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My Spread Pricing and Why I Don’t Charge Per Hour

I wanted to do and write something a little bit differently today. More specifically, my intention is to show a little bit of my process behind certain aspects of my business. Many, if not most, tarot readers charge based on time spent for the reading. There is nothing wrong with this, but I personally have never liked to charge that way. A big reason why is because of my first reading as the client, not the reader.

I like to charge based on number of cards pulled as opposed to a set price per hour. Time can be a good factor to set the value, but I don’t personally like to be controlled by a timely starting and stopping point.

I went to see a tarot reader long before I knew how to read tarot. To be fair, I had not done my research into the type or reading, or reader, I wanted. I simply had some cash and showed up at a store in Denver. I also had not taken the time to consider what I wanted, and more importantly needed, from my reading. What was the underlying purpose? What would I do with the information given to me? How could I be vulnerable and hear both the good and bad the cards may bring forth? I asked myself none of these question. (I would like to spend a whole post on the etiquette between reader and client, but I digress….)

So I show up at a store, cash in hand, ready for my reading. I asked if anyone was available to read for me. A woman was, and although I do not expect or want an overly fluffy or lovey-dovey reader (that is not my style), this woman was cold and not very friendly. We went to a section of the store, that was separated by nothing more than a divider. This made my walls go up. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted or needed from my reader, but I knew I didn’t want every customer walking by to overhear what I considered, and still do, a sacred conversation.

I told her a little bit about what was going on with me, and she started to pull the cards. And she kept pulling… and pulling…. and pulling. She must have pulled over thirty cards from her deck. I say this not because I question or despise the way another reader works with her cards. (I also want to make it clear that many, if not most readers do not read this way. They are inviting, informative, and value the shared energetic experience.) I did not feel like this reader valued my presence. I say this because the majority of the reading was spent shuffling and looking and shuffling and looking. I could not tell you a single card that was pulled because she didn’t talk very much. The last five minutes of a fifteen-minute reading was spent with her asking a few more questions, and then giving some small suggestions, and that was it.

Those fifteen minutes cost me $20.00, and although I recognize that is not the most expensive reading ever, it was still a lot for me at that time financially. I left feeling overwhelmed, annoyed, and more confused than before. I would have preferred it if she had pulled one card for me and had deeply gone into the meaning of that card, and how it could relate to me and my situation. As a reader, I don’t not believe more is more when it comes to number of cards. As a client, I know it’s not. A couple of years later, when I started developing my website, writing spreads, and determining my prices, I knew that I didn’t want to make anyone as my blessed client feel like they had been overcharged and under-served.

My pricing starts at $10.00 for one card, and goes up in $5.00 increments for each additional card.

But, I wrestled with the way to price my services and my spreads. What was fair to the clients, but still honored and valued the heart and soul I put into my work? I finally decided that I wanted to charge based on cards that I pulled. This means that my one-card readings (still thorough and written with love) are not charged the same way that my five-card reading does. Here are some of the main reasons I decided to charge this way (I feel the need to preface here that this is what works for me and the way I operate as a tarot reader. I am not saying that others who price or charge differently than me are doing it wrong. Different strokes for different folks):

1.) I don’t like being rushed for / by time and numbers: By removing the constraint of time, I personally feel more free to spend as much time as needed going into the messages that I download from each card. By removing the layer of time from my readings, I feel less confined by time.

2.) Discussing the cards from intuition: I could take one hour to discuss one card if my intuition keeps downloading meaningful content. I could take less time with more cards. With no time limit, I feel able to discuss each download clearly and without rush.

3.) Gives you financial options: Because my spreads are based upon the amount of cards I pull, I have many different spread options available on my website. You can choose the spread that works for you and for your budget. As mentioned, I have been in the place where $20.00 was my grocery limit for the week. I believe tarot is medicine, but I also believe it shouldn’t put you in the red. No matter the spread you choose, you will get my soulful intention to provide the best tarot reading I can.

4.) Telecommute makes time commitment harder: Because I do readings exclusively out of my home right now, time commitment to readings is not so black and white. Often, during a reading I pull the cards, write down initial notes by hand, and then take some time (outside, in meditation, or by journaling) to really let my intuition start downloading. It doesn’t always get channeled so immediately. So, I don’t have to start a timer or take note when I started or stopped. This again makes me feel less pressured by time, and more able to just read the cards and write.

5.) Quality over quantity: More cards does not mean a better reading. More time does not mean a better reading. Say it with me: more does not mean better. As I said in my story above, I would have preferred a $20.00 with only one or two cards, as opposed to a reading that had half the deck, and little to no detailed insight from particular cards. One card can really anchor you into clarification, or speak to your needed questions. Throwing down card after card after card may not always provide the most insight.

No matter as a reader, or a client, the main focus is in the value of each energetic experience. If you do not see what you want or need on my website, reach out to me. My prices are set by the cards I pull, but we can collaborate to create something of utility that honors both energy and budgets.
Photo by Ikhsan Sugiarto from Pexels

Hopefully, this provides some clarity to the way my pricing is set on my website. If you have any questions, or if you have a certain price point but don’t see a spread that fully covers your needs, no worries, shoot me an email at teaandtombstones@gmail.com and we can get a spread that fits your price point and your needs. Thanks for reading. Much love to you!

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The Law of Creation

Law 2: The Law of Creation

The second karmic law is the Law of Creation. This law states that life does not merely happen by chance or coincidence. Life is formed in the forges of ourselves; we are the creators. This means that as creators for our own lives, it is imperative that we hold to our truth, and honor that which makes each of us who we are. If you hide your truth or refuse to be an active participant in the daily makings of your own life, it can be of no surprise then, when your life does not hold the glittering riches of what you value.

One of the things that is important to be an active creator of your life, is to be present and aware of what is around you. Why? Because what is around you can be a direct message about your internal self. If your external world, and the way it moves and flows daily is peaceful (for the most part), inclusive (of yourself and others), creative (sacred expression), your internal self probably feels secure and sound. If your external world moves and flows daily from a place of fear, anger, or isolation, your internal world probably feels like a struggle or energy drain.

Photo by Gratisography on Pexels

The Law of Creation, with each person as the creator, means that if your world and external self are not in alignment with your higher potential, your internal self is most likely out of alignment with your truth. When or if this happens, look to what is within you that needs to be present and seen. Look to what your truth is, and that which you seek. If you look for answers and solutions outside yourself, your internal self is constantly left to adapt to themes, ideas, and situations that are not in alignment with your core.

5 of Pentacles from the Ostara Tarot

I think this sentiment applies nicely to the 5 of Pentacles, the tarot card of the month. This image shows a girl standing outside of a cathedral, and she is clearly destitute at the moment. Her wrap is in rags, her skin is exposed, and the night is bleak and snowy. With her is a snake, wrapped around her closely. Together they attempt to move and protect themselves from the elements. What she does not realize is that right next to her, shining through the cathedral window, is a stained-glass portrait of a snake wrapped around a tree of five pentacles.

If she would just turn and look at the light shining and the portrait on the stained-glass window, she would realize that she is where she needs to be to heal and be whole again. She would realize she is welcome beyond the doors of her current situation. Only she can make the choice to look and see that world is giving her an opportunity to regroup and grow through her personal truth. She is being given an opportunity by the universe to seek that which is seeking her, and to be part of the oneness of life.

The Law of Creation, since it applies to each person, means that you connecting to your life, forged from your own daily creation, means that when you meet another person, animal, or personified spirit, you are connecting to the oneness of the universe. Your life creation is a creation of energy. This energy is elevated through choice to be part of the wholesome universe as one energetic force.

There are certain things that are obvious outliers for the Law of Creation (in my humble opinion). Freak accidents happen. Bad things happen to good people. Life is often a painful experience. What is not an outlier that you, and each person, create your life through your choices, actions, relationships, intentions, spirit, and so much more. When looking to use the Law of Creation to connect more deeply to the oneness of yourself and beyond, look to the current energy within and around you. Ask yourself if you are happy. Ask yourself if you are okay. Ask the universe to help reveal the opportunity you need to grow, and then look up and choose…….

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Honest analysis of the first 12 days of July

July has been crazy from the get-go, and it hasn’t let up. In fact, it feels like it is growing stronger in its tumultuous ways. I cannot tell if it is Mercury Retrograde, the monthly cards, or the fact that it is just July, but this month is starting to feel crowded and cramped with all that energy spiraling in all directions. After writing my monthly ezine, I tried to really contemplate the cards message, decipher what was keeping my stagnant in my current space. I did not have to wait long for an answer…..

Within these fluttering 12 days, I have tried to power on and keep it business as usual. That is where I started to overdraw my energetic savings, depleting me of my ethereal riches. To start with some things a little less serious, I have tried to keep my business output the same, despite the fact that I work from home, and my home is currently an active construction site. The constant noise of whirring power tools, hammers banging their heads, and people shouting has left me short-tempered and exhausted, actually.

I finally had to throw in the towel and wait a few days for the crews to move to the other side of the complex before I could start my creations again. I do not write this with the presumption that this is a unique or extraordinary situation. It isn’t. Because of that fact, I couldn’t help but wonder why I felt so rushed, like I was failure because I couldn’t power through the circumstance.

This toxic mindset made me feel even worse, heightening already heightened energy. Some of this energy came from other, deeper sources too. One of my cats has been dealing with some health issues with no clear cause (despite some serious and expensive tests). Each trip to the vet, each dose of medication, made me feel more depleted. I didn’t know what to do, or sometimes how to handle this experience. All I knew was that I would do everything I could, and some days that didn’t feel like enough. Again, heightened energy left me feeling depleted and unable to honestly handle many things. Top that off with a flat tire this (thankfully discovered while at home), and these first 12 days have been a mountain.

But this is not a blog post meant to harbor resentment or throw a pity party. Some wonderful things have happened too. My cat is doing much better now. I decided to get fully back on board with yoga, opting to do my routine through youtube videos (Yoga with Adriene is amazing by the way) to save money, and I have been feeling great. I have also started baking more again, and eating better. I have also noticed that my energy has either been incredibly high or low and lazy. When I am feeling that brightness in myself, I have been working to declutter and reorganize my home.

I am also being more cognizant of how much news I take in. It is important to be mindful of what is going on in the world (when babies are being held captive, we cannot turn away from the truth), but it is also important to keep the head up, the eyes forward, and the heart open. Sometimes stepping away may feel privileged (and it completely is), but is necessary to breathe and not overwhelm the heart with such repulsive news.

So there have been many wonderful things coming from this heightened energy. But all of it made me wonder, why I am judging myself so harshly in moments, and then loving myself fiercely in other moments. Coming back to the Daughter of Pentacles and the Bat reversed (for the full description of the monthly cards, head over to my free offerings for the July ezine), I realized the first thing I have to release is judgement. There are times where I need to let myself stoop into laziness or frustration. Not the most pleasant of feelings, but it has a lot to teach. We cannot exceed our limits, although it is almost ingrained in us to just go, go, go. By taking a step back and letting myself feel a little triggered, I recognize that my sensitivity is proof of my existence. It is part of the spiral of life that I wouldn’t trade for anything, even in these times.

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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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Redefining with Whale Energy

I never knew how my space needed nuance until I sat under a full moon in Puerto Vallerta for Imbolc. The ocean, and all its treasures, pulled me into a new framework. It felt like my state of mind had been completely shifted by holding presence for myself next to the ocean. It felt like something in me had grounded and magnified when I saw the whales that move to the warm waters of Mexico to mate and give birth to new calves.

I had seen whales on my first trip to Mexico. The whales of Cabo were beautiful, yet completely foreign to me. I didn’t grow up with the ocean. The fabric of that part of nature had not blended into my culture. I have always been a mountain child. The terrain of trees and forests have held my heart for so long. Yet, the first time I sat on that water, rocking to the waves, and seeing the whales breach the water was overwhelming.

The whales and dolphins I saw in Puerto Vallerta were much more visible than in Cabo. The whales kept breaching, kept showing themselves, making everyone on the boat cheer and applaud such sights. For me, the experience of the whales and the oceans was more than just a wonderful day. It was profoundly spiritual. To see something that before had been resigned to documentaries and videos from others suddenly became something that was mine to cherish, to hold, and create space for.

When I pulled the Whale card for May (actually, when I pull the Whale regardless), I still feel a deep shift in me. The scale of energy that comes with the whale is both completely huge and surprisingly straightforward. When I pulled the Whale card for May, I tapped into the messages of the whale energy being a great mover. This means that when whale energy is present, we are being invited to move and navigate ourselves, keeping in mind that as we move, we should be moving with intuition. We should move and navigate ourselves with an understanding that the energies around us may not seem familiar, or may even make us feel completely out of our depths. But we need to keep moving anyway.

When we move and navigate ourselves from a place of sacred trust, we are letting the universe open to us in a way that shifts our soul purpose into focus, and mutes the ego. We are not being moved from a bullet list of places we must find or see. We are being moved into a state of deeper being, by letting the journey morph in the way that it needs to until we find our warmer waters. This requires a sense of trust, surrender, faith, and emotional honesty. It is okay to say that we feel out of our depths despite the fact that we need to keep going. It is okay to recognize that this energy is going to shape us and redefine us as we seek to create shape for our manifestations.

As this month is nearing a close, I urge you to tap into what has been moving you this month. What have you had to surrender and be fluid to in this monthly journey? How did it make you feel? Embrace whale energy by closing the final days of this month with a direction to move with intuition towards warmer waters without needing a sign that says: turn here, go here, do this, destination up ahead. Let your intuition shape your actions and help awaken your emotional honesty. Communicate that to others if needed, and continue to let the situation, the day, the space unfold. Whale energy is going to redefine us, but through self-care and check-ins, we won’t need a map. We will only need our unaltered truth and presence.

**Thank you for reading. You can find the May Newsletter by going to my free offerings tab. The newsletter is free and is available for download. Thank you so much!**

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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