A Summer Solstice Tarot Spread

Cards pictured are from Monstarot Tarot Deck, the Gaian Tarot, and Tarot of the Crone. Goddess figures from Brigid’s Grove, and the sun prayer beads are available in my Etsy shop.

Summer Solstice kind of sneaked up on me this year—I can hardly believe it is tomorrow! This year the Solstice falls on different dates, though, depending on your timezone, so for some of you it will be on the 21st.

It is definitely starting to feel like summer here. The high today is supposed to be near 100. At the Grower’s Market this weekend cherries and blueberries were available, as well as lots of lettuces and greens, and a few early cucumbers. My absolute favorite part of summer is enjoying the succession of fresh, local fruits and vegetables. The tomato plants I am growing  are full of flowers and green tomatoes. They’ll enjoy this heat we’re having, even if I don’t!

At this peak of the sun’s energy, we celebrate creativity and the fruit it bears. We celebrate the creative, fertile power of the earth that feeds us, and our own creative energy that brings joy to ourselves and others.

As the sun grows stronger, my thoughts have also been turning to questions about power—how we access it, how we use it, how we fail to claim it, or give it away to others. I am writing here of our own personal power, the power to direct and make choices in our own lives, not “power-over,” i.e. trying to control others, that is the more common association with power in our culture.

This spread for the Summer Solstice looks at these themes of creativity and power, helping us to call on the energy of the sun, even as it begins to wane again, to help us access our own inner power and to light our creative fires.

Question: What do I need to know during this next turn of the wheel? (From Summer Solstice until Lammas)

  1. Overall Theme
  2. Key Opportunity
  3. Key Challenge
  4. What will fuel my creative fire during this time?
  5. In what area of my life do I most need to claim my own power?
  6. What action(s) can I take to stand firm in my own power and live according to my own values?

I’d love to hear how your reading goes. Please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions about the spread.

May you have a blessed Summer Solstice and a blessed summer season!

A Tarot Spread for Beltane

Beltane (May 1) is almost upon us, and the lush, vibrant energy of deep spring is in the air here in southwestern Oregon. I have been especially captivated by the dogwoods this year, both the lovely white and pink ornamentals growing in yards, as well as our native Pacific Dogwoods that stand out on wooded hillsides, their flowers glowing white in a sea of fresh green leaves.

Almost all of our trees have leaves on them now, although some are still small, fresh, and tender. With all the rain we have had, the grasses are thick and lush, painting the mountains a vibrant green.

Yesterday, I saw a Starling feeding its young, and it won’t be long before there are juvenile Black-Capped Chickadees, Lesser Goldfinches, White-breasted Nuthatches, and Downy Woodpeckers begging for food from their harried parents at my feeders.

Every time I go for a drive it seems that the hillsides are covered in a new variety of flowers. This week the hills were covered in a blanket of pink Rosy Plectritis flowers, with a scrubby, gray-green species of Ceanothus covered in white blossoms among them.

A hill covered in Rosy Plectritis and Ceanothus.

Rosy Plectritis, up close.

May Day (or Beltane) is a time of riotous beauty as flowers bloom all around us. It is lusty, lush, and abundant. However, few things are producing seeds and fruits at this time, the energy is instead the energy of potential, and it still requires nurturing to ensure a full harvest. Right now, we simply celebrate the return of life, the return of fertility, and the potential of future fruitfulness and harvests to come.

I have created this tarot spread for Beltane to honor the energy of this season, and to help us find vibrancy and a zest for life in our own lives.

Question: What do I need to know during this next turn of the wheel? (From Beltane until Summer Solstice)

  1. Overall Theme
  2. Key Opportunity
  3. Key Challenge
  4. What do I need to nurture in my life during this time?
  5. What should I move away from that keeps me from celebrating and enjoying my life?
  6. What should I move towards to more fully participate in the simple joys and pleasures of life?

I’d love to hear how your reading goes.

May you have a blessed Beltane!

A Tarot Spread for Spring Equinox

Tomorrow, March 20th, the wheel turns again to spring. Some of you may be feeling the fullness of spring already, while I know others are still snowed in. Here we can’t seem to shake endless gray, rainy days, but the flowers are blooming, the bright green grass is springing up, and tree buds are beginning to open.

I have been dealing with lower back spasms for almost a week now, and today I also seem to be coming down with a cold. I don’t get sick or injured very often, so to be both at the same time is a bit mystifying, and also seriously annoying! I had one day this week where I felt better and was able to get out for a visit to the river and a brief walk, but apparently I overdid it, because my back has been painful again ever since. Not being able to get outside or to exercise is making me crazy!

I haven’t gotten to do any of the spring cleaning I had planned to do, or the spring life detox I had been planning. I wish I could say I’ve been using all this downtime wisely by reading great books and meditating a lot, but I’m afraid I’ve mostly been lying on the couch with a heating pad or an ice pack, watching Netflix, and feeling sorry for myself. In my defense, I have tried to read, but it is hard to focus when you are in pain. I have definitely gained greater empathy for those who suffer from chronic pain through this ordeal.

So, I don’t know how much celebrating I’m going to get to do for the Equinox tomorrow, but I will at least do a simple ritual and my tarot reading for the next turn of the wheel. Here is the spread that I will be using:

Question: What do I need to know during this next turn of the wheel?

  1. Overall Theme
  2. Key Opportunity
  3. Key Challenge
  4. What is beginning to bloom in my life?
  5. How can I best support the growth of my projects/ideas/visions?
  6. How can I honor the Maiden within me? What does She most need from me?

If you did the Winter Solstice and Candlemas spreads, you might want to refer back to the cards you drew for the questions “What dream or vision am I nurturing in the dark?” and “What seed is beginning to send out roots within me?”. How do those cards relate to the cards you have drawn for questions 4 and 5 of this spread? Are you seeing the movement of a dream, project, or vision from the dreaming phase during the dark of deep winter, to the blooming phase now in spring? Also, in our culture it is easy to relate dreams and projects to work, or to the way we make a living. Remember that we have dreams and projects in all areas of our lives—relationships, health, spirituality, creativity, our homes, etc., so you don’t have to limit your interpretation only to work issues.

Well, that’s about all the sitting upright my back can handle for now. I think I’ll be doing some Reiki and crystal healing for my back and the impending cold today. Maybe I can head off the cold!

I hope you all have a wonderful Spring Equinox!

Candlemas Musings and a Tarot Spread

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My Candlemas altar. The image of Brigid is from Joanna Powell Colbert, which she graciously gave to us to color and use on our altars in a Candlemas class I took from her several years ago. My parents brought me the silver Brigid’s cross pendant from Ireland last year.

I have to admit, life has been challenging lately. I imagine many of you are feeling the same way. I feel like I’m being bombarded by horrible news on a daily basis, but I can’t seem to look away. I’m trying to balance staying informed with staying sane, but it isn’t easy. Things feel heavy and overwhelming, but there are also hopeful moments like the Women’s March, and the way people are being activated to get involved.

I’ve been doing what I can to cope with it all. I’ve been spending a lot of time outdoors, walking or just sitting in the sun (when we are lucky enough to have some!).

I’ve been starting most of my mornings at my altar, followed by half an hour or so of yoga (I have been enjoying the Revolution series by Yoga with Adriene). That gets my day off to a good start, as long as I manage NOT to check Facebook or the news afterwards while I eat breakfast.

I’ve been reading a lot of women’s spirituality books. I just finished When God Was a Woman by Merlin Stone, which I found at a used bookstore a couple of weeks ago. Why had I not read this book before? It is so good.

I’ve been watching Parks and Recreation on Netflix when I need a mindless break from it all. I’m not usually much of a sitcom/comedy person, but I like the characters and it always makes me laugh.

I have been struggling to get myself to make art, although I know it would help.

And so it goes, one day at a time.

Now, Candlemas is almost upon us, and it is one of my favorite holy days. The days are noticeably longer now. Here bulbs are sprouting, buds are ever-so-slightly swelling, and hazelnut catkins are opening, releasing their pollen to fertilize their tiny magenta flowers, the first flowers of the year. There is a sense of hope in the air. Spring is on its way, life and growth are returning to the world. Even for those of you who are still deep in winter, the increasing light promises that the snow will melt and spring will arrive.

I love the themes of Candlemas: cleansing and purification, illumination and inspiration, rebirth, initiation and dedication, creativity.

This is the time of year to asks ourselves what needs cleansed in our lives. Do we want to do a thorough spring cleaning between now and the Spring Equinox? Or maybe just clean out a certain part of our homes—a closet that really needs attention, our kitchen cupboards, our clothes, or our bookcases. Do we want to cleanse an activity like checking the news or Facebook (I’m looking at myself here!), cut sugar out of our diet, or commit to drinking a detox tea each day?

It is also a time for initiations and dedications. Are we ready to commit ourselves to a course of spiritual study, to working with a particular Goddess for the year, to reading a certain number of spiritual books, or to practicing regular prayer or devotions? What part of our spiritual path or practice is calling us to deeper commitment and devotion?

As the light grows, as new life begins to emerge all around us, what do we feel inspired to do? Is it time to get to work on an idea for a project or creative practice that has been simmering deep inside during the winter months? I know it is definitely time for me to get myself back to my art table, if only to play in my art journal and enjoy myself. Because this time of year is also the time of the Maiden, who is young, light, free, playful and full of life. Let’s shake off some of the winter darkness and have some fun!

Here is a tarot spread you can use on Candlemas to answer some of these questions and find your own inspiration for the next turn of the wheel:

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Question: What do I need to know during this next turn of the wheel?

  1. Overall Theme
  2. Key Opportunity
  3. Key Challenge
  4. What seed is beginning to send out roots within me? (This could be an idea for a project, a dream, a new beginning.)
  5. Where in my life can I be more playful and creative?
  6. How can I more fully devote myself to my spiritual path?

Candlemas blessings to you! May you find a spark of light to guide you when things seem dark. May we all be blessed with hope and love as life returns to the earth. Blessed be.

A Tarot Spread for Winter Solstice

winterspread

Cards from Earth Magic Oracle Cards, The Victorian Fairy Tarot, and The Druidcraft Tarot

Winter Solstice is almost here! Wednesday the 21st will be the shortest day and longest night of the year, when we celebrate the rebirth of the sun and the return of the light. However, while Yule offers us the promise of the return of the light, January can be the deepest, darkest, coldest part of winter in many places. We must move through these dark days, trusting that the light is returning, until Candlemas/Imbolc on February 1 or 2 (depending on which date you prefer), when we can finally begin to see that the days are lengthening.

The dark days between Winter Solstice and Candlemas are an excellent time for nurturing our dreams in the dark, just as the earth is nurturing seeds in her dark soil, readying them for their emergence in spring. These are days when we need to trust that life and light will return, while all may seem cold and dark. We may find ourselves craving rest and quiet, wanting to sleep more, and not feeling quite ready to jump headfirst into taking action on all the goals and plans we have made for 2017. Go gently into this time, nurture your dreams, allow your goals to unfold slowly, and trust that as the sun’s light returns, so will your own energy and desire for action.

This tarot spread covers the time between Winter Solstice and Candlemas, and was designed to help us find hope, to take time to listen to our dreams, and to find time for rest as we move through this turn of the wheel.

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Question: What do I need to know during this next turn of the wheel?

  1. Overall Theme
  2. Key Opportunity
  3. Key Challenge
  4. What promise does Goddess (God, Spirit, Universe—your choice!) offer me as the light returns?***
  5. What dream or vision am I nurturing in the dark?
  6. What do I need to let go of to make time and space in my life to rest and dream?

***This should be a positive promise, something that will give you hope as you move through winter’s challenges. If you draw a card that is generally considered “negative,” interpret it in the best possibly light. For example, if you draw the Three of Swords, the promise could be that you will find healing for your heart as the light returns. If you draw The Devil, the promise could be that you will find freedom from an addiction that has been troubling you, or that you will find a way to create more balance in your life. Think hope and healing as you interpret the card in this position.

I will use this spread during my Winter Solstice ritual and will post my own reading then.

This is also a great time to review your Hallowmas/Samhain reading if you did one. How did your interpretations play out in your life between Hallowmas and Winter Solstice? Looking back at what has happened during that time, do you now see alternative or deeper meanings in any of the cards? As I look back at my reading, I can see that my card for the gift the darkness offers me, Six of Earth, ended up coming to pass very literally as I offered my first professional healing and tarot sessions during this time. I had not planned on that happening so soon, but an opportunity opened up for me, and it was exciting to have someone value my work and actually want to pay me for it—the exact meaning of the Six of Earth!

May you all have a blessed holiday season, whatever and however you celebrate! Oh, and if anyone could send some snow my way, I’d appreciate it. I have major snow envy after seeing everyone’s lovely pictures on Instagram!

A Tarot Spread for Samhain

samhaintarot

Cards from the Spiral Tarot, The Halloween Tarot, and The Green Witch Tarot

Monday is Samhain, or Hallowmas, the beginning of the deepest and darkest part of the year. Some people love the long, dark days of winter, and others dread them. I feel a little bit of both. Winter can be a challenging time for me, especially if we have a particularly gray winter. I can find myself sinking into depression and despair as the fog settles into they valley.

This is a time when our natural energy cycles can slow down, when we desire to rest, to find silence, peace, and stillness. Yet our culture doesn’t recognize the need to slow down, we are supposed to go, go, go all the time. We must be productive at all costs! We must be ready for the seasonal round of parties, shopping, and celebration. I love the seasonal festivities, but it is important for me to also honor my need to rest, be silent, and to go within. I often think that depression, colds, and flu come to force a slowdown when we choose not to give ourselves the rest we need during this dark time of the year.

I created this spread to help us find ways to make friends with the dark and to honor the gifts it brings us as the natural world around us settles down for its own winter slumber.

tarotlayout

Question: What do I need to know during this next turn of the wheel?

  1. Overall theme
  2. Key opportunity
  3. Key challenge
  4. What can I do to help ease my descent into the dark time of the year?
  5. What gifts does the darkness offer me?
  6. What message does the Wise Crone have for me during this season? (You can see this as a wise guide, a Goddess, or your own wise voice within, whatever works best for you.)

I will use this spread during my Hallowmas ritual, and will post my reading then.

I’d love to hear about your reading, and would enjoy discussing it with you if you have any questions.

May your journey into the dark season be filled with rest and peace!

A Tarot Spread for Autumn Equinox

For several years I did a tarot reading on each of the eight holidays of the Wheel of the Year asking what I needed to know during the next turn of the wheel. I got out of the habit of doing that this past year, but decided it was time get back into the habit again, and pulled out this Autumn Equinox spread that I created a couple of years ago. Much of the inspiration for the spread comes from Joanna Powell Colbert, creator of the Gaian Tarot, which I used below for my own reading. She often uses the “overall theme,” “key opportunity,” and “key challenge” elements in her spreads, and I find they work really well in my seasonal spreads. In addition to those, I add three cards regarding topics or issues related to the current seasonal theme.

tarotlayout

Question: What do I need to know during the next turn of the wheel?

  1. Overall Theme
  2. Key Opportunity
  3. Key Challenge
  4. What I most need to let go of
  5. My most important harvest so far, something to be grateful for/proud of
  6. The internal work that most needs to be done as the light wanes

My reading was a bit intense!

auteq2016

My reading, using the Gaian Tarot

  1. Overall Theme: Bindweed — The Gaian Tarot book calls this card “life out of balance.” During this turn of the wheel I may be challenged to maintain balance in the midst of many demands for my time and attention. It will be important not to give into despair or slip into escapism through my favorite addictions (like eating too much junk food or bingeing on too much Netflix!). It will be important to consciously seek to respond in healthy ways to the challenges I may face during this time.
  2. Key Opportunity: Five of Fire — The opportunity of this time is to practice courage and face my fears and challenges head on.
  3. Key Challenge: Four of Air — It will be a challenge for me to create boundaries, to take the time I need for meditation, reflection,  and journaling to help me stay calm when things get difficult. This card has also been showing up a lot for me as reminder not to hide away, safe in my nest, and refuse to face things. So I will be challenged to put into practice the courage of facing problems (as indicated by the Five of Fire), instead of hiding, which is the more comfortable response for me.
  4. What I most need to let go of: Seven of Earth — I most need to let go of impatience and trying to force things to happen. Growth is a slow and steady process, and it is time to trust that the work I am doing now, the seeds I am planting, will sprout and grow in their own best time. I can let go of trying to control everything.
  5. My most important harvest so far: Five of Air — I have taken steps to move past the conflicting inner voices that have kept me stuck and confused for far too long, and have moved forward to claim my own space and speak my truth in the world. (But it is still really scary!)
  6. The internal work that most needs to be done as the light wanes: Ten of Earth — I wasn’t quite sure how to interpret this card at first, but my eyes kept being drawn to the nurse stumps in the foreground. I think this means that the internal work I need to do is to cultivate trust that, as Julian of Norwich wrote, “All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well.” I need to learn to trust that new growth can spring forth even from places that seem dead and barren. To trust that even as things pass away in my life, there are always fresh, new experiences to take their place and bring life and hope to me again.

I hope your own reading with this spread is just as juicy. I’d love to hear about it! I’m kind of bracing for impact after my reading!

Bright harvest blessings to you all!