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Diplomacy and the King of Cups

Diplomacy and the King of Cups

I’ve drawn the Elder of Cups (known in most decks as the King of Cups) as my card of the day twice this week. And it’s got me thinking…

When I began learning tarot, one of the keywords I learned for the King of Cups is diplomatic. This has always stuck with me and is a key part of how I understand this card. Here’s the part where I do that clichè sharing the dictionary definition of a word thing, but I think it’s actually fruitful here so bear with me.

Diplomacy: skill in dealing with others without causing bad feelings. (Merriam-Webster)
Diplomacy: the art of dealing with people in a sensitive and effective way. (Oxford)

I see the court cards as representing specific aspects of personality. So when I draw a court card, I tend to begin by asking “in what ways am I currently aligned with this aspect of my personality? Is it helping or hurting? How can I better bring forward the useful aspects of this card within myself?”

So that’s how I got here, thinking about what it means to be diplomatic. What does diplomacy look like? Why is it important? In what ways have I been refusing to heed the wisdom of this card, hence causing it to show up for me again and again?

My first impulse is to get very defensive about how OTHER people aren’t being diplomatic. I mean, here in the US, we have a president who has normalized being (excuse my somewhat undiplomatic language) a hateful asshole who is constantly pouring gasoline on the fire of division. A lot of the discourse in the highest echelons of society is the opposite of diplomatic.

But tarot has this annoying way of being like “well, you can’t really control what other people do so maybe let’s think about how you can best process your own energy and then possibly you’ll show up in a way that inspires other people to transform as well.”

Ugh, tarot, you can be such a buzzkill. Making me examine myself instead of just constantly projecting shit onto other people. FINE THEN!

So, what can we learn here? How can I be a little more like the King of Cups even when existing amongst shadowy Emperors?

Well, the King is the adept one, and the suit of cups has to do with the emotional realm. So the King of Cups is someone who has a level of mastery in the emotional realm. They are not controlled by their emotions, but this doesn’t mean repression – it means contextualization. They are a leader who does not seek to divide and conquer, but rather to understand and unite.

Perhaps most important to the conversation here, the King of Cups understands the deep emotional undercurrents that move through every person and every situation. The fact is, we are all emotional driven creatures. Much more than we’d like to admit. A superpower of the King of Cups is that they know this. While some people seek to understand emotions in order to manipulate, this King seeks to understand emotions in order to maintain harmony.

In short, the King of Cups is diplomatic because being diplomatic works. That is, it works if you value peace and respect and compromise. If you really want to improve the well-being of yourself and others, if you really want to resolve conflicts, if you really want to be an effective leader…being diplomatic is the way.

Consider the alternative. The other ways are about shame, dehumanization, authoritarianism and control. If you read a history book or just take a look at the world around you, you’ll see these ways do not work in the long run. Probably we should all agree that these things are bad, but what do I know.

Here’s the kicker though: being diplomatic is soooooo hard. It’s much easier to just fly off the handle, blame other people for all the world’s problems, share hateful memes and lament about how people on the “other side” are at fault for everything. Aligning with your inner King of Cups requires you to challenge your base instincts and approach things from a deeper perspective. It ain’t easy, but it’s important.

Also important: this isn’t about putting on a ‘when they go low we go high’ air of superiority. It’s not about stroking your ego with the notion that you’re some ethically evolved being. It’s not about a naive expectation that we should all just get along (that’s more of a Page of Cups thing – the King has leveled up). It’s not about tone policing – this is a huge point: in some circumstances, being diplomatic is a privilege. This is DEFINITELY NOT about telling someone who is being abused or facing discrimination that they need to ‘just be nice.’ That is a distorted misinterpretation of this message and the King of Cups ain’t about it. The King of Cups is emotionally intelligent, not emotionally manipulative. Don’t get it twisted.

It is about realizing that the only sustainable path forward – both in our personal relationships and in broader cultural contexts – is diplomacy. I think it’s something worth expecting of ourselves (whenever it is reasonable) and also expecting from other people. We should not normalize or accept the erosion of diplomacy, because when we do, we’re in trouble.

I repeat: IT IS NOT EASY TO BE DIPLOMATIC. This requires great skill. It requires diving into your own depths, sifting through your shadowy unconscious, and bringing that wisdom to the surface (which is what you literally see in the image from the Spacious Tarot). It requires tremendous patience. It requires showing grace to yourself and others when you act out of impulse or shadow. It requires composure, compassion and inner stability.

To be honest, even trying to write diplomatically about diplomacy is a challenge for me. I’m more of a Knight of Cups than a King of Cups, most of the time, but you gotta evolve right? Or at least attempt to. I value diplomacy, and believe it is the way. And the Elder of Cups is nudging me, following me to say: so you believe this, do you? Then you must be willing to align with my energy and act accordingly. Again and again.

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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.
Our Emperor year revisited: crazymaking, chaos and remembering who the fuck you are

Our Emperor year revisited: crazymaking, chaos and remembering who the fuck you are

If you pay attention to pretty much any tarot teachers, you probably know about calculating year cards. This practice has been adopted by lots of tarot teachers, but as far as I know the method was originally presented by Mary K Greer and Angeles Arrien. The concept is simple: add up the numbers in the current year and the corresponding major arcana is the year card. 2020 2+0+2+0=4, card 4 is the Emperor, so 2020 is an Emperor year.

To be honest, year cards aren’t something that resonate particularly strongly with me. There have been many years where I don’t give them a single passing thought! Part of my ‘meh’ about this is how it is contingent on the Gregorian calendar, which is now the most mainstream way to measure time but it is just one of many, many, many calendars out there. Despite this naysaying, I do find year cards interesting to think about.

And I’ve found myself thinking about it more this year than possibly any other year so far. Last week I talked about the Tower, and in many ways 2020 feels much more like a Tower year than an Emperor year to me. But this week I’ve been thinking about the Emperor.

Actually, the relationship between the Tower and The Emperor is an interesting phenomenon, as there’s a creative tension here. Tower energy is chaotic. Emperor energy is orderly. Tower energy is about upheaval. Emperor energy is about structure. Tower energy is unpredictable. Emperor energy is reliable.

It’s worth mentioning the above described Emperor energy when it manifests in its highest potential, but there’s a shadow spectrum to the Emperor as well. The Emperor can cling too tightly to control, lodging themselves into the collapsing Tower and refusing to acknowledge the futility of this. The Emperor can be tyrannical or even violent in the quest for order. The Emperor can uphold structures that are biased and unjust.

Yeah… some of that shadowy stuff has certainly been manifest this year in ugly and harmful ways. So. Part of our Emperor year is confronting this shadowy shit. We can’t ignore it or make excuses for it or downplay the severity of it. It’s there and the way we respond matters.

So how do we respond? I can’t answer that question for anyone but myself. For me, part of responding to the shadowy aspects of the Emperor is revisiting the more useful aspects of this card.

One useful aspect of the Emperor, when it manifests in a more integrated way, is that the Emperor KNOWS WHO THE FUCK THEY ARE.

Just last night I was doomscrolling Twitter (10/10 do not recommend) and in the midst of all the posts lamenting the chaos of our current hellscape, I came across a tweet series from Chani Nicholas that said:

“GO LOOK AT MARS. Contemplate what you are willing to fight for. Offer your bitterness, hostility and arrogance as sacrifice. Reclaim your power from the chaos of the world and remember who the fuck you are.”

In the RWS system, the Emperor is associated with Mars, so there’s that. And isn’t Mars still in Aries? You know I’m not an astrology expert, BUT DAMN. Synchronicities abound.

Back to the point: The Emperor knows who the fuck they are. Remembering who the fuck you are is no small feat when it feels like the ground is constantly shifting, when you’re constantly bombarded with fearful and uncertain messages, when you’re flung into Tower moment after Tower moment. I’m guessing I’m not the only one who feels like they’ve forgotten who the fuck they are a time or two this year.

So….as we’ve still got a few months left in the year, it’s a good time to ask yourself: Who the fuck am I? In what ways have I forgotten who the fuck I am? What do I need to do to remind myself of who the fuck I am?

Now that I think of it, those questions would work perfectly as prompts to use with your tarot deck!

The Emperor also offers lessons in responding to the phenomenon sometimes called “crazymaking.” I was first introduced to this concept in The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. A few traits of crazymakers: expecting special treatment. Discounting your reality. Sowing division. A refusal to take accountability and projecting blame onto others. A polarized worldview. A proclivity to create chaos. It actually ties right back into what we talked about earlier, because crazymakers aim to throw you off balance from who the fuck you really are.

Crazymakers are the worst parts of Tower energy incarnate, and we all know a few of them. I daresay some of them hold public office. Unfortunately, in many ways 2020 has been a great year to be a crazymaker. Not so great for the rest of us who have to deal with the fallout.

And what lesson does the Emperor have here? Boundaries, of course.

This can be about external boundaries such as reducing the amount of time you spend around the crazymakers in your personal life, or laying down new ground rules for how they are allowed to interact with you. In line with the part about remembering who the fuck you are, it can mean reiterating what type of behavior you will and will not tolerate in your domain.

This can also be about setting internal boundaries, especially when it comes to the crazymakers in the public sphere. Such as: adjusting your news consumption. Or even taking magical measures to protect your energy before you engage on social media or discuss current with friends and family. Magical energetic protection could include visualizing a protective light shield, reciting a mantra or affirmation, or (my favorite) carrying black tourmaline.

In my experience, one of the best boundaries you can have with crazymakers is simply refusing to engage. As is also true in people with narcissistic tendencies, crazymakers are fueled by reactions. They WANT you to get upset. They WANT you to get thrown off by their fuckery. Even if it is subconscious, detracting your energy is their ultimate goal. So staying sovereign and firm in your boundaries and refusing to play their game is often the most powerful response.

The Emperor can have a tendency to get too rigid, so it helps to remind yourself that your boundaries can be as flexible as you need them to be. Stay in touch with your energetic landscape as it shifts. Claim the authority to refresh and update your boundaries as often as necessary.

And so here we are, nearing the end of this post and also nearing the end of 2020 (though I don’t doubt the next two months will feel like two years). Here with the shadows of the Emperor, but also with the magnificent power this card offers. How will you channel your inner Emperor from here?

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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.
Working with the Archetype of Upheaval

Working with the Archetype of Upheaval

Pretty much since the pandemic started, people are constantly talking about these ‘unprecedented’ times. Unprecedented. Unprecedented. Unprecedented. Honestly, I’d be happy if I never heard this word again (especially coming from corporations), partly because it’s so overused but also partly because…I don’t really think these times are unprecedented?

Here’s a thing I say a lot: tarot is a map of the human experience. This map applies as much now as it did when the first decks appeared hundreds of years ago, and I believe its accuracy will be hold up even a few hundred more years in the future. As such, tarot reminds us that none of the stuff we’re going through right now is new, actually. We’re in a time of upheaval, yes. But this isn’t the first time, and it won’t be the last.

The major arcana has long been described as archetypical. An archetype is an energy embedded in human consciousness, which appears again and again regardless of time or place or culture. The exact manifestation of the archetype DOES vary greatly with time and place and culture, but an archetype is the manifestation pared down to its essence.

The Tower is the archetype that might resonate the most with our current times, because at its essence the Tower is the archetype of upheaval. And right now it’s pretty important that we focus on working with this archetype.

Upheaval has occurred again and again throughout human existence, and even in the broader universe. The big bang itself was an upheaval. The births and deaths of stars are upheavals. The synchronous transition from hunting and gathering to agriculture that occurred in many human cultures 10,000 years ago was an upheaval. The proliferation of the internet has been an upheaval. Just to name a few, in very broad strokes.

To be clear, yes, the exact manifestation of our current upheaval is new. This exact set of circumstances IS “unprecedented.” But upheaval itself is a core part of the human experience. It can be an act of grace to acknowledge how unique this time is, but I think we do ourselves a disservice when we fixate on the unprecedented narrative. In an odd way, remembering that Tower energy is not totally unprecedented. It is a known point on the human experience map. This may not make Tower energy any more enjoyable, but it offers a more empowering and even spiritual perspective on our current reality.

Yes, we are uniquely tasked with navigating *this particular* upheaval. But navigating upheaval is something that always has been, and always will be, an essential part of existing in this universe. The Tower shows that upheavals can be scary, painful and destructive. I see plenty of that darker side of the Tower at work right now. But what we need to remember is that the Tower is not inherently a ‘negative’ card. Upheavals don’t have to be a bad thing, The Tower teaches that upheavals can be sacred. They can be a clearing.

As I recently wrote on Instagram, in the Spacious Tarot (pictured above) the Tower is a cairn: a pile of rocks sometimes used to mark a path. But here the rocks are struck by lightning, suggesting the old paths are no longer viable. This can be a frightening card, but it is also a card of opportunity. When an old way is no longer passable, we can choose to channel the energy of the tower, actively tearing down old systems in order to create new paths. What if we worked proactively with this energy? What if instead of fearing upheaval, we ushered in the types of upheaval that are so desperately needed right now?

Way back in 2014 I posted a video talking about how the Tower can represent breakdowns AND breakthroughs. This is a time of breakdown in so many ways, and we can’t bypass the difficulty of that. But isn’t it also a time of breakthroughs? I’d certainly fucking say so! This is something the Tower has in common with the Wheel of Fortune: both can sometimes be about external energies that you don’t have direct control over. But both can also be worked with proactively.

It’s okay to feel jolted and lost and like you’re in the midst of a breakdown because, well… we are. But where is your sovereignty in this moment? How can you actively be part of the breakthrough? Instead of just freaking out at the destruction and closed paths, how can we shift towards the paths that are opening?

So here we are, whether we like it or not, in the midst of upheaval. We’ve been here before and we’ll be here again. Turn to the lessons you’ve gleamed from past experiences of upheaval, both within your own life and within human history and the universe. And perhaps most importantly: stay open and present for the specific lessons that are arising right now. As I said in the reading for the collective last week, a new phase is just beginning. How bout we choose to be participants, co-destructing AND co-creating with the universe?

Lightning moves quickly but offers a flash of illumination for those who are perceptive. Let us be perceptive.

PS: Don’t forget to take care of yourselves and your crew when the shit hits the fan. Get outside if possible. Pet a cat. Hug a tree. Step awaaaaaay from screens for a while. Unless you are using the screen to watch funny videos or if you’re me, get back into Animal Crossing. Drink water. Scream into the void when you need. Eat a vegetable every now and then. Make art. All that good stuff. Upheaval is discomfortable as fuck so let’s have some empathy for self + others.

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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.
An Equinox Tarot Reading for the Collective

An Equinox Tarot Reading for the Collective

The autumn equinox is one of my favorite times of year.

Equal parts shadow and light.
Libra season.
Nature slowing down.
Tea. Colorful leaves. Coziness.

I’ve still been a little quiet on the blogging front lately, but I had the inspiration to record a reading for the collective, so here we are. Listen while you put away laundry or go for a walk or make dinner. Or, just get comfy in a chair with a cuppa whatever and listen.

Take what resonates. Leave the rest. As always!

A few major themes that come up in the reading:

-We are already in a new reality.
-This is a time of recalibration.
-What beliefs are you reaffirming, holding more tightly?
-And what beliefs are you holding loosely, transforming?
-How can you make sure your approach is both useful and effective?

Please feel free to leave a comment and share your thoughts.

Thank you for being here!

Begin or deepen your tarot studies with
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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.
Here I am.

Here I am.

‘elloooooo!

I’m settling in with a cup of hot tea (nettle, mint and lemon balm, from my very own garden) on the first day of September. There’s a noticeable chill in the air today. It’s funny how that happens sometimes, at least here in Utah: the weather changes line up with the months changing. It’s supposed to warm up later in the week, but today mother nature got the memo that autumn is coming. And yeah, I’m a #basicwitch so I do love autumn.

It’s been a few weeks since I blogged, and I’ve missed it. You may or may not remember that I set the intention to blog every week in 2020. I was on a pretty decent roll for most of the year, but the past few weeks I stepped away to focus on shipping out the second edition of The Spacious Tarot. I’m *almost* caught up on shipping now. Though I feel like I’ve been saying that for a week. Thing is, the orders keep rolling in! But I’m not complaining. Shipping is a lot of work, but it’s pretty damn amazing to know you’ve created something people actually like and want to purchase. I’m so, so, so, SO grateful.

As usual, there’s been lots of thoughts rattling around in my brain lately. One of them is: I am here. Which is what I wrote in the subject line of this email. I am here. In this room. In my body. In this particular phase of my life. In this time on the planet. Within this web of socio-political, economic and cultural factors. I am here.

It doesn’t have to be perfect. I don’t have to fully understand all of it. I don’t need to judge it, or make sense of it, or suffer over it. There’s bad, there’s good, there’s anxiety, there’s peace, there’s chaos, there’s magic. It’s a weird time, but we are here. You are here. I am here. It’s a simple phrase, but powerful, to me. A mix of ownership and non-attachment.

Things are far from perfect. There’s still so much I yearn for in my own little ego-sphere. And there’s always so much of discomfort and injustice and destruction in the broader sphere. The question for me is always: how can I be HERE and claim some joy and acceptance of that, without BYPASSING what is difficult? It’s an ongoing inquiry. And for me, part of the thing is paradox (something I’m always yammering on about). The paradox of being fully okay with being HERE while also being fully aware of the issues and challenges that co-exist in this space.

Does any of that make sense? I don’t know. I just know we are here. And we’re not here for long. So I want to really be here.

Casual reminder that I’m an INFP. And a Cancer Sun. And a lot of other Cancer in my chart. Including Mars in Cancer. And I feel like all this explains a lot.

As the summer winds down, I’m trying to be outside as much as possible. Tending to the wee bit of land I currently “own” aka my yard. Harvesting herbs. Weekly hikes. Daily walks. Mornings on the porch with coffee and oatmeal and journals and tarot decks. Evenings with a beer on the grass. Just going outside, even in the middle of the city, is one of the best ways I know to shift my energy.

A couple weeks ago the collective energy got to be so intense that the only way I could cope was through awkward attempts at humor which you may have caught on my Instagram reels. You have to do what you need to do to find reprieve at times like this. Sometimes it’s yoga and herbal tea. Other times it’s a cocktail and an hour mindlessly scrolling Instagram reels.

As soon as we shifted into Virgo season I really felt the intensifying of the question: what’s next? But I know that question has to be tempered with the question of what’s now? So the refrain: I am here. Being here builds towards what’s next, but I should know by now there’s no level of certainty when asking what’s next. I’m starting to feel into what I want to be next. But we shall see.

For now: client sessions are still closed as I focus on shipping out decks. A few creative ideas are starting to peek out, and I’m feeling into which one is right to take on going forward. I have a massive list of books to read. I move between the desire to share everything, articulate my thoughts, write write write. And the desire to hide away, to just contemplate, to say nothing. So, as is my pattern, I’ll likely do a little of each.

*fights urge to apologize in case this post was incredibly boring*

Thank you for being here with me. I am sending you the coziest vibes imaginable. We are HERE.


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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.

Vlog: the Spacious Tarot 2nd edition is HERE!

THEY’RE HERE!

The Spacious Tarot is a collaboration between Annie Ruygt + Carrie Mallon. Available for purchase at thespacioustarot.com.


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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.
Illusion, Knowledge, Magic

Illusion, Knowledge, Magic

Back when the shutdowns were just beginning I wrote a post about how for some of us, this time is a call to deepen our witchy mystic weirdness. This continues to ring true for me.

The collective story we’ve been living out no longer makes sense. This is no longer a fringe sentiment. We’re having mainstream conversations about the pitfalls of capitalism, the already-present effects of climate change, the systemic racism still present in America (and around the world). And those are just a few examples of the old narrative crumbling. It’s been happening for a while, it just seems to be accelerating lately.

Nothing changes in the outer world until our internal myths change. Or as Einstein put it, you can’t solve a problem using the same thinking that created it.

This is all stuff I’ve been thinking about for years. What completely new stories do we need? What old stories can we learn from? Where am I called to learn and unlearn, imagine and envision? How can I be a part of co-creating this new narrative, making space for it, being present with its unfolding? I still have many more questions than I have answers.

Sometimes the questions seem so big and complex that I just want to ignore them and watch Netflix forever. (Avatar the Last Airbender specifically). Sometimes the challenges seem so intense that I just want to curl into a small ball and dissociate from it all. Or lately, I just want to disappear into the mountains and watch sunsets (the picture above I took camping last weekend) in between listening to Taylor Swift’s new album on repeat (I love it and I don’t care who knows it!). Sometimes I feel like WTF is wrong with me that I’m dwelling on this existential shit so often? I used to think I would get older and become less brooding, but instead I get more antsy with age.

I also used to think maybe these thoughts are pathological. Y’know, messed up brain chemistry. Or maybe it’s because of the alignment of the stars when I was born. I’m a Cancer sun, so I can’t help feeling FEELINGS. And maybe some of these things are factors. But also, maybe there’s nothing wrong with thinking these things and maybe we actually need people who think these things. Maybe there have always been people, throughout human history, who yearned for magic and new stories and transcendental ways of being. And maybe it’s actually great that people like that exist. Maybe the world, the universe, needs these kinds of people. Maybe….I’m one of those people? That’s a nice thought.

Anyway. Even with all the questions I have, there’s one thing I know for sure. Tarot is part of all of this. Tarot reflects and deepens these questions. Tarot offers glimmering hints of answers, new ways of being, possibilities, shifts. And I don’t expect to leave this incarnation having all of the answers, anyway. Even if I just devote a little time and energy to sitting with these questions, even if I’m a small part of weaving a new story, even if I only ever understand the smallest sliver of the pie, that’s something. None of us have all the answers, and that’s okay.

Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from Joseph Campbell: “life is like arriving late for a movie, having to figure out what was going on without bothering everybody with a lot of questions, and then being unexpectedly called away before you find out how it ends.”

This weird time (as we keep calling it, but really, all times are weird) has taken me deeper into the path of the mystic, and that feels right in ways that can’t be expressed through language. It is an alignment that reverberates with the deepest layers of my consciousness. It’s something I need to continue saying yes to.

Anyyyyyways…somehow this long navel-gazing introduction came out before I could stop it! So thanks for sticking with me, because I actually have something else I want to share today: a tarot spread. I randomly found this in the notes app on my phone, but I know I didn’t make it up. Unfortunately I can’t remember where I found it and Google was no help. So if you happen to know who created this spread, please let me know because I try to give credit where it is due.

It’s a three card spread using the following positions:

Illusion – Knowledge – Magic

I will use the Spacious Tarot, and offer a brief interpretation for myself as well as the collective. Please take what resonates and leave the rest. And also, give the spread a try for yourself if it intrigues you!

Illusion: Judgement reversed
Knowledge: Four of Cups reversed
Magic: Death

Judgement reverse really hit me hard because it relates to some of the musings I shared above. Judgement can be about a calling, a Big Life Purpose. But there’s this illusion many people fall prey to with this concept. The illusion goes like this: when you find your purpose, trumpets sound! Angels usher you in! Think about the imagery on the Waite-Smith version of this card: it’s epic. It’s the illusion that when you find your purpose, YOU KNOW. It’s dramatic and unmistakable and you’re changed forever.

And I mean, sometimes this is the case. Occasionally you get a big, dramatic, unmissable wake up call. But more often, the expectation of such grandiosity is an illusion. In reality, finding your purpose is usually much more subtle. Sometimes the invitation to greater meaning and purpose is so subtle that it can be easily overlooked. Instead of the clouds parting, it’s a small glimmering, a subtle shift. Instead of trumpets blaring out, it might be a whispering, quiet voice that says “this way.” Don’t miss the small nudges because you’re waiting for a grand gesture.

The Four of Cups reversed as knowledge ties directly into this. To me, this is a reminder that in order to attune to the subtle energies of your Big Important Purpose, you need to withdraw from the stream. The stream could symbolize many things: a constant barrage of news and social media. Expectations and ‘the way things have always been done.’ And of course, the stream could also symbolize your own emotions. Know this: you must disengage from these things, at least occasionally, in order to restabilize. In order to come back into living from your center. Because when you’re living from your center, you’re more capable of feeling into the subtle whispers which are always trying to beckon you.

Death is Magic. I liked writing that sentence!

What I’m noticing the most right now is the way the hands reach out for the flower. Here in the image they seem frozen in time, but can you imagine what might happen if you stepped into the card? I can envision the skeletal fingers brushing the flower, but then it drifts away again. Maybe they finally do get ahold of it for some time, but eventually the skeletal hands decompose entirely.

So the magic is that we can’t really hold anything forever. We can catch glimpses. We can brush up against something sacred. But we can’t control or own or pin anything down. Kinda reminds me of what I shared earlier and the quote from Joseph Campbell: there’s a lot of magic in the fact that there’s so many things you just can’t know, can’t hold.

The white rose has many layers of symbolism. According to Arthur Edward Waite himself (via Mary K Greer in an old post on Aecletic Tarot), the white rose represents purification of the desire nature. The ego desires. The ego wants answers. The magic of Death is in transcending the ego. Transcending the ego itself is something most of us can only do occasionally before we slip back into its grasp. But if you’re willing to devote to this practice, the magic intensifies. New layers are constantly revealed, old layers are constantly shed.

Wowza! I really liked this spread and I’ll definitely be using it again. Thank you for being present for my metaphysical ramblings today. Cheers to our individual stories, and the unfolding story we are creating together.


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Hi, I'm Carrie!

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Energetic commitments with the Two of Wands

Energetic commitments with the Two of Wands

My brain is a bit jumbled today. This happens a lot when I sit down to write a blog post. I feel simultaneously like I have too much to say, and nothing to say at all.

Even writing that, my brain is like “omg nobody wants to hear about your self-doubt and brain fog. Borrrring.” But maybe we could still do with normalizing the fact that brain fog and blocks and resistance are just part of creativity. You can let them stop you, or you can acknowledge them and say “here I go anyway.”

A couple of months ago I wrote a post using a process Mary K Greer calls ‘Writing From Your Heart With Tarot.’ Sidenote: have you noticed I’m a Mary K Greer fangirl? I can’t seem to go a single post without mentioning her lately. But yeah: I’m going to try that again today.

So here I am, jumbled brain and all (good news, my brain is already a little less jumbled, which often happens when you just start doing something). Sitting in my office, black tourmaline on my desk and listening to a playlist that’s supposed to get rid of negative vibes in your home. The Spacious Tarot is next to me and I’ve already drawn a card, the reversed Two of Wands.

This is one of several cards that makes me think about the power of energetically committing to a certain direction. I’ve talked about this with several clients recently – in fact, one of them had this exact same card, Two of Wands reversed.

From a numerological framework, the Ace is infinite. With the two, things begin to take a more specific direction. Twos can be about clarification, affirming which direction we want the infinite energy that started with the Ace to take going forward. That’s actually why we did the illustration the way we did in the Spacious Tarot. It’s a bit of an homage to the Wild Unknown version of this card, when the card is upright it looks like you could reach out and grab ahold of those two wands. Almost like taking the reigns, getting the energy going in the direction of your choice.

I see wands as the realm of instinct; the forces that motivate and compel you. This is probably why in our deck the wands are more abstractly illustrated – to me, they are more abstract than pentacles or even swords.

So the Two of Wands can be about finding yourself compelled to affirm a certain direction. This isn’t about making a reasonable choice or even an emotional choice. It’s almost about feeling like something has chosen you. You are moved in that direction even if you don’t know why.

But the thing is, sometimes even when you feel reaaalllly compelled to take a certain direction, you hesitate. Right now the reversal feels like that hesitation. This is a two, so it’s still early in a cycle. Even if the pull is there, the energetic commitment isn’t yet made. The wands beckon you to grab on, but it’s up to you to say YES. And it’s amazing how often we say NO, even when something calls us so strongly and with so much fire. This reminds me of a quote from Mary Oliver:

“The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time.”

The reversal here makes me think about why we sometimes don’t energetically commit to a thing that calls us. There are many reasons you might not grab those wands, and in turn deprive them of power. Usually, we cast the blame outward: there’s not enough time, I had to do the laundry, it’s just a silly dream, and so on. There is validity to these things, of course. But sometimes they are surface level justifications for something much more nefarious: the internal factors.

Could it be true that internal factors hold you back as much if not more than external factors? Things like: self-doubt. Imposter syndrome. Fear. Brain fog. Procrastination. Resistance. Interesting how we’ve come full circle back to some of the things I described experiencing myself when I started writing this!

Now the question becomes: how do you move forward despite those internal factors so that you can reach out and grab those wands and not become one of the most regretful people on earth? The answer is deceptively simple: by energetically committing.

Energetically committing means making a pact with the Universe and your higher self that even when shit gets hard, even when your own brain or external obligations get in the way, you’re going this direction. It might not be as fast as your ego would like, it might be full of challenges, it might be inconvenient, it might be misunderstood by others. But it’s the direction you’re energetically committed to, because it has called you and chosen you. You’ve grabbed the wands and that’s that.

Once you are energetically committed, it’s on. You’re doing it. You find a way to make it work despite the excuses that may keep trying to creep into your mind and despite the setbacks that inevitably come up along the way. Once you’ve energetically said YES, the adventure is inevitable.

So the Two of Wands asks you: what fire is uprising in you? Will you step into your power? Will you hem and haw and let the momentum go by unclaimed? Or will you confirm the direction that calls you and energetically commit to your path?

No pressure, but the choice is yours.


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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.
3 things to try when you’re tired of daily draws

3 things to try when you’re tired of daily draws

One of the most common bits of advice given to tarot beginners is to engage in a daily draw practice. It’s tried and true advice, to be sure. I’ve had a fairly consistent daily draw practice for many years and it’s proven invaluable. At some point, I should probably write an entire post about daily draw practices, but that’s a funny thing to say because it’s the opposite of what I want to talk about today. Because today, we’re talking about some things to try when you get bored of doing daily draws.

There are individual variations on the daily draw practice, but generally it looks like shuffling, drawing a card at random, and reflecting upon that card. Useful as the daily draw practice can be, sometimes you just want to switch it up. Any time what you’re doing with your cards starts to feel stale or uninspiring, give yourself permission to dip into something different.

There are infinite ways to use tarot. I could write a whole book about things to try when you’re bored of daily draws (publishers HMU). But today, I’ll just give three suggestions to get you started.

1. Pull a card face up.

I find this is a nice change especially when you are feeling tender. We’ve all had those moments when we’re feeling blah and frazzled and then we randomly draw a card and it’s the Tower and we’re just like “gaaaah this is not what I wanted to see.” Sure, sometimes you need to see things even if you don’t want to see them. But sometimes you need to engage your free will and consciously choose which card you want to share space with today.

There are lots of different ways to structure a face up pull, but what I usually do is just ask my higher self: “what energy do I choose to invite into my life today?” Then look through and pick the card that most resonates. I also like to jot down a sentence or two about what card I picked and why. This is akin to setting an intention for your day. It feels empowering and can be a great way to reunite you with a sense of autonomy.

If the idea of face up tarot intrigues you, Siobhan of Radical Tarot had a whole series about Face Up Tarot on Little Red Tarot a few years ago, which can be found here.

2. Do a literal daily draw.

I recently went through the Spolia Tarot (one of my favorite decks, which is sadly about to go OOP) and sorted out the cards I find the most visually interesting. For a few days, my ‘daily draw’ practice was to do a little chicken scratch sketch of one of these cards. I really like doing this because tarot is, at its heart, a visual language. Sketching a card helps me move out of a place of grasping for meaning and trying to put something ineffable into words, and moves me into a direct experience of the card’s energy.

As a bonus, sketching leads you to notice little details you may have overlooked otherwise, so it really enhances your relationship to your deck. I first heard the suggestion to sketch tarot cards from one of my favorite tarot books, ’21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card’ by Mary K Greer. Anything that’s good enough for MKG is good enough for me.

Below, my sketch of the Spolia Tarot’s creepy yet delightful Five of Pentacles.

3. Visualize how YOU would depict a card.

Fair warning: if you start doing this, you may end up creating an entire deck. It happened to me, it could happen to you.

How I would suggest doing this: use an iconic deck like the Waite-Smith. Choose a card whose meaning you resonate with, but whose imagery you don’t really connect with. Then, close your eyes and spend a few minutes feeling into what the energy of the card looks like to you. Free yourself from how the card is “usually” shown. This requires you to delve into the essence of an archetype and ask how that energy manifests for you on a personal level. Don’t overthink it, trust what comes up.

Maybe do a sketch of what arises for you, or even just go online and collect images that resonate with your vision. This is an amazing way to foster a deeply personal understanding of a card.

Doing this process myself is why there are certain cards in the Spacious Tarot that are very different than the Waite-Smith depictions, even though I love the Waite-Smith and it’s the deck I learned with. The Hanged One is an example. I have never really vibed with the idea of showing this with a literal hanged man. To me, that card alludes to dark nights of the soul, surrender, new perspectives, liminality. So I felt into a very different concept of what Hanged One energy looks like for me personally, and we ended up with this:

And there you have it! Three things you might try when you wanna spend a few minutes with your cards doing something a little different. I hope they might be useful and illuminating. If you try something out, you’re welcome to let me know how it goes.


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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.
Pick a card: July 7, 2020

Pick a card: July 7, 2020

Hello, hello! Yes, you get two hellos today. You also get me to pull a card for you, if you would like.

You know how this works.

First, tune in. This is a good practice for any time you’re receiving messages from tarot. I know these ‘pick a card’ things are alllllllll over social media, so it’s easy to partake in one without really being present for it. And when you’re not really present for a reading, you won’t get much out of it. So… do what you can to come into this moment. Maybe a deep breath. Maybe roll your shoulders.

And here we are. Take a moment to look at the photo above and feel into which card you are drawn to: left or right. Deck is The Spacious Tarot.

Scroll down to find your message.

And as always:

Take what resonates with you,

leave the rest behind.

If you chose left, your card is the Explorer of Pentacles. Comparable to the Knight, today the Explorer of Pentacles asks you to notice where you’re getting stuck in the weeds. This card represents the part of you that is singularly focused on what you’re doing, which is great when what you’re doing is taking you in the right direction. But it’s not so great when what you’re doing is actually just a diversion.

The first thing to do is ask yourself if you’re being stubborn, and if so knock if off. This can be a challenge – Explorers are the metaphoric teenagers of the tarot and have a hard time acknowledging when their approach might need adjustments. So even if this brings up a lot of resistance, it may be necessary to humble yourself in service of the greater good.

Now, acknowledge where you are, and acknowledge what exactly you’re doing. Then ask yourself: what’s the actual end goal here? Does what I’m doing right now line up with that end goal, or have I wandered off course? I know none of this is sexy, but that’s because pentacles have such a pragmatic energy. This isn’t about flashiness, it’s about sticking with the long (and sometimes boring) track of accomplishing something meaningful.

The kicker here is all of this depends on you actually having a meaningful goal. If you aren’t working towards something in particular, everything you do is a driftless diversion, and the Explorer of Pentacles does not enjoy being driftless. Our bear carries a pentacle around their neck, at best, carrying this pentacle is a deeply meaningful task. I know 2020 has been garbage for sticking to plans and goals, so it’s okay if this means focusing on something very small. The scale doesn’t matter, the meaning does.

Overall, it’s a great time to devote to a new calling, or ‘reverse engineer’ an existing goal. This means really clearly identifying where you want to end up, and mapping out the steps that will get you there in the most straightforward manner, then sticking to the course – no more side tangents.

If you chose right, your card is The World. Usually this card comes to us as a metaphor, but today it draws your awareness to the actual world; this place you call home and your experience of it. If asked to complete the sentence “the world is _____” how would you respond? And what does your response say about your relationship to this physical place and this moment in time?

These are important questions, because ultimately, the World is what we say it is. If you say that the world is a shit show, for example (a sentence I’ve uttered a time or two myself lately) than that becomes the truth. Your belief about the world filters the evidence you take in, and you will continuously find shit-show affirming evidence. And of course, the other end of the spectrum holds as well. If you say the World is delightful, magical, and expansive, this becomes the truth that is mirrored back to you through your experiences here.

But on a deeper level, the invitation here is to take your perception beyond the binary. The answer is not experiencing the World as either a shit-show or a utopia. As a tarot card, the World contains everything and transcends dualism. It is a card of unity. That is to say, when you perceive the actual world, how can you experience both the messiness and the magic?

Your outer reality reflects your inner stories. This is true on a personal level, and also a collective level. This is why what you say about the world matters so much. The spiral at the center of the card represents your ability to constantly deepen and broaden the stories you tell about yourself, the world, and the greater meaning that weaves through all of this. Where your narrative has become limited or one dimensional, intend to expand.

~~~

And there you have it! I very much hope you’ve found something interesting to take away from this. If not… maybe next time? If you do have reflections to share, I’m listening.


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Foundational Tarot, a free video course!


 

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.

Carrie Mallon

Header art from The Spacious Tarot illustrated by Annie Ruygt

All site content © Carrie Mallon LLC 2014-2019 

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