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Decoding the Celtic Cross

Decoding the Celtic Cross

If you’re familiar with tarot, you’ve probably heard of this spread. I think it’s safe to say this is the most famous and iconic tarot spread. It’s certainly one of the older known spreads, originating over 100 years ago from the Golden Dawn – the occult society Arthur Edward Waite belonged to.

For better or worse, this was the first spread I learned when I began studying tarot. Mostly for worse, because this spread truly is a beast. Ten cards is a lot to grapple with when you’re a beginner! It was a bit like diving into the deep end before I’d learned to dog paddle. Due to memories of my own overwhelm when I was a beginner, when I’m teaching tarot I advise starting with smaller, three card spreads. But when you’re ready for it, the Celtic Cross can be a great source of insights and illumination!

Up until recently, it had actually been a year or two since I’d laid out a Celtic Cross at all. Not because I still shy away from bigger spreads, but because I got into a groove of custom-creating most of the spreads I used for clients. But within the past month, I’ve found myself returning to the Celtic Cross and using it for nearly all the client readings I’ve done lately!

This is mainly because I’ve been working through the book “Tarot For Your Self” by Mary K Greer. I’ve already gushed about this book a time (or two or three!) lately, but it can’t be said enough: what a great book. It is a classic for a reason. I still can’t believe it took me this long to get it, especially as I’ve been a great fan of Mary K Greer for a long time. She is a legend whose work really paved the way for what tarot has become in the modern world.

Fangirling aside, there’s a section in this book all about the Celtic Cross, and that’s what inspired me to return to this spread. There’s some fascinating info about the history and symbolism of the spread, and several variations on the spread positions. This was my favorite part, because although the Celtic Cross has retained a pretty specific shape and form over time, different people interpret the positions in slightly different ways.

I can’t for the life of me find this now, but I once heard someone (Joan Bunning, maybe?) compare casting a Celtic Cross to making a time-honored soup recipe that has been passed down from generation to generation. The idea being that things like soup or tarot spreads that have been made again and again gain a certain energy around them. We each bring our own flavors to the process, and also benefit from all the flavors that have built up over time.

So, what I’m going to share with you now is the way I interpret the spread positions in the Celtic Cross. Many of the positions are straight from the original, but I do have a few adjustments that I’ve found work better for my reading style. If it speaks to you, give it a try! I’ll also offer a few tips to help you get the most depth of meaning when working with this spread.

How to read the Celtic Cross

The image above gives a quick reference, but a more detailed understanding of the positions is helpful, so let’s take a closer look!

First up: do you need to ask a question when you lay out a Celtic Cross? It’s up to you, but I’ve found this spread is very versatile. When reading for myself, I rarely come in with a specific question, but I do usually have a specific focus area I want to explore. Having a focus area in mind is always helpful in giving context to your cards. But if you feel called to, you could also keep it totally open ended and simply trust that whatever messages you most need right now will come through.

The way I read cards 1 & 2 is fairly similar to traditional methods. Card one speaks to overarching themes or major lessons that are important to consider at this time. For me, card two offers more information about card one. Card two gives additional context to card one and often helps me hone in on the more subtle messages of the first card. These two cards are the heart of the spread, every other card usually relates back to these two in some way.

My view of cards 3 & 5 is also pretty traditional. Card three delves into unconscious influences. Often these are things you are completely unaware of on the surface level, although perhaps they have been seeping into your dreams or meditations. I find this spread position particularly helpful, because clarifying your unconscious influences and bringing them further into your conscious awareness is a key to transformation. Card five represents conscious influences, typically these are things you’re already aware of but perhaps need to consider in greater depth or from new angles.

Cards 4 & 6 are traditionally read as the past and the future. I have modified these to read as energy moving out, or what you need to release; and energy moving in, or what to focus on inviting in. This works better for me as it makes the reading feel less predictive and more empowering.

While all the cards within the spread “talk” to each other, there’s a particularly strong conversation between cards three and cards five, and cards four and six. As such, another useful tip is to really challenge yourself to consider how each card relates to the other card in its pair. What is the dynamic between these two cards? Do they compliment each other, or contrast each other?

As an example, in a recent client reading we had The Tower in position four (what to release) and The Eight of Pentacles in position six (what to bring in). These two had a particularly interesting dynamic because the Tower speaks to tearing something down, while the Eight of Pentacles is about building something up.

Card 7 I look at in a pretty traditional lens: this card speaks to your self-image. The stories you have about yourself in this moment, what traits you are most focused on within yourself, the beliefs about yourself that are most impactful right now. In my modification, card 8 goes along with card seven and offers another perspective on your self-image. This card is particularly helpful because in many instances our self-image is holding us back or not telling a complete story, so card eight opens up a bigger picture.

Card 9 is also traditional. I interpret this card as hopes, or fears, or both. Sometimes I intuitively sense it is speaking more to a hope, or sometimes more to a fear. But most often, I find it speaks to both as our hopes and fears are almost always interwoven.

Finally, I use another modification for card 10. Traditionally, this card represents the outcome. I was never really comfortable with that, because once again, I don’t really read predictively. I now use card ten as an opportunity for any closing messages or further advice to come through. I often find this card summarizes some of the key lessons that came in throughout the spread.

A few more tips for interpreting the Celtic Cross:

Give yourself plenty of time. As you experiment with this spread, you’ll get a feel of what that means for you. I am rarely able to get through this spread in less than 45 minutes. My client sessions are one hour long, and this is usually a good amount of time to do some in-depth exploration!

Begin by noticing overall patterns. This is actually a great way to begin any tarot reading, but especially a spread with lots of cards. Start by looking at the overall scope of the spread. What patterns do you notice? For example: is one suit more prominent? Are there more majors or minors? Do any colors or numbers stand out to you?

Relate everything back to the central two cards. I already mentioned this but it is worth repeating. These cards can serve as an anchor for you. Especially if you get thrown off on how to interpret any other card, it can help to ask yourself how it might relate back to the central cards.

Try spread variations to find what resonates with you. I’ve talked to a few people who soured on the Celtic Cross after trying only the “traditional” interpretations. Of course not every spread is for everyone, but before you totally kick this one to the curb, experiment with some modifications, or create your own modifications.

I hope something I’ve shared here is useful! If you have questions, comments or feedback, do share.


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Hi, I'm Carrie!

I'm a tarot reader and mentor.
My purpose is to encourage your expansion. If you're new, start here.

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All site content © Carrie Mallon LLC 2017
I am part of Amazon's associate program. If you purchase items linked in this site I will receive a small kick-back.
Connection + disengagement

Connection + disengagement

Hello there,

I am sitting in my home office, next to the window, which doesn’t offer a lot of light at this moment. For one thing, clouds are meandering their way across the sky. For another thing, the tree right outside my window is in a spring growth spurt. New branches and leaves wildly sprawling this way and that. It’s windy (just like it was last week) so the tree – which of course IS a living thing – looks even more alive. Like it is wiggling its fingers and toes. Dancing.

As I write to you today, my intention is to share something that is valuable or at least mildly interesting. I don’t yet know what that will look like because I’m following a method described by Mary K Greer for writing from your heart with tarot.

So I was shuffling The Spacious Tarot and the Lovers reversed jumped right on out of the deck. This doesn’t happen to me too often, so I will usually pay attention when it does. It’s funny seeing the Lovers, this card of connection, when I have been feeling pretty lonely lately. I know a lot of us are lonely. Staying home more. Maybe not spending as much time around friends and family because we don’t want to unwillingly spread illness. Life in 2020.

Physical connection is sacred and we are wired to crave it. It’s hard not to have it, and that doesn’t just talking about sex. Even just the physical connection of like, sitting in a coffee shop chatting to a friend. Being in someone’s physical presence, being all up in their vibes and aura. It can’t really compare to interacting with someone from behind a screen. But we kind of can’t do a lot of that physical stuff right now.

Even before the whole social distancing thing, I had been thinking about people from my past who I’m no longer as connected to for whatever reason. It’s my Cancer Sun. I am emotionally clingy. Letting go is hard, sometimes feels impossible for me. I’m aware of it, and I accept it, and I try to let it come forward as a constructive trait even though it obviously has a shadowy side.

So, maybe you can relate to this feeling of missing someone but knowing that you have to be away from them. Either because of the pandemic so you know (hope?) it’s temporary but it’s still hard. Or maybe you’re away from them for another reason entirely, like your life paths just naturally drifted apart or you had a falling out or whatever the case is.

Leave it to me to go to the dark place when talking about THE LOVERS of all cards. But, y’know, every card has a whole spectrum of meanings. Our Lovers card has a dark background, after all. And love is god damn complicated. Sometimes you love someone even when it’s probably not ideal to do so and you feel weird about it and wish you didn’t.

Anyway, what I love the most about our depiction of the Lovers is that it’s about energy. Love and connection may be amplified when you’re able to connect with someone in the same time and place, but there are other ways to be together that challenge assumptions about the time space continuum. Anyone wanna hang out on the astral plane? Maybe you find some energetic closure with people from your past by visiting them in a dream or on the astral plane or writing a letter you may or may not ever send.

I think we could all do with sending out some love and light, whatever that means to you. Maybe you tell them someone you’re sending loving energy, maybe you do it quietly. I believe putting out love carries an impact any way you approach it.

I’ve now pulled another card and this time it’s Temperance. Soooo in a roundabout way, this card reminds me of something else I’ve been thinking about a lot which is the theme word I chose for this year: DISENGAGE. Yeah…not sure how that choice aged? DISENGAGE came to me very strongly at the beginning of the year, but I did not expect it to align with a global crisis that forced disengagement from so many of our normal activities.

So those are some shadowy things, but DISENGAGE has also felt like a useful theme word for me in many ways. When I think about Temperance, I think about a measured approach. There’s some sense of balance in our version, the fire and ice almost mirror each other. Too much of one would destroy the other, so that measured approach is crucial.

It goes back to my Cancer Sun clinginess. Although there are things I wish I didn’t have to disengage from, there are just as many things I’m still engaging with which fuck with my vibe. I guess the metaphor I’m trying to go with here is, maybe I’m the ice in this card and I’m engaging with too much fire which is destructive to my vibe. A little fire? I can co-create with that. Too much fire? YIKES I’m melting, time to disengage.

There’s a delicate balance in Temperance, just like there’s a delicate balance within me and within you. This card asks: where do you feel out of whack? What are you maybe overly engaging with even though it’s wreaking havok on your vibe? Maybe for some of us the answer is: screen time, news consumption, self-pity, the list goes on.

Looking at these two cards together, the Lovers and Temperance, there’s a synthesis available. The Lovers asked: where are you called to energetically connect? While Temperance asks, where are you called to energetically disengage? And maybe even where are you called to do both of these things at once?

That’s what I’ve got today. It was a little random, but it was beneficial…at least for me! Thank you for taking the time to read these words.


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Hi, I'm Carrie!

I'm a tarot reader and mentor.
My purpose is to encourage your expansion. If you're new, start here.

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All site content © Carrie Mallon LLC 2017
I am part of Amazon's associate program. If you purchase items linked in this site I will receive a small kick-back.
Following the wind

Following the wind

Sometimes you need to sway and let the dust be stirred up.
So I’m doing something different today. Listen here.

It’s an audio message, with thoughts on the pandemic, yes, because it’s still on everyone’s mind. But also thoughts on the wind, dust, what ‘HOME’ really means, and how you can set the intention to “move on by the absurd.”
Plus, a little tarot reading.

It’s kind of a random ramble, yet it’s also all connected.
Kinda like the old days – some of you might remember when I used to have a podcast called Key Finding.

Click here to listen.
It’s a YouTube video, but it’s actually just audio. 🙂


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Hi, I'm Carrie!

I'm a tarot reader and mentor.
My purpose is to encourage your expansion. If you're new, start here.

Archives

Creative Commons License
All site content © Carrie Mallon LLC 2017
I am part of Amazon's associate program. If you purchase items linked in this site I will receive a small kick-back.
This space is for you

This space is for you

After taking an extended break to focus on shipping out The Spacious Tarot, I’ve been back at client reading sessions for a couple of weeks now. I recently had a session with someone who requested I use the Spacious Tarot, as they have the deck and feel connected to it. During our time together, this client shared some very interesting and unique insights on some of the cards in the deck. They saw things in the images that I – as the co-creator of the deck – had never even considered!

This was a real delight for me, because as a deck creator I was very concerned (maybe even overly so tbh!) about letting the deck be open to interpretation. When you open the box of our deck, you are greeted with a message that says ‘this space is for you.’ And in the introduction to the guidebook, I invite people to take what resonates and leave the rest, because this deck belongs to you now.

I’m fairly satisfied with the approach I took in writing the Spacious Tarot guidebook. There’s some information about why we chose the imagery we did, but lots of space to project your own thoughts and feelings onto the cards. I basically took the opposite approach from when I wrote my blog posts about the Wild Unknown: in those posts, I went into a lot of detail breaking down the imagery, even what the colors could mean! I analyzed the heck out of those cards.

Interestingly, the reason I was able to do this with the Wild Unknown is that the creator of that deck wrote a pretty sparse guidebook. If she had written a huge manifesto going into all the details about why she made the decisions she did, I wouldn’t have had the inspiration to blog about the deck. And frankly, I probably wouldn’t have felt as drawn to the deck, because on some level I might have felt bound to the creator’s interpretations instead of free to explore my own interpretations. Also: me being me, at the top of every blog post I wrote about the Wild Unknown there’s a disclaimer stating that these are just MY perspectives.

To be fair, some of this is just my own neuroses. A lot of people have requested that I write a more detailed and lengthy book about the Spacious Tarot, and maybe I will someday! There’s certainly a lot more I could say about these cards. And you know what? I would kind of love to write a more detailed book about this deck. But… I’m sure that if I do, I will not be able to stop myself from suggesting that people ignore the things I write that don’t connect with them, and interpret the imagery in whatever way it speaks to them.

There’s an essay by literary critic Roland Barthes called ‘Death of the Author.’ The idea is basically that when you’re interpreting a piece of art, the author’s views/intentions actually don’t matter that much. The work outlives the author, metaphorically and literally. The interpretations of you as the person interacting with the art are what really matters, not who the creator was or what they were trying to convey. Your perception is valid.

There’s obviously a lot more nuanced conversations to be had about this…like if a creator does something truly problematic in their personal life, maybe we can’t always just separate them from their creations. Who am I to say? I’m not a literary critic, just a tarot reader. But I hope that if you own the Spacious Tarot, and you ever see me, the deck creator, expressing an opinion you don’t agree with (IE: I went on an angry rant about current affairs on Instagram last week) or if I do something that you perceive as dumb or troubling, that it will not pollute your relationship with the deck. Forget about me!

The point is: the way I see it, any tarot deck you love belongs to you. Any tarot deck you resonate with creates a space that is for you. You can work with it however you see fit. If the creator has provided a lot of details about their choices, you may find inspiration in that. But maybe you see the cards in totally novel ways and take things in a completely different direction than the creator ever imagined. That’s great, that’s wonderful! That’s the magic of tarot, and that magic is channeled through you.


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Hi, I'm Carrie!

I'm a tarot reader and mentor.
My purpose is to encourage your expansion. If you're new, start here.

Archives

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All site content © Carrie Mallon LLC 2017
I am part of Amazon's associate program. If you purchase items linked in this site I will receive a small kick-back.
Tender (or tender) tarot

Tender (or tender) tarot

So there’s this recurring feature I do called Tough or Tender Tarot. But sometimes nooooobody needs more toughness!

So today, we’re going to do Tender or Tender Tarot. I will use two decks. You can choose the deck you feel drawn to. Either way, the message will be tender, and hopefully give you something soft and kind to carry with you.

Before that, just some raw thoughts: most of us are feeling all the things lately. I am, at least. I’ve talked a lot in my past few messages about feeling grateful, and I still do, that’s a feeling I try to cultivate.

But I also feel a lot of anger. And hope. And despair, then hope again, then frustration, peace, guilt, more anger, witchy as fuck, connected, lonely, alive… it’s a wild ride.

The specifics vary widely, but we are all in a weird place lately. And maybe like me, you’re feeling all the things. So, I’m trying to be tender with myself, and today extend some of that tenderness to you.

I picked two of my favorite decks which are gentle without being saccharine: Gaian Tarot and The Spacious Tarot. Both speak strongly but always from the heart center. I kind of feel like Gaian is a big sister to Spacious. In fact, the court card titles in the Gaian are what inspired the titles we used in Spacious.

Take a moment to sense into which pile you are drawn to. Top is the Gaian Tarot, bottom is The Spacious Tarot. The crystal is cobalto calcite (my favorite for loving vibes).

When you have your selection,

scroll
down
to
find
your
message.
If you chose Gaian Tarot, you have Four of Fire and the Priestess. The woman on the Four of Fire stands in a circle of candles, under the full moon. She urges you to plug into a vital life force. She teaches you to participate in aliveness. Like her, you can refuse to be separate, or made small. You can celebrate your right to take up space. How can you affirm the fact that you belong here, at this time, on this planet?

The Priestess has a similar vibe. She exists on the cusp of sea (unconscious) and land (conscious). She asks you to be equally reverent of your inner youth and inner elder. The owl and the fish remind you to value both traditional wisdom as well as your unique intuition. The moon and the sea are both things that ebb and flow around the Priestess. She asks: what ebbs and flows around you? How can you be present with this, without seeking to repress or control it?

A common thread carries through these two cards: the magic of ritual. Ritual could be the answer to some of the questions posed for you here: rituals honor your belonging, your aliveness. Rituals ground and center you through whatever waves come your way. Your rituals can be big, elaborate traditional ceremonies to honor phases of the moon or points on the wheel of the year. Or your rituals can be small and secular: your morning coffee, watering your plants, Zooming a friend. What ritual can you devote to that will serve and heal you at this time? Do it!

If you chose the Spacious Tarot, you have the Explorer of Swords and Ten of Pentacles. The Explorer (Knight) asks what you are really ready to invest yourself in. Your energy levels may be very different than they were a couple of months ago, so it’s important to make sure you’re not rushing to say YES to every request that comes your way. The Ten of Pentacles guides you to make choices that are sustainable, to only devote yourself to building things you really, really want to build.

Not everyone, but some of us have extra time at home right now. There’s been a lot of heated debates online about what you should do with this time. I think we’re all finally in agreement that you shouldn’t be pressuring yourself to write a novel or compose a symphony during a pandemic, but the Explorer of Swords shows that the voice in your head that yells “YOU SHOULD BE DOING SOMETHING IMPORTANT” doesn’t always quiet down right away, even when you know you need to give yourself grace. So be patient if this voice arises, engage it from a place of understanding and nuance, do not let it try to rush you to conclusions.

At the same time, the Ten of Pentacles suggests that maybe you do feel called to build something sturdy, something that will last. So don’t force the things you’re not in a place to do, but also don’t hold yourself back from the work that calls to you. And don’t judge the scale of that work! Maybe you do have the energy to take on a big, long term project. Or maybe it’s just about finishing a puzzle or making a loaf of bread. Either way: be honest with yourself, speak kindly to yourself, and be selective about what you have the energy to build.

~~~

That’s it for today, friends.

Take care, be tender, kindness matters.


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Hi, I'm Carrie!

I'm a tarot reader and mentor.
My purpose is to encourage your expansion. If you're new, start here.

Archives

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All site content © Carrie Mallon LLC 2017
I am part of Amazon's associate program. If you purchase items linked in this site I will receive a small kick-back.
The Paradox of Taurus

The Paradox of Taurus

Yesterday I woke up and my first thought was “the vibes feel different today.”

I’m always saying I’m not an astrologer, but I am perpetual dabbler. I usually don’t know exactly when things shift, but when I started scrolling through Instagram and saw people posting about Taurus season I was like oh. Yeah, that’s what I’m feeling. The shift into Taurus season. And I welcome it!

If you saw my last message, you already know that last week was kind of hot garbage for me. Even more stuff went wrong after I wrote that, but I won’t go into the gory details except one thing which may be relevant to you: my email stopped working! I think it was related to the issues with my sites going down as they both go through my server.

So many of you emailed me really lovely and thoughtful replies last week. I spent a few hours replying to them all and the next day…I got bouncebacks for every. single. email. So if you messaged me, know that your words were received and appreciated and I apologize that the internet ate my replies.

THE GOOD NEWS: my website is back up! AND my emails are working again. Fingers crossed I’m out of the tech-issues woods for a good long while now.

Anyway: Taurus season is here, and I am grateful. Taurus season is actually one of my favorite times for witchery. Yesterday I sat outside, soaking up the vibes and working through ‘Tarot For Yourself’ by Mary K Greer. Tomorrow I will harvest nettle and experiment with cooking and eating it for the first time (so far I’ve only used it to make tea). During Taurus season, I crave touching the earth, connecting with long-standing traditions, communicating with plants, inhaling flowers, moving slowly but consistently.

We are creatures with bodies that evolved to sense and experience the natural world that sustains us. This is home. We co-create with the natural world. That’s what magic is. We are no more or less important than the trees and the dandelions and the wind.

If you’ve been hanging around me for a while, you’ve probably heard me talk about paradox: things that seem to be contradictory, but are actually true at the same time. Here’s a paradox I’m thinking about right now. Taurus season is about creating things that last. Building containers for what matters. Staying steady and sticking to the course.

But at the same time, what everyone keeps saying about this phase of our reality is that it is UNCERTAIN. Being in uncertainty can seem paradoxical with being in Taurus vibes. Taurus is not known for enjoying change, let alone uncertainty.

Here’s a tweet I saw yesterday that hit me like WOAH.

This is a very uncomfortable truth for Taurus (and for a lot of human beings no matter what’s in your chart): certainty is, and always has been, a myth. Things may seem more uncertain now than they were a year ago or even a couple of months ago. But certainty has never been real.

So how can we feel into this paradox of Taurus season? Maybe by finding comfort in traditions without clinging to them. By continuing steadily on the path we have chosen while accepting that we may have to take an unexpected turn at any moment. By tending to an inner sense of worth and enoughness that does not hinge on any external circumstances.

Last night I did a Celtic Cross spread for myself, asking what I need to know as I navigate this Taurus season. It was kind of a mind blowing reading, to be honest. I hadn’t used the Celtic Cross in a while and forgot how much I really do love that spread. It’s a classic for a reason! However, there was one thing that threw me off in the reading, which was the final card. I got the Five of Pentacles reversed.

Not too long ago, I did a reading for the collective and talked about how it’s been a very Five of Pentacles time for us lately. Even so, it’s not a card I really welcomed seeing in my Celtic Cross, especially in the final position. This position is traditionally read as “outcome.” I use a modified Celtic Cross as usually read this position as “closing messages” which feels less prediction-y to me.

The rest of the reading had clicked into place right away, but I had to really sit with this last card. Eventually, I remembered something I read a long time ago about this card which has stuck with me: sometimes the Five of Pentacles comes up when you’re too focused on the material plane and neglect the spiritual plane.

Then today, I referenced the book ‘Understanding the Birth Chart’ by Kevin Burk to read up on Taurus, and there was a bit of synchronicity in there that connected to my reading last night and helped me make even more sense of that Five of Pentacles, and how it might relate to Taurus energy specifically:

“When Taurus becomes too attached to the physical, it begins to identify with the material plane, rather than with its true self. Taurus’ sense of self-esteem and self-worth becomes dependent on its appearance. It becomes obsessed with the accumulation of things in an effort to build up its sense of self-worth and to protect itself, and the pursuit is entirely pointless, because nothing on the physical plane is lasting. Taurus must learn that its true worth, its true identity, has nothing to do with physical trappings.”

So! Trying to bring this all together: that was the closing message from my own spread, and it’s the message I’ve been trying to share with you here today: we are capable of living in paradox, and learning from the experience. Uncertainty is okay, because certainty was never real. Stay grounded in the material plane, but honor the spiritual plane. Hold steady, make magic consistently, and even if the turns knock you side ways know that you’ll eventually find your way back to center.


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Hi, I'm Carrie!

I'm a tarot reader and mentor.
My purpose is to encourage your expansion. If you're new, start here.

Archives

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All site content © Carrie Mallon LLC 2017
I am part of Amazon's associate program. If you purchase items linked in this site I will receive a small kick-back.
Dusting off the Wild Unknown

Dusting off the Wild Unknown

Hello there, this is a repost of a message I sent to my mailing list yesterday. If you’re reading it here on the site, you already know – the site is back up! 🙂

Today is one of those days where I really feel like the Universe is testing me. I have had to bust out several of my most effective spiritual practices just to keep myself from having a mini-breakdown! I am sure you can relate, because the stress level of the world in general has amped itself right the fuck up lately.

But, as I told my husband this afternoon, I am determined to stay as centered, calm, present and MAGICAL as I can. Not today, SATAN.

Here’s why I’ve been so stressed today: my website (carriemallon.com) and the deck’s website (thespacioustarot.com) were both taken offline by my hosting company. They gave me no warning, and I had to talk to five (5) different tech support people before I finally got to someone who SORT OF helped me understand the problem.

Soooo, the bad news is, it was a stressful day and as I’m writing this the sites are still down. But the good news is, it’s starting to seem like maybe/hopefully between myself, tech support and my husband (who is much more technology-literate than I am) this is something we can resolve.

Another bit of good news: this reminded me that people do, in fact, use my website. I’ve gotten lots of emails/DMs on Instagram from people notifying me the site was down and telling me they use my posts on the Wild Unknown deck daily. Which is pretty neat to think! Let’s all put out good vibes for the site to be restored as soon as possible.

Even before my relatively minor in the grand scheme of things tech woes, I’d been finding it necessary to re-devote myself to the spiritual practices that are the most powerful for me. This is why we practice. This is why we do self-care. This is why work magic. Because these things give us a way to return to our power, and presence, and reverence when everything seems sideways.

Last night on my Instagram stories, I mentioned that GRATITUDE has been one of my major touchstones lately. Gratitude is a spiritual practice. People talk about it enough that it starts to sound trite, but my friends, trite it is not.

Here’s the type of gratitude I’m not about: the type of gratitude that is forced, that is non-specific, that is about bypassing real issues and “just being positive.”

Here’s the type of gratitude I AM ABOUT: the type that is deep, specific, and viscerally felt. Gratitude like this isn’t about forced positivity, but it is about challenging your ego’s tendency to focus on complaining about dumb shit instead of really noticing the magic and beauty everywhere. Gratitude can coexist with a desire for change. Gratitude can coexist with acknowledging what is wrong or painful.

Instead of bypassing the tough stuff, gratitude gives you an anchor into something deeper, something primal and mystical, a force that keeps you afloat amidst the tough stuff. Gratitude is about noticing all of the tiny miracles that surround you in each moment and amplifying them. Because it’s true what they say: what you focus on expands.

So! The Wild Unknown tarot. As I mentioned earlier, my posts about this deck are definitely what gets the most traffic on my website. And hopefully they will be restored soon. But in the mean time, in case you don’t already know, I do have a PDF on offer which contains the text from all of these posts. You can click HERE to download the file via Dropbox – just make sure to save it to your own device.

Oddly enough, despite these posts being one of the things I’m “known” for, I actually don’t use this deck too much myself lately. It happens. Some decks stick with you for a lifetime, some come along and teach you what they need to teach you and that’s that. I try not to force it. If I feel called to work with a deck, it comes out to play. If I don’t, it stays on the shelf. And the Wild Unknown has been on the shelf for a while.

In short, the messages I get from this deck had always been sort of aloof and to the point, but for a long time that was something I admired about the deck. It cuts to the chase. It’s mystical, but very practical in the way it gives messages. It has a sort of Queen of Swords vibe as a whole. Know that I’m speaking here only of *my* relationship to the deck, the vibes I get from it. It could very well be different for you, we all have our individual connections to our decks.

But at some point it just started to feel like the deck was being cold and snarky with me, so…it has stayed on the shelf for some time.

But heck. Today’s been *A Day* and I feel like I can handle anything, so I took the deck off the shelf. I’ll pull a couple cards to offer a message for myself + anyone who reads this. If we get a cold and snarky message, we can handle it, right?

Ah! The Hermit and Strength. I am pleasantly surprised. I was fully expecting the Three of Swords 😉

It’s a Hermited time for many of us, as it is necessary to remain apart from other people as much as possible due to the pandemic. The Hermit is typically a welcomed card, but I think it’s important to acknowledge that it can, in fact, be a challenging card. Confronting your own thoughts, being away from distractions and really LISTENING to your inner workings is not always easy! But it IS always rewarding.

Coupled with Strength, we have a reminder that we can do this. If we allow this time to be illuminating, it can be. There’s a sense of patience with both of these cards, as well. The Hermit knows that inner wisdom only has to lead you to the next right step. You are not asked to solve complex problems overnight, on your own. You are only asked: what next? No matter how small that step may seem, it is vital. The lamp leads you forward, but it only illuminates one step of darkness at a time.

Alongside the message of patience, Strength also reminds us to reconnect with our DEVOTION. We need to be absolutely resolved to stay on our path, to find the way to be gentle with ourselves and others while also insisting that we show up fully, as the lion is in the sun rays. And with that Hermit energy, we need to know the difference between going within and hiding. It is not a time to hide. Make space for sanctuary and retreat, but stay in the light. Face forward. You can do this. We can do this.

~~~

Okay, my people. Thank you for being present with this message today. Take care and stay in your magic.


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Hi, I'm Carrie!

I'm a tarot reader and mentor.
My purpose is to encourage your expansion. If you're new, start here.

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All site content © Carrie Mallon LLC 2017
I am part of Amazon's associate program. If you purchase items linked in this site I will receive a small kick-back.
The Tower, synchronicities, Who Am I (a spread to try)

The Tower, synchronicities, Who Am I (a spread to try)

Hey there,

This has become my greeting for everyone I talk to lately: I hope you’re doing as well as possible with the current circumstances.

Last week I did an Instagram live and talked a lot about the Tower. It’s a card I’ve been thinking about a lot lately and it’s come up a few times in my recent daily draws. It certainly does feel like we’re in a Tower moment, collectively.

And I don’t have to tell you that being in the energy of the Tower isn’t exactly fun. It’s jarring, and scary, and chaotic.

I also talked about how I’ve been finding inspiration from Martha Beck lately. In her book Finding Your Way in a Wild New World she outlines four ‘squares’ we go through when dramatic change happens. Right now, we’re in square one. That’s the part when, well, shit is basically falling apart and you’re like WTF.

But here’s a weird fact about me: The Tower is one of my favorite tarot cards. Because as much as it represents breakdowns, it also represents breakthroughs. As Martha Beck says:

“This is a time when familiar things are crumbling—but as they do, rigidity gives way to fluidity, and inspired new ways of living can emerge.

There are many things we can’t control. However, we can make conscious choices that will move us from fear to courage, from despair to creativity. We can reimagine this moment as an unprecedented opportunity to bring positive change to our world.”

By the way – these quotes are from a free masterclass Martha hosted a couple of weeks ago which you can watch by registering for her email list here if this sounds interesting. I’m not an affiliate, just passing along something that resonated with me.

In my last post I mentioned that it feels important for me to be even more devoted to my witchiness lately. One of the most reliable ways to connect to your witchiness is to notice synchronicities. Meaningful coincidences. And I’ve noticed a few of them in the past week.

First, the synchronicity between Martha Beck’s words I quoted above, and the fact that I keep seeing and thinking about the Tower.

Another synchronicity: in the masterclass, Martha talked about a tsunami as a metaphor for dramatic change. Then, this week, I started reading Little Universes, a brand new YA novel by a client + friend Heather Demetrios. The story centers around two sisters whose lives are upheaved when their parents die in…a tsunami.

Heather’s book is officially out today (I was lucky to receive an advanced copy!) and of course, she didn’t know that a global pandemic would be creating chaos when her book came out, but… it’s kind of the perfect book to be reading right now, which is yet another synchronicity. Because although the circumstances are different, the characters are navigating drastic and sweeping change.

One more big synchronicity: I haven’t gotten to this part in the book yet, but Heather told me that somewhere in her novel there’s a reference to something that reminds her of the Hanged One card from my deck, the Spacious Tarot.

One of the sisters in the book is into tarot, and there are tarot references sprinkled throughout the novel. Not to brag or anything, but Heather says her readings with me were helpful for infusing tarot into the story, which is pretty rad!

Heather was so kind as to share a tarot spread she created, and I’m going to share it with you, too. She uses this spread to get to know her characters, but she’s also used it for herself. The spread was inspired by Rumi’s quote: “you are not a drop in the ocean, but the ocean in a drop.” It’s called ‘Who Am I’ and it’s shaped like a wave.

Perhaps you’d like to give this spread a go?

The synchronicities just keep coming, because I feel like I really need this spread right now. Just as the outer world is changing, I feel like I’m changing as well. As within, so without. I thought about doing the spread for myself and sharing it here, but I think this is actually one I will do privately, for now. I have a feeling it’s going to bring up some stuff I might not be ready to share publicly yet!

If you have thoughts on the spread or anything else I’ve shared today, come chat with me in the comments.

And if you’re looking for something to read that’s both a distraction from our current reality, while also being strangely resonant with reality; and that blends themes of mysticism and science and sisterhood and loss and self-discovery, definitely check out Little Universes.


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Hi, I'm Carrie!

I'm a tarot reader and mentor.
My purpose is to encourage your expansion. If you're new, start here.

Archives

Creative Commons License
All site content © Carrie Mallon LLC 2017
I am part of Amazon's associate program. If you purchase items linked in this site I will receive a small kick-back.
Being present with the mystery

Being present with the mystery

A few days ago Annie & I did a livestream from @thespacioustarot Instagram account. As ambivalent as my relationship with social media is, I will say there’s been a lot of good things about it in this time of physical distancing. Attending a livestream is not the same thing as gathering in person with friends, but it’s something, and it’s pretty fucking cool that technology is helping many of us stay connected lately.

I’ve hardly posted on my personal Instagram account lately (@carriemallon), as I’m more focused on the deck account right now, but going live the other day gave me a bit of new inspiration. Some of you might remember when Periscope was a thing (that lasted a hot minute.) I used to do lives pretty regularly for a while there, and this seems like as good a time as any to host another livestream or two. So I’m going to do an impromptu live on my personal account tomorrow, Wednesday April 1 at 11am MST. So come say hi if you’re around? We can pull some cards. Maybe talk about the Fool, since it’s April Fools Day? Wherever the wind may go.

Anyway, at the end of the Spacious Tarot livestream, I offered to pull a card for the collective. The High Priestess jumped out as I was shuffling (which hardly ever happens to me, so I will usually incorporate the card into the reading if it does), then I drew the Hermit.

The High Priestess and The Hermit.
What a pair.

I was rambling through my initial thoughts on these cards, slowly circling around the heart of what I wanted to say about them, when…

We reached Instagram’s one hour time limit, which I did not know was a thing and will be useful to know for future livestreams, and the stream came to an abrupt end before I could finish my thoughts.

I’ve been thinking about this draw a lot since then, and so I want to talk more about it here.

First, we have two majors. That’s already an attention grabbling pull. And we have two majors that both deal with themes of introspection, the unconscious, dreams, intuition, self-discovery.

The High Priestess came out reversed (I turned it around for the photo) and the reversal made me think that perhaps some of us are having resistance to this energy lately. Maybe some of us are reaching outwards for illumination, listening to other people’s hot takes, waiting for someone else to come in and say THIS is why this is happening, and THIS is what it means.

There is space for us to address those questions collectively. But maybe collective understanding has to start with individuals who are able to be in a different paradigm. In other words, that’s us: the mystics, the witches, the weirdos. Especially if you’re having resistance to magic and self-exploration right now…. that’s a pretty good sign that these ways of being are even more important than ever.

What is it that unites you with your inner Hermit and High Priestess? What practices help you connect with your unconscious self? What atmospheres coax out your inner wisdom? Now is not a time to let resistance disconnect you from these things. It’s a time to commit to your path in an even more expansive way.

The Hermit is also a little on the nose when a lot of us are spending as much time as possible inside. Maybe it’s a little affirmation that even if there are real challenges to this, it is still a good and wise thing.

And here’s the other part that feels really important with these two cards:

We aren’t even really called to pinpoint specific answers right now. We are called to be present with the mystery. Feel into the murkiness. Explore this space not with urgency, but with curiosity. Let things ebb and flow and be ambiguous like the moon and the waves, instead of trying to force things to stay still and be understood.

This is actually a poignant aspect of how I view tarot as a tool. We turn to tarot when we are uncertain. Sometimes, the cards give clear answers and detailed direction. But in many circumstances, tarot actually doesn’t give us the answers our ego wants. Instead, it gives us what our soul needs. Tarot gives us things which are ultimately more powerful than answers, like: new perspectives. Reframes to our stories.

Tarot teaches us to be present with the unfathomable, the vast, the deep… the sacred mystery.


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Hi, I'm Carrie!

I'm a tarot reader and mentor.
My purpose is to encourage your expansion. If you're new, start here.

Archives

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All site content © Carrie Mallon LLC 2017
I am part of Amazon's associate program. If you purchase items linked in this site I will receive a small kick-back.

A spacious tarot spread

Hello from home!

It feels like it has been a year since I last wrote you, but the Gregorian calendar informs me it has only been one week. Hmm. Time is weird like that. And I don’t have to tell you that this time is particularly weird. You know.

I wish I had some deep and useful thoughts to share. But I’m just gonna ramble a bit. Then later, we’ll do a tarot spread.

I’m not doing the best. I’m kind of just proud of myself for doing the basic stuff I need to do to keep surviving (a little work, a little exercise, taking vitamins, spiritual practice). Sometimes you just need to meet yourself where you are.

Y’know the saying when it rains, it storms? This week, on top of the global crisis we are all facing, we had an earthquake here in Utah. I have had anxiety about earthquakes for a long time but this was the first significant one I’ve experienced (5.7 magnitude). It was scary and unnerving, and intensified the frazzled energy people here were already feeling.

So yeah. Global pandemics. Earthquakes. 2020 didn’t come to play.

HOWEVER.

I can say this in all honesty: the main thing keeping me going right now (besides watching Bob Ross and playing Animal Crossing) is gratitude. I’m not quite sure how to explain it without speaking in platitudes (I try to avoid platitudes, but I’m not sure what my success rate is). The best thing about gratitude is that it can live along side feelings of discomfort, and things being wrong, and things that you want to change.

Gratitude does not mean rolling over and accepting the status quo. It means digging deep and finding the part of you that is shiny and alive and unbroken, even when the world around you is literally and figuratively shaking.

And to me, gratitude means perspective. Which is a tricky thing sometimes, because even though there is always someone who has it worse, you’re still allowed to feel not great about your current circumstances. But at the same time, you don’t want to blow things out of proportion and dwell in misery. So you’re allowed to be like “THIS SUCKS” but at the same time, can you find the bits and pieces that don’t suck and that may even, possibly, be good? Wondrous? Magical?

I’m grateful that there was no major damage or deaths from the earthquake. I’m grateful for everyone following physical distancing protocols to slow the spread of the pandemic. I’m grateful for those who can’t stay home because they are doing essential work to help society. I’m grateful to see neighbors helping neighbors. I’m grateful for cats and dogs (and all the other critters too, of course). And even though I’m very frustrated about a lot of the stuff happening at a global level, I’m grateful that a lot of other people are also frustrated because it means many people care and want to support each other and make things better.

Speaking of gratitude… probably goes without saying, but I am grateful for tarot. This is a tool that has been there for me no matter what space I find myself in.

I thought today I’d share a simple little spread I created for The Spacious Tarot guidebook. This spread is for exploring whatever space you’re currently experiencing. You can approach this one of two ways: the first option is to keep it open ended, and consider ‘space’ as a broad theme in whatever way speaks to you. The second would be to chose to focus on a particular type of space (such as mental, physical, spiritual or emotional space).

I do hope you’ll try the spread for yourself, but also I’m going to offer my interpretation of this spread for the collective, looking at the broad concept of our overall shared energetic space. You are welcome to take anything that resonates here and leave the rest. I will be using The Spacious Tarot.

The Five of Pentacles represents our current space and what a card this is to see here. This card is traditionally associated with hardship in the material realm. It’s not a surprising card to see when many are concerned about their physical health, and financial hardships are taking their toll as well.

In this deck we have a muddy hill. An injured wolf painstakingly makes its way forward. Collectively, there is weariness. The wolf hints to me that many of us may be feeling lonely. Like it’s just you out here, by yourself, making your way up that hill without companionship. This is likely compounded by the fact that due to social distancing, many of us are uprooted from normal interactions and support systems.

It is said that misery loves company, and there is some truth to this. Especially if you have been feeling alone in your struggles, this card affirms that you are not the only one feeling this way. You are allowed to reach out and vent. Give yourself permission to commiserate. Everyone is experiencing some level of difficulty at this time, and you are NOT alone. This isn’t about dwelling on or amplifying struggles, it’s about validating them and then finding a viable way forward.

The message here reminds me a bit of what I rambled about earlier: it’s okay to be like “THIS SUCKS!” But even as we acknowledge what sucks, we need to look around for what resources are available to us. They may not look like the old resources, but new modalities are arising. The stones on the horizon could represent new structures, new resources, an as yet undefined sanctuary. Be gentle with yourself, but keep going and know that we are working to build a new reality together.

The Guardian (Queen) of Swords gives further messages about the lessons of this space. We are learning to embody certain traits of this guardian. Most notably, we are learning to listen. Some of this is happening as you’d expect: listening to experts. Listening to friends and loved ones.

But there’s also a spiritual dimension to the ways we are learning to listen.

It may seem paradoxical, but now is a time to listen to the realms that are more than human. In fact, we are learning to practice discernment in our listening, because perhaps there are many things in the human realm we have been listening to for too long when what we really needed to do was clear them away. We have been listening to too much noise. Now is a time to listen to what really matters.

Listen to the trees. Listen to the wind. Listen to your ancestors and maybe even listen to those who come after you. Listen to the moon and the sun and the stars. Sit still and listen. At first, it may seem only like cold silence. But with practice, you notice even silence has textures and whispers. And with patience, messages emerge. What do you hear?

The Elder (King) of Wands gives further advice. The Elder of Wands is a restless character, yet s/he channels this restlessness into something meaningful. Instead of just making you frazzled, perhaps some of the restless energy within you can be focused to create your version of fireworks. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to write the next great novel or complete some type of magnum opus (though if that is your calling, embrace it).

Instead, we are advised to simply bring some consciousness about how we are channeling our energy. There are many things we cannot control. And a tricky thing here is that this restless energy might come forward as acute stress, which is not useful individually or collectively. So, it’s the tried and true advice to focus on what you can control. There is such a thing as good stress, so let’s look for ways to channel our restlessness not destructively, but creatively. As much as it is available to you, bombard the darkness with big bold light and audaciously vibrant vibes.

Sooooo…. yeah! That’s what I have for you today, and maybe there’s something from the reading you can carry with you. Please do comment to share thoughts if you have them.

Sending light,


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Carrie Mallon

Header art from The Spacious Tarot illustrated by Annie Ruygt

All site content © Carrie Mallon LLC 2014-2019 

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