Tarot, Circumstances and Interpretations (and a bit about the Queen of Swords).

A long time ago (by-which I mean early February) I did a quick reading because I was Very Preoccupied with an impending conversation with my not-quite-officially-gone ex-partner.
I used my then-very-new-to-me Wildwood deck, and pulled the Knight of Bows (which has been the card I associate with said ex pretty-much from the get-go), the Two of Vessels, and the Queen of Arrows.
Unsurprisingly, I burst into tears.
 
Pretty clear meaning, right?
Maybe not.
I mean, as it happened, my painful and grief-stricken interpretation turned out to be right. They’re not coming back. Our relationship has changed in a really big, really painful (for me, anyway) way.
But… here’s the thing.
I could have read that spread differently, and it would have been just as accurate.
 
See, up until very recently, I’d never met a Queen of Swords who looked like she might have my back. She’s always come across as haughty and dangerous. The Punisher of God putting on my mother’s face to say “I am very disappointed in you”, The rigid arbitor of whether or not (spoiler: not) I’ll ever be Worthy. She’ll pit you against someone else for her own ends, then pick at your bones when she’s done.
No wonder I looked at that white swan, with all its death imagery and Mean Girl regal violence, and saw “It’s over. You weren’t good enough”.
Why would the Queen of Swords have anything kind to tell me, when she’s never once looked like my friend?
 

Cristy C Road – Next World Tarot – Queen of Swords


 
But maybe she is my friend.
 
This woman in her queercore band t-shirt, her biker boots that are just like my wife’s, her long skirt and hair flowers (like Frieda, like Marsha)… she looks like the Best Femme Friend (4evar) who says “I love you a lot, but you are being an asshole here”. She’s the friend who will make you tea and listen to you cry, and then look at you with that eyebrow cocked, like, “You know that I know that you KNOW you’re doing The Thing again” and she doesn’t even need to say “Are you noticing a pattern here?” out loud because it’s all in that look.
 
In retrospect – because hindsight is 20/20 – I can look at those three cards and see my blunt-but-caring friend telling me:

If you want to have a relationship with this person – and I know you do – you are going to have to back off on what you offer them. Whether it’s can’t or won’t doesn’t really matter here. The reality is that they aren’t giving you the partnership they offered you. Stop throwing yourself off a cliff and put your own oxygen mask on rather than rushing to help them with theirs.

 
Thanks, friend.❤
 
So here's my question: Given that it's damn hard, when reading for yourself (and possibly when reading for people you're close to), to push back against whatever dominant meta-narative is eating your brain at the moment and see what other interpretations are available… How do you go about doing just that?
'Cause clearly I need some help.
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.

2nd Chakra Series – 21 Ways to Care for Your Sacral Chakra

Reblogging this in part so I can find it later. May or may not be relevant to your interests, but I suspect there are a few points here that are relevant to mine.

Mommy Mystic

If you are interested in women’s energetics work, please consider my self-paced DailyOm course Fall in Love With Your Feminine Power, which includes print, video, and audio material. If you are working to heal from sexual abuse, trauma, or disempowerment, please consider my teleseminar Energy Work for Sexual Abuse and Trauma, offered twice yearly.

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This is the last post in a series on the 2nd, or sacral chakra, in women. The prior posts were on Tantric Sexuality, Intuition and Seeing, Motherhood and Creating, and Spirituality and Bliss. Those posts all gave lots of reasons why attention to your 2nd chakra, and 2nd chakra issues, is so important for women. Hopefully you’re convinced!

This turned into quite the thesis, which I hadn’t intended. I have mixed feelings about the size of this list, because most women don’t need any more ‘should’ or ‘to-do’ items…

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Is Tarot Necessarily Spiritual?

I kinda love this. Go check it out.🙂

The Tarot Skeptic

Photo on 8-3-16 at 1.35 PMOkay. First, I need to put on my religious studies scholar hat.

There.

“Spirituality” is not objectively a thing that we can locate and measure.

It’s constructed, both culturally and by individuals. Over time, we ascribe meaning to objects and practices, and eventually those things take on greater symbolism. They become spiritual. For some people.

As a community, we tend to talk about certain things as though they’re inherently spiritual. Meditation, crystals, drinking tea, tarot cards…you can probably make your own list based on the various “spiritual” hashtags from Instagram or Tumblr.

Like the more we meditate, the more spiritual we inherently are. Or the more tea we drink, the more enlightened we become.

But here’s the thing: those things are tools. They’re not in and of themselves spiritual. Thanks to some selective history and, frankly, marketing, we associate them with “spiritual” people. We forget that “religion” and “spirituality” (again…

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Full Moon – Tomato Moon Crests

Thunder Moon was the wrong name. I said, a mo(o)nth and a half ago, that the minor drought conditions seemed to be lifting.
I was wrong.
It’s been weeks and weeks of oppresive, heat and almost zero rain. Things have been so dry that one of my tomato plants tastes like… the tomatoes taste like salt and bananas, if you can believe it.
I’m pretty sure part of why I’m writing this today, after weeks of no updates, is because (yes, it’s Full Moon today[1], BUT) the heat broke, just a little bit. It rained over night, and I don’t feel nearly so exhausted.
 
I cut down most of my mustard greens today. They’re a cold weather crop that bolts much faster than I expected. Between the tiny leaves on the bolted stalks and the general heat-wilt, we just haven’t been eating them. Late August is coming, and I am hoping to plant out some rainbow chard (again – I have about two rainbow chard plants, and they are struggling. The rest never even jerminated, that I can tell) for an autumn harvest. Considering using a totally-threadbare tank top, stretched over a dollar-store trellis, as a sun-shade so that the seeds will jerminate, instead of cook, this time ’round. (I have a LOT to learn, folks. You should see my neighbour’s crops. They’re all doing just dandy!)
I have bought zucchini and curly (Scotch?) kale at the market. My plan is to process that stuff for frozen veggies over winter today. That and, hopefully, drag my ass out to harvest choke cherries.
 
I feel like “nothing is getting done”, even though that’s not really true.
I started my Life Coaching sessions (just barely), about 10 days ago, and did a lot of soul-searching / psyche-digging (more psyche-digging) to answer my coach’s initial questions (more on that in another post).
I went to Queer in the Kitchen and learned how to make sour kraut (which is now sitting, doing its Fermentation Thing, and should (in theory) be ready to eat around Labour Day Weekend) and offered to do a water-bath-canning class for them (we’ll see if that actually happens, but I’m excited at the possibility)
I’ve gone dancing a bunch of times, and started chatting about tarot cards with someone who DJ’d one of those dances and then went to the sour kraut workshop.
I’ve written more poetry for “How to Cook a Heart” and (finally) did a little bit more work on The Novel (yesterday).
 
And yet… I feel like all I do is make dog harnesses and eat ice cream while wilting in the heat. The thought of turning the oven on is enough to make me want to Never Cook Again (or at least not until we get our usual cold snap in early September). I feel like buying vegetables from the market, when they are the same kind of vegetables I planted (zucchini, cooking greens, eggplants), is cheating. Like we should just live off of grocery store root veggies + the roma tomatoes I was planning to buy and can anyway this winter, rather than giving us some minor variety in our diet by paying for things I was expecting to successfully grow myself. The house is a constant mess, and I don’t even know where to start with it.
 
When I look at where I was, this time last year, I was so hopeful. And what I feel now is tired. Like a waste. Like “why do I bother” and “why am I here”. When did I stop being hopeful and start feeling like I needed to justify my continued existence?
…And yet, when I cut the cards on my new tarot deck (the Mary El one), the card I pulled is the Queen of Cups, cancer’s crab – all feelings, all the time – climbing from her heart to her throat.
The questions my life coach asked me, two weeks ago, were to get a handle on what I want to accomplish through the coaching. Unsurprisingly, the single word we boiled things down to is Receptivity. Maybe I could have gone with “worthiness”, but – like my coach’s preliminary suggestion of “self-sufficiency”, it’s too easy to turn that into something that will hurt me rather than help me. Too easy to turn that into the “shame dance” of trying to prove to someone else that I’m worthy (of love, of care, of anything other than a kick or a curse), rather than teaching myself not to brush off kindness like it’s something I shouldn’t need.
 
I read – or tried to read – my most recent tarotscope (via Siobhan’s Mirror, ‘scope itself done by Marianne at Two Sides Tarot), which said… I don’t actually know what it said. Because I read this bit:

Before we get into that, though, can you take a moment to recognize just how capable and skilled and creative and worthy you are?

 
…And just stopped. Like: Nope. Can’t do that right now. Can’t do that at all. Why are you lying to me, horoscope-person? I can’t deal with this crap.
 
Like, if I say that I’m worthy, and mean it; if I say that I’m capable and skilled and creative… then why have I not done more than this? Why am I not pumping out poetry – good, well-crafted poetry that only needs some polishing to make it worth publishing – every day? Why am I just sad and tired all the damn, stupid time? Why is my novel still languishing in it’s half-finished state? Why is my house so filthy and over-stuffed? Why is my larder so full of things I bought, instead of things I made?
 
I’ve been reading Rupi Kaur’s Milk and Honey (a book of very short poems and lots of doodles), and she has one that says “How you love yourself is // how you teach others // to love you”.
And I don’t love myself.
If I did, I would probably treat myself better, not brush off someone’s “how are you” as a formality, not beat myself up so much.
I don’t have a clue were my self-inflicted nastiness came from. I guess… some part of me thinks that being worth caring for is entirely bound up with how much abuse I’m willing to take?
I don’t know. It’s dumb, and I need to cut it out.
I don’t love myself, and I need to learn how.
Life Coach is showing me The Plan for this on Wednesday.
I hope I can make it work.
I am so sick of feeling like this.
 
 
~*~
 
 
Motion: A lot of walking. A lot of dancing. One really, really long bike ride (2 weeks ago, 27 km round trip – with 7 hours of harness-making in the middle) followed by barely being able to take a single (long, fairly big, but still) hill on my normal bike the next day. Getting back on the bike on Wednesday, but I don’t think I’ll be riding to work again any time soon.
 
Attention: Paying attention to ripe tomatoes, chokecherries ready for harvest. The water levels in my garden. The sky, praying for more rain.
 
Gratitude: Thankful for multiple modeling jobs this week and into the next; for the way my wife smiles at me in the morning (adn the fact that she wears crop tops…); for hanging on a corner in the Market, watching fireworks, with a bunch of random strangers (and being able to tell them why they were happening, because I am apparently a know-it-all…); for getting some work done on my novel; for the half-cracked pear tree branch that has falling over our yard, sitting on top of my neghbour’s trellis, and the tree-owner telling me to harvest as many as I could reach… just to wait until early September so that they’ll actually be ripe. (So, guess who’s making pear butter this year!). There are good things in my life, and I need to rmeember that.
 
Inspiration: Read Juliet Takes a Breath the other day. Between that and watching queer kids (ages 12-15) get excited about drawing at Manga Camp (I was their model. They thought I looked like Harley Quinn. I’ll take it.😉 ) I am chock full of “Yay, Adorable Babies!” which feels pretty great.
 
Creation: Was able to dive into my own novel (finally, again) to do some re-structuring. That felt really good. I still have to finish the damn thing, but it’s something.
 
 
Cheers,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 
 
[1] Actually, it’s totally not for another week. Woops. >.>

New Moon – Thunder(?) Moon Begins

Well, I’m writing this something like 10 days after the new moon actually turned up, but let’s go with it.
The minor drought we’ve been having in these parts seems to be on the mend, as we’ve ben having big rains (and little rains) and, ah… gentler temperatures the past few days.
 
My lovely wife and I went to Toronto Pride, for reasons that had nothing to do with Pride and everything to do with seeing my ex / her sweetie off to Alberta and their first Real Job In Their Field (I am a weird – or maybe not-so-weird – mix of proud-fam, missing/sadness, and relief (of various types) on this front), but we stuck around for Festivities and visiting our various friends in the area. It was a good time, and it gave us a chance to reconnect with each other, which was much-needed.🙂
 
Came home, however, to the results of the back x-ray I’d had a few days before leaving. A scary-sounding set of results that included words like “disease” and “obliteration”, followed with an “emergency” appointment with a back surgeon a week later (that was three days ago, as of this writing).
 
That was a scary week.
BUT all is well. Or as well as it can be. Basically, I have to do a lot of core-strengthening exercises so that I can rely on muscle (rather than bone and somewhat-non-existant discs) to hold up my torso. More reasons to ride my bike, do non-push-ups, sit up straight, and bounce on a yoga ball.😉
My wife jokes about how she now has “a prescription for a ripped wife”. I’ll take it.😉
 
In other news: My (yellow!) cherry tomatoes are starting to ripen, and they are delicious. I have (so far) one golden zucchini and one eggplant, but may get one or two more… here’s hoping. Still not much luck with the rainbow chard, but I remain hopeful. My cucumbers and butternut squash vines are starting to take off (thank you mamas!), so we’ll see if I get any fruits from them as time goes on. I’m just glad they’re growing and getting bigger!
I’ve been harvesting mustard greens (and dandelions, and lamb’s quarters) for pastas, sandwiches, and putting up in the freezer, too. Not a lot yet, but I’ve made a start.
The nieghbour gave us a bag of some of her spinach-like succulant greens (most of which I put up, but we’ve also had some in a stew and some on our sandwiches) and I got to participate in a “fruit recovery” harvest of a local cherry tree, which was nice. I need to pit and freeze the cherries today, though. It’s time. In theory, they’ll wind up jarred into pie filling or else turned into a cherry salsa (pie cherries, onions, basil, cilantro if my garden’s still got some, coriander, garlic scapes, black pepper, ground cloves, a little salt, some wine-vinegar, a pinch of sugar, and maaaaaybe some candied ginger), though I don’t have very many, so we’ll see if I just kep them frozen.😉
It’s time, too, to pick raspberries in the alley and freeze them for later – I want to make more goblin fruit jam again this year, since last year’s batch was soooooo good, using choke cherry purree and some of these raspberries, plus whatever other odds and sods I can come up with.
 
We are Summer Cleaning the house in an effort to get rid of the mice (unlikely, since the walls are audibly full of them and we live in a row-house which shares walls with other homes) or at least the smell of them. Between the mopped floors and the re-arranged furniture (and bird cages!), our living room is feeling a lot more open, and I’m really liking it!
 
Did a tarot-interpretation for someone the other day – a reader who I respect quite a lot, who did an all-call for help making sense of a reading she did for herself – and just got a note back saying that my interpretation helped a lot and was in line with messages she’d been getting from Elsewhere, too. So I’m feeling (a) moderately amazed, but also (b) kinda chuffed abou tit. Go me?😀
 
My thre singing lessons have come and gone, and I’m feeling more confident about my singing (and that I’ve Still Got It, basically), plus I’ve made a good start at learning Casta Diva. It’s still very-much “on the page”, but it’s somewhat “off the notes” at this point, which is nice.

~*~
 
Motion: Due to the whole Back Diagnosis thing, I’m doing (reallly basic) core-building exercises and making a much bigger point of engaging my core muscles when I’m out walking around town, sitting at a sewing machine, and what-not. Not exactly “motion”, but related and neccessary.
 
Attention: Trying to lavish attention on my wife, and to attend to my duties as a domme in terms of holding her reins as well. Additionally trying to peel back further layers of my emotional onion so that I can be more cognizant of it when I’m playing into my own meta-narratives and that sort of thing.
 
Gratitude: Greateful for the chance to reconnect with my wife. Grateful for back problems that are NOT a disaster and that I can fix (or mitigate significantly) just by getting stronger. (Thank you all the gods!) Grateful for a (small, but legally acquired) harvest of sour cherries from a tree in the next neighbourhood over. Grateful for friends who trust me with their hearts and their fears. Wow.❤
 
Inspiration: Reading More Than Two (a Poly-101 book with lots of useful questions for the readers to ask themselves), partly to ask myself those questions, but also to get a feel for what gaps there are in this kind of literature. I’ve got PLANS, kittens. Let’s see if I can follow through with them.
 
Creation: Continuing to work on my “How to Cook A Heart” manuscript (a poetry collection looking at queer, polyamourous relationships & family-building through the lens of seasonal eating & local food), specifically – and maybe this bit belongs under “inspiration” – by using the Tarot’s suit of Earth (2-10, maybe some others if I’m inclined) as a skeleton upon-which to hang some of the abundance/security/cultivation stories I want to tell. Pleased with how it’s going so far. This suit isn’t the Feelings Suit, I realize, but I find that its material-security and home-life themes twine very well with discussions of compersion, fears around being a third wheel, metamourships & constelationships, and the making of chosen-family from scratch. Tarot being a symbol system (and thus Made Of Metaphor to being with), using it to structure one’s poetry is a tried-and-true method for a reason.🙂

Onwards!

– TTFN,
– Meliad the Birch Maiden.

Full Moon – Flower Moon Crests (Summer Solstice 2016)

Well, there’s a thing you don’t often see. A full moon on Summer Solstice.🙂
Where I am, there’s – gotta hope – a thunder storm brewing. I’m half-way between hoping it hits in the next few minutes and hoping it hits once my lovely wife gets home from work. (I’m sure she’d appreciate the latter).
After a solid week of really chilly (like lows of 8C) weather, the heat has come back with lots of humidity. My zucchini, eggplants, and tomatoes are flowering like Woah, but I’m discovering that my wee new garden bed is badly in need of fertilizer – whether we’re talking Miracle Grow or the more naturally-occuring kind. Either way, most of my starts have kept their roots clining to the little cubes of soil they arrived in, andI’m worried that everything is goign to uproot before long. :-\
 
I’ve sprinkled some fruit-inducing bone meal around the new bed, and I’m wondering where I put last year’s tomato and pea stakes so that I can at least prop things up a little bit. :-\ May resort to unfolding some wire coat-hangers in the mean time.
 
We (finally) hung some of the ancestor photos today. My lovely wife has promised to bring home a drill so that we can do the rest without completely destroying the plaster (not drywall, plaster – it’s an old house) walls in the process. It’ll be nice to have them up again, though one of my foremothers has gone walkabout and I’m not sure where her picture has got to. :-\
We moved a new-to-us book case into the front room, and have unloaded most of the remaining Storage Locker Boxes (mostly books) onto its shelves. There’s still a lot of tidying, sorting, and re-arranging to happen in the front room, but we’re working on it again, which is really great. It feels good to be making progress, y’know?
 
My altars need more candles made for them. I’m going to have a dig around to see if I’ve got any already made (from years ago, when I sold them at craft fairs), so we’ll see how far I get on that front.
 
There was Orlando. And the week that followed it has just been weird and heavy. I have this blog post halfway written to put up on Syrens, and I’m not even sure that I’m going to do it. I may just send people here and here instead. I went to one of the vigils in town, because one friend was singing at it, and another was reading at it (the second piece I just linked to). I wore my leather and my shawl – in 30C heat, no less – because why else did I make it. And that was that.
 
In significantly less wretched news: I started singing lessons today.
This is a big deal, since (a) I haven’t taken a lesson – besides a one-off when I had a solo for a choir concert, a solid decade+ ago – since 2001, and (b) I learned how to run energy through singing. So unblocking a lot of my Energy Blocks – my teacher’s also a yoga instructor, so when I used “the chakras that show up on all the posters” to talk about how my body lights up when I’m singing well, she already knew what I was talking about + wasn’t (visibly) offended that a white chick was talking to her about chakras – particularly in the red and orange areas (I stopped singing within a couple of months of becoming sexually active and, while the two events aren’t related, it means that I’ve never been An Active Singer and someone with an active sex life at the same time BUT, when things are going well for me sexually, I start hitting high notes. As such, I’m aware that they’re connected, and so am wondering (in a fairly positive way) how getting my singing groove back will help in other departments. On a related note, I’m wondering (in a similar fashion) how doing more active singing practice will effect my awareness in ritual situations (whether we’re talking about Pagan stuff or S/M stuff for that matter).
 
~*~
 
MOTION: Took myself out to a couple of dances on Saturday night, during Glow Fair. Danced to spooky-spooky music at Retro Underground – I’d personally have been happier with a Smiths/Cure/Cruxshadows/BellaMorte kind of mix, but whatever they were playing when the doors open was good enough for what I was looking for. Then I bopped over to Oh My Jam (a reoccuring all-kinds-of-queers dance party) and called in my own tiny ocean to dance and splash in while other folks arrived and slowly filled the place up. Usually when I’m dancing, I call in Fire. But I tried for Water this time, and… it was (unsurprisingly, fish that I am) easier to keep my own energy from flagging while dancing on my own for the better part of an hour. That’s something I need to remind myself of all the time. When I do those grounding visualizations, I’m a willow, not an oak. My roots are very much in the water. When I call energy up into myself, I basically have to drink it – like capillary action. When I draw it down, it’s rain, or a shower/sprinkler system, or else it’s plunging into the blue so deep it starts edging towards the black. Mermaids R Us. Energy work involves tentacles, often as not. Scorpio with Cancer Rising (and Moon, for that matter). Pices in the dome of heaven. Water, water everywhere.
 
ATTENTION: Listening to a lot of Chai Chats – which is basically a CR group ft a bunch of kinky, poly femmes (afaik). Paying attention to my wife, trying to do more Quality Time (rather than shared-down-time) things with her, have more dates, that sort of thing. Digging into my Feeeeelings a little bit more and trying to sort out why sadness is such a habit with me (and it is – it’s totally the path of least resistance, if I’m thinking of myself as water. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be) but also trying to tease out the threads of it, so I can tell which bits of a given Sad Feels are born of what I’m thinking/moping about at a given moment, versus which ones are just glomming onto the focus-of-the-moment but are actually rooted elsewhere. It’s like when you have that reoccuring Fight AboutThe Laundry, or whatever, with one of your partners, and it’s never actually about the laundry, it’s about Feeling Taken For Granted or Wondering If You’re Special, or similar. Like, I’m essentially having Fights (well, cry-fests) with myself that are (on the surface) about my ex, but I suspect are really about something much less-specific than that, such as “Am I Loveable?” or “Will I Be Forgotten If I’m Not Constantly Pushing Myself Into People’s Faces?” (Oh, hey, Fear Of Abandonment), and I’d like to be able to “fight” about the actual thing, rather than just wallpapering a grief-focus over top of the actual thing and telling myself I’m crying about that.
 
GRATITUDE: Thankful for being able to use the neighbour’s hose to water the garden. Thankful that my lovely wife is sorting through her Stuff and that we’re making progress on the house again (we’ve been here for almost two years, so it’s kind of a thing). Relieved as fuck that the “suspicious person” in the ski mask at U of T last Monday turned out to be nothing, rather than a copy-cat jumping on the hate wagon. Grateful that my voice hasn’t disappeared on me after all these years of neglect. Grateful for dancing. For a bike that makes my back feel better, not worse. Grateful for hot nights and gusting breezes, for moonlight on the water, and the way my wife shivers when I kiss the back of her neck.
 
INSPIRATION: This Tweet + the Queer Body Love series that’s happening online right now (you probably need to sign up to get (free) access to the content).
 
CREATION: I’ve been feeling really uncreative lately. I was talking to my wife about it last night, over sangria by the local tiny lake, and she pointed out that I’ve been turning that energy inward, diving deep and seeing what I can dredge up to the surface. That said, I have Homework from my singing teacher which, along with running through Casta Diva and doing breath practice while in Supported Fish (Matsyasana), among other things, includes doing noodly improvisations using the sylables of my own name. So maybe I can get creative there.
 
“The sun sees your body, the moon sees your soul” (to quote said inspirational tweet).
Happy Solstice, kittens.
 
 
TTFN,
Melaid the Birch Maiden.

Summer Solstice Tarot Reading (2016) – Searching For Truth, Searching for Connection

So, Worts and Cunning has a tarot spread for Summer Solstice. I decided to give it a go:
 
I did this spread with my Osho Zen deck, but am pairing up the cards I drew with the corresponding cards in my Wildwood deck.
 
1. SUNRISE. What is your source of abundant growth?
Control / Kingfisher (King of Swords), R

Ugh!
I’ve pretty-much always read Control as Lord Domly Dom, so preoccupied with How Things Are Supposed To Go that he can’t (or won’t) bend to the realities of a given situation.
I have a hard time reading anything good into air cards, to begin with, so seeing three of them in this spread kind of made my heart sink a little.
A broader reading of the King of Swords – partially via the Wildwood’s Kingfisher rendering – points towards a preoccupation with truth, with knowing right from wrong, doing the actually right thing in a given situation, as opposed to an obsession with, say, knowing the Right Jargon to make it look like I know what I’m doing (at all costs).
I’m not sure how this can be read as a “source of abundant growth”, but it makes me think of that Thing that all the astrologers say about Scorpios: That we tend to swim in the deep end of the pond all the time (the way those kingfisher can dive so deep, with so much accuracy), tend to be so (impatiently) hungry to Understand Everything Intimately, understand everyone intimately, understand every part of ourselves intimately.
My wife says that she looks at my dedication to understanding my own Issues, figure them out, know them well so that I can live with (and mitigate) them, rather than be ruled by them, and that it impresses the socks off of her. (Bonus!) So, in terms of “source of abundant growth”… yeah. The thing that keeps me growing is my willingness to shine a light into my own often-icky, murky depths and sort out what’s really going on in there.
 
2. BONFIRE. Where do you shine brightest? How do you illuminate the world? Adversely, what do you fear to show the world? What holds you back from exposing your greatness?
Beyond Illusion / The Great Bear (Judgement, 20 of MA), R

When Beyond Illusion shows up in a reading, I tend to understand it as a “cut through the bullshit” card – so it relates a bit to the King of Air in my Sunrise position.
That said, I feel like that’s almost too easy?
I know I’m afraid to be Big – not stature-wise, because that’s been the case for 20+ years and is kind of just how things are, but Big like “visible”, like “noticeable”. Because people who get noticed, get hurt, get slammed back into the place where they’ll stay small and cringing.
Which is… frequently true. But is also clearly just something that my Jerk Brain is telling me (See: all of Miss Sugar’s posts about Glamour, basically). I could read this as just “Stop hiding your big light, lady”. But… I don’t know?
The write-up for The Great Bear says “Be honest, be patient, be forgiving”, and touches on the way that initiation strips us bare and then rebuilds us wiser and stronger than we were… Maybe this is still about illuminating the truth after all. (Suggetions are totally welcome here, y’all…)
 
3. SUNSET. What is it that you have to give?
Postponement / Rest (4 of Swords), R

Well, I knew that… People have been telling me I’m a “natural ground” for 10+ years. I can help people process their trauma. Or feed them. Or give them a couch to fall apart on. I give really good hugs. That’s what I’ve got.
 
4. SUMMER SUN. Overview of the strengths of your relationships between friends, family, and lovers.
Silence / The Pole Star (The Star, 17 of MA), U

I get this card confused with The Moon all the time, but this card isn’t about all the unconcious Stuff repeating in one’s life. Silence corresponds to The Star (or The Pole Star, as the case may be), and is all about guidance when you’re feeling lost (there we are with Truth again…).
In a different context, this card asks you to name & recognize your personal Inner Truth, but in the context of interpersonal relationships, it’s hope and holding fast – my sometimes foolish refusal to give up on people and believe (or tell myself again and again) that the Hard Stuff is mostly circumstantial and that we can get through the rest. It can touch on letting go of insecurities. It can touch on loving through changes, growing together, being generous with each other (be patient, be forgiving…). These are good strengths to bring to the way I relate to the people I care about.
 
5. SUMMER SHADOW. Overview of the weaknesses of your relationships between friends, family, and lovers.
The Dream / Reunion (6 of Cups), U

Ha! Yeah. What I said about telling myself that “everything is circumstantial”? The Dream (which could just as easily be named “wishful thinking”) is all about that: Longing for what could be, what might have been, for what you don’t have anymore, for the grass that could be greener elsewhere (for us poly folks, that probably looks like NRE on steroids or something – I did a reading the other day that reminded me not to forget how good things are at home). I totally do all of that. Reunion is a much more charitable way of reading the 6 of Cups, but it still touches on ruminating about The Past (what went wrong? how did I screw this up?), even if it’s coming at it from the perspective of taking responsibility, and the potential (maybe? wishful thinking?) for forgiveness that could come.
Accurate.
 
6. SACRED HERBS. Overview of your relationship to the green world including the food you eat.
Transformation / The Journey (13 of MA)

Uh… I don’t know what to make of this one. O.O
In terms of Transformation, I’m inclined to take the word literally and draw on the words from Starhawk’s Earth Path, wherein she says that the land told her that, when she grows, forages, and eats the food that grows where she lives, she becomes the land, the land becomes the literal makeup of her body. Which is very much why I aim for local, “micro-bio-reeeeeeeeeeegional”, food when I get my groceries (whether at a shop, at a farmer’s market, or by foraging for greens and fruit in my neighbourhood and growing veggies, herbs, even fruit in my back yard), and why I try to Know The Neighbours, the non-humans, in my nieghbourhood so that I can recognize them as food, as medicine, as poison, as bee-lovers, on sight.
The Journey, with its carion imagery makes me think of compost, of the cycle of decomposition that feeds new life, and also of the way I have a somewhat “food not bombs” approach to left-overs + a focus on eating the whole animal (and eating animals at all), in my cooking. Which, granted, is slightly less about the plant kingdom, but there it is.
 
7. LAND SPIRITS. Overview of your relationship to the land spirits.
The Rebel / The Greenman (The Emperor, 4 of MA), R
I’m Bossy? Gosh, I hope not…
I like the Collective Tarot’s interpretation of The Emperor, the way flags tradition and rules of engagement (and even “daddy”) without hitting the Patriarchy buttons that often come with this card. The Rebel is similar, in that it’s a “master of your own domain / go your own way” card of self-definition. How that relates to the way I interact with the local spirits of place… I’m really not sure. Unless it’s because I put out a call, have a small pantheon of my own People, make offerings… inconsistently? But still make a point of making them?
The Green Man of the Wildwood reminds me of the Magician card, all the represented elements, a sense of control. But… I’d really rather be “working with”, or “part of”, than the “power over” stuff that comes up in Reclaiming as a thing to avoid.😉 If I were to try to read this as how I relate to the local spirits of place… I would be inclined to talk about being a hearth witch rather than a hedge witch. I like to make things on the stove. I like to cultivate the plants I want in my garden rather than heading into the forest to try and find them amidst the poison ivy and potential for bears. Yes?
 
8. STIRRINGS. What part of you is awakening as the wheel turns towards the first harvest?
Schizophrenia / Injustice (2 of Swords), R

Great…?
Schizophrenia has consistently shown up as a feeling of being pulled (apart!) in two directions. The two of swords can sometimes mean “hiding from the truth” (truth again…) or “willful ignorance”. Injustice definitely touches on the “willful ignorance” aspect of this card. But this is all about the personal as personal (not so much political?), so I need to think about balancing introspection (air cards, searching for truth) with actual action. Making decisions in spite of fear (O, hai, life coach…), shuffling forward one tiny step at a time. Then again, maybe I’m just going to have a summer of “Eugh! So unfair!” about All The Things. I mean, I hope not, but it could happen. Better that (in theory) than blocking emotions (as if), Playing It Cool, or staying stuck while feeling confused about Feeeeelings. Wish me luck on that front. Life coaching, ahoy!
 
Added to this spread, I drew the following cards (two from the top, one from the bottom):
 
ADVISOR: Completion / The World Tree (The World, 21 of MA)
+
OVER-ARCHING INFLUENCES: The Lovers / The Forest Lovers (6 of MA)
+
UNDER-LYING INFLUENCES: We Are The World / Home (10 of Earth)

Yeah, well, that’s no surprise…
I mean, it is a spread about relationships, right? Of course The Lovers (even in the annoyingly heteronormative Wildwood depiction) are going to be all over it. Of course the Ten of Earth, the card that mean Home and Safe and Family, is going to be all over it.
I think it’s really neat how The World Tree and Home reflect each other so well, how that relates to the way my personal sense of Completion is the “We Are Family” security of We Are The World.
 
While I appreciate that this spread includes relationships with spirits of place and the green kingdom in general, my particular spread is very, very much about the human-interpersonal. I’ve seen the 10 of Earth intrepreted as “second chances” or “trying again, trying something different, now that you know better or have new/deeper understanding about X”. It makes me lookat that 2 of Air card, that “What’s waking up for you” card, with its calls to not hide your feelings, to nothold yourself back through willful ignorance or Pretending Everything’s Fine, to keep moving and be honest rather than telling yourself untruths that keep you stuck.
 
Onwards into summer. I’ve got some (more) digging to do.