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How to Create the Perfect Tarot Spread

Write the spread that guides you home…

If you read tarot cards, chances are you know about the classic spreads. These are the spreads like the Celtic Cross, the Horseshoe Spread, Past / Present/ Future, and so on. These are the spreads that have stood the test of time. They are iconic because they are bring in and cover such a broad base of messages. When I first started reading tarot, I turned to these spreads, and any others that accompanied the beautiful books of my teachings. I felt these spreads would last with me through my whole tarot journey.

And, that hasn’t been entirely incorrect. Every now and again I will turn to one of these tried-and-trues, but to be honest, once I got a handle on how I read tarot, and what I want the messages in the cards to offer me, I stopped relying on most of these well-known spreads. The main reason is that I like spreads with a little more direction. To me, the Celtic Cross started to move me in circles. Like I was driving to a new location that I have never to before. I know the zip code. I know the general location I am in, but the side streets and landmarks are not leading me anywhere helpful.

I started to write my own spreads. It may seem easy to write a tarot spread, and there are days where the needed messages just come flowing forth, from somewhere within me that I cannot name, only feel. Other days, I feel like I am on the right track, but still getting nowhere. So, if you want to write the perfect tarot spreads for yourself, or for your business, keep reading!

Tarot lets you explore your reality, your possibilities, your elusiveness. What do you want your cards to say?

To make it easy, there are three key things that I feel should be considered when writing a tarot spread, so that it includes everything to make your tarot experience beautiful and empowering….

Those three key things are:

  • Knowing the insight or clarity you / your client’s need from the reading
  • Knowing what is reasonable (within your ability to ask)
  • Being mindful of receiving the whole truth

Let’s begin with needed insight or clarity. It is vital to understand and be able to articulate what is being asked of this spread. For a spread like the past, present, future, the insight being gained is an understanding of what has passed, what is coming in, and what is within the present moment. If the spread is stop, start, continue, the spread is giving insight into actions that help or hinder.

So, in writing your spread ask what and where you need insight. Do you want your spread more general or specific? Do you want options or choices in your spread, or are you open to receiving concrete messages from your cards? Are you looking for a more spiritual or a more psychological approach, or do you want both covered in your spread? Your spread can include anything you want, as long as it includes the second part of the key themes.

A great way to gain full clarity of what you need from your spread is to do a freewrite journal exercise. Write down whatever you are feeling, thinking, experiencing, or considering. Just write. After you feel you have written down everything that honors and captures your point of view or your needs, put it aside for a day. Let the words sit for a moment. Return to your writing and highlight what you feel the key words or key themes are within your words. These highlighted passages are the bare bones of what you can explore in your spread.

Use journaling as a way to see what themes, feelings, or thoughts keep coming up. This could become the structure of your spread.

Once you have decided what you need your spread to speak to, it is time to move on to the second key theme: what is reasonable to ask of the cards. This theme is open to interpretation, as everyone has a different style of reading. Your style of reading will dictate and determine what is reasonable to ask. For example: my way of reading is intuitive, but not predictive. Therefore, while I have spreads that speak to possible outcomes, I do not in any way instruct or inform my clients that a certain circumstance or series of events will unfold. If you read from a purely spiritual point of view, your spread positions will speak to spirituality.

Once you know your reading style, consider what is reasonable to ask the spread. It is reasonable for you to ask about 3rd party readings? Is it reasonable to ask about financial matters or health issues? Only you can answer what is right for you and your reading style. Once you have decided what is reasonable, your spread will reflect that truth. If you find it reasonable to read for others, include in your spread questions that speak to this. If you feel it unreasonable, keep all questions in relation to you, or whomever is the seeker.

After you have decided what is reasonable, or unreasonable to ascertain from your spread, we move on to the final key theme: honesty, brutal honesty. If we think about it a tarot spread as a dinner plate, the insight and clarity is the main course. It is what is going to probably benefit you the most because you are getting to the bedrock to what has been elusive. The ability to discern what is reasonable to ask is the side dish, which makes honesty the bill.

A needed exchange…

The bill (brutal honesty) is the exchange so you can have this glorious plate of energetic beauty. It is needed, but it may be hard at times to recognize that this exchange is paramount. Just as you could not have a lovely dinner at a restaraunt with paying the bill, you cannot have a truly profound spread that is of service unless there is an exchange. In all tarot spreads it is useful to have specific position that highlight the positives, the love and light if you will. These positions can include: strengths, resources, gifts and offerings to the world, lasting energy, and more. These positions are beautiful, and can highlight the beautiful nature of your / your client’s unique self.

However, it is also important to be willing to have a thorough exchange with the card and include positions that speak to the shadows. These can include: fears, weaknesses, obstacles, things to change, things to let go, and more. It is important to include spread positions like this because your tarot cards are your ally, and the spread is the conversation it is having with you / your client. It is important to go into not just the love and light, but also the shadows and the blockages, because that is how we grow. We don’t grow within the comfortable, we grow with the full spaciousness of possibility, which needs to include that which we may not want to hear.

Obviously, these three focuses are, in my opinion, needed to create a badass tarot spread. You may have a different take, and that is totally fine. You need to find what works for you. If willing, I invite you to utilize these focuses while writing your own tarot spreads. They have never led me astray, and I am confident it will be of service for you as well.

**One side note that I wanted to mention was writing a spread with a specific deck in mind. All tarot / oracle decks can be of service no matter the reading (unless there is an energetic block that has nothing to do with the spread), but sometimes it might be useful to write a spread with the focus through one certain deck. I love using my Mystical Dream Tarot deck for a more psychological, symbolic feel. If I want tangible and of this earth, the Herbcrafter’s Tarot has been it for me. For all things relating to spirit and wild reclamation, The Wild Unknown decks have never done me wrong. Again, all decks can be interchanged, no matter the spread, but if you are really struggling, or really wanting to connect to a certain deck, try writing a spread specifically for the artwork and themes of one particular deck.**

Many Blessings XOXOXO

Ashlie

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Reading the Devil Card

The Dragon Tarot (left) and the Ostara Tarot (right)

The Devil card is quite a loaded tarot card, in fact, the mere mention or turn of this card can change the whole tarot reading, especially for someone just beginning to read to tarot for themselves, or for other people, but this card doesn’t have to the dark little cloud that rains on a beautiful tarot reading. In fact, this card can be a wonderful, amazing teacher, if we are willing to shed the archetype as we have known it for so long. Many religious texts and teachings place Lucifer as the direct anti-thesis to God, to purity, to ascension. I believe that the Devil card can provide the space to create some great work in this world, and I wish to add new narratives to this card. If you view and work with this card in a different way, I respect, but if you are open to a different interpretation, I gladly invite you into this space. I also highly recommend that you look to Lindsay Mack’s Tarot for the Wild Soul podcast with the Devil as one of the great liberators of the tarot. I love her work, and this episode really struck me when I first heard it.

Let’s first get started by talking about the meanings of the Devil tarot card. The Devil card is all about finding your autonomous center, or your own autocracy. This means that the Devil card is all about responsibility, accountability, freedom, and spaciousness. When finding your autonomy, you step into your power. You are the creator of your life, free to make it what you will. That also means that you need to take accountability for actions and movement and choices. This is a not a card of bad omens or terrible evil. It is a card that is inviting the seeker into a space of rebirth, but requires that you confront this space with a willingness to move and shed the former self. You are being asked to be your own light-bearer, willing to step into the transformative fires.

The Devil card is about the cause, or the why, and not the what when it comes to circumstance. This is why I don’t read this card in relation to addiction, vices, toxicity, or attachments. Those are consequences of a deeper cause. It is within that cause, that why, that the Devil is asking for understanding and merging. For example, for two monogamous people who are in a committed relationship, an affair or adultery would not be the focus of Devil energy, it would be the why. It would be the trajectory off-course between these two that would be where Devil energy is.

Another meaning about the Devil is about finding freedom from expectations, dogmas, or external forces that do not serve you. The Devil as a means for rebirth means that the self needs to shift away from perceptions and energies that do not serve you. If you are not hurting anybody else, or forcing your will on anybody else, there is nothing you owe to anybody in terms of reasoning or explanation. Your body, your spirit, your personal light is yours and it is within you that balance and pleasure and indulgence and pain and understanding sit. What you promote within and outside of your body is your choice, again as long as it does not infringe on the autonomy of another person, or as long as it does not incite violence or promote harm to another person.

Now that there is a little bit of an overview of what the Devil card represents, let’s go to some key themes when reading the Devil card. When working the Devil card, I think there are three things that should be present in order to fully work with this card. These three things are:

  • Release judgment, for yourself and others
  • Let go of the need to see external proof of this card
  • Allow for the human space to be present, step into your creature self

I believe that the first thing when working with the Devil card is to release judgment. Judgment creates bias and a hierarchy that does not serve this card, or the reading. When the Devil appears, there is an invitation to move into the source so that great work can be done for rebirth. The card that immediately follows the Devil is the Tower. This means that by finding that autonomous center, and shifting attention to the cause and not the consequence of circumstance, you are creating the space for the Tower to fall, disintegrating that which does not serve.

This requires confronting the cause, finding understanding, and shifting perspectives back to self with honesty. This is not easy to do. The Devil may be one of the great teachers in the card, but it is not easy work. That is why it is important to remove judgment from yourself. If you judge what comes forth, you will be fighting an uphill battle. Judging what comes forward honestly and authentically will stifle growth and intuitive guidance. It will shunt what the Devil is asking you to do, which is to find your own power, take accountability, and move into a spacious freedom that releases external narratives.

The next thing I think is important when reading this card is to not try to find external proof of this card. This card, as mentioned, is often considered the card of addictions, vices, or toxic attachments. Those external manifestations further judgmental thoughts and behaviors. The need to see and point the finger to something external is exactly the kind of narrative that shifts the energy of the Devil away. It is within you to take control and accountability. It is within you to step fully into your beautiful power. It is within you that your autocracy lies. These energies do not always have an external shape or outline to point to and say, “there is the Devil.” They may, and it can include those listed entrapments, but it could also be found in so many other things, things that may be little and hard to miss.

So, when looking to Devil energy, it is important to remember that the Devil can be in the smallest of details and moments, and they do not have to be bad in any way. Coming into your autonomy, and creating a spacious space for freedom within you can be as simple, yet profound, as saying no to an energetic vampire. It can be in seeking answers, and doing the research, not believing everything that you are told. Devil energy can be found in taking accountability and apologizing. In reading this card, let go of the need to see or speak to external embodiments becauce Devil energy is so much more complex than that.

Finally, when reading the Devil card, let the space for the human-ness to come forward. To go back to the need to read this card in relation to addiction, vices, or toxic connections, if that is truly what the Devil card was about, it would be pulled every time. Why? Because we are all human. We all have bad connections within us. We all have vices and things that we can’t pull ourselves away from. Again, these can be related to a behavior or a state of mind. For a comedic metaphor of this, I recommend watching the clip of Jim Gaffigan talking about McDonald’s, and how everyone has their own form or version of McDonald’s. The point is: we all have things in our life that may not be the absolute best for us, but we are not perfect beings. There is no such thing. Let the Devil invite you into the human aspect. Let it provide you with the comfort and freedom to be a human in this world, with judgment or constant need to point the finger to something external.

It is important to recognize this especially if reading for someone else. When the Devil card is pulled, as a reader, it is important to recognize that what makes this seeker a human is based on their internal, core why’s, so let the space open for them to find their own answers instead of placing this card into the evil, bad, dark space. We all have been the toxic person at some point, so approaching this card and each reading where this card comes up as a space to step into internal power rather than see it as some bad omen will completely transform the reading.

I hope this was helpful for you and your tarot readings, for yourself and others!

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Approaching the end of the year

The end of the year is finally coming to a close. I feel the need to create a little time capsule of my year, and what better place than my blog? For me, this year was a rough one, but also an insanely beautiful one. There were so many things that happened, and many things I really had to confront and face. This was also the year that I really had to admit and confront where I was hurting myself, and my business.

Here were some of the major points of my year:

+My schoolwork consisted mostly of science classes (which is not my strong suit) to finish the requirements for my Associates in the Integrative Health program. Next year, I get to enjoy the Capstone, all about transitioning into the professional world.

+I got to see some whales and experience the beauty of Mexico.

+My cat was on and off sick for months. He was so sick that, at one point, Grizzly and I really thought we were going to lose him. However, my little Zombie survived, and I feel that experience in many ways brought Grizzly and I closer together.

+Some of the other classes that I got to take this year were amazing, including Medicinal Herbs in the Wild, where I met a dear friend, and fell more in love with herbs, and Colorado.

Towards the end of this year, my own health started to take a turn. What first started out as acid reflux, has turned into breathing issues that have persisted for about a month now. The shadow part of me isolated even farther, less willing to do things like see friends, run errands, or get motivation for the things I needed to complete. However, it also brought me closer to spirit, and to myself.

My year card was Strength, and I feel that after this year (I haven’t even mentioned the social injustices and headlines that have impacted and changed me), I have a better appreciation for that card. I also have had to take some time and reconcile with myself the fact that I have had to put myself on ice in regards to my business. I have had bitter moments where I have feel like I’m hitting a wall. I have had moments where it seems like I have been wasting my time. I had had moments where it has felt like no matter what I do for my business, it wasn’t good enough.

(If you would like to know your year card is, add up your birth month and day with the current year. If yours equals something like this (29), you would then add those two together, which equals 11. In the Wild Unknown deck, which is the one I use most often, the 11th card is Strength.)

It was like constantly hitting a wall. It took me a while to realize that I was the wall. My ego was needing certain boxes checked off to feel validated. My spirit just wants to express the tarot, and other modalities, with passion and authenticity. Going forward, I have recognized where I was placing expectations on the outside world, but I really need boundaries with myself. I also needed new projects.

So, come next year I am going to start a podcast. This is something that I am really excited for, and I have been toying with the idea for a while now. I am ready to try something new. I am also going to start putting up physical products, expanding my services, and establishing my platform a little bit more. I was not giving myself was the belief that I deserved a thriving business. I was not allowing myself to feel the confidence needed to thrive. That stops now. It is not welcome in 2020.

If you are feeling overdrawn, overburdened, or anything that does not register with your higher being, I ask to you to see where your beliefs or confidence or compassion for yourself is at. I am not saying that I found the formula for growth. That is a process that I look forward to learning more about as I discover more about myself. I simply ask you to confront and face. You can do it. You are strong. You are worthy. You are gorgeous. If you would like to go deeper into some energy, we can work together, and use the tarot to unleash some needed energy. Next post will be about the deck forecast for 2020.

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Working on the world, your visions, and yourself

Top (left to right): 3 of Swords, 3 of Pentacles, 3 of Cups. Bottom: 3 of Wands

The 3 of Wands is all about stepping into your present to forge your future. This means that you need to merge yourself with the larger energies also present. It is fair to say this is not an easy task when in creation. It can be easy to look on others both close to you or distant and see where their lives have stacked up in a way yours might not have yet. This is something that we often see talked about with social media. We should remind ourselves that what we see is a highlight reel, and not always demonstrative of someone else’s life as whole.

While this is a great point to make, it can be hard to times to remind ourselves of that when we are feeling buried under the weight of what we think must or should do to improve our lives, and the world. In order to engage with the world, work on the world, make a mark on the world, we must also engage with ourselves, work on ourselves, make a mark on ourselves.

For this reason, I think it is important to be reminded of the fact that in the traditional Rider-Waite Smith deck (and even here in my deck: the Ostara Tarot), the 3 of Wands is the only three to show a solitary figure. The 3 of Swords shows no figure, just a heart pierced through and through (worthy of its own post). This correlation shows that the 3 of Wands is often an isolated undertaking. The figure goes from the looking out of his balcony, to being in the action, adorned with a new vision, a new wand, new clothing, and a new headpiece.

So, what does this all mean? I think it means that when it comes to engaging your visions, making your mark on the world, and finding yourself in the process you have to remove the noise from others. That does not necessarily mean that you cannot heed any advice from someone you trust, nor does it mean you cannot ask for help when needed. What it does mean though is that at the end of the day, you have to rely on yourself and your skills. You have to be willing to trust in yourself, and when needed, to remove yourself from the constant chatter of society at large. The dialog with and from others is extremely important, but if it leaves us doubting and questioning the work that we do, it can lead to becoming a very toxic conversation.

Because the 3 of Wands is the card of the month, seek to deepen your own understandings of what is workable and do-able for you and your place in the world by creating some intentional silence. Work on what it is you want to see happen and remove your eyes from the google page to see if it has been done before, unless you looking to research, check facts, or give credit where credit is due. Work on your visions by acting as if you are in a relationship with them, because you are. Give them time to develop into something wonderful, or something no longer worth the effort. Trust that your needs can fit in there without too much force, and when needed your basic needs must come first from time to time. Work on the world by letting that silence be an invitation to listen to what the world needs. Let the work for the world be a resounding drum that comes from your own beating heart. At the end of the day, you and only you, can create your visions into something tangible and external. Only you can create that which you seek.

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Being Honest

9 of Pentacles from the Wild Unknown deck

If I could break down my thoughts this week regarding the 9 of Pentacles reversed, it would be this word: reveal. The word reveal in this context means to take time to reconnect and return to the things we love, or the things we love to do. The beautiful thing about the 9 of Pentacles reversed is that it shows us that we are capable of providing for ourselves the abundance we seek. We are capable of soaking in the sensuality of living in presence to our surroundings. That is not to say that we need to be like this all the time, nor does this card show that we need to relinquish all material possessions.

The 9 of Pentacles reversed is more about intention, and taking to time to find presence with the things around us we love, want, or need. There is a level of true honesty that comes with the 9 of Pentacles reversed. There needs to be honesty about what we have, what we need, and even what we want. There also needs to be honesty about how we reveal this physical abundance to ourselves, and how we use it.

When it comes to being honest about what we have, this means that we need to be able to identify our needs. Like in the picture, the nest may not be as grand as possible, but it is secure and made with love. It holds the precious state of creation without shape. It holds a vibrancy that could make the Sun swoon. Yet, these worldly treasures are so simple. It is about what could be, and how to get there. If the resources used are wrong, those fragile circles would succumb. If it was too grand, that may not have been a wise investment of energy. By naming our needs our needs, we recognize by default our time and space presence. We recognize that through our needs is a space for intention and construction.

We also need to be honest if we are buying, consuming, or using things because we truly cherish them, or simply because they were on sale, easy to get, or fulfilled an idea. We also need to be honest about we want. Do we want something in our home because it is pretty? Do we want to experience something that may be out of budget because we can’t stand the idea of not having the experience? Do we have the means to get that which we want? Again, it is about honesty and intention. If there is something you want, or something you want to do, that’s great. The 9 of Pentacles reversed is simply there to provoke and ask: how and why?

I mentioned in my free newsletter (which you can find under my FREE OFFERINGS TAB) that there is an element of sacrifice and surrender to the 9 of Pentacles reversed. Sacrifice is not a bad thing, but in our consumer-driven society, it is painted as such. Sacrifice here means reconnecting to purpose and priority. That means that perhaps you have something you really want, but you may need to sacrifice that morning cup of coffee, or that night out on the town. If your morning cup of coffee or a night out with friends beats what you want, there is nothing wrong with that.

The 9 of Pentacles reversed is simply asking you to be clear about what and where your values are. If you choose to create a budget so you can afford what you want, then great. Again, it’s simply about clarity. I recognize here that my examples are exceedingly basic. That is because I obviously cannot presume to know what sacrifice will look like to each person. I am therefore using basic examples here to merely make the point. I am also using examples that I know I have confronted recently. I am constantly drawn to buying a tea or snack from the coffee shop at my school. When I realized how much I spending each month, it revealed to me how much I took for granted how far a few dollars go every day.

In my personal opinion, the reason why sacrifice can feel hard is because it is uncomfortable to say no to things. It is uncomfortable to be honest with ourselves and say that we need to do better, make better choices, or find more presence with the things we have. It can be really uncomfortable to place boundaries around a lifestyle we have grown accustomed to. But if that lifestyle is luxury wrapped in debt, we may need to be honest about it. It can feel uncomfortable to say no to things we really want, including experiences, but if they move us out of alignment with our purpose and priorities, it is a needed no.

When thinking about the word reveal, this card really gets to the bones of our structures. Finding presence with ourselves will reveal a lot. Listing where our abundance is, and being honest about sacrifices and boundaries is going to reveal a lot too. It may change some things too. Only you, and each person, knows where those lines lie. No two people will create the same nest, and that is a beautiful thing. No two people will have exactly the same values and priorities. Again, it is all about intention. What you do intend to do this month? What is your purpose? What are your priorities? Start to look at resources you have that be of service to you. Start to be honest about some needed sacrifices that may need to be made. In the end, come back to intention, and you will stay in alignment.

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Insight for the Tower

As a tarot reader and tarot student, I find that I gain more insight from books and articles that have nothing to do with tarot knowledge. Sometimes the connection to completely random characters, or different points in time is what makes the understanding of a card stick. I want to share some insight I gained about the Tower from a beautiful book that I am reading right now.

Right now I am reading Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom by John O’ Donohue. This book is a stunning read, and has a lot of insight towards other cards, but one particular passage really stuck out and gave me a deeper understanding of the Tower as teacher:

Often all the possessions we have, the work we do, the beliefs we hold, are manic attempts to fill this opening, but they never stay in place. They always slip, and we are left more vulnerable and exposed than before. A time comes when you know that you can no longer wallpaper this void. Until you really listen to the call of this void, you will remain an inner fugitive, driven from refuge to refuge, always on the run with no place to call home. (O’ Donohue 101)

When I read this passage, I felt like I had the greatest clarity over this card. I mention in my March Newsletter that I don’t read the Tower as this predictive card of bad luck or omens. Why? Because I think that the Tower is here to show something that may be more troubling, but it is perhaps one of the greatest lessons to learn. The passage above is making a reference to understanding the psyche, and how interconnection to home, to landscape, and to nature are ultimately the best healers.

When we engage in small earthly wonders, or even just engaging in the quiet space where our inner self stirs, we are creating a wholesome understanding of who we are and what gifts we have. When we seek outside of ourselves to fill the void of connection, we will always be left searching. The answers are inside of us, but we are often to scared to turn over those rocks and search of the mysteries of ourselves.

The Tower comes to us when we have strayed far from ourselves, and when we have placed vigorous meaning in possessions and situations that are outside of us. These may feed our ego, but they shrink our souls. They rest on the surface like oil, but they make the metaphorical water undrinkable regardless. When we routinely learned how to please the ego, we also learn how to silence the starving soul.

So, with the Tower being our monthly card, take time this month to shed the possessions and choices and people and places that are egocentric. These fill the ego with meaning, but have nothing to offer in terms of deep connection. This can be unpleasant, so don’t forget to feel through this process and this month with the Sea Serpent, keeper of the Second Chakra. Find intimacy, play, pleasures, and creativity. Let these precious spaces help handle the Tower energy.

If you would like to book a reading with me, click on my OFFERINGS tab to see what spreads are currently available. If you would like to read more into my messages from the Tower and the Sea Serpent, you can download my free newsletter under the FREE OFFERINGS tab. I hope this is helpful for you!

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Card Comparison: The Emperor

The Two Emperors: Ostara tarot and the Wild Unknown

There are many things that move across the cards, particularly the Major Arcana, like a wave, no matter the image. This bloodline of understanding, symbolism, or definition comes from the archetype, the held knowledge of numbers and namesakes.

The Emperor is no different. When the word EMPEROR is said, each one of us can visualize something. He or she may look different. The kingdom may hold different colors and material grandeur. But, the general understanding of an Emperor is a ruler who stands alone. He is the beacon of order for all that he rules.

It is because of this general understanding that the Emperor is often given a fierce and authoritative connotation. In this post, we will not be looking so much at the card definition and attributes. If you would like to read my interpretation of the Emperor please click here to go to my interpretations of the Wild Unknown card meanings. You will find the Emperor, as well as all the cards that I have thus far written a personal interpretation for.

In this post, we will be taking time to look at the Emperor across the two decks that I own: the Wild Unknown tarot and the Ostara tarot. These two cards will be examined and shed light on the nuance that they bring to the interpretations of the Emperor.

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Starting from left to right, we have the Emperor from the Ostara tarot. Unlike many other decks that depict the Emperor as a wise or authoritative older man, here the Emperor is young. He wears not a crown of gold or jewels, but two horns that symbolize his dominion over the natural earth. He is of both worlds, showing that he can understand the rule of law and the laws of nature.

These combined together can create balance in the physical fabric of the world. His youth means that he has vigor, and he does not rely on others to to uphold or protect those whom he serves. His gaze is off in the distance, showing that his vision is on the horizon, far off in the distance. The symbols on his body show that he is also mysterious, something seen hardly at all in other decks. In fact, the directness of other decks (which we will see in the Wild Unknown) is the antithesis of mystery. But these symbols as part of his physical body means that he is learned in other languages, ones that may unlock other mysteries that can serve and protect. He has taken the time and embodied the learning the different languages that are part of his world.

He also does not depict a foreboding or fierce figure. He seems gentle, a little wild or mischievous perhaps, but his face is beautiful and soft. As a counterpart to the Empress, he also holds the a childlike whimsy to create and protect the world that he is a part of.

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The Emperor in the Wild Unknown is depicted as a large tree. The size of the tree emphasizes age and time. A tree that big has been around for a long time. This sticks with the more traditional definition of Emperor as one with the benefit of experience because of age and time. Behind the Emperor is a brilliant, fiery sun, which may be the crown of the natural world.

With this brilliance comes clarity of vision, and fire for action. In this deck, the Emperor as a tree speaks to action in terms of giving. At this size, he acts like one of many lungs for the planet, taking in loads of carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. Trees this size create a canopy for the sky, and a network for the soil. They are a home for the fauna, shade for the weary, and a beacon for the lost.

The Emperor is depicted in only one color. He is stark black, resembling his stark nature, perhaps a little harsh and direct, but beautiful and giving nonetheless. There is also a notion of simplicity with this card, which is very different from the other Emperor. The symbols that adorned the Emperor’s body speak to a complicated understanding of different languages and symbolism in this world. Here, the Emperor is much more simplistic. He is there, front and center. He is visible, giving, nurturing, but also abrupt in palate to some.

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There you have two different images for the Emperor. I hope these comparisons help show how the image brings nuance and layers to the knowledge of the cards. Please let me know how these, or other images of the Emperor resonate with you. Much love.

Ashlie

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Mother of Cups in the Dark

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There have been numerous words given to the Mother of Cups, full of praise and light, justly deserved. But there needs to be time given to the dark mother, the one in the corner, carrying wounds and weapons that haven’t been seen.

There are many reasons why it is important to go into the dark side of the tarot:

1.) There is no card in the deck that is strictly good or bad. They all carry the cosmos of light and trouble.

2.) There is no one way to “define” good or bad. Is a good card good because it makes us feel positive? Is a “bad” card the good one because it challenges us to grow and learn so we can honor our highest potential?

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The Mother of Cups promotes self-love, self-discovery, the need for boundaries, and a self-actualized encouragement to go deeper into what we love and cherish in this moment. However, despite these nuisances of deeper love and celebration, the Mother of Cups (just like any other card) has a dark side that reveals obstacles, troubles, or a need for change.

The Mother of Cups shows the beauty of self-love and love to others, but that doesn’t mean that everyone we are around is someone who will bring us joy. We are often required to be around others who we do not hold the best feelings for. This is not a shadow element, but how we deal with this can become a shadow element if we are unchecked in certain behaviors.

One behavior is shit-talking. This behavior does nothing but breed hostility. We are vocalizing our negative feelings,  but not in a way that reaches any conclusion or solution for growth. I want to be clear that shit-talking is not the same as venting. When we vent to someone, we are also not looking for any conclusion to be met, nor are we trying to make a point. We are simply letting out our emotions to someone we trust, or venting in a journal. When someone is trash-talking someone else, we are not trying to reach a solution, but we ARE trying to make a point of how bad this other person is.

When someone trash-talks another it is often because they would never express their feelings in a constructive way to the person involved. Obviously, this is problematic behavior. The Mother of Cup teaches self-love. If we are hurt or upset with someone that is okay, but it becomes problematic when we refuse to address the issue, and resort to bad-mouthing someone behind their back.

 

Another dark side to the Mother of Cups is the need for validation from others. If there is a need to be validated or approved by others, it can often be because of deep-rooted insecurities. The problem here is that the gratification for validation never promotes self-love because it didn’t through us or for us. It came out of a need to be enriched by the words of others, to be seen or in the spotlight. When we practice self-love, we are validating our own vulnerable nature, complete with gifts and flaws.

The urge to be validated can be seen in many ways. It can be seen in jealousy, that we want more validation that someone else. It can be seen in toxic comparisons, or in the need to be competitive with another person, to outdo them and shine brighter. Obviously, all of these are problematic because it fosters a negative outlook. It preaches that we don’t have enough, but it never encourages a healthy way to express our emotions.

Finally, the Mother of Cups is highly intuitive and nurturing. Because of these qualities, she is also prone to burn-out, creative dismantling, or emotionally worn. If the Mother of Cups does not take time to spend alone or with others who fuel her creative or emotional passions, if she is constantly fulfilling the needs of others while neglecting herself, she will burn out. Boundaries and the Sacred No are incredibly important for the Mother of Cups. She needs to be able to take care of herself so that she can serve others.

**Please note that I am not saying that these traits equal a bad person. We all hold and often can act on this dark elements at times. What is important to be mindful, and work to foster an environment where we are self-loving, and promoting love and honesty to others.**

Let me know your thoughts!

Much love Wolflings,

Ashlie

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November cards: Dragonfly and the Mother of Cups

Dearest Wolflings,

We have passed through a harsh month, full of dichotomies and conflicting energies. I am happy to say that November is going to be a time of reflection, tapping into mindful directions, and listening to the rolling waves of our hearts. We move into the month of the Dragonfly and the Mother of Cups. Both cards tap into ancient wisdom of mindful intentions and actions. These cards harness a need to go deeper into the psyche, to heal wounds and learn more about our power.

Dragonfly and the Mother of Cups

Starting with the Dragonfly, this spirit animal has been seen in symbols across almost every culture. They have been around in some form for millions of years. They have seen the changes of the Earth, the rivers, the mountains, and the seasons through eyes that make the bulk of their head. They must keep moving, and they can move in all directions. These ancient ones call on us to see, to be still, and to move with direction. They call on us to quiet the mind and listen to the wisdom that come from being a part of this world. Acting with direction is key. Thinking before speaking is key. Creating powerful intentions and visualizations are key. The first step is to come into rhythm of silence by quieting the mind. Sit alone and meditate. Journal your thoughts and feelings. Create something for the simple sake of creation. The mind is able to move with purpose when we create buffers to safeguard the positive thoughts we are starting to manifest with this animal energy.

Free stock photo of nature, blue, eyes, grass

All the mothers are the Healers. They are the Keepers of knowledge, lineage, and ritual. They safeguard the treasures of history and heritage. The Mother of Cups is double-water. Everything about her flows from the well of creation and intuition. In some ways she is like the Empress, endless in her capacities of love for the sake of love. They both radiate the light of inner acceptance, inner bloom. Where they depart is the Empress is the bridge between the High Priestess and the Emperor. She understands the messages of this world, but she is creative and channels her gifts towards the dawn of new possibilities which the Emperor enforces.

Swan on Body of Water

The Mother of Cups is more internal, spending more time in ritual and in sacred space. She is highly intuitive and spiritual, but she is less public, less out in the open. Her gifts are born and brought from a place that she cannot share with others. Because she is a Swan, she is of two worlds. One of the land, and one of dark water. Because she is of two worlds she is also a bridge, a bridge between the tangible manifestation and the deep, pulsating quiet of the heart. She is a Keeper of the heart, of relationships, and selfless love, and a Healer to the world when she comes to the surface.

If there is one line I could write to describe what messages I am receiving from these cards, it would be: Quiet the mind. Channel the heart. Going deeper into the subconscious, into wishes and dreams, and manifesting positivity, ritual, heritage, our inner lineage is a tall order. How can we keep things out of our minds when so much is happening that is trying to force its way in? By creating boundaries. Like the Mother, we need to be of almost two worlds. The visible one on land where we bond and love and speak about how that love is never going to go away. But we also must go deeper to heal and learn and channel that love into ourselves for manifestation. Last month saw intense energy, now we must quiet the mind, and channel the heart for change.

**Thank you for reading. Please let me know your thoughts on these cards for November. Much love. Stay wild, wolfling!**