Sep 22, 2009

The King of Kings

"Set all things in their own particular place, and know that order is the greates grace.” – John Dryden

I met the Emperor a couple of weeks ago. No, he was not wearing any regales that could tell me that he belongs to a special cast of humans J I have this habit of asking the cards every time I meet a new person. So this time was no exception. “What does this person represent?” “What energy does this person bring to my life?” The answer was – The Emperor.

But it wouldn’t be that interesting if the guy I am talking about wouldn’t have read this blog. And after that, wouldn’t have googled one of those online tarot readings and wouldn’t have drawn the Emperor himself! He complained though that the brief description provided with the card did not resonate with him at all, meaning that he didn’t see himself as materialistic as the description suggested.

Funny enough, the first four letters of his name – “raja” – mean “king” in his language. The King, The Zar, The Emperor… Quite straightforward! He used to study IT and then switched to Business Administration – the disciplines that are not abstract and speculative. He is straightforward, bold, intellectually developed, eloquent, and full of poise. He claims that philosophy is his passion and that he’s good at psychological analysis people.

When I look at the Emperor, the 4th major arcana, I notice that his gaze is turned rightward, so that if you follow it, you come to see The Empress (card 3), his wife. However, if you look leftward, you’ll see the Hierophant (or the Pope). The ruler of the kingdom is squeezed in between the material, earthly, motherly influence of the Empress and the spiritual, religious, philosophical, and highly traditional influence of the Hierophant, thus representing both of them as a result. This being said, I do not agree with those Taroists who perceive the Emperor as a purely material actor.

For some reason the card number 4 evokes the image of the famous King Solomon who was known to be great in wisdom, wealth, and power. In the Eastern Orthodox Church, Solomon is commemorated as a saint, with the title of "Righteous Prophet and King." As any king, Solomon indulged himself in many sinful pleasures, the biggest of which being idolatry, while building temples (on most Russian icons he’s portrayed holding a model of a temple in one hand).

The Emperor is a card of leadership, often at a higher level. It represents stable government, worldly wealth and power, authority, self-discipline and the rule of law. There is passion (signified by red as the dominant color of the card), but intellect dominates intuition. He is a leader with gravity, authority, and dignity who is parental in attitude. The knight’s armor under his clothes indicates that although now he is just sitting on his throne, he’s ready to get up any minute and fight for what is important to him, be it of physical or spiritual value.

The qualities assigned to the Emperor's archetype include organization, analysis, leadership, categorization, problem-solving, logical and strategic planning.

Aug 18, 2009

The Lesson of Temperance

You carry all the ingredients to turn your existence into joy. Mix them, mix them!
- Hafiz

Indeed, the Tarot cards can give interesting messages to those who are ready to hear and see. Today I was talking to my friend, who is currently on an emotional roller coaster. She’s flooded by impulse. She’s a true fire, unstoppable and powerful. As a result, she says and does things that she regrets about later on – but the damage is done. While she was talking, I decided to pose a question to my cards: “What advice can I give her?” I drew Temperance.

First thing you notice about card number 14 is the figure of an angel with his wings spread out wide. Why an angel? - I asked myself. And my first impulse was to look at the preceding card, which is Death (number 13 ;))). Death in the Tarot represents ending, transition, and elimination. It’s closing one door to open another. An angel is an immortal soul that was liberated by death. It was purified on stage 13, cut out what isn’t necessary.

When I started to look deeper, I saw duality of the card. Two wings, two cups, two irises, two mountains far away, two sun beams (one over the mountains, another – over the angel’s head). Then I noticed symbolic opposites. One of the angel’s feet is in water, representing emotional force, intuition, subconscious. Another is on soil – the embodiment of material force, prosperity, practicality, conscious. His wings are red (like fire: passion, physical energy, strength), while his robe is white (like snow: purity, clarity, focus, spiritual guidance).

Now, I looked back at the bigger picture and marveled at how peaceful and balanced it is, despite all of its opposites! That’s what temperance is about. The balance of opposites.
It’s also about composure and concentration. Just look at the angel when he, holding two cups, tries to pour water between them, without spilling it. Look at how his hands holding the cups are parallel to his feet.

There are two geometric figures on the angel. One is a circle on the forehead (right where the crown chakra is). Another is the triangle at the heart chakra. I feel like this triangle serves as an arrow that point to the head, as though saying – Take your heart’s desires and bring them to your mind! And the golden circle is literarily a Golden Middle. So the whole message is – “Mix and match the opposites, until you reach the golden middle!” Truly a wise message.
And then the flowers… Why of all the flowers possible, this card pictures two irises? I googled the meaning of the flower, and boy was I surprised! “The Greek word ~Iris~ means ~rainbow.~ The flower got its name from the Greek goddess Iris, the goddess of the rainbow, who was a messenger on Mount Olympus. Iris would take messages from ~the eye of Heaven~ to earth by the arc of the rainbow.”

So the angel, with the rainbow over his head, is the Greek goddess Iris who was believed to be the liaison between two worlds! And we can see the road leading to the Olympus, crowned by the sun. Iris walked down to bring us the message of balance and unity of opposites. Her head is also shining, meaning that she came from the Higher world.

Another aspect worth noticing is that the angel stands on the way to the mountain’s path. In order to reach the top of self-realization and enlightenment, you need to master the lesson of Temperance. Especially taking into consideration that the following card is the Devil, who brings carnal excess, self-indulgence, greed, destruction, and materialism.

The word temperance comes from the Greek word “temperare” (modern “temper”) meaning “mix” or “combine properly.” So here’s another message in this card. There is no need in choosing one over another (as the Justice card calls), black over white, bad over good, spiritual over mundane, heart over mind. Everything has its meaning and purpose, and should be mixed in right proportion, so that the new harmonized substance could be produced. Just like the rainbow… So many different colors, none of which is domineering. Actually, the rainbow itself is the mix of water and sun light!

As for my friend’s situation, the card number 14 is to the point. She needs to recognize her emotions and impulses, not run away from them, admit that they can be destructive to her and others, if not diluted with some thoughtfulness. Temperance calls for finding the middle ground, reaching a compromise, offsetting an extreme, experiencing harmony, bringing together opposite, recognizing all sides, feeling centered and secure. It’s a hard job, and it requires conscious effort. How? You are a Hermit, you know where to search - within yourself! But it will prove worthwhile when you meet the Devil and discover that he is not as scary as portrayed by many ;)))

Spirit Card Meanings and Advice

0 (22) - The Fool

If this is your card, your Spirit simply begs for knowledge. And that's being the case, it's your job to soak it up. Study, learn, and share your findings with others. Know that those who learn form you will have something to teach you as well.

1 - The Magician

Should the Magician appear as your Spirit card, you have a very important purpose. You're here to solve problems, repair relationships, and turn situations around for the good of all. There's no need to become overwhelmed, though. Just fix one thing at a time, and know that the world will become a better place for your efforts.

2 - The High Priestess

Connection is the key to High Priestess. And when it appears as the Spirit card, it signals a direct link between the worlds of spirit and mundane. Know that you are the conduit from which all information flows, and it's your job to help others stay balanced between the two realms.

3 - The Empress

If the Empress is your Spirit card, you were born to nurture others. It's up to you to support goals, fertilize dreams, and help them to blossom into reality. Your mission is also one of unconditional love. Remember, though, that this sort of love never assumes or binds. It flows, instead, on a steady course - constant, fluid, and all-encompassing.

4 - The Emperor

When the Emperor appears as the Spirit card, it's your job to advise. That being the case, always look at every angle of a situation before opening your mouth. If you must be critical, be constructive. In doing so, you'll ease the path of others as they travel life's journey.

5 - The Hierophant

Although the Hierophant is usually seen as a nonconformist of sorts, in the position of the Spirit card, it denotes the ultimate explorer. This means that it's up to you to present options, possibilities, and fresh perspectives to those who wouldn't otherwise see them. This is, by no means, an easy job. Know, however, that it is an important one in the Universal scheme of things.

6 - The Lovers

When the Lovers appears as the Spirit card, your mission falls within the realm of relationships - both intimate and otherwise. It's your job to help others not only see the value of commitment, fair play, and constant communication, but to help them follow through. It doesn't stop there, though. The other part of your mission is to point out any harmful relationships, and give others the courage to end them.

7 - The Chariot

When it comes to the Tarot, the Chariot is the ultimate mover and shaker. Falling in the position of the Spirit card, though, its mission is one of completion. That being the case, it's your job to help others take action and follow through - even in seemingly impossible situations. In doing so, you will not only help them to understand that nothing is attainable, but give them the courage to move forward on their chosen path.

8 - Strength

Strength in the position of the Spirit card has nothing to do with brute force. Instead, it's a matter of helping others stand up for their beliefs, and what they feel is right and wrong. There's also another side to the coin here, though. It's also up to you to help them see when their beliefs are flawed, to give them the courage to admit it, and to assist them in stepping down from the soapbox before others follow their lead.

9 - The Hermit

When the Hermit appears as a Spiritual card, it means that you are the keeper of the Universal light. And as good as it sounds, it's not an easy job. Why? Because your mission is not only to help instill self-confidence and self-worth in others, but to convince them to let their personal lights - talents, abilities, etc. - shine forth to guide the rest of the world. Know that by doing your job well, you'll do more that help those around you see their personal value - you'll make the world a better place to live.

10 - The Wheel of Fortune

The Wheel of Fortune spins in constant motion, and if this is your Spirit card, you probably feel like you're on a merry-go-round with no chance of stopping. This is normal, for it's your job to help others handle the ups and downs of everyday living. Celebrate when they're on top. Speak words of encouragement when they're down. And always keep them mindful of the turning wheel - for when things hit the bottom, there's no place to go but up again.

11 - Justice

If Justice is your Spirit card, you were born with a natural sense of fair play. That being the case, it's your mission to point out when others have gone too far, or when they need to back off and reevaluate But that's not all. It's also important to lend encouragement to those who have difficulty standing up for themselves. Only then will they get a fair shake and receive the justice they so sorely deserve.

12 - The Hanged Man

In the Spirit card position, the Hanged One represents the balance between the mundane world and that of spirit. This means that it's up to you to help others see the importance of both. Too much of one or the other, and life becomes difficult. Helping them to strike an equal balance will not only make their lives easier, but bring a feeling of accomplishment you've never attained before.

13 - Death

Of all the cards in the Major Arcana, Death is, perhaps, the most misunderstood - especially when it comes to its appearance as the Spiritual card. Your mission here has nothing to do with death at all. Rather, it's up to you to point out when it's time to stop, when it's time to start over, and when it's time to bring fresh ideas into play. This is a very important job in the Universal Plan, for without your help, the realms of reality and spirituality would truly cease to exist.

14 - Temperance

Patience, moderation, and simplicity are key when Temperance arrives as the Spirit card. And in our fast-paced world of "more is better," that makes your mission very important. For this reason, actively search out ways to help others understand that they should never settle for what's available, for that which is worthwhile is always worth waiting for. It's also important to show that a simple life - void of societal and material trappings - makes the path of life much easier to tread.

15 - The Devil

Like Death, the Devil card is very misunderstood - especially when it comes to the Spirit card position. Simply put, your mission involves teaching others to grab the good in life, and to understand that they deserved it. This often takes some doing, though, since human beings tend to sabotage themselves when extraordinary luck comes their way. In this case, it's your job to make them see that the Universe offers only what is necessary, and refusing its help is paramount to the proverbial slap in the face.

16 - The Tower

When the Tower appears in the Spirit card position, your mission is that of mover and shaker. It's up to you to offer new ideas and fresh perspectives even when it isn't popular. Know that it's often necessary to pull the rug out from under those who stagnate, for change - while seldom pleasant - is always imminent. And without it, humankind will cease to evolve. This makes your job very important, indeed.

17 - The Star

The Star holds, perhaps, one of the most important Spirit purposes of all. Simply put, it is that of giving hope. That being the case, it's your job to help others to love themselves, and to feel good about themselves. Once you do, they'll realize that no personal goal - no matter how impossible it seems at the onset - is unachievable.

18 - The Moon

When the Moon rises to the Spirit card position, it's time to make others aware of the changes going on around them. Help them to remove those rose-colored glasses, then present fact. Only then will they be able to see the world as it really is. And only then will they be able to embrace the lives they were born to live.

19 - The Sun

The Sun is a very fortunate card, indeed - especially when it falls within the realm of Spirit purpose. That's because its message makes your mission easy, fun, and enlightening. It's only up to you to convince others that the Ancients are smiling on them, that their success is imminent. And that being the case, all they have to do is reach out, grab it, and embrace all the happiness it has to offer.

20 - Judgement

Judgement calls for a hands-on approach when it falls in the Spirit card position. That's because it's your mission to help others look at both sides of the coin, and make decisions based on nothing more than the facts. Since human beings tend to be lead by their hearts rather than their minds, though, this is no easy task. While your work will be difficult, know that it's important - for only through your efforts will those around you learn to make firm decisions that will get them through life and ease its path.

21 - The World

As with the Sun, you are fortunate if the World appears as your Spirit card. Why? Because completing your mission is only a simple matter of showing those around you that they are in position to have whatever they want. All they have to do is ask. While this job can be fun and rewarding, understand that it's also up to you to let others know that any requests must be very specific. That's because the Universe "sees" things only in black and white, so it will only deliver an exact duplicate of that which is requested - nothing more and nothing less.

Aug 17, 2009

The Hermit (Lenka's birth card)

Be ye lamps unto yourselves.
- Buddha

August 16, 1983. A special date for me. Lenka was born. This gorgeous blue-eyed sunshine. I wish you to reach the tops you never thought would be reachable. And when you do, I wish you to be happy, Lenka! I know I can't hug you now and wish you all that in person. But here's my little gift to you. I hope you find it inspirational. Happy birthday, my love!

Your birth date is related to number 9. Remember it and pay close attention to how this number manifests in your life. If we take the tarot major arcana, a card numbered 9 is the HERMIT. Hey, don't panic just yet! It doesn't mean you are doomed to the lonely life and eternal wondering in the darkness (that's what most people pick up when they see the card for the first time :). Philosopher Blaise Pascal once noted that "All men's miseries derive from not being able to sit quietly in a room alone."

Look at him closely. He's alone in the woods. He seems to be lost. But is he? If he is lost, why did he close his eyes? When someone is lost and wants to find the way back, wouldn't he or she keep eyes wide open, walking around, instead of standing steel? Now the next question... If the hermit keeps his eyes closed, why does he need the light?

The hermit is alone in the physical plane, but he has his Higher Self as a company on the spiritual plane. He withdrew himself from everyone because, living his life among others, he somehow felt that he couldn't find what he was looking for. Being alone allows him to search within himself. He doesn't need the light. The lantern is for others.

Imagine yourself being lost in the woods. It's getting darker and darker, and you still can't find the path you came from. Restless and scared, you pray to God to show you the way or send someone who knows the way out (or you simply want to get out of here for real! :)) And suddenly, through bushes and tree trunks, you spot a glimpse of light. You start walking on it. Coming closer and closer. You see a man in a rugged cloak, paused with his eyes closed, as though he was waiting for you. What do you feel at this moment? I bet you are beyond happy to find him there LOL.

In Rider Waite deck the Hermit is portrayed staying on snow as the symbol of untouched, clean. The season is winter. The nature rests, goes within, saves energy for even greater growth and abundance. Whiteness covers everything, conceals colors and shapes, doesn't distract. Perfect time for withdrawal. It also reminds us that after winter comes spring. Everything changes. Everything is in TRANSFORMATION. So is the Hermit's seclusion: it won't last forever (and it shouldn't). One day he will have to return and bring the light of his wisdom to those who are still seeking.

Taroists pay special attention to the lantern the Hermit carries. Its light is a shape of the Solomon's Seal (King Solomon is known for his wisdom and fair judgement). It represents duality of inner and outer, conscious and subconscious (as there is the light within the lantern and outside, too).

Hermits withdraw from society but not from humanity. Quite often they offer shelter and guidance to travelers. Buddha is just one of those whose road to enlightenment went through the years spent in solitude. Yet Buddha never lost his touch with reality and other humans, becoming one of the greatest Teachers. Nietzsche's Dus Sprach Zarathustra (Thus Spoke Zarathustra) enshrines the Hermit's image; the book begins with Zarathustra's return after achieving personal transformation.

So when we see the Hermit in his full potential, we deal with study, self-examination, search (and research, introspectiveness, mentoring or guiding, investigating, seeking answers, soul searching, as well as personal transformation that can help transform the world.

The Hermit as the Spirit Card

While each of us has a reason for being born, our purpose is often less than clear. So we flounder about trying to figure out where we belong and why. When the Hermit appears as the Spirit card, it means that you are the keeper of the Universal light. And as good as it sounds, it's not an easy job. Why? Because your mission is not only to instill self-confidence and self-worth in others, but to convince them to let their personal lights - talents, abilities, etc. - shine forth to guide the rest of the world. Lenka, know that by doing your job well, you'll do more than help those around you see their personal value - you'll make the world a better place to live.

The Hermit as the Lesson Card

Each lifetime we are born into comes with a specific lesson which, when properly learned, brings us closer to an ultimate goal: that of spiritual evolvement and perfection. When the Hermit comes to call in this position, it's time to come out of hiding, take a center stage, and be recognized. Because you've work quietly for so long, this may not be easy for you. Nonetheless, it's imperative that you learn to toot your own horn, and take due credit for your accomplishments. Understand that this has nothing to do with bragging or being boastful. Instead, it's a simple matter of accepting your rewards graciously, while pointing others in the direction of personal accomplishment.

The Hermit as the Talent Card

While the Hermit often works quietly behind the scenes, make no mistake: he also sheds light on every subject he studies. For that reason, his gifts are not only that of research and understanding, but the ability impart that knowledge to others.

If you wonder about Spiritual meanings of other Major Arcana cards, read HERE :)

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Aug 13, 2009

How the tarot works

If you look through the vast tarot literature, you will find all sorts of interpretations on how the tarot works and why it is possible to use it as a divination tool. What I have to say right now is - the tarot does not predict future. If you want to know when you are going to get married, the tarot is not going to give you the date. However, it can give you an insight into the current relationship, pinpoint problem spots, and offer solutions. I understand the tarot as a mirror through which I can see the truth about myself, if I chose to open my eyes, of course.
Some tarot readers approach tarot with a great deal oh mysticism. Some write it all off to chance. Others still don't know how it works, they just know that it does. And yet there are those who tried it for a short period of time, saw no immediate results, and claimed it being a bogus.

I believe that when I receive a message through pulling a particular card, it comes from that source of wisdom that is universal. I picture it as a giant interactive information field surrounding our planet that goes far beyond, yet invisible to human eye. I do not consider myself religious. However, I was born into the family of Russian orthodox Christians. We tend to believe that each person has a guardian angel (or even several of them), a guide in the world of Spirit, who helps us quietly in our mundane life, stirs us into certain directions. This relationship is ever present but our conscious tends to ignore it. Talking about intuition! I am pretty sure everyone have experienced it, and not once. But since we cannot reasonably explain it, we just shake it off as some sort of spook.

Some people call these entities the soul, the super conscious, the higher self, or the inner guide. Some tend to believe that there are separate Tarot Guides who favor those holding the deck. It doesn't matter what you call them, really. It's important to know that the guide can help you tune into that universal information field and draw out the information you seek. Sounds easy?

Not so fast. When was the last time you actually asked for help and guidance from your Higher Self? Have you done this, EVER? Since you are already on this page and in the process of reading this line, I may guess you asked. You probably suspect that there is something bigger than a human brain. You probably experienced quite a few encounters which you can't rationalize, but cannot write off to coincidence either.

Anyways, it's just a thought. I believe that every time I reach for the deck, I signal to my guide that I am ready to receive the missing pearls of wisdom. I open the door and let him (or her, or them) in. I want them to provide information in symbols that I have capacity to understand. That's what the tarot is - a huge set of symbols refined through generations of readers - a pathway to knowledge that you can't fit into your conscious.

Some people do not need the cards to access Higher Wisdom. We usually call them psychics, mediums, clairvoyants, etc. The tarot cards can help you until you reach your guide on your own. In the beginning I would suggest not to concentrate on all that psychic hip. Just play with the cards, and have fun! Everything will come with practice.

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