to others? If so, that is something that may require professional help. If it is something that feels shameful based on your upbringing or peers, perhaps you could find like-minded individuals to share this interest with. This might be a great time to learn more about the lunar cycles! Perhaps you could start a lunar journal where you track your mood and energy levels and notice patterns based on the moon phases. With this understanding of the moon, we may gain the gift of night vision.

“The moon is a loyal companion.
It never leaves. It’s always there, watching, steadfast, knowing us in our light and dark moments, changing forever just as we do. Every day it’s a different version of itself. Sometimes weak and wan, sometimes strong and full of light. The moon understands what it means to be human.
Uncertain. Alone. Cratered by imperfections.”
― Tahereh Mafi

“We are going to the moon that is not very far. Man has so much farther to go within himself.”
― Anaïs Nin

Until our paths cross again…

 

 

 

 

 

17 – The Star

17 - The Star

Please note that this series of interpretations is intended to assist specifically in personal healing and shadow work. There are many incredible websites that offer traditional meanings and correspondences. I am not a mental health professional; these are my personal reflections and experiences that I hope you will find helpful.

The Star is a beautiful card to follow the challenges in The Devil and the turmoil in The Tower. Full of optimism and hope, The Star renews our faith and reminds us that things can turn around. This card brings us gentle yet thorough healing, reinvigorates us after upheaval, and provides a positive shift in our energy. If you have found yourself dwelling in a dark place, know that the star sheds light that can be trusted to find your way out.

This card represents higher understanding and provides an opportunity to step into our authenticity. Sometimes this can involve a spiritual discovery or interest in the divine. The imagery in the card often has a female figure with one foot in the water and one foot on land which symbolizes our involvement in both the physical and spiritual world.

In contrast to the incessant negativity in the media, The Star reminds us of the good things happening all around us. This is a card for the dreamers and symbolizes those individuals in our lives who manage to bring their light to everyone despite what they are navigating in their own lives. It is the wishes made on shooting stars, the coins tossed into the fountains, and the dandelion fluff blown into the breeze. 

Do you recall any wishes you made as a child? Perhaps some of them have come true! When was the last time you laid out under the stars? We don’t often take time for that in our busy lives, but it can bring us back to ourselves in such a healing way. Do you have a favorite constellation? I invite you to take some time to tap into that child-like wonder and spend some time under the night sky. If you wish, try drawing, painting, or journaling the things that come up for you. Return to hope.

“It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.”
― Anne Frank

“They say a person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world: someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for.”
― Tom Bodett

Until our paths cross again…

 

 

 

 

 

16 – The Tower

16 - The Tower

Please note that this series of interpretations is intended to assist specifically in personal healing and shadow work. There are many incredible websites that offer traditional meanings and correspondences. I am not a mental health professional; these are my personal reflections and experiences that I hope you will find helpful.

Have you ever experienced a sudden, abrupt change in your life that shattered your reality, or your illusion of reality? Enter, The Tower. When a Tower phase enters your life, you will likely not see it coming. It will come quickly, out of nowhere, and dismantle things. While upheaval is not always a negative experience, The Tower tends to prepare us for an unpleasant surprise.

The art in this card does not tend to vary much. We see lightning striking a tall building with a crown at the top. The structure is crumbling and there are two figures leaping presumably to their death.  Even though the tower is crumbling and things seem quite dramatic, there is a strong, stone foundation at the base which remains unshaken. The Wild Unknown, as pictured here, uses nature in its depiction, as it does throughout the deck.

The fire resulting from the lightning is symbolic. We are aware of the damage and destruction fire can bring, but fires can also be generative! In the wake of forest fires, certain species of trees germinate and thrive. This is the gift of The Tower: an opportunity to take root and flourish. In this way, The Tower can be seen as an awakening. There are symbols in this card, such as the yodh, which indicate divine guidance, a hand from a higher power. These events are not random, but an integral part of your story!

The message with The Tower is: things are about to shift in a very big way. This card brings a shattering of illusions. It may be unpleasant at the time, but it is actually a sacred gift! This rough patch informs us of the aspects of our life that did not have a sound foundation. With this, we can rebuild in a way that will support our growth. 

Consider a time in your life when things suddenly seemed to be collapsing around you. If you are currently in the midst of something like this, consider going farther back. How did you feel at that time? Which aspects of your life were affected? This might be a good time to challenge yourself with a messier, more tactile craft than you are used to. Perhaps you can use a mix of acrylic paints and collage techniques (fingerpainting as an adult can be incredibly satisfying). Grab images that remind you of a chaotic time in your life and make a mess of it! Allow yourself to sit with the feelings that come up, but also allow them to pass out of you, into the paint, and onto the paper. Once you are satisfied, take a moment to think of all of the positive things that have come into your life because of this event. Perhaps you lost a job that you were certain was a good fit, but find yourself now in a much more satisfying position. Could it be that the dissolution of a marriage ended up freeing you to follow a passion? Maybe something that you desired in your life did not manifest, which made room for something greater. Spend time with these positive outcomes. If you feel ready, thank the challenging event for the lesson it brought to you,  release it, and continue building on your solid foundation. 

“Most people want to be circled by safety, not by the unexpected. The unexpected can take you out. But the unexpected can also take you over and change your life. Put a heart in your body where a stone used to be.”
― Ron Hall

“Many people pray to be kept out of unexpected problems.
Some people pray to be able to confront and overcome them.”
― Toba Beta

Until our paths cross again…

 

 

 

 

 

15 – The Devil

15 - The Devil

Please note that this series of interpretations is intended to assist specifically in personal healing and shadow work. There are many incredible websites that offer traditional meanings and correspondences. 

Culturally, The Devil is known by several names. In many traditional tarot decks, he appears as Baphomet, the Horned Goat of Mendes. The Devil is a multi-faceted card representing the lower-vibrational habits and detrimental behaviors that we can fall into. Depending on your religious upbringing, the image of The Devil may create fear and unease within yourself. In truth, Baphomet represents our baser instincts and acting on impulses, rather than being a symbol of inherent evil.

In many depictions, Baphomet perches over a man and woman who have chains around their necks. They appear to be enslaved and attached to the Devil’s perch, but the chains around their neck are loose–they have the power to remove the chain whenever they wish. This reminds us that we are capable of falling into voluntary enslavement. This is evident when we feel victimized in a situation where we have more power than we are exerting. Power imbalances are often suggested with this card.

The Devil warns us about taking hedonism to an unhealthy level. While some people can indulge in alcohol or chemical substances occasionally, these can quickly become a recurring, unhealthy habit. While these addictions are often the first that come to mind, The Devil encompasses all habits that do not serve our highest good. This could be gossip, self-defeat, dishonesty or any of the behaviors that cause us to feel shame in knowing that we can do better.

The Devil is a snapshot of the bondage we may have to the crudest, most visceral aspect of our human nature. On the positive side, the Devil acknowledges the animalistic nature we all have within and can be a wonderful shot of adrenaline to our sex life, but as with all things The Devil brings to the party, we must watch for things going too far.

The Devil drops us face-to-face with our shadow self. There is no finessing our truth here. If you have not seen the unforgettable Ted Talk Brene Brown does on shame, I highly recommend it. From a very young age, we are constantly informed of which behaviors are acceptable and because our very survival depends on these adults around us, we bury parts of ourselves that are not deemed appropriate. These rejected aspects of ourselves sneak out in our adult life to bite us, and those around us,  in unexpected and sometimes shocking ways. We are unaware of their existence and it is only through gently healing and integrating those rejected shadow aspects that we can fully evolve. Until then we continue to project and fault those with the qualities we dislike about ourselves without realizing it. Our shadows can also hold the repressed ideas, instincts, impulses, desires, perversions, and embarrassing fears that we do not show the world. 

It should be stated that shadow work should only be attempted when we are in a healthy mental state. It can be incredibly triggering. It can and will bring us back to traumas that shaped the person we have become. Ideally, this process would be facilitated by a professional., however, if you are attempting this work on your own, please check in with yourself consistently and make sure you are safe and well. Remember The Wheel of Fortune: if your mood dips and you need to take a break from this work it is okay. There will be brighter, stronger days that will allow you to resume your healing path.

Shadow work is an incredibly trying process and it is a life-long commitment, but if we want to fully realize our potential, it is vital. We all deserve to bring our entire selves–our broken, messy, wonderful selves–to the table.  We all have amazing and exceptional gifts that could be exactly what someone else needs. When we stifle these, we are doing a disservice to ourselves and to those whose lives we have the potential to change. So often we discount the value that comes with our own unique perspective.

The easiest and least invasive way to begin shadow work is by paying attention to negative responses and limiting beliefs. For example, if you meet someone who rubs you the wrong way because they seem loud, arrogant, and rude. The hardest thing to accept is that the qualities that bother us most in others are often reflections of unhealed parts of ourselves. Take some time at the end of the day to reflect, and possibly journal, reactions you had that were unpleasant. See if you start to notice a trend. These rejected parts of our inner world will continue to rear their heads until we learn the necessary lessons.

Because of the delicacy of shadow work and the intense vulnerability it requires, I invite you to explore activities and journal prompts that speak to you. The work I have done is specific to my needs and may not be helpful. I will provide some links below which may or may not resonate with you. 

This is a beautiful article on our shadow selves.

Here is a comprehensive guide to shadow work.

“Every pain, addiction, anguish, longing, depression, anger or fear
is an orphaned part of us
seeking joy,
some disowned shadow
wanting to return
to the light
and home
of ourselves.”
― Jacob Nordby

“People who cease to believe in God or goodness altogether still believe in the devil… Evil is always possible. And goodness is eternally difficult.”
― Anne Rice

Until our paths cross again…