So, how does the person who has no relationship with the divine Masculine embrace the relationship? By jumping into it with both feet. I've placed this card on my altar and meditated on its message. The monarch is a beautiful animal, free of spirit, despite the painfully and sadly short cycle of its metamorphosis. It embraces its life in whatever capacity it can, by whatever means it can, and brings beauty to the world in the process. Can there be a brighter divine light inside any creature? I'm not so sure.
This card encourages us to dance in the light of the sun. To walk outside, hold our arms wide to the heavens and feel the heat of it on our face. Because time is fleeting. Energy comes and goes. Our own creativity, ideas and enthusiasm experiences its own ebb and flow to which we are eternally tied. We have to embrace this energy at its height and let it fall away when required and this card reminds us that Litha is a perfect opportunity to understand and accept this cycle, and to boldly take life by the horns. While we can. Always while we can.
Moving forward, the strength of the sun will wane. And the gods will rely on us to carry the light onward. Carry the spark of it in your heart. Call on it when life is its darkest and let it fill you up.
"Certainly, the history of my life and the works of art which have especially enriched it is precisely that: the depiction or incantation of a handful of metaphors whose splendor rests upon their intonation." - Michael Ayrton
(The Mary-el Tarot, Marie White)
It feels pretty loaded, doesn't it, to discuss the epic topic of tarot and art? Now, I don't mean the art of reading cards (which is a universe unto itself) but the real, tangible, actual art used to create a deck of cards.
You could safely say I am a tarot and oracle deck collector. I have a fair number of decks that span a variety of artistic styles. Someone recently asked of me, incredulously, "You buy decks just because they look pretty?" Yes. Yes I do. And though, from a collector's standpoint, that is reason enough, there's actually other reasons to buy tarot for its art, which extend beyond their monetary or aesthetic value.
Tarot, traditionally, is a very defined system, with defined imagery and defined interpretations of that imagery. People learn tarot (usually) around this system, so are not always called to care how the art speaks to us or what it has to say, beyond its traditional meanings. Some, however, read tarot intuitively, by drawing inspiration from the imagery, the embedded metaphor and symbolism, and the story each artist is trying to tell. Which (and I promise it's not blasphemy) does not always coincide with tradition.
Neither approach to tarot, in my opinion, is right or wrong. The traditional art and symbolism and definition has its place. And unconventional tarot has its place. The joy is in the journey towards discovering what those places are, how we inhabit them and interact within those spaces and what we can learn from these interactions.
The art of tarot is immense and intense. It can move hearts. It can pull at the psyche until we fall into the shadows and roll around in their meaning. I am not moved in this way by conventional imagery. I am not pulled into the Rider-Waite story. My heart doesn't lie in those cards. But hand me the Mary-el, the Wild Unknown or Prisma Visions tarot, and I fall in love with the story these cards attempt to share. I fall into their meaning and wrap myself up in the character and voice and translate that voice into a cohesive idea.
So, if you think it's pretty. Use it. Don't let anyone tell you that you're required to adhere to tradition. Learn tradition then break all the rules. You're allowed. You're allowed to enjoy the art of tarot. You're allowed to love one image more than others. You are allowed to create and foster your own relationship with tarot on your own terms.
Just enjoy it. Enjoy the journey and art and never mind the rest.
Responsibilities are a necessity, but we should endeavor to find a way to schedule our responsibilities alongside our responsibilities to self and Spirit. It's in this balance we find ourselves, our purpose and our way forward.
"In art and dream may you proceed with abandon. In life may you proceed with balance and stealth." - Patti Smith
So how do we restore balance where balance is lost? First, take time. Stop what you are doing and take an hour to have a conversation with yourself about the way in which your balance is lacking.
And, as un-sexy as it might sound, schedule in time for those areas in need of attention. You deserve it. Your body and spirit and loved ones deserve the attention you'll give to the areas which need it most. Achieving balance is not easy. It's a long road for many. But it's a necessary journey towards completion. And even if completion is never truly attainable, and we should always strive for balance between body and Spirit, the ethereal and earth, the journey is where it's at.
I hope you enjoy your journey and give yourself some love!
This year the Summer Equinox (Litha) falls on June 20, which also corresponds with the full moon in Sagittarius, and just might prove to be an especially powerful opportunity to connect with the Divine Masculine archetype.
The full moon in Sagittarius is an amazing time to express ones independence and freedom, and to explore the eternal philosopher... ever seeking wisdom internally and excitement externally. And, as the second moon in Sagittarius (the first being May 21), this will also prove an excellent time to handle unfinished business and learn the lessons of this sign. You know all that freedom you've been coveting? Now is the time to consider the consequences for the freedoms we afford ourselves and plan for the days beyond.
Despite the lessons yet to be learned this month, the energies surrounding this vibrant celebration (during which the sun is at its peak) are pervasive, insistent and wont be denied! Sagittarius is definitely making its presence known in my life these last two months, but connecting these energies to the Divine Masculine isn't always easily done.
I have to admit I have a wounded relationship with the Divine Masculine. One which I tend to shove in the corner of the broom closet and kick at every once in a while in order to close the door. Those qualities I would associate as "masculine" within, are also the qualities most lacking in care, support and kindness. The most critical qualities. The qualities which whisper to me, those nights when I long for sleep, "You aren't doing enough. You aren't doing it good enough. You need to be better. Man up.". And my internal feminine says to me "It's just tough love", but it's not. It's a damaging and unhealthy relationship with my Divine Masculine archetype.
So, this Litha celebration, how can I repair this damage? Or, at least, begin to repair it? First, by defining what a healthy relationship with this archetype means. What does He embody? This will be an amazing opportunity to journal and explore my shadow, while I re-discover and heal my relationship with this powerful and necessary archetype. He is the protector. The healer. Wisdom. He is in control without taking control, and embodies the elements in a single cohesive whole. He is firm but kind, supportive and encouraging, and we have only to ask for His guidance to open up within ourselves His power.
In the end, however, I don't have the answers. I'm taking this journey myself. But what I do know is that this Litha will prove to be an exciting, scary, trying ritual experience.... and worth every second.
How will you be celebrating your Divine Masculine?
Cosmos Oracle Deck: 13 Binary System
"Inside a binary system exists two stars locked
in a perpetual, dependent relationship"
-Light Grey Art Lab
Dependency is both a beautiful and dangerous foundation upon which relationships are sometimes built. On one hand, it is a stunning opening up, where relationships are born and grow and prosper. It is the yin and yang, the passing of elemental energies from one being to another, it is the fundamental sharing of passion, security and hardship. Perhaps especially hardship. And it is with an understanding of this relationship that two parties can move forward together in harmony, both benefiting and protecting the other.
It is also, I think, about a relationship with self. It is time for self-love, to express kindness towards self, to treat the body to which we are (sometimes inconveniently) attached with a little reverence. If we are imbalanced internally, working towards the balance in our external relationships becomes exponentially more difficult. This card suggests a need to look on our relationship with self, with Spirit, with those closest to us externally, in serious consideration of their balance. It is time to assess these relationships and identify areas of imbalance, in which one party is benefiting at the expense of another.
When dependency becomes a cycle of negativity, a lack of reciprocity, it becomes a toxic leech. This card can indicate a need to free ourselves from the leeches in life and regain our own balance, on our own terms. This card can remind us to drag ourselves from beneath the weight of unhealthy relationships, and discover balance within ourselves, or to re-discover the balance in healthier relationships. To find the center of gravity, and allow ourselves to orbit it... with or without a partner. Sometimes our greatest relationships are the ones within.
This card can also remind us to appreciate the pillars of support in our life, upon which we depend, to whom we gravitate for understanding and love or compassion. To show our loved ones that their place in our lives are not arbitrary, and their affect on our own center of gravity has propelled us into a positive forward momentum.
Recognize imbalance, and remove yourself from the negative pull of others, or appreciate the symmetrical movement of healthy relationships. Either way, this card is a wonderful reminder to take time this weekend to be honest with ourselves about the nature of our relationships and take steps towards restoring balance.
Shax: 37 Danger of Loss (Fallen Angel Oracle)
This is the gem I pulled today while contemplating my tarot and oracle deck wish list. I have 45 decks sitting in my Amazon wish list, and 25 more in my Etsy shopping cart. It may seem a small thing, the desire for material possession, but almost clicking "Buy Now" on those 45 decks was a frightening moment of clarity for me and this card was a wonderful stumble towards the eternal hovering shadow of desire, the shadow of wants at the expense of needs, even, or the shadow of materialism for the sake of it.
"That feeling of freedom, open highways of possibilities, has kind of been lost to materialism and marketing."
Now, this isn't to pass judgment on those who have money, who choose to spend that money on decks or art or anything at all, really. It's more an introspection into my own experience with desire and materialism and how that relates to my spiritual journey.
I should even say I don't think the two are mutually exclusive. I believe materialism can live harmoniously, or as harmonious as anything else, with a spiritual or religious life. But there is such a thing, despite all the differences of opinions we might have on the matter, as dangerous consumerism. Though at what point, exactly, it becomes dangerous is likely a matter of personal experience and circumstance.
When materialism or consumerism replaces our needs, when it becomes a risk to purchase, a risk to our livelihood and general well-being, we have entered the domain of Shax, the dark angel of theft. He hoards treasures, can remove the understanding of others and blind you to the light of truth. He can, however, also reveal things that are hidden. I think this is his real purpose in the draw: to reveal the motivation behind the materialism, to allow us the freedom to look into ourselves and assess the nature of our desires. To look into our shadow and see the light of some truth, even if that truth is an uncomfortable realization about our consumerist nature.
And this discovery does not have to be a judgment on our lives, on our self-worth, or our ability to find fulfillment. It can be a portal towards fulfillment, if we allow it. If we push past the fear of discovery and walk into the shadow of self.