This Is a Prayer for Imbolc. This Is a Prayer for Resistance.

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This is a prayer for Imbolc.

This is a prayer for when roads flood.

This is a prayer for the lingering dark.

This is a prayer for resistance.

We spark the fires to beg the light to return, but we never really know if it will work.  The road may flood; this could be the year it all falls apart.  The February rains may be too much.  We fire up the forge to bend hard metal to our will, but we never really know if it will work.  The road may flood; this could be the year that it all falls apart.  The February rains may be too much.  We write the poem to express what’s inside, but we never really know if it will work.  The road may flood; this could be the year it all falls apart.  The February rains may be too much.

Imbolc is a chance we take, a chance we take in the dark.

This is a prayer for when things fall apart.  This is a prayer for when roads flood. This is a prayer for Imbolc.  This is a prayer for the lingering dark and this is a prayer for resistance.

Brigid, the Goddess of poetry, invented keening for those times when no words were enough.  Shall we now keen?  Brigid, the Goddess of smith craft, invented forges for those times when small flames were not enough.  What shall we now forge?  Brigid, the Goddess of healing, invented beer for those times when water couldn’t cure the deep thirst.  What shall we now toast?  Brigid stands in the February rain, a warm flame in her hand, watching the roads flood.  She will neither look away from the flood nor extinguish the flame.

Imbolc is a chance we take, a chance we take in the dark.

This is a prayer for when things fall apart.  This is a prayer for when roads flood. This is a prayer for Imbolc.  This is a prayer for the lingering dark and this is a prayer for resistance.

The shepherd goes out despite the rain.  The shepherd is the resistance.  Without the shepherd, the ewe will miscarry, die in the mud, bleed to death, deliver the lambkin still.  The shepherd sees the rain, throws on her cloak, and cuts  through the meadow.  But she never really knows for sure if it will work.  The road may flood; this could be the year that it all falls apart.  The February rains may be too much.  But she still wades towards the ewe.  Brigid sees and holds her flame.

Imbolc is a chance we take, a chance we take in the dark.

This is a prayer for when things fall apart.  This is a prayer for when roads flood. This is a prayer for Imbolc.  This is a prayer for the lingering dark and this is a prayer for resistance.

It’s Imbolc!  It’s pouring rain in the lingering dark.  The roads have washed away.   The ewes are miscarrying, the forge fires going out.  The poets are throwing down their pens, the yeast has failed the hops.  Who are you in these times?  What’s Imbolc to you or you to Her?  Resistance thrives in the lingering dark and flash floods bring forth new paths.  Put on your cloak and wade through the mud.  The Goddess Brigid is holding her flame.  The Goddess watches and weighs.

Imbolc is a chance we take, a chance we take in the dark.

This is a prayer for when things fall apart.  This is a prayer for when roads flood. This is a prayer for Imbolc.  This is a prayer for the lingering dark and this is a prayer for resistance.     

 

Picture found here.

Sometimes, One Must Retreat

Sunset over the water, Cozumel, Mexico

No, I am not going to write about the Senate impeachment trial, which is turning out exactly as anyone who’s been paying attention to politics and the Republican party since 1994 (maybe earlier) could have predicted. (Indeed, as I did, here on this blog, only six weeks ago.)

I am, instead, going to talk about the importance of retreating. As in, going on a retreat.

When I first started contemplating working for myself, a little more than eight years ago, one of the things I did was take just about everyone I knew who’d made that jump successfully out for breakfast/lunch/coffee/drinks (their choice) to soak up their accumulated wisdom.

Among the many excellent ideas I collected was the annual retreat: take yourself out of your normal workaday environment about once a year to think about your business, your life, and how things are going.

So I have, every year (my accountant was the one who pointed out to me, a little over a year into it, that I could go pretty much anywhere I want for that retreat, hence warm locations, starting six years ago).

Even if you don’t run your own business, even if you can’t afford to fly somewhere warm and sunny in the middle of winter (the first year, I drove to a small town in the mountains about two hours away and stayed in a tiny cottage), I highly recommend this practice.

Have you ever found yourself thinking: “Where did the day/week/month/season/year go?”

We all do that. We get so caught up in the minutia of our daily lives and schedules – work, our families, chores, paying the bills, community involvement, our friends, hobbies, appointments – that we don’t take time to ask the bigger questions:

  • What am I doing with my life?
  • How am I investing my time?
  • What are my core values?
  • Are my time investments in alignment with my values?
  • Is my work satisfying? Does it allow me to meet my material and financial needs and commitments?
  • How are my relationships with family and friends? Are they meeting my emotional and support needs? Am I meeting theirs?
  • How are my “weak ties”? Am I engaged with my local community in ways that build those second-order relationships and benefit my neighbors and myself?
  • How’s my spiritual practice? Are my soul and spirit being fed regularly in ways that suit me?
  • Am I growing intellectually? Are my mind’s needs being met? What have I learned lately? What would I like to learn?
  • Am I taking care of my physical person, feeding myself nutritious food, moving my body in ways that I like on a schedule that works for me, seeing doctors for regular checkups and to manage any chronic conditions?
  • If any of these things are not what I would want them to be, what – if anything – lies in my power to change to get closer to where I’d prefer to be?

My retreat is structured in three parts: Day one is looking back at the past year to assess what happened and what I think and feel about all of it. Day two is looking forward at what’s planned for the coming year, and how I intend to change the things that need changing. Day three is accountability to another person who cares for me and my personal and professional success, will ask me difficult questions about those things, will challenge me on my blind spots, and will expect to see results on the goals I’ve set for myself.

(Then I get to play for a day before I come home and pick up all my usual burdens and responsibilities.)

You obviously don’t have to do it my way. You don’t have to go away. Maybe you don’t want to – or can’t afford to – leave town. You don’t have to do it in January. Maybe you’d prefer to go somewhere cool when it’s hot, or the natural “break” you feel is between school years. Maybe you want to go alone – no trusted second party – or maybe you want to take several friends who are all going to assist and support each other. Maybe three days is too long for you – or too short. Maybe once a year is too often – or not often enough.

But do seriously consider periodically hitting “pause” on your normal life to separate yourself from it (even if that just means sending the kids and spouse to grandma’s overnight so you can have the house to yourself and your thoughts) and assess. I find it invaluable for ensuring that the day to day vicissitudes of life don’t push me off the track of my larger values, goals, and vision.

Photo by the author. If you copy, please link back.

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A Talk with the Creators of the Herbcrafter’s Tarot

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One of the most exciting new Tarot decks that I’ve seen in some time is the Herbcrafter’s Tarot, with art work by Joanna Powell Colbert and a wonderful book by Latisha Guthrie.  They recently answered some of my questions about the deck.

1.  Your Herbcrafter’s Tarot deck came out last year and has generated a lot of interest.  Please describe it for us and tell us where the inspiration for this deck came from.  What’s the best place for people to buy the deck?  Is it available electronically?

Joanna: Thanks, Hecate, for asking. In the Herbcrafter’s Tarot, we celebrate the relationship between humans and plants, and the ways we have used herbs for medicine, magic, creativity, and spiritual guidance down through the centuries. We honor folk traditions, tools, skills, and crafts. As Latisha writes in the book, “Herbs and tarot are natural allies, the tools of the healer, the seer, the witch, the wise one.”  In the deck and book, we encourage people to get out into the natural world and develop their own relationships with the plants, perhaps using the deck as an inspiration and a guide. We are always pointing the way back to encounters and reciprocity with the natural world.

The idea for a deck focused on herbs came to me while I was creating the Gaian Tarot, my first deck. It’s a bit hard to remember now, but I think it was directly inspired by the Gaian Teacher (Hierophant) card, which shows a “holy fool” type spiritual teacher holding a dandelion surrounded by different herbs. In that card, I pose the question “Who is the teacher, the human or the plants?”

After the Gaian Tarot was finished and out in the world, I kept coming back to the idea of creating an herbal deck. I felt like there was a need for one with a bit of a different twist than the ones already available. But I knew I did not know enough about herbs to create a deck on my own. I carried the idea for a few years. I got to know Latisha Guthrie in our local community. I first met her when she hosted a fire cider-making gathering at her home. We became friends, and I ended up asking her to co-create the deck with me. She has a very busy life, homeschooling two daughters and tending an urban homestead. But after seeking guidance and talking to her family, she was all in. The creation of the deck was truly magical, with time spent both in my island garden and her garden on the mainland, and on the backroads and secret places we both love so much here in the Pacific Northwest. The deck took on a life of its own, with its own unique personality. It has the best of both of us in it. It’s like our child, with a lineage from both of us.

While we were creating the deck, we were constantly reading and discussing the book “Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants” by Robin Wall Kimmerer. Many of the concepts in this book made their way into the deck. We highly recommend it!

The best place to buy the deck is your friendly local independent bookstore. If they don’t have it in stock, you can ask them to order it for you. You can also order it directly from the publisher if you’re in the states, US Games, https://www.usgamesinc.com/the-herbcrafter-s-tarot.html or from most online book retailers. There is an app in the works, but it has not yet been released.

2.  In the Introduction to the book, you say that herbs can be thought of as archetypes in botanical form.  Can you say some more about that?

Latisha: Oh yes! I love this topic. I first heard of archetypal language being used with botanicals when I started learning from flower essence practitioners and then further as I delved into the world of eco-psychology. First I think I should explain how I view archetypes: as symbolic representations of human characteristics that provide a framework for understanding the world. These simplified human behavior stories ultimately drive transformation as we grow through the unraveling of the self and the awakening of the soul. In the same way that we see tarot imagery as articulations of archetypes, the plants themselves take on symbolic meanings when relationships are formed and they are carefully observed.  Just as each archetype has a complex set of signature behaviors, portrayed in most tarot cards with a human event, each plant has a complex set of signature behaviors, portrayed in the Herbcrafter’s Tarot with a plant/human encounter. Using both science and symbolism we can observe a plant’s growth cycle, function in the ecosystem, and connection with other beings. We then naturally form ideas about the unique gesture of each botanical. These ideas easily relate to the archetypal expressions we usually reserve for human experiences. Mirroring the way we speak of human archetypes, we begin to characterize our encounter with plants in a similar way as strong, delicate, oppressive etc. This gives us insight into our own archetypal assumptions and offers cues as to what our subconscious is attempting to bring forth.

We live in the world filling in stories with subconscious archetypal assumptions on a daily basis, but most of us only are aware of it as it relates to human beings. Noticing archetypal expressions in nature, and specifically herbs for the Herbcrafter’s Tarot, unlocks another pathway to further understanding ourselves and each other.

3.  Many of the cards in this deck depict tools, as well as plants.  I’m interested to learn how you decided which tools to depict with which plants; were there other considerations as you chose how to show the plants?

Joanna: Originally we assigned specific, common tools of the herbcrafter to each of the suits: bolines for the suit of Air / Swords; mortars and pestles for the suit of Fire / Wands; kettles for the suit of Water / Cups; and baskets for the suit of Earth / Pentacles. We abandoned this idea when it became too limiting for the scenes we wanted to show in the cards, but you can still see charms with those four tools on the Magician / Sunflower card.

The ideas for the tools came about as we chose the herbs for each suit according to how their medicine is acquired. The suit of Air honors the medicine that comes from observing and noticing the plants as they are, and the Air cards show tall, sword-like plants growing outside. The boline — a sickle-shaped knife — was the obvious tool for Air. The suit of Fire highlights the alchemy of herbcraft, with Fire cards showing busy scenes of making tinctures, oils, and potions. The tool most often used here is the mortar and pestle. The suit of Water shows water-based medicines like teas and baths, with the ever-present kettle. The suit of Earth features plants that are used to make legacy tools like baskets and other fiber arts, so the tool we chose is the basket.

We chose to leave people out of the images, except for the hands in the People cards, because we wanted to focus on the plants. You can recognize a Major Arcana card by its perspective — all the Majors are either altars or mandalas seen from above. The Minor Arcana cards show everyday activities of the herbcrafter — in the garden, in the kitchen, out and about on country roads. It’s as if she is standing just outside the frame of the image and you can imagine her from the point of view of the plant.

One of the things we did not want to do was to make the kind of deck where a plant equals a certain quality, like Rose = Love or Sunflower = Happiness. There’s nothing wrong with that, we just wanted to do something different and perhaps a bit more complex. So in this deck, a plant’s placement on a card is not a fixed definition of its magic or medicine. Instead it shows a moment in time, an interaction between the human and the plant.

In the People cards, we become more explicit about the human / plant relationship. We chose to show just hands, not full bodies, in order to focus on the sacred made visible as we work with our hands. I believe Brené Brown said something like “we move our learning from the head to the heart through the hands.” We definitely had that in mind for the People cards.

4.  For each card in the deck, you include some suggested “crafting” projects, many of which involve magic workings.  Could you pick a plant or two and tell us what it was about that plant that suggested its particular crafting projects?

Latisha: In general we tried to keep the crafts relevant to the encounter on the card taking into account both the suit and the number keys we created. So if it is a fire suit there are alchemical projects like tinctures and salves and if it is a number 4, the projects help to create boundaries. This was both to highlight the property of the suit and number as we assigned them but also to invoke a deeper experience with the encounter we expressed in the card. Our hope was to provide a sensory way to experience the card.

For example in the Four of Air, Lavender, we suggest crafting a lavender wand to keep out unwanted energies. This was chosen because in garden spaces lavender is often used as a border plant keeping vulnerable animals safe from predators as well as providing a barrier for unwanted plants to encroach upon the garden. Utilizing lavender for ourselves in a way that is similar to its ecological expression helps us to connect with the plant from another angle.

In another less traditionally magical, but no less earth-magical way, in all of the fives, we suggest supporting the conservation efforts being made on behalf of these plants. Since they are all at-risk or endangered, learning more about the plight of these botanicals will enhance your relationship and thus your understanding of them.

5.  Do you have a favorite spread to use with this deck?

Joanna: We are still in the process of creating deck-specific spreads! In fact, I invite people who are using the deck to create their own spreads and share them with us. My own favorite spread, the one I use most often with any deck, is one I adapted from my friend Briana Saussy. It’s just five cards — I’m a big fan of small spreads, as you can go deep with each card. The five positions are:

1. Energy around the current situation

2. Challenge

3. How to meet the challenge

4. Potential Outcome

5. Guidance / advice / most important thing to keep in mind.

I’d also like to say that I’ve been teaching tarot for a long time, and I always tell people to trust their own initial, intuitive take on a card, and not to assume they are wrong if the book says something different. It’s important to develop your own relationship with the cards outside of what the deck creator intended.

I still believe that, but the Herbcrafter’s Tarot is a deck where I strongly encourage people to read and use the companion book, especially if they are not already familiar with herbs and plants.  I’ve come up with a process for journaling on a card that works well for this deck. Pull a card and answer these questions:

⁃ What is your emotional response to the card?

⁃ What are your personal associations with the herb on the card, or with the imagery on the card?

⁃ What is your intuitive sense of the message of the card?

⁃ Read the page in the Herbcrafter’s Tarot book about this card. What phrases from the book jump out at you? Make a note of those.

6.  What can people do to learn more about this deck?  

Joanna: We have a beautiful website, www.herbcrafterstarot.com, that we invite people to visit. There’s information on the deck, an article on different ways to engage with it, and beautiful bits of herbcrafting wisdom from Latisha. We’ll be adding more articles and resources to it as time goes on. I also have a post on my blog, “Seven Ways to Get to Know the Herbcrafter’s Tarot,” which is helpful. https://www.gaiansoul.com/2019/06/12/get-to-know-new-tarot-deck/  People can also watch the community Zoom call we did when the deck first came out last summer; you can find it here. https://vimeo.com/343365067/838a278a34

We are currently teaching an online course called “Witches’ Wisdom: Reading the Herbcrafter’s Tarot,” but we are well into the second week and registration is closed. We will be teaching it again later this year, either live or as a self-study course. Finally, if you follow the hashtag #herbcrafterstarot on Instagram, you’ll find all kinds of people posting their own readings and insights into the deck every day.

About Us

Joanna Powell Colbert, creator of the Gaian Tarot, has been an artist, teacher, and convener of circles for over thirty years. She was named by SageWoman magazine as one of the Wisdom Keepers of the Goddess Spirituality movement. Joanna teaches workshops and online courses on earth-­centered spirituality, seasonal contemplative practices, creativity as a devotional path, and using tarot as a tool for inner guidance and self-­exploration. She hosts retreats three times a year on sacred land on Whidbey Island, Washington. www.gaiansoul.com

Latisha Guthrie is a writer, hearth keeper and plant lady who wants to live in a world where story is sacred and the handmade is holy. She has taught herbcraft and kitchen witchery as tools for creating joy and connection for over ten years. When she’s not writing, you can find her mixing potions, foraging for snacks on her family homestead, and re-learning geometry with her homeschooled kiddos. She is currently building an enchanted food forest and herb’n learning sanctuary with her family in the Pacific Northwest. www.herbmother.com and www.herbcrafterstarot.com

Picture found here.

Words for Wednesday

Today is the anniversary of Robert Frost’s death.  One of my favorite Frost poems is Two Tramps in Mud Time, especially for its closing lines.  It’s wonderful to hear him read it with his New England accent.

You Had Me at the Fiddle

Monday at the Movies

I know, I know.  But I’ve always been fascinated and this series is well-presented.

The Year of the Emperor: A Tarot Discussion with Beth Owl’s Daughter

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Tarot expert, Beth Owl’s Daughter, recently wrote a series of Facebook posts concerning the Tarot Card for 2020.  It generated a lot of interest and Beth was kind enough to agree to answer some of my questions about the card of the year.

Beth  is one of central North Carolina’s most trusted, experienced Tarot teachers and practitioners. She is a Priestess of enchantment and illumination, with roots in the Reclaiming, Western Esoteric, and Faery healing traditions. Since 1972, her passion has been working with, teaching, and writing about the Tarot.
Beth is:
§a full-time, professional reader and facilitator, trained in the psychic arts, with clients world-wide.
§highly regarded by many well-known professional Tarot and spiritual colleagues throughout the world. She belongs to a number of professional organizations, has presented at some of the world’s most prestigious Tarot gatherings, and has published countless print and online articles and reviews about the Tarot.
§an effective and popular teacher, who has introduced countless hundreds to the Tarot, some even going on to also become professional readers.
§the founder and organizer of one of the world’s oldest, largest, and most successful Tarot social groups.

Here’s what she has to say about tarot, Trump, and the Emperor card.  (I’m particularly fascinated by her discussion of Trump as the Knight of Wands, Reversed.  I think that’s spot-on and may offer some ideas for those of us working political magic.)

1. You’ve caused a bit of a stir with your discussion of The Emperor Card as the Card of the Year for 2020. Can you give us some background about the idea of a card of the year? What’s the theory behind it and how does it work?

Everyone has a personal year card, based on the numerology of their date of birth. In other words, your birthday numbers for each year can reduce to a number that corresponds to the Major Arcana of the Tarot.

This concept, as I learned it, came first from ground-breaking Tarot teacher and cultural anthropologist, the late Angeles Arrien (The Tarot Handbook, 1987). Then, Tarot author, expert, and all-round legend, Mary K. Greer adapted the idea in her outstanding and essential work,Tarot for Yourself, and even elaborated on it in her subsequent Tarot Constellations, recently republished as Who Are You in the Tarot?

So if your date of birth is, say April 17, for your current birth year, you would add 4 + 17+ the current year, in this case 2020. The result is 2041, which then reduces to 7.

That means that everyone born on March 31 will be having their Year of the Chariot card.

While one’s personal year is fascinating, and an important component for working with my clients, I also like to apply Tarot to the bigger picture.

I see great potential in applying the Tarot in ways similar to what astrologers call “mundane astrology” – how the stars reflect global events. (Mundane comes from the Latin mundus – “things on Earth”).

So I love to examine how Tarot might be applied to current events. Naturally, the Tarot year, using the western Gregorian calendar, is a tool that tantalizes me.

That’s why last year, 2019 was a 12 — the Year of the Hanged Man — and this year is the Year of the Emperor.

2. Your discussion applies mostly to the world in general, but how does the idea of a Card of the Year apply to individual people or to small groups? Do we each have our own Card of the Year? Would solitaries or covens be impacted by the Card of the Year?

Great questions, Hecate!

Many of my articles, goodies (like my Soul Card Kit), and even entire workshops, as well as several books by noted authors, examine the idea of Birth Cards/Soul-Personality-Shadow cards, etc.

The idea, which you have already struck upon, is that the numerology of the Tarot can apply to a particular time: month, day, and year. So, based upon your date of birth, or other initiatory event, the cards can reveal personality traits and may even help you understand more about the patterns of your life’s lessons.

So if a coven had a particular date it was established, then yes, I suppose there would be a card that would apply to them.

To me, the Tarot is not a predictive tool, nor is this particular use of it. It is a way of understanding the subtle energies unfolding on the day when something is first established, whether it’s the birth of a person, group, or even magical initiation. Like a Sun sign in astrology, it can show potentialities of characteristics and a particular world view that aligns with the card.

It is certainly a fascinating niche of the Tarot that I think deserves lots more exploration and experimentation.

For more insight into how Birth Cards work, you can find an overview of mine here: https://www.owlsdaughter.com/2009/10/an-introduction-to-tarot-personality-profiles/

3. If my math is right, the United States’ birth card is the Hierophant, correct? How would the Hierophant as a birth card interact with this year being the Year of the Emperor?

Wow! Do you know, I have to admit, I never before realized this, so yes, and thank you!

When I think of the Hierophant, the first thing that comes to mind is not the Pope-ish looking man in the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, but the meaning of the word, which Arthur Waite deliberately chose, instead of the historical name of “Pope” or “Priest.”

Despite its recognizable image, Arthur Waite rejected calling this card The Pope, because he felt that it was too narrow an interpretation, specific to only the Roman Catholic faith. He preferred this ancient term, “hierophant,” that refers to the priest of the Greater Eleusinian Mysteries.

Thus, he is able to represent any formal religious or educational system, particularly those whose knowledge is not available to the ordinary layman, such as medicine, the law, or highly technical areas. He also may refer to the power of our social institutions, and the codification of our behavior. He is, like the Emperor, a representative of hierarchical power (even coming from the same Latin root). In other words, top down, power over.

To address the Hierophant vs. Emperor part of your question, I think it is interesting that our founding fathers (an illuminating term in itself), who created the laws and structure of the American republic, did so from the viewpoint of The Enlightenment – a new and revolutionary secular philosophy that included questioning the divine right of kings by the likes of John Locke and Jean Jacques Rousseau.

In addition, they were freemasons, and so subscribed to arcane and somewhat secretive societal rules and regimens, which certainly would have colored their frame of reference (I will skip the conspiracy theory stuff, which has been way overblown, in my view).

Thus, their revolution was against the British crown. It was an overthrow of the entire notion of monarchy, and most especially, imperialism. Yet, it kept intact the unquestioned patriarchy, which was being woven anew from 13 territories representing a collective of male-dominated religions and rationalist idealism.

Perhaps that is exactly the juncture at which we find ourselves again: temporal patriarchy vs. faith-driven authority.

In order to avoid going down the same path again, perhaps such a duality needs a remedy from elsewhere – like augmenting more serious forms of egalitarianism and cooperation, which Tarot would consider to be “feminine” power. Alas, the framers of the American democracy failed to do this, but times have changed.

4. You mention that you see the Emperor as an Arthurian archetype; can you say a bit more about that? What role does Arthur’s quest for the Holy Grail (often seen as the Divine Feminine — the Empress and/or the Priestess?) play?

Oh gracious! I am not a real scholar of the Grail mysteries, nor the so-called “Matter of Britain,” so I do not feel very qualified to tackle this.

But in my personal experience of the Emperor as resonating with Arthur, I am often reminded of how important it once was for the king to willingly sacrifice himself for the land, which was understood to be the Divine Feminine.

In more modern times, I fear that kingship/leadership has forgotten this ultimate duty — that even emperors must bend the knee to the Great Goddess, who is the sacred Land. This was the ultimate fealty that even the highest king once unquestioningly owed.

To have forgotten this within a patriarchal system has resulted in distorted, irresponsible failures and the miserable consequences now threatening humanity.

Finally, I must add, monarchy, sacred or not, is not the only model for balanced, wise use of power and leadership, and perhaps not even the “best” one, especially in today’s increasingly non-agrarian world. It is just one that has very old roots.

5. Of course, this being an election year, a lot of people initially looked at the Emperor card and thought of Trump — who’d certainly like to see himself as an Emperor! But you note that the Emperor is a major arcana card, not a court card. Can you explain that? I’m curious which court card you would see as representing Trump.

The instinct to think of Trump when examining The Emperor is actually rather astute. Donald Trump’s birth card is, in fact, The Emperor, since his June 14, 1946 birthday reduces to 4.

So, yes, in a lot of rather obvious ways, he is acting out the Tarot profile of the Emperor, which (the way I work with this) is a triangle of Death (13), The Fool (22), and The Emperor. All three cards are interrelated by their numerology.

I have written in the past about other political figures who have Emperor profiles, and not really for the better, including former presidential hopefuls Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry. A couple of poster boys for the shadow side of The Emperor, if ever there were any!

In my view, the Major Arcana birth cards reveal a landscape of orientation and potential that shows what that individual is working on in their lifetime. The “Soul Card,” that is, the single- digit card in the profile, reveals the template of what someone has come into this life to learn and express.

Magician people (like myself) are working on issues around magic (naturally), but specifically manifestation, self-expression, and initiative.

Emperor people are not as interested in such matters, but aim for practicality. They focus on the big picture of what already exists, and the mark they want to leave. Emperors envision ways to build stability, boundaries, issues around mortality, and leaving a lasting legacy, including their heirs.

As to which court card represents Trump, back in his pre-political celebrity heyday, I would have thought of him as a King of Pentacles – a very rich success.

But upon knowing what we know now, I would definitely revise that. Every King of Pentacles I’ve ever known of is legitimately prosperous (though not always with money), and far less noisy about it.

Since much of Trump’s vast wealth has proven to be uncertain, if not a downright lie, I would personally move him out of Pentacles, where the treasure is real and literal. And I would certainly revoke his claim to the calm maturity of the Kings.

Instead, I might see him now as a Knight of Wands reversed – meaning that he embodies the shadow side of this passionate achiever. He is constantly in motion, he is utterly driven by his desires, and will stop at nothing to get his way. The reversed Knight would be scattered, fickle, unreliable, and would consider it beneath him to reflect or accept guidance.

Of course, all of this is my own opinion, and half the fun of Tarot is geeking out with other Tarot people who might disagree!

6. Finally, can you recommend any resources for people who want to explore these ideas further?

Indeed I can! As I mentioned, the Tarot “constellation” of cards, as she calls them, based on birth date numerology is explored in delicious depth in Mary K. Greer’s book, Who Are You in the Tarot: Discover Your Birth and Year Cards and Uncover Your Destiny (Weiser Books, ©2011).

An alternative system that is also fabulous and fascinating is based on the vast research and experience of Wald and Ruth Ann Amberstone, who are the founders of The Tarot School and hosts of The Annual Tarot Readers Studio in New York. (https://tarotschool.com/). Their system is slightly different, but the math works out so that the single-digit card is the same as Mary’s.

They have a series of audio classes on the birth cards (http://bit.ly/34XE79Q) and even a calculator to determine your own pairing (or, in one exception, the threesome) of birth cards. https://tarotschool.com/Calculator.html

In addition, the brilliant Bonnie Cehovet has written Tarot Birth Cards and You: Keys to Empowering Yourself (Schiffer Books, ©2011) that employs the Amberstone method and goes into terrific detail for each combination.

And of course, I warmly invite your readers to visit my website at https://www.owlsdaughter.com I have a number of articles, including an introductory overview, discussions of the Tarot Years from 2004-2020, the Tarot profiles of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, and more.

Thanks for these provocative, juicy questions, Hecate. I have loved deep diving into this, one of my favorite aspects of the Tarot.

 

 

Picture found here.