Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Moon - Controlling the Tides of the Mind

Who doesn’t love walking on a beach under the light of a full-moon?

Often the energy on the beach is palpable and the moment feels alive – pregnant with possibilities. Perhaps we see a ship in the distance or a dolphin breaking the waves as if reaching up to be bathed in the silvery light of hope. As the waves crash on the shore, our spirit sores with excitement, opportunity and courage. Yes, a moonlit night on the beach is truly a remarkable occurrence.

The Moon - Simply Deep Tarot
Now, let’s take that very same night and very same full moon, and move our setting to the depths of the deep, dark woods. Instead of a warm evening in Florida, we have a snowy night in the Adirondacks. Although we are safe in the confines of a warm structure, we shutter at the sounds of lone wolf calling out into the darkness. Looking out our window, we fearfully glance at the shadows dancing across the snow-covered ground. Are the movements we see the result of the wind in the trees, or perhaps it’s something else – more menacing – lurking in the night.

And so, we understand the dilemma and mixed messages offered by the presence of The Moon Tarot card (Major Arcana 18).

While the explanation above is a literal interpretation of the Moon aspect, the truth is the Moon represents how we view our life and the incidents we experience within it. For instance, you can offer the same situation to different people, and how they respond to the situation is entirely up to that person. This is true for both “good” and “bad” issues.

Example: Take a potentially serious medical problem.

Some people will respond immediately to the ‘dark’ side of the situation. We all know these types of people – at the first sign of any concern they run to their doctor convinced they will be receiving a dreaded diagnosis, and believe the ‘end’ is imminent. These people start talking about wills and planning funerals and begin reminiscing about ‘what might have been.’

Other individuals connect with the ‘lighter’ side of the situation. Sometimes, they even go too light and adopt a “Pollyanna” attitude. They choose to ignore obvious warning signs and simply believe “everything will be alright.” They refuse to seek any medical advice and pretend the problem does not exist. This approach can be even more dangerous than the previous one.

Still there are others who choose to keep a level head and attempt a practical approach to the situation. They realize there is the potential for a serious concern, but they diligently live their life despite it. They don’t feed the worries, but they do attempt to silence their fears through smart action. They assess the situation intelligently and take the necessary steps to rectify the problem.

Note - this is not an attempt to criticize or diminish anyone’s approach to problem-solving. Instead, the point is to show that regardless of the situation, there are always choices. We must make the decision to live a life where we swing between the extremes of excessive fears/idealistic delusions, or we choose to silence the ego-base, lizard-brain fears and exist at a higher, more fulfilling level.

And yes, living life fully in the face of reality is very scary. However, by using our intellect and our intuition, we can choose to see all situations for what they are – the good, the bad, and the ugly – and choose the most empowering course of action for a successful outcome.

The idea that ‘knowledge is power’ holds a lot of weight in the dim light of The Moon. When this card appears in a spread, the message is to access our inner, higher self so that we can indeed shine some divine energy on the situation and move in a direction that is aligned with the goals of our deeper,  more Authentic self. 

Friday, May 1, 2015

The Star - Making Your Dreams Come True

Without a doubt, the Star (Major Arcana 17) is one of the most welcoming cards in Tarot. In most decks the image is depicted by a young, beautiful, naked maiden filling and emptying her vessels of water in the backdrop of a calm and invigorating pool of water.

The image of the Star suggests a peaceful, contented and hopeful realization of our deepest dreams. For this reason, nearly everyone likes to see the Star show up in their readings.
The Star - Legacy of the Divine

However, what most people fail to realize is that the Star follows the Tower card – which depicts the complete and utter destruction of the ego and ego-based thinking. The Star represents truth, clarity and purity of intention. That is why the woman in the image is naked. She is no longer restricted by the cloak of earthly fears.

In fairness, it is easy to miss this connection because most Tarot decks depict the Star in a scene that looks only like the calm after the storm and omits any previous experiences that led us to this point.

My favorite version of the Star is by Ciro Marchetti, creator of The Legacy of the Divine Tarot. In this version, we see our young maiden being propelled from the rubble of the Tower like a phoenix rising from the ashes. No longer restricted by a limited ego-existence, the young woman is free to move forward confidently in the direction of her dreams.

It is an absolutely beautiful rendition because as she rises above the destruction of the Tower, we catch her glancing back at the mess with a look that can almost be described as gratitude. It is as if she is thanking the Universe for the cataclysmic events that freed her from her spiritual slumber.
And that leads us to one of the most important messages of the Star.

Despite our wishes, the freedom and promise offered by the Star comes only after we have faced our deepest fears and have had the courage to go beyond them. The rewards we seek that are represented by the Star come to us only when we have courageously faced down our biggest fears, stood up to our harshest critics (both in and outer), and persevered faithfully in the direction of our deepest truths.

In reality, the gift offered by the Star is not an outer one. Rather it is a completeness of soul and purpose that comes after facing the uncertainty of following frightening, but vaguely familiar paths and having the faith in ourselves to move forward on them when we can’t even imagine how we will ever be successful. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

If You Are Going Through Hell, Keep Going.....

When the Tower appears in a Tarot spread it is safe to assume chaos is afoot! There is no way to sugar-coat this one. The Tower indicates swift, unexpected and often painful change in the life of the individual who is receiving the reading.

Anna K - Tower Card
With the Tower you can expect the querent to be feeling overwhelmed and fearful because major shifts are occurring in his life. He may be scared and/or emotionally distraught. He probably feels as if everything he knows about his life has been pulled out from under him – like a rug from under his feet.

However, while it may not appear evident at the time, the events of the Tower are often really just a blessing-in-disguise.

The Tower is also known as “The Great Liberator.” Its presence signals the destruction of the ego, erroneous thinking and all self-imposed limitations that hold us back. It is safe to say such deeply-rooted beliefs and practices are not going to be easily dismissed.

It is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day events that distract us from the real joys in life. When we concentrate on materialistic pursuits, external recognition, and our list of ‘have-to’s’ , we become disconnected to the reasons of why we are really here.

Hence, the lightning bolts, the fire, the rising water and the falling bodies – these all symbolize the swift and catastrophic destruction of outdated, destructive and useless beliefs. What is left behind once the demolition ends is truth, purity and a connection with our inner source. With the illusions gone, we can more clearly see the steps we need to take to get where we need to be.

The challenge with the Tower card is to not fight the change, as there is nothing we can do to stop it. Rather, it is best to embrace the idea shared in Winston Churchill’s famous quote, “If you are going through hell, keep going.” Eventually, you will come out in a better place if you stop putting your energy into the fight to protect ego-based beliefs, and instead focus on truly learning the deeper, more meaningful lessons of life.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Devil You Know Is Still Very Much the Devil

The Devil, major arcana card 15, is probably one of the main reasons people sometimes refer to the Tarot as ‘the devil’s tool’. Take one look and you can see why people might be fearful. Most decks depict the Devil card with a horned, cloven- footed half-man, half-beast creature as the main image. He is often shown with two naked individuals who appeared tethered to him by chains.

It is not a pretty picture, and when this card appears, it is not uncommon to believe the individual coming for a reading is suffering terribly as the result of some uncontrolled act of fate. Actually, nothing could be further from the truth.

When the Devil comes up in a reading it suggests the person who pulled the card has issues associated with the ego that are controlling him. When I say ego, I mean the rational mind – the one that limits vision to only what can be seen in the physical world.  And this skewed vision is the root of the issue to which the Devil card is referring. When the Devil card shows up, there is a message that tells us the problems this person is experiencing are occurring through no one’s fault but their own.

That’s right! The Devil of Tarot represents the inner mental, physical and emotional addictions by which a person is being controlled. This card also serves as a reminder that tells us when a person chooses to no longer be controlled by these vices, that individual will be free.

Don’t believe me? Take another look at the card. The two enslaved individuals are not living in an existence of want. Rather, they are surrounded by a bounty they have hand-selected. However, in order to enjoy these ‘treasures’ our ‘victims’ must stay tethered to the Devil.

In real life, this could refer to a person who has gluttonous addiction issues because there is frustration with the plight of one’s career or disappointments in one’s love life. Perhaps this person is frustrated with opportunities others have, and he wants, but can’t seem to get. Maybe a decision is made to give up and become slothful because there is the belief of, “What’s the use. I never get any breaks!” There is a certain pay-out that comes from the martyr-mentality which absolves a person from the responsibility of truly owning the outcome of their life.

Maybe it is just the opposite.  A person may have a booming career and make lots of money, but has now become a slave to an image that must be maintained in order to continue a greedy or prideful existence. In essence, this person has sold their soul to the devil in trade for an earthly reward.
Regardless of which of these vices a person is experiencing, the Devil represents an inability to stand up to any or all of the Seven Deadly Sins as they unfold in our lives.

The beauty of this card is that despite the menacing image that appears to be in control of the situation, those who are under the influence of the Devil are not victims in the traditional sense of the word. Honestly, they are actually the ones in control. The only reason the Devil has become as powerful as he appears on the card is because the individual gave into ego-based fears and became separated from their true Authentic Selves.

When these people finally decide to take the reins of their lives and move in a direction that is aligned with their higher selves, they will embrace their true power and realize there is no earthly bond that will ever be able to hold them back. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Temperance - Where Patience Really Is A Virtue

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the word Temperance as, “The practice of always controlling your actions, thoughts, or feelings so that you do not eat or drink too much, become too angry, etc.”

In Tarot, the meaning of Temperance, Major Arcana Card 14, is not that much different from the literal dictionary definition.

In the Tarot deck, Temperance follows the Death card. This placement reminds us that Temperance carries with it a feeling of rebirth and hope. However, like the recovery one feels after any major life change (as associated with the Death card), the rebuilding process often takes a while and requires a great deal of faith and patience.

Morgan Greer Tarot
In many of the traditional versions of the card we see Archangel Michael standing comfortably between the solid realm of the earth and the more fluid arena of spirituality and emotion. A pathway behind him leads to the sun which beckons us to ask, “Is the sun rising or setting?” and “Did he come from the path or is he following that path?” The flowing water in his two chalices holds Michael’s undivided attention, and he directs the flow without spilling a drop.

Essentially, in the Temperance card, Michael is one with the energy of the Universe – neither trying to control it nor be controlled by it. It is as if he lets the energy flow through him. Basically, when this card appears in a reading, it suggests we will be most successful if we choose to embody these very same strategies in our daily life. We must watch the flow of the Universe and see how to best fit our plans into the flow. Doing the opposite – forcing the Universe to function around our plans is a sure-fire way to bring more frustration to the process.

Temperance in a spread hints that a challenge has been thrust upon us, or that we are in the process of resolving a conflict. Success during this time will be the direct result of how well we decide to stay the course and roll with the necessary changes life has cast upon us.

In my opinion, the beauty in this card is most clearly seen in the ideas of unity and connection. When this card appears in a reading, a time of surrender is upon us because we are most likely caught in a balance between how we want things to be and how they really are. This card reminds us that success comes to those who slow down, exercise patience, maintain emotional control, practice flexibility and keep a faithful dedication to the process or goal upon which they have set their sights – all while releasing obsessions about any perceived necessary outcomes for that given situation. 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Death - Some Things Really Are Unavoidable

The Death card (Major Arcana card 13) is arguably one of the scariest cards to pull from the tarot deck. It often appears depicting a skeleton or grim-reaper-looking character. In addition, it is not uncommon to find some sort of destruction in its wake. When that card comes up in a reading, querents understandably cringe. In order to ease their concerns, I quickly point out that in the vast majority of cases, this card does not mean physical death.
Morgan Greer Death Card

Phew! Right?


My explanation rarely soothes my client. The reason for this is because the person often already knows what ‘death’ is pending in their life, and they are quite averse to it.

Put simply, the Death card means change. It means transitions. It means endings.  Sometimes these are what we consider positive changes – for instance becoming parents for the first time. (A certain freedom and innocence ends.) Other times (more often than not) it is a challenging situation.

When Death shows up in a reading, the Universe is telling us to accept the fact that some aspect of our life – it could be work, love, your thinking, your plans, etc – is about to undergo a significant shift.

And people (including myself) don’t like that.

Without a doubt, I am a bonafide ‘Don’t-move-my-cheese’ kinda girl. I loathe change. I do. I fight it and fight it and fight it. And you know what? I always lose. Always.

However, I am noticing that as I gain more experience in life, the ‘fight’ is leaving my game. I am developing the ability to identify when my fight will bring me the results I seek, and conversely – when it will take my power.

And that is an important lesson to remember with the Death card because ultimately we don’t possess the power to prevent most of the major changes that occur in our lives.

What we can control though, is our response and outlook regarding it.

Upon closer examination of this card, you will see that this while this card does  shake things up, it almost always offers something in return. These prominent offerings include such things as a white rose, a sunrise, a light, and even an outstretched helping hand.

This is the area where we can have some control in the process. By choosing to acknowledge and accept this ‘gift’, we can shift our focus to a more positive aspect of the situation. This doesn’t mean we have to like what is happening in our lives. Rather, it means we are choosing to focus on the positive, and draw strength from the new beginning that is rising out of the unavoidable ending. 

Friday, November 28, 2014

The Hanged Man - It's All About Soul....

The twelfth card of the Major Arcana is The Hanged Man. In most decks, he is a simply-presented man hanging upside down by his ankle from a tree, archway or crossbeam.

This card is just past the mid-point of the Major Arcana. The Fool has traveled his journey through the physical and mental aspects of life. He has learned lessons about personal power, intuition, creativity, relationships, limitations, love, reflection, solitude and balance.

The Hanged Man - Anna K Tarot
There have been trials and tribulations in all these areas and he is ready to step it up a notch.

As the Fool approaches the lessons of The Hanged Man, he has a lot of experiences with life under his belt. He has been through a variety of earthly struggles, and has developed some effective strategies with which he addresses these issues.

However, at this point the Fool is coming to the realization that control of his outer world is not the true way to achieve the contentment for which he strives. Rather, the Fool is looking for a greater peace – one that comes from the inside.

While there are many historic and mythological figures to whom you could compare The Hanged Man, I find this card reminds me of the Apostle Peter and his death from a reverse crucifixion. Peter was one of the disciples of Jesus Christ. He was actually one of the most trusted of the disciples; Jesus’s right-hand man you could say.

When Jesus was arrested, Peter – for fear of his own life – denied knowing Jesus. He did this three times. This created great anguish in Peter for a couple reasons. One obvious reason was that he turned his back on a beloved friend during a time of great need. A second, more subtle reason was that it created a crisis of faith within Peter. His decision to deny “knowing Jesus” was in his mind a complete denial of his faith. He chose a life of earthly existence, governed by fear and conformity, rather than a spiritual existence, governed by personal beliefs and internal freedom.

After Jesus’s death, Peter’s crisis of faith led him to an epiphany about his purpose in life. He accepted his position as the “rock” on which Jesus would build his church, and laid the foundation for what would eventually become the Catholic Church. Unfortunately, he was martyred in 64 AD by Roman Soldiers for propagating his religious beliefs. Reports indicated that he requested to be crucified upside down because he felt he was not worthy of dying in the same manner Jesus did. 

I think it is safe to say, that at the time of his death, Peter had resolved his internal spiritual tumult.

To me, that story really underscores the message of The Hanged Man. Like Peter’s experience, The Hanged Man speaks of our need to connect with the deeper truths of life. The Hanged Man heralds the beginning of the soul’s connection with the realm of true happiness and inner peace.

When The Hanged Man appears in a reading, it is suggesting the individual is at a point of transformation. This usually occurs in tandem with more challenging situations that can only be resolved through control of one’s inner, not outer, landscape. The lessons of The Hanged Man are some of the most challenging ones among the Major Arcana. However, once mastered, these lessons open the gate to the garden of internal mastery and a paradise unlike any you can ever hope to physically experience on the earth plane.