World of Warcraft and Mental Health

About four or five years ago, I went through something that turned my life, and my head, completely upside down.

It started with, of all things, a migraine.

I was used to them. I got them all the time. I had them for days at a time. I pushed through. I got things done. I ignored the pain, and mostly, that worked. Admittedly, as things progressed, the amount of days I spent enduring migraines lengthened, until I quite possibly had less than a week out of every month where I wasn’t in pain… but it happened so slowly that by that time, I had adjusted. I persevered.

Until one day, my body decided enough was enough.

I had a migraine so severe I was screaming in pain. We rushed to the hospital, where they struggled to help. Eventually, the pain faded, and we went home… where I couldn’t forget what had happened.

The anxiety and fear of both the pain, and not knowing what had happened to me, or why, eventually led to another screaming migraine.

And another.

Finally, I was in such a state of constant vigilance, I couldn’t cope with even my normal migraines. I started having dreams of dying.

I had a dream of walking out into traffic… and I woke up completely numb – I felt nothing about it. I understood, my subconscious was speaking about my desperation. I wasn’t suicidal, but when you’re experiencing trauma coupled with pain, your brain does a funny thing. It grabs onto any idea for relief.

When I was a child, I was hit by a car, and I died. While I was dead, I experienced not light, but darkness. Pure, empty darkness. There was no pain, there was no fear, there was no hate, there was NOTHING… and it was the most beautiful, quiet experience of my life. When they brought me back, I cried for days, because I didn’t want to leave that peace for a life that was nothing but horror.

So of course, when I was again experiencing something I couldn’t cope well with, my brain remembered what it was like to be dead… and suggested, through dreams, that solution.

This is actually quite common in trauma patients. This does NOT mean they are suicidal. It means that their subconscious is reaching for a way out. That doesn’t mean they have any intention of acting on it… it just means they’re nearing the end of their endurance.

Realizing what my dream signified, I knew I needed medical assistance to get my pain under control. I had my mother take me to the hospital, where I TRIED to explain to multiple medical professionals about my pain, and the dream, and what I needed.

THEY decided I was suicidal, and stopped listening to me. They sent me to an inpatient psychiatric facility for a week, where I experienced even more psychological trauma. The only person I met during that week who DID understand was a paramedic who was an Iraki war veteran. He had shrapnel in his head. He lived with pain daily. He understood the difference between wanting to die, and your brain trying to find solutions to situations.

The end result of these experiences was an anxiety disorder, severe depression, and PTSD.

I sat on the couch for two years. I barely spoke. I wasn’t really aware. People spoke to me, and I honestly felt everything they said meant nothing. Their questions were all obvious, and clearly rhetorical. I stared at the world, and felt nothing, thought nothing. I was empty, at the bottom of a deep well. The world was very dark, and I didn’t care. The only time I experienced any emotions, I would be having a panic attack.

Eventually, we realized that the hospital’s solution of drowning me in medication I didn’t need had exacerbated my situation. My doctor took me off every medication she could.

I was unmedicated for a little over a year…. and slowly, I started to live again. I wasn’t my old self, by any stretch of the imagination. I don’t think I’ll ever get that person back. She died – that’s how I look at it. We found out that I have a sensitivity to sugar. I’m not diabetic – it’s a different issue. If I have too much sugar, I get migraines. We also found out I needed glasses, which clearly contributed to my issues. Dehydration and forgetting to eat definitely contribute, but the main cause is sugar. I stopped drinking gatorade, which I had been drinking because of chronic electrolyte deficiencies, and got an app for my phone that reminded me to drink, and to eat. My migraines and my anxiety both cause me to become very scattered and forgetful. I needed those apps.

Because I was home, and unwell, I had a lot of spare time. I read a lot, but even someone for whom reading is a passion can become tired of reading when that’s ALL you do… so I started playing games from Google Play. I played mystery games – games with a story line, where you would have to find objects, and use them to complete tasks to get to the next section of the game.

I bought a LOT of games. It was becoming expensive.

My husband suggested I try creating a character on WoW. When we first met six years ago, I had tried to play, but I had this tiny Vista hybrid laptop. It had a flip around touch screen, and the latency on the thing was so bad, I couldn’t see what had killed me… It was so bad, that I got very frustrated and just decided that I wasn’t a gamer. I didn’t blame my tech… I blamed myself. After all… I’d played console games with friends. I knew I was bad at games. Shoot – I died during RPG’s.

However, he convinced me to give it another go. I had a newer computer, and he’d played on it. It wasn’t awful, so he thought I would be able to play. He was right, for the most part.

Because I have a lot of social anxiety, I didn’t run any dungeons. I just quested. Despite that, I leveled a toon to 100 in under four months. For a new player, that’s pretty good. He bought me Legion as a present, for making it that far.

The thing about Warcraft is that it gives me goals. Small, achievable tasks, for which I gain rewards. Slowly, my mental health improved, because my confidence in my own ability to solve problems grew. I started running dungeons with my husband and his best friend. I joined a guild and ran some content with them.

My new laptop couldn’t handle Legion. I had latency issues. I had lag issues. Loading into dungeons and scenarios took too long, and I frequently dc’d and spent a lot of time catching up to groups… and dying.

We started saving for a computer that could handle Legion. I got The Beast as a Valentine’s Day present this year. I LOVE my Beast.

After I got The Beast, and realized that a large part of my problems WERE in fact technological, I started feeling confident enough to pug dungeons. We moved to a higher population server (we’d been on Moonguard, which is an RP server, and not really our style) which was progression based, because I finally felt ready to move forward. To challenge myself.

I found a WONDERFUL guild. I can’t even begin to express how helpful and understanding they’ve been. I was clear from the start about my issues, and the reason we click so well is that they are a group designed to support people with my health issues.

Because of Warcraft, and a strong support system, I’ve begun to enjoy being challenged. I still get frustrated if I die a lot. I feel like I’ve failed my team. It just pushes me to learn more.

I’m working, right now, to gear a new character, because I want to get into the higher level dungeons, the mythic plusses, and into the Nighthold Raid. I want to run the heroic Guldan battle, and get my Ahead of the Curve achievement.

I want to be ready for when Tomb of Sargeras comes out. I want to be in the front lines. I want to be part of the team of guildies who run mythic challenges for the guild weekly.

A friend dragged me into battle ground scenarios last weekend. It was the first time I’ve done real PVP stuff. I didn’t die as often as I expected. It was chaotic, and confusing… but I learned a lot. I think I’d like to do more, because I know things about my toon I didn’t know before.

 

I have gone from someone who, when I couldn’t log into my bank account, ended up curled in a ball under a coffee table, completely hysterical, to someone who is actively looking to challenge herself. To push. To grow.

World of Warcraft saved me. I am reborn, and I am ready to face the World… and the world.

Thank you, Warcraft, for teaching me that I Can. And thank you, my husband, for insisting I try it. You’re right… it’s cheaper… and a lot more fun.

 

Gemini New Moon Meditation

Take three, deep, relaxing breaths. The first breath relaxes your body. The second breath relaxes your mind. The third breath relaxes your soul.

Below you is a ball of golden light. The light is moving, moving towards your feet… and as it moves into your feet, your feet relax completely. All the stress and tension disappears from them. Slowly, the light expands and moves upwards into your calves, relaxing them completely. And the golden light continues to expand, into your knees… and your thighs… into your root chakra, now red edged with gold…. And it flows up your core, relaxing your body as it flows, into your womb… and then your center… and then your heart… and then your throat… and it flows down your arms into your palms and fingers… and then into your head, your third eye… and your crown… and finally, above you, it connects with the gold chakra six inches above your head… the center of your knowing, Godself… the center of wisdom.

The moment you connect to your gold chakra, you see before you a spiral staircase leading upwards. There is a plaque on a stand next to the stairs, which says “Akashic Library.” There is a rope across the stairs, and a person standing next to them.

You walk forward, knowing that the time has come for you to meet your Librarian, and begin to read your own book, the book of your lives. When you reach the person standing next to the stairs, you say your name. The person unhitches the rope from one side, and gestures you onto the staircase.

You begin your ascent, and in the beginning, you count the stairs… 1…2…3…4…5…6…7…8…9…10…11…12… Finally, you reach the top of the stairs, and come to a double set of glass doors edged in a golden metal, one before the other. You enter the Library, passing through both sets of doors… and walk up to the desk you find, just inside.

You tell the Librarian behind the desk your name, and ask to see your book. The Librarian smiles, nods, and rings a bell… the sound echoes pleasantly in your head, and all around you.

Soon, another Librarian arrives, one familiar to you. This Librarian is the one who cares for your Book. With a gesture towards you that says to follow, your Librarian leads you into the Library, and straight to your Book. Placing your Book into your hands, the Librarian bows to you, and then leads you into a small chamber nearby, with a desk in it which has a slanted top, a well-placed reading lamp, and a comfortable chair. After you enter, the Librarian politely closes the door behind you, but remains just outside. You know that when you are finished reading, your Librarian will again take charge of your book, carefully placing it back where it belongs before leading you back to the entrance to the Library.

Sitting down at the desk in the comfortable chair, you lay your book on the desk, open it up, and begin to read… and as you read, as if you had lost a memory and only just rediscovered it, you begin to remember your lives, and tap into your incredible wisdom.

Take as long as you need.

When you are ready, get up from the desk. Stretch a bit. Walk to the door, letting your Librarian back in to again take charge of your book.

After the Librarian places the book back where it belongs, you are led back to the desk and the front doors. You thank your Librarian, and the Librarian at the desk, and leave the Library, slowly walking down the spiral staircase and back to consciousness.

You again count the steps. 12…11…10…9…8…7…6…5…4…3…2…1… and then you become aware again of the gold light within you. You take a moment to ground and center, sending the golden light back down into the earth. With a deep breath, you awaken your soul to this reality. With a second deep breath, you awaken your mind to this reality. With a third and final deep breath, you awaken your body to this reality, and open your eyes.

Scorpio Full Moon (Flower Moon) Meditation

Close your eyes, and take three, deep, focusing breaths. The first relaxes your body. The second relaxes your heart and mind. The third relaxes your soul.

Now, beginning with your toes, relax your body. Relax so deeply, your body becomes liquid. Your body becomes warm and relaxing water. Your toes and your fingers are becoming water, your toes and your fingers are water, your toes and your fingers are completely relaxed. Your hands and your feet are becoming water, your hands and your feet are water, your hands and your feet are totally relaxed. Your wrists and your ankles are becoming water, your wrists and your ankles are water, your wrists and your ankles are completely relaxed. (Continue relaxing calves and forearms, thighs and upper arms, hips and shoulders, body and neck, face and head.)

You are completely relaxed, completely water. You sink deep into the center of yourself, diving down, down, down, until you come to awareness beside a creek that is flowing into a cave. The full moon above you, the sounds of the night – crickets, owls and other night birds, frogs, the burbling of the stream, the stars, the rustle of trees in the breeze – all bring to you a feeling of safety, security. You feel so content; you could almost stay here forever.

Looking around, you catch sight of the cave again, and though it is quite fulfilling to remain beside the river, your curiosity, and something deep within you that isn’t quite so calm, drives you to examine it closer. That restless feeling within you, that slight discontented disturbance, seems to be pulled out of your depths by the very stars above you.

You follow the rivulet into the cave. As you go deeper, you discover that there is a path, a glowing pattern of cave moss that leads you onward by its dim illumination. The creek quickly sinks into the ground, leaving you with only the pale illumination of the lichens to guide your way. You feel no fear, but only a driving restlessness guiding your steps onward.

As you continue down into the depths, you begin to hear the sound of dripping water coming from up ahead. With one hand on a wall of the tunnel, you begin to seek the water, knowing, somehow, that only discovering the source of that sound will quell the disquiet within you. Your steps become faster, and faster, as you go deeper and deeper.

Finally, in a headlong rush, you come to an enormous chamber at the heart of the cave, and in the center, there is a pool, and it is there that you find the source of the dripping sound. Water trickles down a stalactite thicker around that you are tall, emphasizing the size of the chamber by its length.

The pool of water below it is so black in the dim light of the cave moss, it almost looks like a pool made of pure shadow, but an odd, pearlescent light coming from its depths reflects off the stalactite above it… and suddenly you know that this is the source of your dissatisfaction – and what lies within is the solution. Peering into its depths, you see faint outlines of sunken treasure, all of it emitting the strange light… and you know you have to examine the items closer.

You test the water with your hand. It has a faint, mineral scent to it, but it is warm and comfortable, smooth as silk against your skin. Slowly, you lower yourself into the water.

Taking a deep breath, you bend over, and thrust yourself into the depths, diving towards the bottom below you. You can feel the water pressing against your ears, sliding along your skin, the bubbles formed by your pumping legs as you kick yourself deeper and deeper, reaching for the sand and the secrets buried there.

When you reach the bottom, you discover that you can sit on the ground quite comfortably, and that you can breathe the water. You know you can stay down here for as long as you need. You begin to explore the treasured objects buried here. The first one you pick up startles you, because as you touch it, you receive an emotion-laden memory of what formed it. It is a memory and an emotion from your past. Surprised, you drop it… but then, wonderingly, you pick it up again, and watch the memory, feeling the emotions from that moment as clearly as if you were there all over again.

When you have received the full memory, you let the item fall, and move to pick up another one, and another, and another. You explore every item buried in the sands around you… and as you touch them, you begin to feel that some are more important, more urgent, than others.
When you have examined all the objects, thank them for the memories. Choosing the most urgent item, push yourself off the ground, and carry it back to the surface of the pool with you, along with the memory and the emotions that belong to it.

Place it on the ground beside the pool, and pull yourself out of the water. When you are out of the water, you turn to contemplate the object again, and discover that it has become another you – the person that you were when the emotion-laden memory was formed. Now, you have the opportunity to resolve the restlessness, the discontent, and the troubled emotions that you have carried with you from this event.
You sit down with your younger self, and begin to speak from your older awareness, and your understanding of where you are now. You converse with your younger self, saying what that self needs to hear, to release those old, stale emotions, to let go of the pain you’re holding onto.

When the process is complete, your younger self becomes the object once more. You pick up the item, and hold it to your chest. As it melts into your heart chakra and heals the old wound, you smile, and say “This is cleared!”

When you are ready, you return to the surface, following the cave moss, and then the creek, back to the surface, and from that surface, back to consciousness. You take three deep breaths… the first one awakens your soul to this reality. The second breath awakens your heart and mind to this reality. The third breath awakens your body to this reality.

Now, open your eyes, and smile. You have healed a moment from your past. Brightest Blessings!

New Guide

I have a new guide, named Jymm. He’s taking over for Marie, who is going on to a new Job. Jymm’s not just going to be doing the work that Marie did with/for me – he’s also my Library interface. 
After something a little acquisitive tried to steal me from my Patrons, resulting in the utter destruction of my Temple and my Hall, we’ve temporarily relocated – guides, patrons, and all – to a conference hall in the Akashic Library, and I’ve stopped hiding under glamour, instead stepping into my power and my full self. 
I’m still not sure what all this means. 

Shadow Dancing

She wore a long, filmy black dress, like leaves falling at night. Her limbs were long and pale, she was tall and thin, and she was beautiful. Her skin was in shadow, and she wore no shoes.
We were like night and day – I in my green, she in her dark – and we greeted each other with joy, for she is me, and I am her. She is my shadow, and I am her light.
A friend once said, make friends with your shadow, and when I finally saw her, I couldn’t help but do so. I couldn’t help but fall in love with someone so beautiful and strong. I couldn’t help but apologize for not loving her sooner – for giving her my fear, my rage, my self-hate and my pain. It wasn’t fair to do so.
So… when I saw her, I took her hands, and we danced. We danced and danced, laughed and spun and twisted and twirled around each other, hands in hands, full of joy and love for each other…
We danced and danced until, from one moment to the next, I stepped into her, and she into me… And we became one.

Astral Snippet

This particular vision happened about two weeks ago and I just forgot to post it. 

I’m standing in a large room, in front of a tall oval mirror in a stand. It’s the only piece of furniture in the room.
I’m not wearing my glamour, and I’m completely naked. My skin is mottled colors of grey and dead – bone white, bruise grey, rotted black – and I’m covered in hundreds of thick, ugly scars – all my emotional wounds, my battle scars – some from Work, some from life.
I look at myself, I see how wounded, damaged, dead I am, and I’m so close to weeping at the cost. I don’t want to see anymore. Having looked at myself, really looked, I begin to build the glamour back up, to hide my pains from the world. As I begin to do so, I realize that there’s someone else in the room with me. Someone else has seen my mess… and it disturbs my concentration.
When he comes up behind me and wraps his arms around me, and begins to kiss each and every scar, telling me how beautiful I am, I melt into his arms, without even thinking about it. Gabe is the only person to ever see me without my glamour on… and in that moment, he also becomes the only person I relax into, anymore, the only person I allow to really hold me, comfort me. No one else has that permission anymore. I just don’t trust them to be careful with me…
I should probably fix that.

The Path From Death to Rebirth

1) Read the books you’re told to read – be aware of assuming you know everything, and don’t ignore advice from people more experienced. 
Use your psychic gifts as a resource – don’t undervalue them or squander them – use them and be grateful. 
Take a leap of faith, and trust, eve if it’s scary.
Have faith that things will get better.
Be aware of losing hope, and don’t give up!
Ask for this, and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. 

2) Do the Tower Spell for Change
Go to the Library and ask for help there. 

3) Evaluate if the work is worth the reward, and if it is, stick at it. 
Consider the consequences of your actions before acting. 

4) Cut out all distractions.
Remove yourself from problematic situations.
Take time out to meditate and find your center. Recharge your spiritual strength. Use that spiritual strength, your spiritual foundation, for renewal.
Do not ignore your problems by distracting yourself – do not practice escapism. 

5) Clean out your head. Become aware of outmoded thoughts and behaviors – face them and resolve them.
Learn to be flexible and emotional.
If you want to proceed on your spiritual journey, you need purity of will and purity of desire. To gain these, to move past the point you are at right now, you must pass through death – the death of your ego, and with it, long-held beliefs that are no longer useful.
Spiritual growth brings pain. It isn’t easy to let go of certain behaviors and beliefs, to admit errors in thought and practice. This endeavor is not without the reward of greater spiritual strength.
Be aware of the fear of change, of letting go of outmoded ideas – fear of change leads to stagnation, which will be longer-lasting and more painful than a clean death. 

6) Don’t settle for the illusion of success. 
Don’t hold back – be completely engaged.  
Don’t stop until you’re finished – don’t stop too soon – you must be reborn! 

7) Celebrate your rebirth! 
Don’t fight your new-found ease and contentment. Enjoy it as much as you can, and don’t try to analyze it too much. 

The Knights Spread

"The Knights put down their Put down their swords to support the Legacy Project. Put down your own ambitions to pursue your higher purpose. Use this spread to explore what that is. 

Cards 1-3: What is my Higher Purpose? 
Cards 4-6: What do I need to learn? 
Cards 7-9: What do I need to do? 

Arrange the cards from left to right in three rows of three. Cards 1-3 are on the top row, cards 4-6 are in the middle row, and cards 7-9 are on the bottom row. This creates a three-by-three block. 

The Reading I Got: 

1) What is my higher purpose?

Ace of Wands: You are a gift from the universe. Unlike many other gifts, your gift is bestowed by human hands, for you are a facet of the universe that is more sympathetic to the human condition. You are, in some ways, the kindest, most generous gift – you are the beginning of everything – the spark of life. You are the gift of will, of inspiration, of action, of passion, of courage. You are illumination from heaven, and because of you, people start ideas and projects they otherwise would not. You are their connection to higher planes, bringing them a focus of will and the ability to achieve goals. Wow. Just wow. And thanks. 
You are now at a propitious point. You are given a career opportunity, a project. Take advantage of it with confidence and gratitude. I’m already doing that. I guess I should do more of it.. Oh, and… wow. I knew all that but still… seeing it written so baldly kinda makes me blush a little. lol 

2) Tell me more about my higher purpose?

The Tower: Carefully crafted, tall, beautiful, and strong, the Tower represents people’s world-views. They add to it, and alter it, as needed. They expect it to last and serve them well. You are the lightening that hits it, a literal bolt from the blue, and it is destroyed. You are a moment of illumination, creating a realization, an experience, that shakes people’s worlds to their very foundations. They fall, naked, from the structure. They have to rebuild, and they have nothing, or so it seems… But don’t discount what your flash of lightening reveals to them. 
The message of the Tower is a difficult one. Unlike the Wheel, with its philosophical message of centeredness, and Death, with its promise of spiritual enlightenment, the Tower doesn’t seem to offer much except destruction. People’s belief systems help them find calm in the center of the Wheel and gives them courage to face Death. In the Tower, that belief system is shattered. The good news is that it is shattered by a Truth they didn’t recognize before. Knowing the Truth is good; ignorance is not really bliss. 
 

3) Tell me more about my higher purpose?

4 of Pentacles (reversed): The opposite extreme of Greed is Giving. Be aware of giving away all you have, all you are, so that you are depleted and have nothing left to offer. 
4) What do I need to learn? 
4 of Swords: Remove yourself from all problematic situations, take some time out, meditate, and find your center. By recharging your spiritual strength, you will bring your best efforts to solving your problems. Be aware of ignoring the problem by distracting yourself. This is not a card of escapism, but of utilizing your spiritual foundation for renewal. 
 

5) What do I need to learn?

7 of Swords: You lack discipline and willpower. You respond to situations in illogical and dangerous fashions. When faced with problems, you have trouble creating effective plans to solve them, but you don’t reconsider your solutions and try to find ones that will yield more satisfactory results. You are too impetuous. Your actions have consequences and you would do well to consider them before acting. 
 

6) What do I need to learn? 

10 of Swords: You are at the end of a hard situation. It is probably about all you can stand and you may not think you’ll make it. You can. Have faith that the tide is about to turn. Be aware of losing hope. Do not give up. The Wheel is about to begin an upward turn. I think that this card and the one before it are talking about my Job. Guess I need to be more careful, instead of just letting myself HAPPEN to people… and I guess I need to be more optimistic about my last Job and my present one. I admit… I have given up hope. About more than just Work.  

7) What do I need to do? 

Queen of Swords: You have used your mind, truth, and logical thinking to create order in your world. You’ve taken your suffering and joys and married them to a useful philosophy so that you are at ease in the world. You are a good and helpful friend, although some may say you lack emotion. Be aware of depending too much on order. Remember to be flexible when things don’t go your way. Allow others to behave as they believe right. Your ways are not everyone’s ways. Do not divorce yourself from your emotions in an effort to protect yourself. OK, I admit. That’s all true, it’s all stuff I do. I know it’s a problem. I don’t know how to fix it. I don’t know how to be open and trusting, flexible and allowing. It’s not that I expect everyone to be just like me, or think like me. I don’t. I know your ways are not my ways. I’m OK with that. But when I see you about to make a mistake, and I tell you the truth, I damned well expect you to listen to me and act on the information. And when you don’t, I get a little pissy. And the rest, that’s all true. And I don’t know how to be anyone else. I don’t know how to not be the me that I am. I don’t know how to be emotional Kat. I don’t know how to be flexible. 

8) What do I need to do? 

Death: Everyone faces death in some guise. Here, we are speaking of a psychological death rather than a physical death. In this card, the skull stares with inexorable resolve. The chilling message is: If you want to move past this point, you have to pass through death. Why would anyone want to; what is the incentive? Death holds the rewards on his banner and shield. The white flower symbolizes a purity of desire, and the white horse a purity of will. Anyone wanting to continue on their spiritual journey needs these. They indicate the death of the ego and with it long-held beliefs that are no longer useful. This must happen to make way for new energy and life. 
The message of Death is that spiritual growth brings pain. It isn’t easy to let go of certain behaviors or beliefs, to admit errors in thought and practice. Without negating the magnitude of ego-death, the emblems of what is to come — greater spiritual strength — remind us that the endeavor is not without its reward. Be aware of the fear of change, of letting go of outmoded ideas. Fear of change leads to stagnation, which might be longer lasting and more painful than a clean death. 
 

9) What do I need to do? 

The Sun: The message of the Sun is that of peaceful contentment with the world and its workings. You understand what you can and don’t fret about what you don’t. You understand yourself and your role in the universe as much as you can, and you’re OK with that, too. Life doesn’t get much better than this. Be aware that you may not be used to such ease and happiness. Be careful not to fight it. Enjoy it as much as you can. Oh, and don’t try to analyze it too much. But… I already know all this – I AM at peace with myself and the universe! Yeah, I don’t know everything, but I know my place, and that’s all I need… And yeah, I’m lonely and that’s depressing, but knowing myself and knowing my place, I’m happy about all that!

The Red Dragon Tarot Spread

The Red Dragon Spread comes from the Llewellyn Tarot Deck as an extra card. I used the Divine Tarot deck for this reading.

1) The Dream: Your heart’s desire.

The Emperor: The Emperor sets things in order, supervises, and counsels. He is a born leader – authoritative, responsible, and wise. His gifts are confidence, command, presence, authority. I think this means that my heart’s desire is to be a strong leader for my community – I would like more participation by pagans in my area in the meet-up group than I have right now. Everyone knows about it, but only a very small few ever actually show up.

2) Your Companions: The assistance you will receive.

Queen of Swords: The Queen of Swords is the most like Justice, though she advises in the favor of intent rather than the letter of the law. Acutely perceptive, she sees right through you. She nurtures mental development, independence, and discrimination with cool precision. The gifts of this card are determination, perspective, and fairness. Honestly, I’m not completely sure what this card means. My Goddess was called Justicia in Rome, and Themis in Greece, so it may be a reference to receiving aid from my Goddess, and my spiritual crew. It also suggests that my ability to perceive more than most, possibly because of my gifts, will also help me.

3) The Journey: Unfamiliar places you must go to realize the dream.

9 of Coins: Retreat from the “real world” to a private world of pleasure, an environment that is harmonious and comfortable, and it allows focus on intellectual and spiritual pursuits. Beautify your surroundings. As already planned, I am withdrawing from several responsibilities to take the time to focus on myself. The meet-up group can survive for a month without me, the neighbors will understand my need to retreat. Other issues can also be resolved in a similar fashion – and it’ll be easy to cut out the distractions. I’m good at getting rid of things.

4) Magical Gifts: New skills required for success.

5 of Coins (reversed): Retrenchment and a period of simplicity. Ask for help when you need it. I don’t have anything to add to that.

5) The Enchantment: Hidden obstacles along the path.

The Lovers: The Lovers represent relationships, intimate communication, and choice. Love can change your decisions and motivations significantly. The choice can sometimes be between vice and virtue. My hidden obstacle is my need to be loved.

6) The Dragon: What you must befriend, sacrifice, or defeat.

7 of Cups: Illusionary success. I think this one is obvious. Change takes work, and I need to be careful that I’m not only doing the work, but I’m not fooling myself about the results.

7) The Awakening: The final outcome of your efforts.

Queen of Cups: Empathy, connection, and self-completion. In other words, I’ll be more psychic than I am now, more connected to everything, and I’ll be whole within myself.

The Kings Spread

The King’s Spread, from the book Gateway to the Divine Tarot by Ciro Marchetti, can be found on pages 287 & 288.

I used the deck Legacy of the Divine Tarot, which goes with the book.

The explanation of the spread says: “As the Emperor, you rule over all the kings of the Tarot and have their support and resources at your service. You can turn to a king when you need assistance. This spread has a couple of stopping points at the beginning. If you get a “no” answer in either of the first two cards, you don’t need to continue with the spread.”

Here’s the background on this reading. My guides started playing music in my head again – and I‘ve finally learned enough about this new gift that I thought I‘d lay out some cards instead of hoping to hear something other than music – and I honestly figured I’d kill two birds with one stone, and post this reading for my meet-up group, given that the next time we meet we’re discussing tarot spreads. I DID ask my guides which deck and what layout, and this is what they chose – which works for me because it’s one of the ones I still needed a sample spread for, though as will all my spreads, it’s not a sample. They tell me I can’t do junk spreads, that my gift is too strong for that to happen, and I haven’t managed to do one yet, so they must be right.

I found this spread to be very interesting and I suspect it will become very useful in time… we’ve all had clients who come to us asking us to be Mom and tell them what to do about any number of situations. This is along the lines of a decision tree… the only problem I have with it is that it’s predicated on the idea that Tarot should tell you what you should decide. I prefer a reading that gives a “This is what will happen if you do A, this is what will happen if you do B” kind of answer. Still, if you’re in a hurry, or you have clients who really do expect you to tell them what to think, this spread will be the one you’ll use the most.

You’ll note that I haven’t posted an image of the reading itself, but only the base layout. The images in these readings are provided, very kindly, by my friend and co-organizer of the meet-up group I’m doing all these readings for, Zephyrseraphim (Thank you, so very much!), when she can get to it – and when she does, I promise full-color glossies to delight your eyes. Till then, at least with this, you’ll at least have an idea of the layout.

1) Is this a good idea?

The Emperor – The Emperor is masculine ruling power. The word emperor comes from the Latin imperator, one holding supreme power. The Emperor sets things in order, supervises, and counsels. He is a born leader – authoritative, responsible, and wise. His gifts are confidence, command, presence, and authority. The advice of this card is “Lead with confidence.” In other words, yes, this is a good idea, and will not only give you much needed structure in your life, but give you the necessary skills that will enable you to do the work you most wish to do within your own community.

2) Will it happen on its own without assistance?

King of Coins – The king resolutely oversees resources, growth, and wealth. His realm is luxurious and lush. He is responsible for every physical manifestation. His gifts are loyalty, success, sufficient resources. The advice of this card is “Delayed gratification pays off.” The quote is “Slow and steady wins the race,” from Aesop’s fable “The Hare and the Tortoise. So, yes, it will happen on its own without assistance, but at a much slower rate than you desire.

3) Obstacles.

Justice – Justice represents fairness and equilibrium, and it brings the ability to evaluate the true pros and cons of a situation. Justice can indicate legal matters. You may need to resist the impulse to enforce your personal style of justice. Justice requires a very cool, impartial approach to a situation. If you cannot do it yourself, someone may be available who can mediate for you. Her gifts are clarity and evenhandedness. The advice of this card is “Look for ways to bring your life into balance.” I would take this to mean that my biggest obstacle is my illness – the process of the descent, by its very nature, requires a destabilization, as you clear out old belief structures and modes of being. I not only don’t know how to lose control, but, having found stability on all levels finally, I am extremely reluctant to give it up, no matter what I might gain. I fear the person I was, without medication, without treatment, without control, without sanity, more than I fear any other thing in the world.

4) Help (I can turn to).

6 of Swords (reversed) – No immediate solution, refusing help. The quote for this card is “We don’t receive wisdom; we must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us” (Marcel Proust). Basically, no, there’s no help, because I usually refuse to accept any help, or even ask for it.

5) What can be done (first thing)?

Knight of Coins – The Knight of Coins sets aside his ambition for physical glory and personal gain. He offers to the Legacy Project his stamina, endurance, and physicality. Once committed, the Knight of Coins is in it for the long haul and is able to follow through with his promises. His gifts are endurance and follow-through. The advice of this card is “Don’t hold back – be completely engaged.” Pretty self-explanatory, that one.

6) What can be done (second thing)?

7 of Coins – It is time to reassess and reevaluate your progress. You may feel that progress has been slow and the full potential hasn’t yet been realized. The rewards have been honestly earned, even if they don’t live up to expectations. This may be just the first reward in a much longer-term project. Her gifts are a strong work ethic, and harvest. The advice of this card is “Evaluate if the work is worth the reward.” That, and stick at it.

7) What can be done (third thing)?

4 of Coins (reversed) – Suspicious, fear of opening up. Be careful of being too controlling and protective of your resources; generosity begets generosity. Assume that the universe will provide. Take a leap of faith and trust, even if it’s scary.

8) Outcome.

The Moon – Under the light of the rising moon, the mythical becomes real and the real becomes impossibly beautiful. Reflected in the primal waters, she is witness to your personal evolution and transformation. Intuition, imagination, and creativity, as well as enchantment and magic are ruled by this card. The quote for this card is “Everything flows and nothing abides; everything gives way and nothing stays fixed” – Heraclitus. Again, fairly obvious – “personal evolution and transformation.”

Split-Hexagram Reading

The whole purpose of the Split-Hexagram reading, on page 20 of Modern Magic by Donald Michael Kraig, is to determine the effects of a spell before you cast it, so that you can alter it if necessary to achieve the exact desired results. I’ve used this reading before, many times, and found it immensely useful in my crafting – my spell-casting, due to use of this reading, is very fine-tuned, and I recommend the spread to every magickal practitioner. 
The layout is simple – two triangles pointed at each other, with a card in the center. Only the Major Arcana is used in this reading. 

I used the Divine Tarot by Ciro Marchetti to do this reading, and I used the Blank Check spell I wrote in January of 2009. I’ve included a copy of the original spell, along with corrections suggested by the reading in italics. The reading is below the spell. On a side note, I originally called this spell "The Blank Check Spell," but I think it really aught to be called the "Tower Spell for Change," so I’m changing the name. 

Tower Spell for Change: 

WARNING – Do Not Do This Spell Unless You’re Prepared to Deal With The Consequences.

No Supplies Necessary.

Cast a circle and call the corners. Invoke Deity and Universe/Multi-verse.

"Winds of the Air, blow the cobwebs from my mind and bring me clarity. Flames of the Southern Desert, burn away my impurities and bring me strength of will. Waters of the West, cleanse me of all useless emotion, and bring me a pure heart. Forests and Mountains of the Earth, I give you all that I am, I lay myself in your loamy embrace, that you might bring about in me a necessary transformation.

"Mother Goddess, Father God, Spirit of the Ether – All within All, Universe, Multi-verse, Light and Shadow… Help me. Bathe me in Love and in Light, and give me what I need. Help me. Bathe me in Love and in Light, and give me what I need. Help me. Bathe me in Love and in Light, and give me what I need. I submit to the process, I open myself. Help me. Bathe me in Love and Light, and give me what I need.

"Guides, Guardians, Spirit Allies, Self and Soul – Help me. Bathe me in Love and in Light, and give me what I need. I submit to the process, I open myself. Help me. Bathe me in Love and in Light, and give me what I need.

"Help me, you elements, gods, and guides, to move through the changes you believe are necessary for me… Help me move through them easily and without resistance… help me to handle whatever is to come."

When you feel ready, thank the elements, your guides, the Gods, and release the circle. Before you sleep, and upon waking, for as long as necessary, state again that you open yourself to the process, trusting that the universe and everything else will bring the change and assistance that you need as you work through all you are guided to do.

Please note… Because you are opening yourself to whatever happens next, and not specifying what kind of help, or even what you need… because you are leaving it up to the gods, your guides, your guardians, the elements, the universe, to decide for you, and because you are stating that, no matter what happens next, you will submit to the process, it may produce some fairly impressive results.

Don’t try this unless you really mean it – and don’t say I didn’t warn you. 

The Reading: 

1) Lesser unknown spiritual influences on the spell – (my spiritual influences – how I’m influencing the spell) – 

Temperance (reversed) – Conflict of interest, "out of sync," poor timing. (I’m wanting to get started, but I have too many responsibilities that need my attention right now – such as looking after my son and other people.)

2) Greater unknown spiritual influences on the spell – (how my CREW – guides, guardians, healers, deities – are affecting the spell) –

Strength – Stamina, fortitude, courage, self-empowerment, integrity. In older decks, Strength was called "Fortitude," the cardinal virtue of being able to face physical and moral danger in moderation – not seeking it out, not avoiding it. Strength is the soft control of the open hand. (My guides and I are building up my reserves, my willpower, to help see me through this part of my path.)

3) Spiritual advice for the spell –

The Tower – a catalyst for sudden change, inevitable change. Sudden and violent change – things will never be the way they were before. Old forms, structures, and belief systems are instantly cleared out. A major breakthrough – the lightning of spiritual comprehension destroys error and ignorance. Be prepared for a destructive force to clear the way for the new. You have a choice – to be the force for change (the lightening bolt), or be subject to it. (So be prepared for the spell to do exactly what it is supposed to do – change everything for the better, suddenly.) 
4) Unconscious desires for the spell – (you may find that your real inner reason has no relation to your outer reason – a primary reason why spells backfire or fail completely is a lack of joint purpose between the subconscious and the conscious mind) –
The Empress (reversed) – Lazy. Reluctant to give birth to any creative endeavor. Too busy nurturing others to take the time to nurture yourself. (This speaks for itself.)

5) Conscious desires for the spell –

The Moon – Deep fears arise to be dealt with. Listening to the depths of your subconscious – your dreams may have answers for you. (My conscious desire is for the spell to trigger the process, so I can work on the hidden things, to clear them away.)

6) Practical advice for the spell –  (this may suggest changing your focus in order to achieve what you really want. It may advise you to go ahead or abandon the project – though the final choice is still up to you) –

The Magician – Concentration, fresh start, selective destiny, learning, conscious awareness, action, transformation, intensity, active. The creative exercise of will and learning. Success may be yours through the application of talent and effort. 

7) Final outcome of the spell if you go ahead at this time – (even if the reading so far has been positive, the outcome may be negative. This is because there may be other considerations which this short reading does not take into account – the spread is a quick and easy method, but it is not intended to be totally and fully complete) –

Justice – Responsibility, decision, cause and effect, moving away from extremes. Justice brings the ability to evaluate the true pros and cons of a situation. It requires a very cool, impartial approach to a situation. If you cannot do it yourself, someone may be available who can mediate for you. Look for ways to bring your life into balance. (Pretty much, if I do the spell, my guides will work to block my subconscious, but I need to do the work to support the opportunity the spell provides, but in a balanced way. It does indicate that should I cast this spell, it WILL work as it stands)

 

Instructions for the reading: 

  • Set up the major arcana cards so that they are all facing one direction in numerical order, the Fool facing the top, the world on the bottom. 
  • The question you ask should be "What will be the outcome if I use magick to _____" Do NOT ask the cards "Should I do such-and-such," as this puts the responsibility for your actions one the cards, rather than yourself. 
  • While concentrating on your question, mix the cards in whatever fashion works for you. Remember to shuffle for reversals, and shuffle until you feel it’s time to stop. 
  • Cut the cards into three piles to the left. Pick up the piles from right to left. 
  • Lay the cards, face down, in the pattern and order shown in the diagram above. Turn the cards over in order, and interpret their meaning by position. 

Make the necessary changes to your spell, and repeat the reading. I once laid this reading out 6 times before I got exactly what I wanted in the spell I was writing. 

The Seax-Wica Path Spread

The Seax-Wica Path spread comes from Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft, and can be found on page 162. I found this to be a fairly accurate snapshot of who a person might be in the moment, but with one exception, the reading doesn’t seem to be very useful as an extrapolation – there’s no “this is where you’re coming from, these are the choices you’ve made and are making now, and this is where that will take you,” just a “this is who you are today.” Might be useful as a daily spread though… I can see that last position being very useful as a warning about what you might face during the day, which would help you deal with any trouble before it happens.
I used the Gilded Tarot to lay out this spread – for some reason it’s the one that wants to be laid out the most, lately. 

Card 1) Inner Self

5 of Swords – You are at the end of a battle, and now you are wondering whether you are the winner, or the loser. In either case, you want to know what was lost, and what was gained, if it was worth it, and what you learned from the experience. There’s a sense with this that I am really taking stock of things in my head. Really examining, on a deep level, my inner world, my inner self. But there’s also a sense of insecurity – not knowing if some things are positive or negative. 
Card 2) Goals (ideals)
The Fool – Unconventional choices. A leap of faith. A playful attitude in a serious situation. Being at a crossroads with no way of knowing where each road will end, but choosing the one that strikes your fancy and setting out with courage and a light heart. Preparing to meet all challenges with confidence. My goal is to take a leap of faith, take a new path, and walk it without fear, even through the darkness, even through the pain of changes; my goal is to remain steadfast and courageous. 
 
Card 3) Past
3 of Wands – You made a choice and then waited for the results with patience and self-control. 
 
Card 4) Family
2 of Pentacles – A full life and the ability to keep everything flowing, making it seem easy. Finding satisfaction in not only doing many things and doing them well, but also in not making your busyness a competition. You are aware of not overdoing things for the sake of admiration from others. You do not judge yourself or others by how much you do, and don’t seek achievement at the expense of quality and overall happiness. Pretty much self-explanatory… there’s been times in the past where my family and I did not see eye to eye, where there was a lot of bad feeling, but it seems to have resolved itself, and having grown through such tough times, we have all worked hard to overcome the negatives and be a true family – and I appreciate the new attitudes, but I still have suspicious questions in my mind… such as, "How long will the kindnesses last," and "Are you being nice just because you need me?" 
 
Card 5) Health
The Sun – Peaceful contentment with the world and its workings. You understand what you can, and don’t fret about what you don’t. You understand yourself and your role in the universe, as much as you can, and you’re OK with that, too. Life doesn’t get much better than this. You don’t fight the ease and happiness – you enjoy it as much as you can, and don’t try to analyze it too much. This is absolutely accurate, but instead of physical health, it seems to be discussing my mental health. 
 
Card 6) Religion
The Hanging Man – You know when and what to sacrifice. You are clear about who you are and you let all your actions and decisions hang from that vision. Even if your actions feel clumsy or out of sync with others, you’re willing to sacrifice their favorable opinion rather than be untrue to yourself. You don’t put more stock in what other people think than in what you believe to be right. This is truly the way I approach my religious faith. 
Card 7) Friends
9 of Cups – You have achieved a place of comfortable abundance. You have much love nurturing to give. You are happy with what you have and desire to share with others, knowing that sharing such gifts only increases them. Again, quite true. This is my exact feeling about my friends and my relationship with them. 
Card 8) Final Outcome (future)
The Devil – Imperfect balance, recklessly pursued, extreme actions, obsessions, letting beliefs or practices become ritualized to the point that they overshadow all other aspects of your life or your responsibilities to yourself and others. Repressing pleasures out of fear of addiction, so that all desires are denied, even healthy ones. It might be time to take the passage to the underworld and back, but I need to keep in mind that I have a physical life to deal with, too… I need to remember my IRL responsibilities. 

The Tree of Life Spread

The Tree of Life spread comes from Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft by Raymond Buckland, and can be found on page 162. It’s a spread made for a reader who has very little experience with the kabalistic Tree of Life. The names of the spheres are in plain English. However, I did find some of the positions to be a little ambiguous when compared with the card meanings. I had to struggle to fit them together, and the lack of explanation of each of the spheres really impacted the read-ability of the spread.
The deck I used to lay out this sample spread was the Gilded Tarot.

1) Querent’s highest intelligence; ideals

10 of Wands – You’ve almost completed the task you set yourself as your goal in life. Don’t let your relief at seeing the end of the Job cause you to falter – let your instincts and resolve strengthen and focus your actions. I think this means that my highest ideas are to never give up on the important things. I might give up on the dishes, but on a friend? Never. I also have the ethic that, no matter how bad things get, I never give up on life. 

2) Creative force

Queen of Wands – Your passion is quietly contained, ready to burst out at any moment. You are seeking an outlet for your energy. This may be in the form of a new project of your own, or helping someone with an exciting undertaking. You love activity for its own sake, and you are not adverse to public admiration as a result of your skills and brilliant personality. Be aware of ego and the desire for advancement, be it social or career related. Although you are a true and loyal friend, your ego can get in the way. So my creative force is exhibited by my involvement in life, be it friends, family, various other projects (like organizing the pagan library, or creating a resource group for pagans in my area). I love keeping busy – but I also WOULD like to be appreciated for all the work I do in my community. 
 

3) Life; Wisdom

9 of Wands – You feel you have failed – things didn’t turn out as you planned and you’re not sure why. You’re taking the time to reflect, to determine what happened and why, so you can learn from this situation and resume the battle. Do not despair – while the situation is difficult and perhaps confusing, do not give up. Withdraw to heal and learn, not to escape life. Wisdom is the ability to accurately assess life choices, and take responsibility for them, choosing to grow from those lessons rather than be suffocated by them. Sometimes you have to take a moment to really think about things, and right now, this is my own moment to do so. 
 

4) Virtues; good qualities

3 of Swords – You have experienced heartbreak, but you’ve kept a realistic perspective about it, which enables you to show others how to heal their own heartbreaks. I think my best quality is my compassion for the pain of others, and my desire not to inflict my own pain on them, but to show them, by example, how to heal. 
 

5) Conquest

The Lovers – The original name of this card was Choice, and you have learned how to make good and balanced choices. You consider all the facts before committing to any decision, you choose well, and have built a strong foundation that helps you to achieve your best dreams. In other words, I have conquered my indecision and my impulsiveness, and now only make decisions when I’m in possession of all the facts. 
 

6) Health

The Hierophant – You use ancient traditions as well as modern achievements in your health practices. However, you always make sure that the systems you use to strengthen your health are ones that make sense to your own heart and mind before you make them a part of your life. Psychology has a long tradition, but also continues to change and evolve with modern times. As a practitioner, I am constantly using psychological knowledge to help my clients, but my grasp on it tends to be fluid and adaptable – I go with my gut on a lot of things. Perhaps it is time to turn those tools I use on others onto myself. 
 

7) Love; lust

9 of Pentacles – You have retreated from the world of love and relationships, and have accomplished much that makes you proud on your own. You have created a life that you enjoy and that satisfies you. In spite of your choices, you do not feel lonely. However, you are not afraid to change your lifestyle if that should change, and find someone special to share your life with. I’m OK with being alone, and I’ve learned to love myself. I’m not quite ready to let someone else love me, nor am I quite ready to love another. Instead I’m approaching love with caution, while still being open to the idea of finding someone worthy. 
 

8) Arts, crafts; procreation

The Tower – Your belief systems are shattered by a truth you didn’t recognize before. Knowing the truth is good – ignorance isn’t really bliss. Now it’s time to strengthen your skills with the truth backing you. I’m good at unweaving things, unraveling. I break the broken, so it can be put back together again. The suggestion here is that I am the Tower, and perhaps it’s time for me to turn that on myself, tear down the outmoded thoughts and behaviors, and become something new. Sometimes you have to cut into it before it will heal. 
 

9) Imagination; creativity

The Chariot – You recognize your own strength and ability to maintain order in the midst of chaos. You know that you can achieve more than you think you can. You celebrate your accomplishments, and you don’t repress issues or turn away from ideas that puzzle you. Once you achieve your goals, however, you have troubles not coming to a complete stop, thinking you have arrived, even though you know there’s always more to learn and accomplish. 
 

10) Earthly home

The Fool – You make unconventional choices, and are willing to take a leap of faith. You are often playful even in serious situations. You have found yourself at a crossroads and you have no way of knowing where each road will end, but you have chosen one that strikes your fancy and set out with courage and a light heart. You are prepared to meet all challenges with confidence. You know the difference between taking a risk and plowing headfirst into danger, and you know that recklessness can lead to a long path of unhappiness. You are aware of the price of carelessness and folly. The overall sense of this card in this position is that I am fully aware of the choices I’m making, and I’m choosing very carefully. Each step is carefully placed, and while I have absolute faith in the path that I’m walking, I am still very cautious, making sure that there is no danger lying ahead of me. 
 

The Planetary Spread

This is the Planetary Spread which was adapted by Silver RavenWolf and can be found in her book Solitary Witch on pgs 349-350. I used the Llewellyn Tarot deck for the reading. 
The layout is fairly simple – 7 cards in a horseshoe pattern, read from left to right, the 8th card placed at the bottom of the fan in the center, and the 9th card placed in the center above the fan.  

This actually turned out to be a very good spread for exploring all the aspects of a person’s psyche. By the end of the spread, you’ll know exactly who they are.

Position 1) The Sun – where the individual is focusing most of his or her thoughts, feelings, actions, and recent choices – where he or she is placing his or her “will” at the moment.

3 of Swords (reversed) – Difficulty healing; a long, challenging journey to recovery. This is absolutely right – I’ve been seeking ways to withdraw from the world so that I can focus more on myself and my health, because I don’t feel like I’m very stable lately, and I think I need some space to get there. 

Position 2) The Moon – how the person is currently dealing with the emotional ups and downs of life. It is highly possible that when reading this position, the querent will say “No, that’s not how I feel,” because you are reading the subconscious (that which is hidden), and we don’t always acknowledge what is deeply buried within us.

The Fool (reversed) – Arrested development. Poor work ethic. I would say this was talking about my subconscious fear of failure, which becomes a conscious resistance to work on myself – I have difficulties even trying to grow, change, develop. 

Position 3) Mercury – How the querent is communicating, and what type of verbal interplay he or she is involved in a t the moment. Cards, letters, e-mails, and faxes are also included in this category, as well as travel plans.

9 of Wands (reverse) – Time of adversity. Unheeded warnings. Being caught off guard. I get messages. Constantly. However, most of the time, I don’t recognize them as messages – they’re just stray thoughts in my own voice. The thoughts are the "I should’s," and something happens, and I forget, and it turns out that there was a reason I had the thought in the first place… but because I don’t recognize the difference between normal thoughts and precogs (or whatever they are), I don’t act, and bad things happen. 

Position 4) Venus – The person’s love life and social skills. It can also hint at educational pursuits.

7 of Pentacles – The fair and just treatment of others. Satisfaction in work. A card of goodwill. The repaying of past kindnesses. Reaping what has been sowed. This is pretty much self–explanatory – I’m a good friend to have, and I may not trust you all the way through, but I’ll love you all the way down to your toes, and accept you as you are, without judgement. I’m loyal, kind, and giving, and I seldom ask for anything in return except your love, your friendship. 

Position 5) Mars – The type of energy the individual is using. He or she might be aggressive or complacent; recent events they have had to deal with often pop up here.

5 of Cups (reversed) – An unhappy marriage. Unfulfilled expectations. Regret. Poor choice of alliance. Again, pretty obvious. I’m depressed because S. and I are done, and all that time was wasted. He WAS a poor choice, and it was definitely an unhappy almost-marriage. I’m relieved it’s over… but I’m still sad. 

Position 6) Jupiter – Where the querent is expanding in his or her life at the moment. Sometimes it speaks of hopes and dreams they are working on, or added responsibilities that they feel are fulfilling. If these responsibilities are stifling, then they will appear under the Saturn category. You can also tell if a person’s faith in something is right on target or misplaced.

The Empress – A kind, capable woman. One who instills confidence in others. A beneficial influence. A strong role model. A woman who promotes and encourages the potential of those around her. A peacemaker and a diplomat. An intelligent, calm, mature personality. Determination and dignity. One who teaches by example. A nurturing, considerate person who gives much to the community. Confidence, empathy; a matriarch who offers guidance and support. A mother figure who lends security, comfort, and appreciation. Personal development. This is, in whole cloth, exactly what I aim to be… and I think, given recent comments from friends, that I have succeeded – I take this card appearing in this position to be saying that, yes, I am achieving my hopes of being this person, that I’m actually growing into this person, stronger every day. 
 

Position 7) Saturn – Endings, rules, restrictions, limitations, structure, parental influence, and sometimes honor (especially if the Sun card falls here). It can also focus on sickness and recovery.

Judgement – Hearing the call to a new life. Resurrection. Rebirth. New perception and purpose in life. A reawakening. Renewed enthusiasm. A rising destiny. Unexplored path. Invitation, recognizing new opportunities. Reaching a crossroads and assessing one’s past life, motives, values, and progress. Rite of passage. Evaluating one’s moral conscience and questioning what one has believed and valued up to this time. A clearing away of dogma, outside expectations, propaganda, and conventional, unquestioned wisdom that has accumulated and entombed one’s life. Self-evaluation. Expanding vision and philosophy. Accepting responsibility for self-imposed limitations and how one’s actions have affected others. Having the courage to make necessary changes to bring about growth and purpose. Obviously this is about endings – leaving the old me behind and becoming something new – facing the choices I’ve made in the past and accepting responsibility for who I’ve become – both the good and the bad. Given the comments of the previous readings, I find this very appropriate, and I think I’ll meditate on Judgement sometime soon, to really internalize this pictorial sign of my desire to change. 
 

Position 8) What the next best move in relation to all the other cards is. 

5 of Pentacles – Fight to keep morale and energy levels up. Cross the wasteland. The collapse of one’s values will lead to the search for spiritual guidance. It will be a temporary hardship. This would be the journey into the underworld and the return to life through the passage to rebirth. 

Position 9) Where the querent’s focus should be for the next six months in regard to their spiritual path.

Knight of Swords – Be determined, intelligent, and single-minded. Your goals should take priority over your personal relationships. In other words, this is more important that your friends, or anything else. Take the time to work on you – you can always come back to your friends when you’re ready, but for now, everything must be focused on you, and friends and other people will take that energy you need for transformation away. They will be a distraction without even meaning to be. 

May

If you’ve been reading the readings (lol) then you know what I’m going to be doing after the Holidays are over. Two questions… any tips aside from "Finish the rebirth process without carrying around your corpse"? And… will you help me while I’m going through it? You’re the only person I know who could. 
At least now I know why I’ve been obsessing over everyone breathing. It’s because, subconsciously, I’ve been resisting my own passage for months.. alright, for a year and a half. 
Damn. 
Sometimes… I’m a little thick. 

Celtic Cross Spread with Elemental Expansion

So this spread, which comes from “Solitary Witch,” by Silver RavenWolf, and can be found on pages 348 & 349, is your basic Celtic Cross spread, but with five additional cards. The extra cards are not for clarification, though. They’re there to help you formulate a magical solution, by suggesting the action to take using a specific elemental energy.

Lay out the cards as you normally would when using the Celtic Cross – one card in the center, one crossing it, card 3 below those two, card 4 to the left of them, card 5 above them, card 6 to the right of them, and then cards 7 through 10 to the right of card 6 in a line from bottom to top. Once you’ve got the basic Celtic Cross laid out, below the cross, lay out four more cards in a line from left to right. Now lay the 15th card directly below that row of cards, centered between cards 12 and 13. It should also be in line with cards 1, 2, 3, & 5, and card 14 should not be in the same line as card 7 — 11 through 14 should only be under the cross.

As to the meaning of each position – I’ve underlined the meanings I use, because I don’t agree with the meanings Ms. Silver uses — I recommend you go ahead and use the meanings for the positions that are most comfortable for you — I‘ve found different definitions for each of the positions for every deck I‘ve owned, and if you‘ve owned more than one deck, you‘ll have probably noticed that, too. Go with the positional meanings you use the most. I’ve been using the positional meanings I use for 15 years. It’s what I know, and it works for me. It worked for this spread in spite of the differences between mine and hers. That being the case, I’ve not included what she thought the positions should mean.

Finally, the deck I used was The Gilded Tarot — my Work deck.  

 
1) The question or the current situation. (The question I asked was: “Why are all these gifts coming online now — what does it mean?”) 
Judgement — An angel wears a winged helmet, bringing to mind Mercury, the planet governing communication. Underlying the idea of communication, the angel sounds a horn, calling people from their former lives to new ones. They are being called to judge for themselves their old lives and compare them to their new ones. They will decide for themselves whether or not they answer the call.
The message of Judgement is clear. You are being called to do something. You might not want to hear it and are actively drowning it out with noise of your daily life (all that music I keep hearing turns out to be a message that my guides don’t think I’m ready to hear, so they’re blocking it out until I’m ready). You might be afraid of the call and the changes it will bring. Listen to it and face it with courage and action. It promises a more fulfilling life. (So, the current situation is that I’m developing all these gifts, experiencing all these shifts, here and on the astral, because I’m about to take on a new path, a new Job, completely different from my old path and Job.)
Be aware of two things: First, of ignoring the call or shirking from it in fear or obstinance; second, of mistaking the desires of others or of society for a true calling. Do not feel compelled to dance to anyone else’s tune, and do not ignore the music of your own heart. (That’s totally not an issue for me.)

2) The obstacle — the challenges facing the querent in the current situation. This card is always read upright.

The World — A woman stands with poise, dignity, and assurance. She stands before the world surrounded by laurel wreaths, indicating her mastery. She holds wands, representing her will, in both hands. Unlike the other figures in the Major Arcana, her will is in tune with both sides of herself; she has achieved balance of her consciousness and unconsciousness. She celebrates a great accomplishment. For this, she is recognized by the world and, more importantly, by her own self.
The message of The World is that of completion and accomplishment. You feel a sense of unity with the universe and mastery over self that is natural and effortless. You move to the rhythm of nature and of your heart. They are one.
Be aware of a false sense of security. In theory, The World represents total completion. (Not true – it represents the completion of a cycle — the end of the Fool’s Journey — but as with all things, it is a circle, and when you reach the end, you are ready to begin again as the Fool, on a new level.) However, in our human lives, this is never really achieved. Because we are human still, we can achieve only partial or temporary oneness. (Again not true… I am always aware of my oneness with everything.) These temporary or partial experience encourage us to keep growing and moving forward, if for no other reason than to experience that exquisite moment of freedom and understanding again. (I suspect this card is suggesting that instead of planning to read all my Pagan books, my challenge is that I should actually get off my duff and do it. Instead of planning to do all the exercises for magical training I find in my books, I should gather up the motivation and get it done. Never be complaisant, never stop growing. I am being challenged to become The World, so that I might begin the Fool’s Journey again at a new and higher level.)

3) The foundation – the past issue that’s caused the current situation.

Temperance — A fiery woman, full of passion and spark, is perhaps an incongruent image for a card meaning moderation. Like the gold and silver sphinxes in The Chariot, the gold and silver cups represent extremes. Temperance means to mix or to blend, as this woman is tempering extremes — any extremes — in behavior, belief, or feeling. She has learned to temper her life in such a way that she maintains and expresses her passion perfectly. By learning to do this, she is living her life as fully as possible, with her internal beliefs in perfect harmony with her external actions and with the world around her.
The message of Temperance is simple to understand, yet difficult to practice. Moderate your life in all ways: physically, spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually. Let your action (or inaction) be appropriate to the situation. This card, more than any other in the Tarot, speaks of perfect balance perfectly expressed. (So, basically, I’ve found my center, and everything I am and everything I do comes from that place, but sometimes I’m so wrapped up in being centered, I forget to act, and sometimes I get so wrapped up in Work with others, I forget to take care of myself and my own path.That’s happened a lot in the past.)
Be aware of intemperance and extremes in behavior. Also, don’t let the fear of making a mistake lead you to constant inaction. While inaction is sometimes the right choice, it is not always. (These are not issues for me. I was intemperate and suffered extremes in behavior and emotions while I was unmedicated and my illness was in control, but that is no longer the case. Also, when something requires action, while it might take a little while, as I decide what action I should take, once the decision is made, I will always act, very rapidly.)

4) A more recent past influence. NOTE: Sometimes, the foundation represents an earlier past — always try to check and see which of the two “Past” cards is the more recent.

4 of Pentacles — A man in rich purple robes, embroidered with gold, grips four pentacles in his arms. He has taken pleasure in achieving monetary worth. But money is an abstraction, a representation for things necessary to life or that give life beauty and pleasure. He has lost track of that and so he stands alone in his cold pride, neither sharing his bounty nor even really enjoying it himself. He reflects and extreme of The Emperor (Major Arcana IV). When The Emperor provides order for the betterment of life, all is well. When he imposes order for order’s sake, life becomes sterile.
You possess a certain amount of resources, and you’ve become possessive of them. You are hoarding your money, your time, your abilities. You’ve lost sight of what these things are for and you face a lonely, unfulfilled future unless you use your resources wisely. (I suspect this is discussing my reluctance, after Scott, to work with anyone. The sense of being so absolutely exhausted and sick of helping anyone, the desire to hold my emotions and my gifts close and not use them for anyone else, was pretty all-pervading. Even now, the reluctance to Work here, and the inability to trust or love deeply, which requires a deep sharing of my Self, continues to be a huge issue for me.)
Be aware of the opposite extreme of giving away all you have so that you are depleted and have nothing left to offer. (And there’s the root of the problem. That’s exactly what I kept doing… until I not only didn’t have anything left to give, when I began to recover, I didn’t WANT to give… and still don‘t, to a degree.)

5) The next step on the soul’s journey – this card can often show the direction the querent SHOULD go — the future cards can tell you if you’re headed that direction or not – there may need to be some correction.

Ace of Pentacles — This is a gift of resources — likely money, raw materials, or time. (That last one is why I’m giggling right now…) It is probably the most straightforward of the suits. For that reason, the gift of the Pentacles are not always as highly esteemed as the other suit’s gifts, or sometimes they are overvalued and lead to greed for material wealth or obsession with sensuous living. Whatever form the gift takes, it is up to us — as the weasel reminds us here and like the Magician (Major Arcana I) — to use our skill and determination to make something worthwhile of it.
You have been given a resource. Use it well and be grateful. (In other words, stop bitching about all the new gifts coming online, accept them, and say “Thank You.”)
Be aware of the temptation to undervalue or squander this gift because you consider it mundane and not a true gift of the universe. (OK, so the Universe, and not my Guides or my genetics, is the culprit here… and there will be more gifts coming… And all this suggests that there’s something special up its sleeves… I wonder where I’m going to go next, with all these new abilities?)

6) The near future – 1 to 2 weeks, usually, but it can be as far away as six weeks. Either way, it’s a future that’s usually unchangeable, because all the choices that are creating it have already been made.

Page of Cups — A young man holds a goblet with apparent carelessness. He adopts a posture of ease and almost of superiority and defiance. He is facing a moment of truth and is convinced that he knows best.
You are experiencing an emotional situation, one that you probably don’t have much experience with. You have the strength of your convictions and present an imperturbable face to the outside world. However, because of your lack of experience, you may feel a little apprehension under your confident mask. (So, the new path, the new gifts, are going to freak me out a little, because I’ve never dealt with them before, even though everyone else will think that I’ve got it all under control, and that I’m calm about it.)
Be aware of assuming you know everything and ignoring advice. Emotions are surprising things. Even if you think you are prepared, realize that you more than likely haven’t considered everything. Don’t shun the advice of someone more experienced. (I can’t help how I feel, but I can get help in dealing with the emotions that come up? Not sure what this is about.)

7) This card usually talks about the querent — who they are, where they are in life.

Ace of Cups — Idealism, romance, the Holy Grail — this gift of the universe provides depth and feeling to our lives. (Desire once said to me, “You are Love, and made to love and to BE loved.”) Here, the gift is purity of emotion, a spiritual love that is meant to guide us. If we set our eye on spirituality, we can more easily see our way through the tumultuous experience of the wide range of human emotions. Just as the moon remains the same but appears differently depending on the focus of the sun, so our experience of emotions varies according to how we choose to see them. Like the energy of The Magician (Major Arcana I), the gift of the Grail is meant to guide us. But it can, like the manipulative side of The Magician, lead us down some rocky roads.
You are being drawn along by a feeling. Your emotions are engaged and you feel more alive than usual. It may be the beginning of a romance (Gods, I hope not!), a spiritual epiphany, or a desire to express yourself artistically. Whatever it is, you are at the start of an exciting adventure. (I HAVE been doing a lot of listening to my inner guidance as well as my Guides lately… and a lot of my choices are based on my feelings about each situation that comes up. I’ve come a long way from the place where I thought I couldn’t hear at all…)
Be aware of running from this experience. Do not fear, discount, or avoid the intensity of your feelings. Although it may feel uncomfortable at first, learn to identify and express your emotions.

8) This is how others see the querent, but it’s also the rumor card — it says what others say about the querent as well as what they say TO the querent — it’s other people’s views on the situation or the person.

4 of Swords — A worn-out soldier finds rest in a quiet, bricked area. For the moment, he is safe from battle. In this sanctuary, he can regroup. And regroup he must, as his problems are still present, as indicated by the swords. But for the moment, he can take a break, and then face his challenges refreshed. The benefits of the Emperor (Major Arcana IV) can be seen here. By providing a stable, secure environment, the soldier can gather his thoughts and bring his best possible efforts to the situation.
You need time to regroup. Although your situation is problematic, you will not resolve it until you can take some time out. Remove yourself from the situation, meditate, and find your center. By recharging your spiritual strength, you will bring your best efforts to solve the problem. (So, just like I‘ve been feeling, everyone else also feels that I need to get away for a while and just work on myself, with no distractions… Staying at my parents’ place gives me that time to work on the problem of too many gifts by keeping the “noise” down by a distance of 6.5 acres, though I may need more than just a stay away from home. When I get home, I need to continue to work on myself, and not Work.)
Be aware of ignoring the problem by distracting yourself. This is not a card of escapism, but of utilizing your spiritual foundation for renewal. (Which I am definitely doing right now.)
9) This card represents the querent’s hopes or fears. Don’t just go by the negative or positive meaning, though… I’ve come across people who draw a card meaning success, and it’s represented their fears, so be careful when reading this card.
Three of Wands — A man stands on the shore watching a ship sail off. Or perhaps it is returning. Either way, he has invested in it. Whether he sees success or failure, his future is for the moment out of his control. He cannot affect its outcome. This is probably the most difficult card of the Wands. Like the Empress (Major Arcana III), this is a time of gestation, not of action or control.
You have made a choice and now must wait for the results. Whether you are patient or impatient doesn’t really matter — it will not affect the outcome. It is, though, a good opportunity to learn patience and self-control. (I did make a choice — to leave the path I was on and take a new path, a path that was good for ME as well as others. All this development stems from that choice… Also, this is talking about me entering a period of stasis and non-action, a circumstance that requires all the patience and self-control I have – simple, because those are pretty much my strongest traits as a person – my ability to accept any given situation is phenomenal. However, I do have trust issues that make me want to have control of any situation I’m involved in, and my lack of control over the gifts that have expanded, and the problem of trying to cope with new gifts coming in, is definitely freaking me out. I hate that I have no control over the outcome of whatever I’m becoming and where my path will take me. All I can do is choose to follow it, and wait and see what happens next. The not knowing is difficult – though now that I‘ve seen this card, I can move from fear to acceptance easily… I‘m doing that right now.)
Be aware of agitated action. Although it is frustrating to be still, let things take their course. Do not work yourself up needlessly. (I can do that. No problem. I know that the new gifts will take a while to get used to, so when you put it that way… I can chill. No trouble.)

10) The probable end result if nothing changes. No further in the future than about 6 months. This future is changeable, because a lot of the choices that the querent will make haven’t been made yet. This is normally just a prediction based on the querent’s choices up till now, and the type of person they are. If they don’t want a certain future to arrive, they can use the information in the whole spread to help them make different choices, thus changing this card.

9 of Pentacles — An accomplished woman stands by her gazebo. She gazes on her noble falcon with pride and is surrounded by a garden of plentiful pentacles. She has a right to be proud because she has achieved this luxury on her own. Like the Hermit (Major Arcana IX), she has chosen a life alone, which she does not seem to mind at all.
You have accomplished much that makes you proud. You have created a life that you enjoy and that satisfies you. In spite of your choices, you do not feel lonely. (As long as I’m happy, I’m OK with this future. I feel no need to change it.) 
Be aware that you may have been happy and not lonely, but there may come a time when that changes. Don’t be afraid to change your lifestyle and find someone special to share it with. 

11) The action to take using earth energy (if you want to change the outcome, or if you want to ASSURE the outcome).

The Hierophant(Don’t quite understand how this could be an action using Earth energy…) A leader and teacher wearing vestments, indicating wisdom, almost fades into the background. The stained glass window enveloping him brings to mind the great cathedrals of the past, incredible poems of glass and stone reaching toward heaven. This is an apt symbol of humankind’s greatest achievements of understanding the physical and spiritual worlds. A view of the universe — of all there is to know, both physically and spiritually, lies beyond. Looking at these elements as three levels, we see in the background the knowable universe, then humankind’s understanding and utilization of this knowledge, and finally the passing on of that knowledge to individual people through formal education and religious training.
The message of the Hierophant reminds us of the marvelous accomplishments of humankind and of the great resources of knowledge that are available to us. Respect the achievements of generations past. Use that knowledge to create with usefulness and beauty. Do not disdain tradition out of hand but see what wonderful things it has to offer. (Time to visit the Library and get help understanding, accepting, using and controlling my gifts – all of them, including the ones that will be coming online soon but aren’t there yet. Feeling a little silly now – I should have thought of that before. Perhaps, also, I should connect to the Earth and ask for help stabilizing my gifts, the knowledge of creating a strong foundation that gives me back control. I think this also suggests that I should continue to teach. Also, maybe I need a little chaos, so that I can REACH stabilization — the only way OUT is through a period of intensity — which explains all my anxiety attacks.)
Be aware of following tradition blindly. Do not accept all knowledge without question; rather, question authority. Make sure all beliefs and practices make sense to your own heart and mind before you make them a part of your life. (So there’s a lot of information available — but I should only choose the information that works for me, personally. Also, there may be old belief systems and habits in my mind that need to be cleaned out. Be aware that it’s not just outside information, but also information that you’re used to, like what’s on the walls of your house.)

12) The action to take using air energy.

Death — Everyone faces death in some guise. Here, we are speaking of a psychological death rather than a physical death. In this card, the skull stares with inexorable resolve. The chilling message is: If you want to move past this point, you have to pass through death. Why would anyone want to; what is the incentive? Death holds the rewards on his banner and shield. The white flower symbolizes a purity of desire, and the white horse a purity of will. Anyone wanting to continue on their spiritual journey needs these. They indicate the death of the ego and with it long-held beliefs that are no longer useful. This must happen to make way for new energy and life.
The message of Death is that spiritual growth brings pain. It isn’t easy to let go of certain behaviors or beliefs, to admit errors in thought and practice. Without negating the magnitude of ego-death, the emblems of what is to come — greater spiritual strength — remind us that the endeavor is not without its reward. (So… the action to take using Air energy is to let go of old, useless ideas, behaviors, beliefs, and accept change so that I can grow in wisdom and knowledge, and continue my spiritual journey.)
Be aware of the fear of change, of letting go of outmoded ideas. Fear of change leads to stagnation, which might be longer lasting and more painful than a clean death.

13) The action to take using fire energy.

10 of Wands — A purposeful man carries his large burden through the night toward the morning sky. He is almost done with his wearisome task. The full moon above and the dawn on the horizon indicate the end of a cycle. This card echoes the turning of the Wheel of Fortune (Major Arcana X). The deer watch silently form a distance, perhaps inspiring the man with their quiet strength.
You are nearly finished with an arduous task. You may be exhausted, but the light at the end of the tunnel, like a beautiful sunrise, gives you the determination to see this through. Draw on your most basic instincts for the strength to finish what you’ve started.
Be aware of stopping too soon. Do not let the relief of seeing the end of the situation cause you to falter; rather, let it focus your actions. (So basically, use Fire energy to strengthen my will, to strengthen ME, so I can keep going, and finish this growth cycle, after I’ve cleaned up my environment, and cleaned up my mind, after I’ve passed through death, I must be reborn, so I have to keep going — that’s what the tunnel is… the womb of rebirth.)
14) The action to take using water energy.
Knight of Cups — A high-spirited knight and his horse prance around in the twilight. He holds his goblet up high. This knight is clearly ready for celebrating or wooing a fair maiden rather than fighting. Governed by the suit of Cups, this knight is dreamy and romantic. Appearances and ambiance mean as much to him as skill and bravery. He can wield a poetic phrase as well as his sword.
You are feeling very romantic. (I am NOT feeling romantic… although I am probably a hopeless and therefore bitter romantic…) You are more interested in candles (yes, because I need them for spells), decadent dinners (I do love to cook a good meal for friends), and lofty declarations of love than usual. (Yeah, you lost me, there. Ew. Just… Ew.) Celebrating the beautiful and sensual experiences of life is just as necessary as any other experience. Enjoy! (I do… every moment is beautiful and sensual… everything I experience, everything I see. So, my action to take using water energy is to celebrate beauty, especially my own. No problem. I do that all the time, already… but I think this is most about being self-loving — being romantic towards the self, and nurturing the mind, body, heart, and soul. I’ll work on that — celebrating ME… loving and trusting myself.) 
Be aware of daydreaming when you shouldn’t. Don’t let romantic ideals take you away from your path. It’s one thing to celebrate a dream-come-true feeling in your life; it’s another to chase after dreams that can never be. (Don’t worry… none of these is an issue for me.)

15) The action to take to encourage spiritual transformation.

Ace of Wands — Like all the aces, this is a gift from the universe. Unlike the other aces, the Ace of Wands is bestowed by human hands, indicating a facet of the universe more sympathetic to the human condition. In some ways, this is the kindest, most generous gift of the aces. It is the beginning of everything — the spark of life. It is also the gift of will, of inspiration, of action, of passion, of courage. This illumination from the heavens is the start of all of our ideas and projects. Like the Magician (Major Arcana I), it is about a connection to higher planes, a focus of will, and the ability to achieve goals.
You are at a propitious point. You are given a gift, an idea, a project, or career opportunity. Take advantage of it with confidence and gratitude.
Be aware of ignoring opportunities and inaction. The Ace of Wands is a gift that requires the recipient to take action. (So basically, go to my guides and say… I want this change. Help me go for it. And then I have to do the work outlined above.) 

So that’s the example of Silver’s Expanded Celtic Cross Spread. (That’s what I’m calling it… she just calls it the Celtic Cross.)

 

Deck Interview Spread

This reading was adapted from a reading first posted to Aeclectic Tarot, which I actually discovered here. Please note that I have posted the original question, and then in parentheses, the question actually answered by the cards. I used The Gilded Tarot, and this is my first reading with them. They actually functioned the way my guides have told me that this deck should — they answered the question by telling me Work Information — the deck is supposed to be used for clarification of channeled information, if I’m confused about how to move forward on a Job — here, the deck told me what my Job is. I have six decks right now, and each one does something different… but that’s another post entirely. Oh, and my paraphrasing, or explaining the meanings of the cards is in ITALICS, but direct quotes (mostly) are in regular type. 
The spread didn’t do what it was supposed to do, obviously – the reading is actually supposed to be a simple six card spread that allows you to meet your new tarot deck and get to know it. It’s strengths and weaknesses. It’s personality. It will show how it can help you grow, become a better reader and a better person. My deck decided that instead of being interviewed, it would interview ME. 

1) Tell me about yourself — what is your most important characteristic? (Who am I and what is my most important characteristic?) 
9 of Swords — The nightmare I posted last was literally saying that I feel completely closed off and alone, but it’s partly my fault because I feel the need to protect my heart. I’m troubled by my inability to trust, but also by how all-pervading my spirituality has become. I’m searching for comfort from wisdom and truth, too much the Hermit, but I’m unwilling to reach out for help, even if it’s near at hand. I’m agonizing over my loneliness, but I don’t trust anyone to help guide or comfort me. It’s not pride that keeps me from asking for help… it’s my knowledge that either the people I might ask will think I’m nuts, or they won’t know how to help me – so I struggle on, alone and isolated. My most important characteristic is my lack of trust in others, and my resignation to work through it, as always, alone.

2) What are your strengths as a deck? (What are my strengths?)  
Ace of Cups — My gift of empathy, which allows me to love with a purity of emotion, is my greatest strength. Empathy is the spirit of emotion, which offers me guidance and allows me to guide others. Because my eyes are firmly on spirituality, I can more easily see my way through the wide range of human emotions, though there were times in my past where I was manipulated by other people’s emotions, which led me down some rocky roads. I am drawn by my feelings along my path, by a series of spiritual epiphanies. However, because of my illness, I often run from my own personal emotional experience, fearing, discounting, and avoiding the intensity of my feelings. I have trouble identifying and expressing my own emotions. 

3) What are your limits as a deck? (What are my limitations?) 
2 of Cups — Faced with the opportunity to partner with someone, whether it is a romantic union or a business venture, I have trouble honoring the gift of the moment and enjoying it, even when the potential for creating something special is there. I am aware of my unrealized potential, but though I am fully cognizant of my incredible loneliness, which is created by my trust issues, I am unable to move beyond them. All the elements of a strong partnership might be in place, but no forward movement happens, and the moment is lost, because of my lack of faith in anyone other than myself. I can never truly enjoy the moment, because I only see it as a form of enslavement. 

4) What do you bring to the table — what are you here to teach me? (What do I bring to the table – what do I teach others?) 
3 of Wands I teach people what they are sending out into the universe, and what will return to them. I teach them how to have patience, and how to have faith that the right outcome will happen. I teach them that all moments are moments of gestation, not action or control. I make choices, and then wait for the results. I am the embodiment of patience and control. (Wow… really? Weird. You guys don’t know me really well.) 

5) How can I best learn from and collaborate with you? (How can others best learn from and collaborate with me?) 
The Hanging Man — "More than any other figure in the Major Arcana, the Hanging Man represents the Fool. By turning himself upside down, by behaving in a manner not consistent with society, the Hanging Man may be judged a fool by many. The difference between the two is important, though. The Hanging Man has come through a challenging experience that gives him a sense of peace and understanding that only people who’ve successfully faced great trials have. The stylized sun above him represents his vision of himself and his place in the universe. He may flounder at times, but he knows who he is and from whence he gets his strength. He is willing to sacrifice society’s approval in order to be true to himself. The message of the Hanging Man is knowing when and what to sacrifice. I am clear about who I am and I let all my actions and decisions hang from that vision. Even if my actions feel clumsy or out of sync with others, I sacrifice their favorable opinion rather than be untrue to myself. I do not put more stock in what other people think than in what I believe to be right." (I’m thinking that the two cards above, The Hanging Man and the 3 of Wands, should be reversed, but my guides say NO.)
So basically, the best way to learn from me and collaborate with me on anything is to understand that I don’t really care about your opinion of me, as long as I’m being true to myself… and I expect you to be true to you, also – and whatever you need to do to be true to yourself, I will be OK with, unless it harms you, me, or someone else. 

6) What is the potential outcome of our relationship? (What is the potential outcome of a relationship with me?) 
6 of Wands — A hero’s welcome, a celebration of a great victory, and the Glory and Joy resulting from wise and balanced choices. Your achievements could only be the result of such well-made choices. You would be in the position to receive outwards congratulations for your actions. You will have done well, and will deserve to be recognized. Enjoy the accolades. So… work with me, end up with a happier life. I knew that, actually. 😛

Challenge

*NOTE: This actually happened about a week ago, but I’ve been so busy I’m only now getting to it. Sorry about the delay, but I really didn’t want to write this… it was… ugly, painful, and… when it was over, everything was  the same, but everything was different. 

All That Glitters Is Not Gold