2014: Looking Back

Unusual and intense climatic, environmental and geological events have hallmarked the year 2014. We’ve seen two of the tetrad blood moons and two solar eclipses. Earth’s magnetic field is weakening at an abnormally rapid speed, perhaps preparing us for a magnetic field flip.

I believe this is a continuation of the earth’s vibrational ascension process as initiated in 2012… but let’s talk Tarot.


I recently watched this helpful video by Kelly-Ann at Four Queens.

She explains how to create a Tarot mandala for meditation. I encourage you to create yours and share in the comments. My personal version looks like a wheel with eight spokes. I decided to perform a reading for the past year, using the mandala more as a spread. I feel the meditation purpose is appropriate for looking back as opposed to forward. If I’m not careful to record my past, I tend to forget what I was doing at certain times of year. Even analyzing this spread, I had to think hard about what I was doing at the summer solstice specifically (most of my summer was eclipsed by visiting the National Rainbow Gathering in the Uinta National Forest in July). I hope this spread helps you to look back on your past year and discover achievements or opportunities for improvement for yourself.

tarot mandala spread 11.18.14
feat. The Witches’ Tarot by Ellen Dugan, artwork by Mark Evans

The vertical axis represents the solstices, and the horizontal axis represents the equinoxes. The diagonal axes are the points in the middle, or “cross-quarter” days, altogether representing the Neopagan Wheel of the Year. The center represents the major focus and major challenge of the year.

The horizontal axis from right (Spring Equinox) to left (Fall Equinox): 5 of Cups, IV The Emperor, King of Swords (crossing), Six of Pentacles, Six of Cups.

The vertical axis, from bottom (Summer Solstice) to top (Winter Solstice): 3 of Pentacles, 9 of Pentacles, 4 of Cups (center), 8 of Pentacles, 10 of Pentacles.

The diagonal axis to the right of center, from top (Imbolg- Feb 2) to bottom (Lughnasadh-Sep 1): 10 of Cups, III The Empress, (4 of Cups,) Ace of Wands, Page of Pentacles.

The diagonal axis to the left of center, from bottom (Beltane-May 1) to top (Samhain-Oct 31): 9 of Wands, IX The Hermit, (King of Swords,) XI Justice, VIII Strength.

Next time, I may add a card in the center for each of the cross quarter axes. I am disregarding reversals in this layout because it is a wheel (there is no up).

Not only does this layout allow me to read chronologically, but elementally, with each of the compass points representing (from top, clockwise) Earth, Air, Fire, and Water, or respectively, body, thoughts, actions, feelings. You may have your own medicine wheel association and can focus on that. You may have different associations for turning points, but I find the Wheel of the Year to be the easiest to use given my own Neopagan background.

Rather than going over meanings of each card, individually, here I will create gesture drawings of the ways in which the cards relate to events that I have experienced this past year, starting with February 1.

I became pregnant around New Year’s Eve and confirmed my pregnancy shortly after Imbolg. This was a joyous occasion for me (10 of Cups) as I love being a mom (III The Empress). Even though I’m a single mom, I feel supported by my community, family, and friends, and comfortable in my relationship with my mate (not the father of my baby) and there was much discussion of a bright future ahead (10 of Cups). I also feel more comfort and confidence than ever in governing my home and life (Empress). I felt surrounded by loving support.

At the spring equinox, I experienced some emotional tension (5 of Cups) with my baby’s father (IV Emperor). Conception was not something we had planned together – I had, in fact, assured him that I was taking the necessary precautions with herbal teas. Once I discovered my pregnancy, I found myself unable to cast the life from my womb with abortifacient herbs. I realized I had been suppressing my desire for a second child, and I felt this was a divinely given opportunity. So, rather than coerce the father into co-parenting, I decided to have my baby and to keep her as my own (also relates to Emperor’s self-authority and decision making). She is blessed for having the gift of life, I and her big sister are both blessed for having her, and if that is the only thing her father ever contributes, I am at peace.

By the beginning of May, I had recovered my strength (9 of Wands) from my first trimester experience of almost consistent nausea and returned to taking yoga classes and volunteering at a local organic market as well as drumming for a college African dance class. I was able to shine even in my solitude (IX Hermit) – people around me could see my progress and success, even though I am experiencing financially difficult times. Through this time, I focused on maintaining my healthy habits and activity, even hiking with my daughter. I remained secure in my solitary existence.

Summer solstice marked the beginning of my third trimester (3 of Pentacles), and people began to ask me if I was sure I had just one baby growing in my womb. I participated in a nutrition study hosted by Utah State University which provided extra money to spend at the Cache Valley Gardeners’ Market (9 of Pentacles). We experienced a bountiful growing season and I enjoyed an abundance of food to nourish both my daughter and the baby growing inside me, which I had come to suspect was another girl. I was also selected to receive a scholarship to the Holistic Psychology School based in New York City, which provides an online curriculum and exactly fits my wish to take my Tarot practice in a Spiritual Counseling direction (3 and 9 of Pentacles).

On September 1st, I manifested some specific furniture that I would need to accommodate a newborn in my tiny apartment, which was the first of more to come (Ace of Wands, Page of Pentacles). Ladies in my neighborhood got together and planned a baby shower for me. My daughter (Page of Pentacles) stuck to a prophecy she had given in early June, telling everyone who asked us “We are having a girl,” and our baby’s name (people were surprised that I let my four year old name our baby – and I would explain, to the more open-minded folks, “H didn’t name her – the baby came to her in a dream and told H her name”). I remained active (Ace of Wands), even riding a bicycle, and seriously focusing on my health (Page of Pentacles), and kept my ankles from swelling with a nutritional tea of calcium-rich herbs.

My second daughter, LBR, was born early on the morning of the Fall Equinox after about 6 hours of labor (the 6 of Pentacles and 6 of Cups in this deck both depict two children). My doula was amazing, providing me with support worthy of a birthing partner. Again I felt totally secure in my choice to have the baby, confident in divine providence (6 of Pentacles) to support my choice to keep this wonderful gift of life, via support from my community and my friends (6 of Cups). My mother visited shortly after, and together we were able to reconcile differences and grow closer than I have felt to her since my childhood (6 of Cups).

Shortly thereafter, the divorce with my elder daughter’s father was finalized, ending two years of stress and furthering the healing process for our daughter and ourselves (XI Justice). By Samhain, LBR had been blessed and welcomed into our spiritual community of Cache Valley Unitarian Universalists (CVUU), and for trick-or-treating, I went as a Goddess-Worshipping, Baby-Wearing Warrior Woman (VIII Strength) because that is the energy with which I felt most strongly in tune (and because it came naturally).

Now, as I enjoy the middle of this final turn of the solar year, heading into the Yuletide season, I have dedicated myself to writing a book about Shadow work (8 of Pentacles) that reflects on certain experiences in my life that have led me to further self awareness and a satisfying amount of self love and self appreciation (10 of Pentacles). I’ve also signed up for life coaching services with a newly certified local lady who’s conducting a gratia project to break into her new career field.

The central theme of the year, the 4 of Cups, touches on my level of uncertainty and dissatisfaction with my financial state and how it affects me emotionally. I want to grow my Tarot practice to a level of success where I have consistent appointments and support myself and my family in comfort and stability, saving up for a tiny house that I would eventually take down to New Mexico for part of the year until I can relocate there full time. I have also been preoccupied with the problem of my long distance relationship with my mate and not knowing when I will see him again. Currently I am relying on support from outside sources rather than income that I generate. I realize I still have far to go on my healing journey. The King of Swords, I feel, challenges me to be at peace in my own mind, to maintain calm thought space as my first priority, and allow action, feelings, and physical form to flow from that calm, peaceful state of mind.

I invite you to share any experiments you conduct with this layout in the comments below! Please show your support for Kelly-Ann at Four Queens by subscribing to her channel, if you like her video, and don’t forget to schedule your next reading.

Tough Questions Tuesday

Possibly the most important thing to remember in this is: you define the terms set forth. Hold them singly and separately in your mind for the clearest answers.

Choose three of your most cherished values. Choose three areas where you feel you struggle in life. Choose three traits you admire in others. Shuffle, cut. Draw eleven cards from your deck. Here is your layout:

1-3, bottom row R to L: most cherished values.

4-6, middle row, R to L: areas of struggle.

7-9, top row, R to L: traits of admiration in other people.

10. Bottom center: karma foundation, cause for the effects, reasons for Being in this lifetime.

11. Top center: Spirit goals.


Each card in the middle row is resolved by the energies of the card above it, but fed by the energies of the card beneath, e.g., card 4 is resolved by card 7 but fed by card 4. This could indicate over- or under-activity on the part of the correlating chakras. The reading is constructed on the principles that the things we hold as most important to us, often limit our ability to expand our awareness and overcome our challenges, and that qualities we admire in others are our own secret strengths. Healthy relationships with our values would result in a helpful line of narrative between the three cards.

Feel free to post questions about the spread here. Hopefully soon I will update with a sample reading. Happy Tuesday, folks!

Shame is the Shadow of Love

Have you ever thought about how the Lovers and the Devil card are connected through Numerology? 15=6 when distilled to its numerological value, so when refined through the trying fire, the Devil card leads to the Divine Union described by the Lovers, by facing us with the suffering we do unto ourselves by clinging to our attachments yet hating ourselves for it.

Then why, in the Royal Road of the Hero’s Journey, does the Fool meet the Lovers first, and not the Devil? The explanation may lie in our own development as children, in our relationship with our parents and all members of their generation, and how we see them engage in their loving relationship with each other. Mark Z. Danielewski wrote in House of Leaves, “The Angels of our childhood become the Demons of our maturity.” We define our world first by our parents, and as children they are our heroes. We create defense mechanisms as children to accommodate whatever life we’ve been born into. Later, any negative patterns passed on to us become our hangups, addictions, obsessions, blocks: our Demons. Only by confronting our personal Demons can we come into fullness of Understanding of the Lovers card: the Balance of Elements in Divine Unity. To confront the negative patterns about ourselves, we must return to the Source of Origins: the emergence into Humanity.

If we want true peace and harmony in our relationships, we must love our shadow, because we can only accept our partner as much as we accept our Self. We must transform the naivety of innocence into wisdom, while protecting that innocence. Love.

Mystic Monday: Martin Luther King, Jr.

I have been inspired by Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, legacy since my childhood. Ever since I was taught in school about who he is, what he believed, and what he accomplished in his life, I have felt a calling to pursue his same dream. What this pursuit looks like for me is complicated. It’s hard to cope with the reality racist cultural programming as a white person who strives to act against racism. For a long time, I believed that I was different and stood apart from my cultural programming, but racism is endemic and affects everyone. I confused racism with prejudice and became angry when African American activists accused me of being a part of the racist system. I wanted so badly to prove them wrong.

I began to focus on unity, and the more I focused on unity, the more modern segregation became apparent to me. Popular culture still seeks to segregate us. It seems that any people of color in the media are stereotyped or white-washed, as though to convey that the only way to be accepted by mainstream culture is to become a parody of one’s heritage, or to try to be white. In response to this I seek to recognize the stereotypes and white washing, and actively seek out positive examples of diverse cultures that stand strong in their truth.

Now, I seek to stand in solidarity with others. I strive always to embrace the differences that make us unique and live in radical acceptance of others no matter their religion, ability, creed, color, background, sexual identity or orientation. We are all Divine.

Martin’s Big Words, written by Doreen Rappaport:

“I Have a Dream” by Yarden Children’s Choir

If Martin Luther King, Jr., were a Tarot card, I would place him as the Hierophant because he represents the ideal form of religious authority and how spiritual figures can inspire others to walk in righteousness and speak truth to power.

Call and Response: 4th Edition

Thank you, Vulcan, for submitting this week’s question! Vulcan asks:

Have recently relocated in hopes of easing some of my chronic health problems. Will I be approved for partial disability benefits and will I be successful in finding a doable part time job in the near future? Any advice in that direction would be helpful.

Dear Vulcan,

To address your question I chose a simplified version of the Tree of Life Spread:

3. Crown: 5 of Swords

1. Center: IV The Emperor

2. Root: X The Wheel of Fortune

1. Center, Focus, Present moment. IV The Emperor is an indicator that the decision has already been made to approve you for partial disability, and news is on its way. This position forms a bridge between the Upper and Lower Realms. Your decision to relocate demonstrates your claim of authority over the Holy Domain of your mind, body, and spirit. No one else can rule you. You may want to consider starting your own business or independent part time work where you can be the primary decision maker. This card signifies that you control your life, rather than letting your life control you. It is your strength and self-rulership that serve you best at this time.

2. Root, Foundation, Past. 5 of Swords. One figure stands leering and holding three swords, while two figures bow their heads in defeat, their swords cast to the ground. 5’s represent the chaotic state of creation, and also a facet of your public face (as in, V The Hierophant). You’ve had to fight tooth and nail to reach where you are, and you have been on both sides of this struggle enough to know that there is no winner here. You’ve left behind toxic relationships in your search for a more positive environment for your health. Use your present attunement to the Divine Father energy of the Emperor to fully resolve this energy.

3. Crown, Cosmic Connection, Future Potential. X The Wheel of Fortune contains the mystery of existence and the principle of the mantra, “Nam Myoho Renge Kyo,” which reveals the Divine Nature in all beings through the unfoldment of the Law of Cause and Effect. You are reaching the nature of this mystery and have the opportunity to reach fuller Understanding of the ultimate continuity of the Universe. This card indicates that you have resolved the past struggles of the 5 of Swords and that you are ready to turn over a new leaf. Good things are on their way to you, including that sustainable part time work. 

Check in throughout the week as I feature various days of the week in my posts:
“Selfie Sunday” in which I read for myself.
“Mystic Monday” posts feature important teachers in my life.
“Tarot Tuesday” posts feature a card, review a deck, or create my own.
“Wordless Wednesday” an image depicting my values as they apply to my work.
“Herbal Thursday” posts feature my work with healing plants and magical herbs.
“Call and Response Fridays” just as above!