Category Archives: Tarot Symbolism

Integrating The Shadow – A Halloween Reading

I dearly love the month of October – the beautifully colored leaves, the crisp, cool air, and all of the spooktacular Halloween costumes and the preponderance of lovely chocolate candy! I love the decorating, I love carving up a pumpkin every year (although I have zero talent in this direction, and they all end up looking the same!), and I love getting small bags of (chocolate!) candy ready to give out. I also love doing late night readings on this one night of the year when the veil between the physical and spiritual worlds is at its thinnest. 

I do want to take a quick look at the different names for this night, and then I want to talk about a reading that you might want to try. This night of nights can be referred to as Halloween, All Hallow’s Eve, or Samhain, and is associated with the Day of the Dead. Halloween is of relatively modern origins, having its roots in the Celtic festival of Samhain, as well as the Christian celebration of All Saints Day. It is largely a secular holiday, focusing on activities such as trick or treating, costume parties and the telling of ghost stories. All Hallow’s Eve is the night before All Saints Day (November 1st), and is a time for feasting and remembrance.  Samhain is a Celtic festival celebrating summer’s end and the harvest. The Day of the Dead is a Mexican festival that brings families together to pray for and remember family and friends who have crossed over. 

Rather than dialogue with ancestors, or ask for wisdom from Spirit, this year I decided to address the Shadow side of life. The thinning of the veils makes it very easy to access Spirit, but it also carries another huge dividend: it allows us to use wisdom from Spirit to bring up our Shadows from our subconscious into the light of consciousness. Think about it: Shadow would not exist without the benefit of light. This is my reading for you on this night of nights:

Integrating The Shadow

The Cauldron: What do I need to know on this night?

The Ghost: What shadow from my past is holding me back?

The Goblin: What actions can I take to understand this shadow?

The Broomstick: How can I best move forward on my path, now that I have integrated this shadow?

The cards that I drew were:

The Cauldron: King of Cups

The Ghost: Queen of Pentacles

The Goblin: Two of Cups

The Broomstick: Queen of Wands

 

I have chosen to illustrate this reading with four different decks: the Deviant Moon Tarot, the Fantastical Creatures Tarot, the Halloween Tarot In Tin and the Lover’s Path Tarot. Each deck brings its own energy to the table.

Deviant1

The Deviant Moon Tarot, by Patrick Valenza, deliberately includes images of cemeteries and mental asylums to help illuminate the deeper parts of the subconscious. The imagery is jarring, and a bit on the dark, or shadow side, yet amusing in its own way. It is all about visions and bad dreams, and acts as a wonderful gateway on this night of nights.

Fantastical1

The Fantastical Creatures Tarot, by Lisa Hunt and DJ Conway, is a much lighter deck. Based on mythical creatures and fantasy animals, it is an awesome showcase for talented artist Lisa Hunt’s work. The one thing to note with this deck is the elemental associations: Swords are Fire, and Wands are Air. Other than that, it is based on the traditional Rider-Waite template. Deep messages have the ability to sneak through the lovely watercolors of these cards without scaring the heck out of anybody! 

Halloween1

The Halloween Tarot In Tin, by Kipling West , is a very light, fun deck with the suits entitled Pumpkins, Imps, Ghosts and Bats, and a sleek black cat as a central character! The artwork is cartoon style, with strong coloring. As with the “Fantastical Creatures Tarot”, this deck brings messages across from Spirit in a very non-threatening manner.

LoversPath1

The Lover’s Path Tarot, by Kris Waldherr, features classic loves stories and myths from around the world. It references love, emotions, and relationships – all of which play into our shadow selves. Waldherr notes that all love relationships mirror our relationship with ourselves. It is in our relationship with ourselves that our shadows lie. The artwork in this deck is very easy to connect to.

I hope that you have enjoyed all four of these decks, and are getting some ideas for what you want to do on your “night of nights”!

 

© October 2010 Bonnie Cehovet

 

Queens of Tarot

Queen Pents FaerieI was looking through one of my Tarot journals and discovered that I wrote "Inherited Power" for the Queen archetype. (Unfortunately, for many years, my Tarot journal wasn't a centralized destination, but scribbles in any tablet I could find!).

I'm pondering this phrase now–what I meant by that, for example–and thought I'd ask you how you see the Queen archetype, especially as reflected in the Tarot.

Queen of Pentacles, Queen of Cups, Queen of Swords and Queen of Wands–how does each of the four Tarot Queens differ from one another? Is their power always "inherited"? How does their power differ from the Kings both archetypally and within a reading?

I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences on the Queens of Tarot!

— Janet

The Queen of Pentacles image is from the Faerie Tarot by Nathalie Hertz. ISBN 1-57281-600-7. Available from your favorite online and brick-and-mortar store.

Seasons and the Minor Arcana

Four Seasons Some Tarot readers correlate the four seasons with the four suits of the Minor Arcana for issues of timing in a reading. Not everyone is comfortable forecasting seasonal timing in Tarot readings, of course.

Others make a mental association for interpretative purposes, noting the symbolism of a particular Minor Arcana suit reflects abstract or literal qualities of its seasonal counterpart.

I'm curious: Do you associate the four Minor Arcana suits (usually named Wands, Cups, Pentacles and Swords) with a seasonal counterpart (Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter)? If so, what is your reasoning?

If you've actually used a seasonal association when reading the Minor Arcana cards (Aces-Tens), how has this particular correlation aided your readings or expanded your interpretation of a particular suit or card?

Here's my personal correlations:

Four Seasons 2 Spring – Wands The "budding" of the Ace of Wands reminds me of the budding trees of Springtime. In the Tree of Life. It is said that the entire Minor Arcana "springs"–and is contained–within the Ace of Wands. I associate the Wands with the element of Fire.

Summer – Cups Water, water everywhere in the Summer–pools, lakes, fountains, margaritas…I associate Cups with the Water element.

Autumn – Pentacles A time for harvest and reflection, as well as preserving the bounty of the summer. Autumn is often a busy and materialistic time of year, with kids going back to school, major holidays occurring, and those in winter climes having to save extra money for heating. In cooler climates, many go back to "indoor" hobbies such as reading, crafting, woodcarving, baking–endeavors often neglected in warmer months. I associate Pentacles with the Earth element.

Winter – Swords Where I live, Winter can be bitterly cold, but the clarity of the air and purity of the rural snow is unmatched. I associate the Swords suit with the element of Air.

I'd love to hear your thoughts about correlating seasons with the Minor Arcana suits and how such associations can aid in building our cache of card meanings, as well as illuminate Tarot readings.

— Janet