Tarot Thursday: 8 of Swords

First off, I apologize for missing my Monday posts the last two weeks. I haven’t been feeling very well, and so I’ve been resting. I hope to be back to regularly scheduled programming this week!

8 of swords tarot card Walks Within ArtLoveLightThe suit of swords is about your thoughts, your ideas, and how you communicate. We often find conflict in the swords because our words tend to get us into trouble! So we see a lot of storm clouds in the swords, as a reflection of this conflict, either in the inner world or the outer world.

The 8 of swords depicts a man tied up and blindfolded, and backed into a corner or cage made by the swords. The most interesting thing I see in this card is that the way in front of him is clear, but he can’t see it because of the blindfold.

To me, this card is about being stuck in a trap of your own making, a bad tape loop in your thoughts. You know when you have a tough decision to make, and none of the choices seem particularly good, and so you get stuck in the choice? So you keep going around and around the options, and feeling trapped. That’s the 8 of swords.

Sometimes the stuck feeling comes from what society tells you is right, and what you feel internally is right. Being at odds with your community is not a fun feeling.

The man is blindfolded. That means there is something the querant is not seeing. There’s another perspective out there that will remove the blinders, and help you to see that the path in front of you is actually clear. If the question is either/or, how can you choose both?

Often in this card, the ties that hold the person appear to be loose, or easily removed. The man in our card is (loosely) bound with vines, very similar to the imagery from Cutting the Ties Guided Meditation. Those vines are ideas or thoughts that don’t serve you, or serve to keep you stuck. How does it serve you to stay stuck or trapped in indecision? The swords – knowledge, ideas, new perspectives – could easily cut through the vines. If you are open to them…

The man pictured is definitely not open. His arms are crossed. He’s stubborn. Maybe he’s stuck in being right? He’s dressed in blue for throat chakra, but it’s blocked. “I won’t do it.” It’s his way or no way. He’s not allowing for circumstances to flow.

The swords have red jewels for the root chakra, and the handles are quartz which is programmable. The downward pointing triangle is the alchemical symbol for air, and air equates to thoughts and ideas. Programmable thoughts = quartz crystals. But they are cloudy, so the ideas aren’t clear.

Though the clouds overhead are dark and ominous, there is a break in the clouds, a ray of sunshine is poking through. There is hope for a resolution, and soon. The light is there, choosing differently would reveal the pyramids – ancient knowledge and wisdom. Take a break from the mental rat race, and allow the answer to come through. Or allow yourself to make the decision, and free yourself from the loop.


Mary and Katana

Tarot Thursday: The Fool

0 The Fool Walks Within ArtLoveLight TarotThe Fool is a Major Arcana card, one of those life lessons. It’s the first Major Arcana, actually; the beginning of the journey, the beginning of the adventure, and yet it is not number 1. It is given the number 0, even though 0 isn’t really a number. Zero is a place holder, an in between space, and thus quite magical. There is a lot of possibility in zero, a lot of potential. Just like there is a lot of possibility and potential with The Fool. Of course, depending on how you utilize that potential, there could be a whole lot of nothing there, too!

The tarot is often called The Fool’s Journey. We can tell a story of personal growth, development and evolution through the progression of the Major Arcana. Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves, though! Suffice it to say that we are at the beginning of a journey.

The Fool depicts a happy character, out for a walk with his dog. He’s chasing butterflies, and not giving too much attention to where he’s going. In fact, he’s about to step off the cliff! We’ll come back to the cliff in a moment.

Have we mentioned this card is all about beginnings? We’re going to see that a lot in the symbolism on the card.

It is morning. The sun is rising. Enlightenment is there for the finding, if only the Fool would look around. There are spring flowers in the grass, a blooming promise of growth.

The constellation in the sky is Aries, the first sign of the zodiac. Aries is all about youthful exuberance – act first and think later! Aries is also focused on the self, what *I* want, and doesn’t always consider the consequences or other people’s feelings. What’s in it for me? And actually, that’s a really good question for the Fool (or the querant – the person who is having the reading done) to ask!

The Fool’s trusty and loyal companion is his little white dog. White is the color of purity, innocence, and also secret knowledge. That’s why the rose is white as well. We chose a Jack Russell terrier because to me, they are full of energy, vitality and the same exuberance that Aries and the Fool have.

Is the dog encouraging the Fool, a little “yes” dog? Or is it jumping up and trying to get the Fool’s attention, to warn him to look where he is going? That question is a good one to ask when The Fool comes up in a reading. Let your intuition guide you. Part of the lesson of the Fool is to know when to take the leap of faith, to jump off the cliff and trust that the Universe will catch you, and when to take a step back and do a little more research and preparation – to pack your parachute, so to speak.

You’ll notice that The Fool does have a bag, and it’s pretty empty looking. He’s set out on this adventure, and didn’t bring a lot of stuff with him. That could be because he doesn’t have any baggage or cares weighing him down. Or, it could mean that he’s really not prepared for what’s to come.

The Fool is carrying a walking stick, to help him keep his footing, but he’s waving it around in the air instead of using it for it’s intended purpose. This could be his creativity, using something in a new way. Or it could just be his foolishness, that excited energy letting itself be known.

On the end of the walking stick is a Shrivatsa, an endless knot. This is the beginning of something new, and yet the Fool has been around this journey before. Is it the beginning of a new cycle, or just coming around to a similar spot on a new level of the spiral? Maybe it is a repeating lesson from this life, or a past life or lives. The Shrivatsa is also considered to be an auspicious symbol, so it could mean that this new adventure is a good choice. What comes up when you are reading the card? Remember, it may vary from reading to reading.

The Fool is focused on the butterflies, which is why he’s not watching where he is walking. The butterflies indicate the presence of Spirit – perhaps he is being Divinely led. They are also a symbol of transformation. The Fool will definitely not be the same after this journey!

The symbols on the Fool’s tunic are based on an ancient design. This may be a new beginning, and again, it’s not the first time we’ve been here.

The Fool’s hat is an artist hat for creativity, and it is red to symbolize the courage it takes to be creative and not conform, to take the leap that others may say is crazy. His red shoes are reminiscent of Dorothy’s ruby slippers, the magic shoes that take you home. Or are they the red shoes from Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy tale that will keep you dancing until you drop from exhaustion, a warning against vanity and thinking too highly of oneself?

What else do you see in the Fool?


Mary and Katana

Do You Want to be on a Tarot Card?

Have you ever wanted to be on a tarot card?

Models Wanted Tarot Cards Art Love Light Walks WithinWe are looking for models to use as inspiration for the drawings on the tarot cards. We want people of all shapes and sizes, colors and genders!

If you’d like to be featured on one of the cards in the deck that we are working on, please send us a picture of yourself. If you have a favorite card, please send a picture of yourself in the pose on the traditional tarot card image. You don’t have to dress in the costume, as we will take care of that part for you!

What do you get out of it?

Well, besides being on a tarot card? We will send you a 4×6 photo print of your card illustration.

Send your images to us via email, or post them on the Walks Within Facebook page. We look forward to seeing your submissions!


Mary and Katana

Tarot Thursday: 10 of Cups

Our first Minor Arcana card is the 10 of Cups. (This card is still a work in progress.)

The Minor Arcana are the suit cards, similar to a deck of regular playing cards, except there are four court cards instead of three in each suit.

10 of cups artlovelight walks within tarotThe suit of cups is about emotions, intuition, and all forms of relationship – romantic, family, business, friendship. You’ll probably see this a lot – I’ll remind you about it with each card in the suit. It is equivalent to the suit of hearts.

To help with learning the tarot in a systematic way, it is helpful to think of the numbers in the suits as a scale, with 1 as the beginning, and the 10 as the completion, or the fulfillment.

So we are starting our journey at the end, the fulfillment. I think of this card as the “happy family” card. It is the fulfillment of relationships, dreams and intuition.

Our card shows a family on the shore of a lake. It is autumn, so the air is crisp, and yet it is bright enough for a picnic and outdoor play. Autumn is a time of harvest, giving thanks, and celebrating the fruits of your efforts.

In the foreground, Mom and Dad snuggle together on the picnic table, watching their children play. Brother and sister are showing off their physical skills closer to the shore. The little girl has just accomplished something, and has turned back to make sure Mom and Dad were watching and saw her success.

The little girl is wearing a red coat. She’s in the first stage of development, building the foundation, the root chakra. She’s becoming independent, and still checks in with Mom and Dad to make sure she is safe and secure. If she is the one who stands out most in your reading, where are you feeling secure in your relationships or emotions? Where can you use a little reassurance, and who do you look to in order to receive that reassurance?

The boy is wearing an orange coat. He is in the second stage of development, forming relationships separate from the family, exploring creativity, the sacral chakra. He is comfortable playing on his own, and secure enough in his relationship with his family that he doesn’t need to check in. He’s able to play in the world of his own creation and imagination. If the boy stands out most strongly, are you comfortable being on your own? Do you feel balanced in your relationships with other people? When was the last time you played, or expressed yourself creatively? You have support, so go for it!

Mom will be wearing magenta and turquoise. These are colors of the heart and higher heart chakras. Mom is definitely connected to the heart and compassion. She is present and loving and supportive. If mom stands out most to you, acknowledge the person in your life who embodies that feeling, even if it is you! Or maybe it is a signal to trust your heart and intuition in the situation.

Dad is dressed in blue, the color of communication and the throat chakra. If dad stands out most to you, are you communicating your feelings to your loved ones? Is there something you need to say that would help you to feel more at peace, or more joy in your life? Remember that none of us (or at least not many of us!) are mind-readers. Clear communication is a key component in happy and peaceful relationships.

The rainbow overhead signifies blessings, and an end to hardship. Whatever challenges the seeker has been facing in their relationships, or in their emotional life, have come to an end. Or they soon will be, depending on where the card appears in the reading!

What if you’re not in a relationship? Remember, in tarot, relationship doesn’t just mean a romantic relationship. This could be a positive relationship with your parents, having a supportive network of friends surrounding you, or even a great business partnership.

OK, OK. It could also mean being at peace with yourself and having a favorable self image. It could mean that you are in alignment with your purpose and your dreams.

Whatever relationship this card is indicating, be grateful! It shows that things are on the right track! Take a moment to appreciate the people in your life, and the happiness, joy, and peace that you are feeling.

What does the 10 of Cups mean for you?


Mary and Katana

Tarot Thursday: Temperance

Welcome to Tarot Thursday! I’m very excited to begin this journey. Katana and I have drawn a random card for every week of the year, so there isn’t going to be any specific order to the cards presented, though I’m sure the timing of each will be perfect.

Temperance tarot card walks within artlovelightTemperance is a Major Arcana card. Major Arcana tell us about big life lessons that are going on, over-arching themes in our lives, as opposed to the Minor Arcana, or suit cards, that tell us more about day-to-day life.

It’s quite interesting to me that the first card we’re looking at is Temperance, a card that I had a challenging time getting comfortable and connecting with.

The first thing that comes to mind when I think of temperance is the 19th century movement against alcohol consumption and 1920’s prohibition. Which I guess connects with moderation, sort of. Except that in this context, temperance is really another form of extremism. Hence my trouble connecting the two!

The angel that is typical on most cards reinforces the “moral high ground” image. My grandmother was a chemical dependency counselor, and was very involved with AA and Al-Anon. I’m sure that had nothing to do with my difficulty connecting with this card.

Temperance generally depicts an angel with wings outstretched, one foot on land and one in the water. It is most often interpreted as balance or moderation.

In a reading, I often interpret Temperance as everything in moderation, including moderation. It’s about finding a balance between all the aspects of your life – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual – as well as a balance between the conscious and sub-conscious, or the masculine and feminine, or the active and passive. Many times this card is a reminder to take care of yourself, or to be patient with yourself or the situation.

A more enlightened interpretation of the angel on the card is allowing your higher self to guide you, to rise above the material or surface appearances.

Temperance may also indicate a need to hear all sides before making a decision. Don’t jump in with both feet! Take time to receive and process all the information.

The angel is wearing green, a reminder to listen to your heart. Green is the color of the heart chakra. The halo, or crown of fire, indicates the crown chakra open and having a strong connection with the Divine. The rainbows refracting from the halo tells us that discernment is key, the ability to break the information being received into it’s component parts and discover the important pieces.

There are two cups in this image. One is silver for the feminine and receptive principle, and one is gold for the masculine and projective principle. At first glance, it looks as if the silver chalice is pouring water into the gold, however, the flow of water is actually from the gold to the silver (projective to receptive). Information and energy flows from all directions when you are open to receive it.

This is echoed by the one foot on land, and one in the water. One foot is in the conscious world, the known and seen. And one foot is in the subconscious world, the knowing without how you know, the unseen. Valuable information and energy comes from both.

The irises in the foreground symbolize messages – in Greek mythology, Iris was the Goddess of the Rainbow, and the messenger of Hera. If the irises stand out in a reading, it may be time to tap into feminine wisdom, and listen to what Goddess has to share with you. (They also remind me of my grandmother, whose name was Iris. I looked to her for guidance when she was alive, and I respected her greatly.)

Another common image in the Temperance tarot card is the sun rising over the mountains. Mountains symbolize enlightenment, and the sun rising above them means more light shining, more awareness on the journey. However, the path to the mountains is shrouded in fog. You’re not always going to be able to see your way on the path.

We’ve chosen to make the sun a gyroscope. Balance on the journey is not a static place – we’ll see this echoed through other cards in the future. Balance requires regular adjustments, course corrections. A gyroscope is used to help you orient yourself in your space, so the gyroscope sun is a reminder to use the light, and the quest for enlightenment, as your guide, your direction.

It takes strength to maintain your balance and to stand strong in your boundaries and convictions. Sometimes it takes strength to wait for all the information before making a decision. This angel is definitely not a pushover! The angel is facing the situation head on. If that’s what catches your eye, then this is definitely a time to hold strong and not back down!

What else do you see in this card? What messages does Temperance have for you?


Mary and Katana

Tarot Thursdays

Art Love Light Walks Within TarotI’ve been working with Katana from ArtLoveLight on building a tarot deck for quite a while. We’ve had some starts and stops, and last year was a lot more stop than start.

So we are upping the game, and helping each other be accountable. Each week we will be posting a new card. I’ll be writing about the meaning of the card, and Katana will be writing about the art and the symbols in the card.

I’m excited, and a little nervous, to be embarking on this journey. It means increasing blog posts to twice a week! And it gives me the opportunity to explore the cards more, and to share more with you about them.

So keep your eyes peeled here on Thursdays for tarot!




The Tower Tarot Card

At the end of the month, I’ll be heading off to Hekate’s Sickle Festival once again. The theme this year is a bit different than they have done in the past, and I’m really looking forward to it. (There is still time to register, if you are interested!)

This time of year is very much about looking inward, and connecting with those who have passed, the beloved dead. That’s definitely going to be a piece of the work that goes on this festival, however, instead of connecting through various deities, participants will be encouraged to connect through divination Lady Luck, the Goddess Fortuna. Walking the paths, attendees will get to meet personifications of select Major Arcana.

The Tower, from The Robin Wood Tarot

The Tower, from The Robin Wood Tarot

I’ll be personifying the Tower card. (Eep!) The Tower tarot card is one of those cards that no one really likes to see in a reading, because it means things are about to change in a fairly drastic way.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading about different interpretations of the Tarot card, looking for the positive, the lesson to be learned from the challenge this card presents. I firmly believe that none of the tarot cards are good or bad; they are a reflection of what is going on in your life.

After filtering through quite a number of interpretations, the Tower is about shaking off what doesn’t serve, and testing those lessons you think you’ve learned.

Shaking off what doesn’t serve

We often build up our egos with false premises and false beliefs. The Tower shakes you to your core, breaking off all the thoughts, ideas, and beliefs you have put in place to help you feel safe, secure, and justified in your actions. When you have built yourself up on these ideas that aren’t necessarily true, it’s like building your house on the sand. It’s going to wash away sooner or later. And really, you’re better off if you get it over with, so you can rebuild on solid ground.

Testing the lessons

The other message I frequently see in the Tower card is about testing how well you’ve learned your life lessons. Life is a spiral, a series of cycles, and we see similar life lessons come around and around and around. If you haven’t learned the lesson and thoroughly integrated what you’ve learned, the lesson gets more difficult each time it comes around. Eventually, the Universe comes along with the cosmic 2×4 (or cluex4), and that will definitely turn your life upside down.

On the other hand, if you have learned that lesson and fully integrated it, and if you’re aware, you’ll see the signs that the lesson is coming around again. You have an opportunity to act on what you’ve learned, and mitigate the challenges that you’re facing, so it doesn’t turn your life upside down.

Ultimately, the Tower does mean challenges and the potential for a fall. However, it is also an opportunity to reevaluate priorities, beliefs, and life choices so you can grow into your next phase on the path to enlightenment.