Short Sip Tarot: Chains

TaoCraft Short Sip is Tarot for your day in the time it takes to sip from your coffee. Today’s card is the Devil from the major arcana

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Today’s card is The Devil, from the major arcana.

This card can be intimidating. It outright scares people, especially if you look at the card through the misconception of predicting the future or the drama of paranormal fiction. This card doesn’t involve hellfire, brimstone, a red Minotaur-looking guy, two dudes in an impala or a guest appearance by Crawley and the Chattering Sisters of St. Beryl. The Devil card is way worse than the Hollywood version. It is a reminder that there really are bad things that happen and that there really are bad people in this world. Psychopaths, sociopaths, murderers, terrorists, con artists, thieves, sweet pickles and super slowed down song covers actually do exist. There is real evil in this world and taking normal, reasonable precautions are always warranted. The Devil card reminds us to stay heads up, eyes open, aware of your surroundings and to use your best street smarts. It is a call to shore up your energies and boundaries and take basic precautions; change your password, lock your doors and for crying out loud wear your mask and wash your hands.

Yesterday, we were talking about pop culture references in Tarot readings and how helpful they can be. Today, the pop culture references are the whole ballgame.

I felt nudged to pick up the Heart of Stars deck again today. In it, Thom Pham portrays the Devil as Jabba the Hutt with Princess Liea as his prisoner in place of the Baphomet image and two chained figures in the classic Devil card artwork. That narrative from the movie Return of the Jedi is key to the message. To really make sure I was paying attention to the right thing, I got the song “Free Your Mind” from the early ’90s by En Vogue followed by a flash of The Matrix.

The literal lyric “free your mind” is the essence of it.

The Devil reminds us of the bad things that can and do happen to everyone in life to one extent or another. Leia used the actual chains that imprisoned her to free herself at the most literal and essential level in addition to the help she received from the others. The intuitive reference to the Matrix movie emphasizes the role that mind and perception plays in today’s idea.

Things happen to everyone. Sometimes they happen by chance, other times they happen because of the carelessness or maliciousness of others.

The physical and mental / emotional realm needs first attention. Today’s message isn’t talking about post-traumatic stress syndrome or other very real, very serious mental health challenge. If the Devil plays a role here it is to acknowledge the very real Devil that many people have to face.

Freeing yourself from the Devils chains doesn’t mean just stopping your thoughts or your feelings. The act of not letting the past live in your head very often consists of the act of reaching out for help. That help very much exists. You are not alone. Leia took matters into her own hands, but she also had help from Luke, Han and Chewbacca. So of course, secure your physical and mental safety first and foremost, getting the help you need.

The message today is also about not making the petty into the psychopathic. It is about not letting your past re-victimize you when your physical and mental safety is otherwise secure. It is about taking opportunities to free your mind from prior conditioning. It is like Nine of Swords energy only on the major arcana level. Today, it is about not letting old issues live in your head rent free in a big way over a really long time. Seeking the help you need and not giving up until you get it is the same as Leia using her own chains to free herself.

If you are safe and well today, I’m glad. If that is the case, the Devil card may be asking you to check for old assumptions. What things have a hold on your thinking that have been otherwise resolved? What devils are perched on your shoulder an need brushing away. Breaking old, ingrained, preconditioned thought-habits is the thing that breaks the chains and sets your mind free.

Short Sip Tarot: Gotta know ’em to break ’em

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Today’s Card is the Hierophant.

The Marsielle deck calls it the Pope card. Personally, I prefer other decks that call this same card the High Priest and omit the specifically Catholic and Christian imagery that Pamela Smith uses.

I think both approaches to the card’s artwork is valid, because this major arcana card has two threads of meaning. Sometimes, as with the religion-neutral decks, the Hierophant is a grandfatherly figure, the keeper of stories and traditions. Other times the card has a more law-and-order vibe, that speaks more to social convention, rules, and cultural expectations.

Today it is the second of those two that steps forward. Over the years, whenever this side of the Pope card steps forward it is usually to ask us to think about our individual relationship with those rules, conventions and expectations. This may sound like an oversimplification, but simplification is often just what the situation needs. The question is essentially are you a rule-breaker or a people-pleaser? The advice is to understand your natural, innate style, to honor that, but also know when and how to play the other side of the game for a little bit.

If you are by nature a people-pleaser, the Hierophant might be suggesting that it is time to color outside of the lines a little bit. If you go your own way, then the card might be asking you look for ways you can play societies game a little bit in order to accomplish a particular goal. Wherever your mind is at the moment, look at the opposite and evaluate it as an option. If you tend to follow the rules, is it time to follow your heart? If you are a free spirit, is it time to cover the tattoos and put on a suit long enough to get through that job interview…that sort of thing.

Either way, the Hierophant reminds us that we have to know what the rules are. It’s like writing and grammar. We have to know what the rules actually are so we can decide when to judiciously break them.

POV upside down

Welcome to TaoCraft Short Sip – Tarot guidance for your day in the time it takes to sip from your coffee.

Today’s card is the Hanged Man from the major arcana.

Usually this card is associated with stagnation or being stuck or “hung up” somehow. Today another meaning is stepping forward. It is all about perspective. It is all about point of view.

The things coming to mind today are the same ones I’ve talked about for years in the print blog. Like I’ve always said, one person’s stuck in the mud is another person’s spa treatment.

There is a lot of subjectivity in the passage of time. A few weeks might be a nice break when you’ve been busy or under stress. Mental respite is as important as physical get-aways. But what if waiting IS the stress? Then waiting a few weeks more might be intolerable. It’s unreasonable to expect to change your point of view all that quickly. Frustration doesn’t turn off and on like a faucet.

If you feel stuck, are you measuring progress by the right thing? If your love life is going nowhere, look to other parts of life to see if there is opportunity for movement, for happiness – and vice versa. If, for example, work has been moving too fast, look at other area of life for opportunities to slow down.

It seems simple and obvious, but sometimes when we are caught up in stress of one kind or another the simple and obvious gets out of focus. We lose the forest in the trees as the saying goes. Tarot not only teaches far flung grand ideals spooky spiritual stuff. It is just as likely to give calm, practical advice.

Sometimes even Tarot turns its point of view upside down.

Thank you for watching, reading and listening to today’s short sip Tarot. Follow the blog to get all of my Tarot content. Short sip daily meditation Tarot card readings are available on the blog, on the TaoCraftTarot YouTube Channel and on the Podcast by the same name. The podcast is available on Spotify, Anchor FM, Stitcher and more. Any likes, subs, shares, follows or reading orders you can spare are always, always appreciated.

Enjoy

Welcome to TaoCraft Short Sip Tarot: a one card meditation Tarot reading in the time it takes to sip from your morning coffee.

Today’s card is the Fool, traditionally the first card in the major arcana part of the Tarot deck.

Here we have yet another example how one card can have multiple layers or threads of meaning. Over time, every card has picked up about a bazillion and a half key word meanings and short interpretations.

As we talked about with the Judgement card yesterday, just because one meaning is given for one reading, and another meaning is used in another session or by another reading doesn’t mean that one interpretation was right and the other was wrong. It just goes to show how Tarot has been able to stay relevant as useful tool for insight, understanding and personal growth. With the abundance of key words, a card can adjust to meet the needs and energies of the moment while staying true to its key symbolism and core meaning?

That’s where personal intuition comes in. We all have it. We can all develop it. But sometimes it is easier to just ask someone. I mean, generally speaking anyone can learn to change the oil in their car. With practice and study they could become a really good card mechanic. I could do that – but I don’t want to. I take it to a pro for that. If you don’t want to sort out which thread of meaning a card holds for you, that’s what I’m here for. Not only can I do a full on reading for you, I can consult with you to get a better understanding of a reading you’ve done for yourself. But that’s beside the point.

The Fool card has a couple of core meanings. When that happens in a Tarot card, most of the smaller keyword meanings tend to fall under the heading of the larger core meanings. In this case, the Fool can point toward a new beginning in some way, or it can be a reminder of the value of play and lightheartedness. It is a matter of pure intuition which to use in any given reading that you are doing.

Today, my sense of it the vast general energy out here in the world wide webbernet is pointing toward the playful side of things. I’m not talking about some cutsey sit-com sillyness. Sometimes the Fool card will point to the wisdom that can be spoken through comedy.

In an interview about his book Scorpion’s Gate, author Richard A. Clarke said that sometimes more truth can be told through fiction than nonfiction. The same is true of comedy. A spoonful of laughter helps the difficult ideas go down.

That’s not quite right for today. This is a subtle shift within that core. The energy isn’t as much with the new beginnings side of things, althought if you’ve been needing a push to start something, this could easily be that nudge you’ve been needing.

This isn’t talking about giggly silly play. This isn’t quite talking about learning through humor. It feels like permission.

We’re told that it’s OK to not be OK. That’s true. But it is also OK to be OK. Even in the middle of a time where things are not OK, it is perfectly fine to have a moment where you enjoy something. It is OK to take a moment to play, to allow yourself a moment of enjoyment. Don’t worry – you can get back to being stressed and depressed and all that other stuff in a minute.

Whatever it is, take a deep breath, take a minute, and enjoy.

Not Yours

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Today’s card is Judgement from the major arcana

I realize we just had the Judgement card recently. I’ll put a link to that post below and in the episode notes for the podcast.

The standard trope is to say that we are repeating a mistake or we haven’t learned an important lesson. This is more benign than that. This is a good example of one card having different threads of meaning that step forward for different readings at different times for different people. We talk about that in “TaoCraft Portfolio” ebook which should be ready for the shops fairly soon.

But again, this serves as a good example of how one card’s meaning isn’t static, or written in stone, and just because you get one meaning in a reading one time, but a different meaning in a different session possibly with a different card reader doesn’t mean that one reading was right and the other one was wrong. It just goes to show that Tarot is a wonderfully adaptable and infinitely useful tool for insight. It is a lens and a portal into the energy and message of the moment, not some irrelevant, ossified pronouncement from on high.

The other day, the energy of second chances and compassion stepped forward. Today it takes on the judge-y ness and judgementalism that makes this card such a nemesis for me. Judgement in other decks is not so much of a problem. Especially in the Witches Tarot and other decks that call it by another name – Karma or what have you. The religious ideas and imagery of Pamela Smith’s artwork pushes old-issue buttons for me that aren’t really related to Tarot at all. Which in itself touches on today’s particular iteration of the Judgement card.

Writing the post earlier this month I realized that when I’m feeling judgemental toward something (or more importantly, someone) it is because that thing is something that would be toxic or detrimental to me. Why should I assume that is true for the other person?

Sure there are some absolutes. You would’t stand silent and let someone drink arsnic just because that isn’t your judgement or your choice….some things are bad for everyone. The same is true of outright racism, bigotry, violent rhetoric or dangerous misinformation. Yes, you oppose it because you judge it to be wrong…but that is the sound reasoning kind of judgement. That kind of thing is about the public spaces where people can come to harm at the hands of others. That’s a whole different matter.

Today’s card is talking about judging the private spaces of others by the measure of how those choices would affect us if they were ours.

Just because something would make us lesser if we did it is not reason to judge others for doing it. A small step in personal growth that we left in the dust ages ago may be a giant leap forward for someone else. Something that may be toxic to us might be nourishment for another.

I realize that is probably obvious to most people, but I’ve witnessed it happening all too much lately. This feels like one of those pushes from spirit where somebody somewhere might need to hear this even though it is uncomfortable and awkward for me to say. I feel pushed to say this for someone, even if it isn’t for most people. If all of this this doesn’t apply to you, by all means reject the message. Let the message flow to the one for whom it is a helpful thing. Let the energy turn on the light where it is needed, even if it isn’t for you.

Let me put it this way – I’ve learned, more recently than I care to admit – that when I catch myself feeling judgemental toward someone else, it is usually because they may embrace something that is harmful or toxic to me personally. Not that it is actively harming me, but in the sense that I view their whatever-it-is as a bad thing. For me to engage with whatever they choose would make me a lesser person. It is all too easy to project my understanding onto the other person. If X makes me a lesser person, then they must be lesser for choosing and embracing it. Again this is talking about the realm of subjective philosophy, not actual harm. Think of it It is the conceptual equivalent of a food allergy in a way. If one person has a severe peanut allergy, they judge peanut butter as a bad thing, and may feel judgemental toward peanut butter, so much so that their primal reflex is to slap a peanut butter sandwich out of other people hands regardless of whether the other person is peanut allergic or not.

I haven’t read it yet, but I’d like to. Buddhist monk Ajahn Sumedho wrote book entitled “Don’t Take Your Life Personally” I think what the card is trying to say today is don’t take other people’s lives and choices personally either.

Your choice is in how you react to circumstances. Beyond that, you have no say in many things. Other people’s choices are not yours.

related: the one measure

The One Measure

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Today’s card is Judgement from the major arcana.

The word judgement has to do with assessment and decision making as in “use your own judgement.” But like everything it has a dark side. Good judgement implies wisdom and experience. Poor judgement implies mistakes in reasoning and decision making.

Simple enough, right?

Judgement is my grand nemesis in the Tarot deck. To my mind, it is the essence of that inward looking personal growth and spirituality versus outward, social religion. In my experience, Tarot is all about the former and not the latter. The Judgement card is one of the cards most strongly allied with the Christian influence in the cultures where Tarot first gained popularity. Angelic and “Judgement Day” images are on this card in almost all decks that I’ve seen except for a handful that deliberately step away from the Marseille and Waite – Smith imagery. The Witches Tarot, Animal Wise Tarot, and the Osho Zen Tarot are my favorite examples of this deliberate separation.

In addition to pushing my personal psychological buttons and activating my religion allergy, the downside of all the judgement day/ angelic/consequences images is the way it can slip into judgmentalism rather than reason and judgment. Zealotry and blind idealism can slip in very easily here.

The up side to this line of thinking is the idea of second chances. The judgement card is also associated with a fresh start after paying your dues. It’s about cleaning up the mess you made and moving on.

On one hand you have judgement and reasoning. On the other hand you have judgement day and judgementalism. On the other other hand you have second chances and taking responsibility for your actions. How do you bring all of that into one card?

Compassion.

It is the one measure of it all. Good judgement is guided by compassion. Judgementalism is kept at bay by it. Compassion grants second chances.

Compassion is the ultimate judge and judgement. If it isn’t compassionate, it isn’t good judgement.

Thanks again for watching, reading and listening. See you on the print side!

A Sip of Tarot: One More Time

Today’s card is the traditional first of the Tarot deck, usually given the number zero.

The zero is interesting. You could get all philosophical about it. Zero, as in “you’re a big zero” was an insult, but I don’t know that anybody has cared about it since the 70s. I think of it more in terms of the Zen enso, the circle. It is a symbol of infinity from which all springs, including the newborn journey of the Fool. From there you can veer into the oroborus, the snake biting its own tail which in turn points to alchemy, manifestation and sorts of other things. It’s interesting as heck, but not the path where the energy is flowing today.

The word fool didn’t originally have the connotations that it does today. The king’s fool was more of a court jester who, through their antics and seeming insanity could tell greater and blunter truth than any other advisor. Think of comedians like George Carlin and Eddie Izzard and many others. They can make incisive social commentary, and nobody seems to mind because it comes wrapped in humor. Laughter really is good medicine. Stand up comics still remind us of the legitimate value of laughter, fun and play. Call it stress reduction if it makes you feel better, but it works, and it is imprtant.

That aspect of the Fool card is where the energy is flowing right now.

My intuition has a clairaudent (clear-hearing) aspect to go along with the clairvoyant (clear-seeing) part. Sometimes that means intuition comes as mental words instead of mental images. Sometimes sounds or music will come to mind. That’s not paranormal. It’s not the slightest bit unusual to have a song brought to mind by some circumstance or another. But if you are in a situation of wanting a message or are actively working with intuition and that happens, it is worth paying attention to the song that comes to mind.

In today’s case, the song that popped to mind was “One More Time” from Daft Punk on their Discovery album.

I know that seems wildly random but creativity and intuition are all about connecting widely separated and wildly random dots like this.

The phrase “one more time” means repetition of course, but it can also hint at frustration if the repetition is from something unwanted or out of our control. The mental image here is building a house of cards that falls down and having to start from the beginning one more time. And one more time again.

This combination is akin to the the Ten of Swords and the famous proverb that the ten so often calls to mind “fall down seven times but get up eight.” All that getting up can get exhausting and frustrating after a while. Humor and play can make frustration and repetition and having to start all over again one more time less infuriating. The Fool reminds us that humor and lightheartedness can help make that metaphoric eighth time up a little easier.

Sip of Tarot: Flow by Moonlight

Change is afoot. Everything ebbs and flows like the tides. The moon reminds us to use our intuition to sense those cycles and flow with them. You can’t fight the whole ocean alone. Flow with the energy, allow yourself to sense it, and you are not alone. The whole of the ocean and the whole of the cosmos is with you.

It’s not forever. Good times will come again and again like waves on the shore.

A sip of Tarot: magic in many forms

Today’s card is the Magician from the major arcana.

The magician card is traditionally associated with transformation and manifestation. Today’s energy goes along with both. To change things, to transform them, you have to do something differently. To make something, to manifest anything, you first have to first do something.

The broader concept of change would, of course, fall under the Death card. The focus here is cause and effect. The focus here is in the doing. Do nothing and there is no change for the death card to symbolize. The science folks call that inertia.

The magician card often has the symbols of the four minor arcana suits on it. The magician uses all of the elements, all of the concepts from the minor suits and applies them to the concept of transformation and manifestation. The magician incorporates all the ways of doing. All of the suits have various connections to thinking, doing, deciding, withholding, experiencing, all of which are elements of transformation and manifestation.

First decide what you want to change or create. Then do something to start on that new path. Lay the foundation. Do the thing that becomes the cause for the desired effect. Anyone can work that magic.

Thank you for reading and listening to “A sip of Tarot.” on the TaoCraft Tarot blog and Clairvoyant Confessional podcast. Stay tuned for more (almost) daily meditation style Tarot readings in the time it takes to sip from a cup of morning coffee.

Your Turn

Tarot Turnovers flips the script on YouChoose Interactive Tarot readings: I choose the card, YOU give the meaning.

Today’s card is Judgement.

Possible meanings include

  • consequences for your actions
  • karma is coming into play
  • rise from the ashes – a second chance is coming
  • don’t keep punishing yourself. Pay your dues and move on
  • use reason and sound judgement to make the decision
  • Where are you being too lenient or judging too harshly

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