Minor Arcana, Tarot

Card For Today: Ace of Swords (Hanson-Roberts)

“Wake up! You’re a sacred soul and glory is yours for the taking.”
― Stefan Emunds, Gawain and the Green Knight

Today I finished recording and editing my first podcast episode of Tarot Esoterica. That was exhausting but a little daunting. I ended up talking a lot about my personal history as far as the occult and tarot were concerned. I only briefly touched on myself as a life long D&D-playing, fantasy/science fiction nerd. In a couple of days, it will be Christmas. I was given my first set of AD&D books (or was it a boxed set?) that day from a distant relative. I loved it to pieces. I didn’t have friends to play it with, so I went through it all, creating stories and maps.

At ten years old, I was convinced that I was going to grow up to be a “rich and famous novelist”. I threw pennies into the fountains at the shopping malls in Des Moines ever time we visited and I had such a clear vision.

…. I never wrote a decent novel and there won’t ever be anything rich or famous about me. However, I have a true talent for storytelling and world building. My closest friends would be able to tell you about the countless hours I spent doing TTRPGs and interactive fiction with them just about the minute I landed in Olympia WA and The Evergreen State College. The other parts of Laurel that came to life there (ceremonial magic, bisexuality, socialism) were probably downplayed by that to all of them.

Tarot, the occult, fantasy/sci-fi novels, sex and relationships with people of both genders singular and in groups, roleplaying games (especially the World of Darkness), progressive politics and environmental activism, these were the beautiful paints that I threw at the canvas of Laurel as a Young Adult during my College Years.

I was so ~sure~ that I was going to be a novelist, a game designer, to help build a sustainable community of organic farms and orchards with all my LGBT+ and Neo-Pagan friends. It all seemed so obtainable, so just within my grasp.

I was very young at 20-25. I was surrounded by equally young people. It was 1989-1994 and we were Gen X just starting to come into our own at a very expensive and prestigious liberal arts college. Not all of my friends were white. But most of them came from indulgent, upper-middle class families just like mine. Michael Osiris Snuffin probably has his own memories and interpretations of it all, because we lived together or in neighboring apartments for a good chunk of it; we made some really questionable relationship choices during those 4-5 years but never with each other. Ours was one of those soul-deep friendship.

So how the heck does all of this tie in with the Ace of Swords?

The Aces are the pip cards of raw potential. The Ace of Swords is about those “Eureka!” moments and being filled with inspiration, new ideas, new beliefs and experiences that leave you changed. Those years at TESC with Osiris were my life’s Ace of Swords experience. I loved my college classes and everything I was learning about the world. I was just so convinced that the United States was about to plunge forward with technology and progressive politics, that humanity as a whole was entering a new era of social justice and discrimination against women, people of color, indigenous peoples, third world nations, queers, lesbians, all that toxic societal awfulness was coming to an end….

…. I was very young in 1989-2004. I held my sword so high, I was so inspired. I wasn’t prepared for the relationship catastrophes that hit hard; I wasn’t prepared for what happened politically to the United States. I wasn’t prepared for the average American to reject all my personal truths about racial, gender, economic equality or for my entire generation to end up perpetuating the very forces we’d seemed so determined to thwart back then.

An Ace of Sword is a beginning. Beginnings are fragile. Ideas and idealism have to be tempered with actions and resilience because adversity is endless. That is what this card says to me today.

Astrology, Hermetic Qabalah, Minor Arcana, Thoth

Card For Today: 6 of Wands (Thoth)

image  © US Games, Inc

I am going to draw a card each morning from one of my 2021 decks and briefly talk about it. For over 80 days, I’ve just been doing daily cards for myself in a tarot journal.

In the RWS tradition, the 6 of Wands depicts a victorious leader and being lauded by a crowd. I’ve always liked that RWS motif but the Thoth card gives me a greater thrill and makes a sense of achievement (present and potential) really hit home.

Astrologically, this card is attributed what happens with Jupiter (The Benefactor) in the sign of Leo. Well-aspected Jupiter- and it is very well-aspected in Leo- is associated with prosperity, abundance, good fortune, benevolence. Leo rules the House of Pleasure (the 5th House) where our passions, self-expressions, creativity, romances and hobbies are to found. So from an astrological perspective, the Thoth 6 of Wands symbolizes a time-place where we have a lot to celebrate and shamelessly indulge in.

The geometric shape of the wands on this card always catches my eye. I love the way the six wands create those diamond shapes and how the flames are arrayed. My beloved friend Michael Osiris Snuffin attributes the nine flames via numerology to the sefira Yesod; he describes this as being there to give yinyang harmony to this card and it certainly feels surprisingly balanced and harmonizing for a card with so many yang associations (fire, Jupiter, Leo) going for it. Numerologically, sixes associated with idealism, family, love, and harmony.

Looking at it through the lens of Qabalistic tarot? All of the sixes in the Minor Arcana are associated with Tiferet, the sphere of the Higher Self associated with The Sun. Wands as a suit are associated with Olam Azilut, the world of Emanation (energies and archetypes). So this card expresses the qualities of Tiferet in Atzilut the same say as it expresses the qualities of Jupiter in Leo.

In a tarot reading, this card upright is generally very auspicious. It suggests that someone really invested themselves into something and is either receiving the outcome they desired or they will soon. Its a powerful, dynamic card.

Reversed? Instead of all this powerful yang energy flowing harmoniously, there is blockage because of hubris or ego. Elemental fire, planetary Jupiter and zodiacal Leo, Tiferet and Atzilut are ~all~ very Yang and when they pile together this way it is hard to have advantageous balance. Reversed, the Yang elements are taken to an extreme which easily leads to hubris and extreme narcissism and selfishness. So if the Thoth 6 of Wands Reversed appears in a personal reading for yourself? Chances are you need to take a deep breath and do some fearless self-inventory and start being more more kind, more compassionate, and especially more humble and charitable.

The secret of all victory lies in the organization of the non-obvious.” – Marcus Aurelius