It is June, and here in the Northern hemisphere, that means that Summer is in full swing. In about two weeks the Summer Solstice (June 21-22 depending on exact location and leap years) will be here. In the Southern hemisphere this celebration would take place around December 21. So, what exactly is the solstice? In scientific terms, it is the longest day of the year. The places where this is most prominent are those closest to the North Pole such as Iceland, where there is about 32 hours of sunlight. They also accompany this with a 3- day music festival because well why not take advantage of 3 days of daylight.
Though, Iceland is not unique in its using the time as a reason to celebrate. This day is a major part of many cultures traditional festivities. It is a time of year that is celebrated and honored from Asia to the Americas, which means if you travel West from Asia to the Americas you have just about encompassed every country on Earth. That is a lot of people honoring a single day. Why?
Summer was an important time for our ancient Ancestors. With the warmer weather came food and when we became harvesters, this did not change. Warm climates bring help the growth of vegetation. A fact that is pretty well known. While, we do have some fall crops they are still harvested before the cold sets in. This means from Spring to Fall food was available. June is in the center of it all and brings with it the longest day (in terms of sunrise to sunset) of each year. This allows extra time to harvest and accomplish the days tasks. Why do that, when you can throw a party? It has been my observation that our ancestors just liked to party. There are at least 12 Holidays a year for them not to mention birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, etcetera.
While, I am fairly certain that they still got at least most of their work done especially if they were the farmers, the length of the day allowed time for celebration even after the day’s work was done. Now, we get into how they honored the day. The most common way, that has been found throughout several cultures is by lighting a community bonfire. This practice can be found in Ireland, England, Norway, Germany and essentially the majority of Northern Europe. The bonfire was a way to honor the Sun and the warmth it gives to the land allowing the crops to grow. Each culture had its own customs on how the bonfire was lit and what activities might have been performed during the celebrations, and I say celebration as it was custom to have drink and revelry while giving honor to the God’s and their season. In China, they honor Yin, Earth and female energy. In Greece Cronus was honored as he is the God of agriculture and in Rome they honored Vesta their hearth Goddess. This was also, the time to harvest herbs for remedies and magical workings and offerings as they were seen to be more potent at this time of year.
Spiritually this solstice represents a time of fulfillment and success. This is a great time to assess where you are at. Do your goals still resonate with you? Do you need to change any of them? Have you gone off course from attaining a goal that you still want? How do you get back on track? What goals have you achieved and have you honored that achievement in some way?
We are half way through the year and a halfway point is always a good time to check back in and reassess.
Here are some ways you can honor the Solstice (I have purposefully left out gods/goddesses from this list, there are many that can be chosen from across cultures and it would be a very very very long list)
1. Yoga- in the practice of yoga, there are some sequences of poses called sun salutations. This is a great way to Honor the sun and what it provides for us. Warmth, light, growth of food and vitamin D.
2. Add seasonal herbs into your meals- Basil, Thyme, Mint, Cilantro and more. Many Summer herbs are the ones we use most often. To use them in honor of the season just add in an intent when you add them to your cooking or place them in sacred space in your home.
3. Mediate- go outside sit in your yard (however is most comfortable for you, grass or chair) and do a quick or long meditation. Think on how the sun benefits you throughout your life.
4. Throw a party- you can also do what our ancestors did and have people over to have a good time, just don’t forget to give an offering to your God/Goddesses for bringing in the season.
It doesn’t take much to honor the Solstice. You can make the day as simple as you want or create an elaborate ritual for each one. I feel that the most important part of any solstice or equinox is acknowledging your own growth and giving thanks to your Pantheon, whether it be one or many.
Some 15 years or more is how long I have been reading Tarot. A good portion of that time was spent learning about the tarot cards and how to connect to my deck and intuition. I did a lot of reading out of the book at first (most people do). Once, I got myself well and truly comfortable with the cards I began to develop my own style of reading them. It was different from friends and readers that I had seen. I process information differently. We all see things in our own unique way and this allows for an unlimited number of interpretations and delivery styles when it comes to reading tarot. Therefore, I also say that
I am still developing my “tarot reading style”. As I grow and learn as a person, my personal style and thoughts change and alter to accommodate new perceptions. This process changes how I view the symbolism within each card and how they interact with each other.
I spend a lot of time reading and researching tarot. I read through histories and symbolism and workbooks and pretty much whatever I can get my hands on when it comes to Tarot. I am intrigued by them on both a personal and professional level. Now, don’t think that to learn about tarot you need to become obsessed with it (though it is a risk that you might). Tarot is about gaining access and building a relationship with your inner self (your subconscious and intuition). Tarot is just an intriguing subject. It has a mysterious history, images and symbols that can be recognized across cultures (Pope, Priestess, sun, moon etc.…). You didn’t have to be Catholic to recognize that the Pope card was that of a spiritual man and that the Empress was that of a powerful woman. Many cultures adopted the cards and the names have changed and been altered to that cultures equivalent. In, fact this is a practice that still happens today as more and more people are designing cards and the styles become more varied to accommodate belief systems and personal styles. For me it’s a no brainer I am obsessed because there is always something to learn.
Having an open mind that is willing to see more than one or two perspectives is a key component of being a tarot reader. People say that there are always two sides to every story. I say there is at least three. Why? Even when a situation involved only two people, you have the side of each person involved. Once, one of them tells that story to another person they have become involved in giving another view to the story. It may rank closely to the view of the one that told them first but they are still a different person, with a different way of looking at the world. Understanding this can help you to deliver great readings to family, friends, clients and yourself. It is important to never stop learning about how others see not only tarot, but the world and the symbolism they see in it.
Tarot has been an important part of my self and spiritual exploration. With tarot, I
have developed a relationship with my physical, mental and spiritual self. This is what I call the personal trinity, my mind, body, soul connection. It is the connection and balance of this personal trinity that I strive to help my clients with. My personal tarot reading style is about going into the subconscious and finding out what blocks you are facing and some ways to work through those blocks to restore balance. For example, if you were to ask why you have trouble connecting to your faith on a more spiritual level, the answer that you would get from my readings would tell you what is blocking you from being able to make that connection. Such as a past traumatic experience, maybe you were bullied by another kid in your church at a young age or maybe you have been noticing that many in your church are hypocritical. Experiences like this may prevent you from feeling like you can truly connect. Though when we are close to the problem we have a hard time seeing the solution no matter how easy it may be. Such as just changing the congregation that you attend for your faith.
Not every tarot reader has that style of reading. There are others I know of but even then, we have our own unique delivery style. The important thing is that when reading tarot, especially when reading for others, you need to be able to step outside of your personal view and get in touch with a broader picture and understanding of the world so that you can relate the messages and symbolism within the cards to the querent.
When developing your own tarot reading style remember that your intuition is your best friend when reading tarot. Reading about tarot and symbolism and different cultures is also very important. Doing that research is going to help you develop a strong connection to the symbolism and to your intuition and subconscious knowledge. As you expand your knowledge of the physical you begin to learn to see things from different perspectives. Once you can easily see more than one perspective you begin to develop your ability to see meaning in the abstract. Or in other words your ability to derive meaning from images. As tarot cards are at their very base just images, to see meaning in them you need to be able to see things in an abstract manner.
There is also the belief that all you really need to do is memorize the traditional meanings for the 78 cards. Well, when you consider the history or even read books about tarot that are as recent as last year, you will find that many “traditional meanings contradict themselves. Even A.E. Waite probably the most well-known Tarot reader and tarot author is known to have contradicted himself over time in the books he has written on tarot. What that tells me as a tarot reader is that my personal knowledge and my intuition are more important in developing a reading style and meanings to associate with the cards than the books. Though, I do insist that you read at least one book when starting your tarot journey.
Whichever style you have is ok just keep learning. Read books, blogs and magazines. Or take a class (I offer one, which you can find here). Whether you want to read professionally or just keep your readings for you, if you don’t keep learning about tarot, symbolism and cultures than you are doing a disservice to yourself and those to whom you read for. Find people you like and respect who are tarot readers and subscribe to them. Read their blogs and book recommendations, buy a reading from them (these are all things that I do and I am a professional tarot reader). Just don’t stop fueling your desire to learn more.
The style in which you read the cards does not matter. You do not have to feel inferior to someone who reads differently than you nor should you feel as if you are above others in reading style. Experience and ethical behavior are what make one a great tarot reader. Here are 3 quick and important rules of tarot reading, 1. Do not share a person’s reading without their permission, 2. Do not judge your querent, we all have our own path in life, 3. Be sincere and kind.
People come to Tarot readers for help with a problem, be heartfelt and sincere and do not gossip about their business. Many people take what a tarot reader says as seriously as they would a therapist so be mindful of the advice you give out to your querents.
I have been reading Tarot for over a decade now. Within this time frame I have made some observations and one of those is that there will always be more to learn about Tarot. A deck of playing cards has always been a deck of playing cards. Tarot even started off as a deck of playing cards, then the Italians added the Triumph cards and that spread throughout Europe and at some point, the occult adopted the cards to use for cartomancy. The occult adopting the cards for this practice was not even that unusual, seeing as a general deck of playing cards and even dice were already used for such things. Tarot became what it is after the Catholic church deemed playing cards as demonic and it became an underground thing. It then resurfaced through the occult communities and continued as a way of divining. All of that added to Tarot and its mysterious past, but what really helped Tarot become and truly transform into what it is today is the resurgence of A.E. Waite’s Tarot deck in the 1970’s.
This deck had been around for decades before the 1970’s. Though, I believe it was this era of fighting for one’s rights and standing up to oppressive rulers that aloud for Tarot to flourish. Yes, there was and still is the stigma of Tarot will tell me my future. In the paraphrased words of a dear friend (as I think it was so perfectly described), Tarot will not tell you your future, but it is an excellent road map to help guide you or redirect you. One of two key things to remember when reading Tarot (as it is read today) is that we have and will always have free will and therefore the power to change our situation. It will always take work and dedication to create the world you want to be in, but you have the will and the power if you so choose to. Yes, I have seen and done readings where I saw future events that wound up taking place and many Tarot readers still only use Tarot for divining future events. As, a Tarot reader I feel that if that is the only way you are using Tarot then you are missing out on a whole world of possibilities and understanding.
Divining, is a word that we use to refer to finding out the future. This is a proper definition of the word, but it is not the only definition.
verb (used with object), divined, divining.
to discover or declare (something obscure or in the future) bydivination; prophesy.
to discover (water, metal, etc.) by means of a divining rod.
to perceive by intuition or insight; conjecture: She divined personal details about her customers based on their clothing and accents.
It was not difficult to divine his true intent.
Archaic. to portend.
verb (used without object), divined, divining.
to use or practice divination; prophesy.
to have perception by intuition or insight; conjecture.
In this definition above (from Dictionary.com) we can see that it is to have perception by intuition and insight. It is also used to describe discovering that which is obscure. How does this apply to Tarot and its transformation? Well, the transformation of Tarot, I believe is in the view of how the general populace sees Tarot and not in how it has been used. In my study of divinatory practices, I have found that many of them are more about divining how we are truly feeling about something or what in our emotional state is blocking us from moving forward.
For example, one of the most asked questions is when will I find love?. This question is answered in a Tarot reading along the lines of, “you will find love when you can learn to let go of the feeling of being trapped. While, you want to move on and you have found the strength to break free of an abusive situation, you have not yet let go of the emotional ties. To do this you need to find out what it is that makes you feel that you are trapped and how that pertains to you being in a relationship. How you truly let go of the past or are you too afraid of making the same mistake to give love another chance?”
So, what are we divining here. We are using images and symbols that are reflective of day to day occurrences and then finding out how you relate to those images. This then helps you to create a concept and story that you can fit into your life. The reader use your question and the images to start you off on the process. Now, this is not how all reading go or how all readers work. In fact, each Tarot reader will have their own style and their own views adding to their reading style. As you become more familiar with your cards and the imagery and symbolism in them you may feel confident just reading their facial expressions and body language instead of asking them a question. Or, maybe you are sensitive to the energies around you and that is your preferred way to gain insight into your intuition. There is no wrong way to read Tarot cards. It is about developing a relationship with the imagery and your deck and using that relationship to help yourself and/or others.
Tarot’s evolution has opened Tarot up to the masses. I remember being young and thinking that only people in the occult could learn to read Tarot and you had to join a coven and where would you even buy a deck? Well, now you can buy Tarot in a bookstore such as Barnes and Noble or even at a smaller locally owned store. If you don’t want to venture out, try Amazon? Go to any Metaphysical store and you are likely to find a deck.
I was lucky my first deck came to me through my Grandmother. I was timid and shy and had to use the book it came with because where would you find another book? All those places I named above, they have a plethora of them. It was in the 70’s when it became more mainstream that Tarot made it’s come back as it were. Though, it took time for it to really become known for use as a therapy tool and as way of breaking old cycles and habits. I will also concede, that some of that power lies in the stigma of the cards. Whether, it’s because you fear it may be true so you do everything to change it or because you want it to be true so much that you do everything you can to make it happen. Either, something good can come of having your cards read. Maybe, all you get is a confirmation that everything is going well and you are right where you need to be. It still something good that came out of the reading. We often need reassurance that yes, we are doing well. Tarot has come a long way from a card game to pass the time, to a way of telling the future, and into helping people through emotional blocks and traumas.
You went out and bought a Tarot deck, telling yourself you can read Tarot it can’t be that hard. You are all excited. When you get home you open the box glance at the cards. Maybe, just maybe you are starting to feel intimidated at this point. Wow, that’s a lot of imagery, ok, there really is 78 cards in the deck, which ones are major arcana and minor arcana (if you even knew any terms). Oh whew, there is an instruction booklet. I got this. So, now you read through the little booklet, tell yourself it’s ok I can just reference it. So, you go to the back of the pamphlet and use the Celtic Cross layout it gives you.
Now, all the cards are laid out and you are trying to reference the meaning of the position to the meaning of the card in the book. Well, how does the World represent my past and why is how does the three of swords represent my hopes? Now, you are questioning if whether you can do this or not. Well, you can!!
Let’s go back to when you told yourself that you can read Tarot, you were absolutely right, YOU CAN. Though, I would not say that it is easy. Learning to read Tarot is a journey of self-exploration. You can most certainly keep the pamphlet of meanings and continue to use that when you do your personal readings. Though, you will get more out of the cards if you learn to listen to your intuition.
Tarot is an intuitive process. Each card has a general reference meaning, but as you delve into both personal and cultural meanings the generalized meanings can change. Then of course different readers see the cards differently and many times when reading on Tarot you find contradictory information. Not only that the story of the card changes depending on the questions being asked and the cards that surround it. For example, during one reading for myself the 3 of swords did come up in the position of hope. Now, this card usually and in its generalized meaning means separation, heartbreak, gossip. Not really any hopeful messages there. Unless, you consider that at the time my question is where is my life going and the fact that I was currently in an abusive relationship. Now, the three of swords sitting in the spot of hope and desires makes a lot more sense.
It’s not that Tarot is hard, there is just so many different aspects to it. The hardest part about reading Tarot is learning to trust your intuition. Trusting in yourself is very important especially when using the Tarot more as a tool to help you through spiritual connection and as a way to bring up and face emotional traumas (these are my specialties, I rarely use Tarot to gain future wisdom, but to help myself and others to move forward and let go of emotional baggage).
Here are some things I suggest doing while on your journey to learning about Tarot.
1: Pick a card a day or a card a week. Meditate using this card. Don’t look at the meaning in your book until the end of the day or week.
2: Journal anything and everything you think and feel throughout the day or week when you pick your card, especially if the image of the card comes to mind during certain events, thoughts or feelings. This will help you to determine how you relate to that card.
3: Invest in more than one Tarot book. I have quite a few and list of even more that I am slowly buying up. One of my favorites is 21 Ways to read Tarot. Trust me there is even more ways than 21. Learning Tarot is truly a never ending process.
4: Practice doing a Tarot Spread regularly.
Over time you will begin to feel more confident and Tarot will no longer feel daunting foreign and difficult (depending on your answer anyways). Also, remember that if you feel stuck and you are having a hard time getting answers or connecting the dots or whatever it is that makes you feel stuck. Seek out other Tarot readers, find one or a few that resonate with you. Hire/ask them to do a reading for you. This will help you with a couple of things, one you will learn what is creating the block and two you will see how they connect the cards and create the story that has been laid out in the spread.
Remember you CAN read Tarot all you have to do is TRUST in YOURSELF.
The day is August 21, 2016, I am shaving my legs in the shower and inspiration takes hold. I forget about shaving grab my towel throw on some clothes and sit down to write my new blog. By the time the computer starts up and I get the web-page opened asnd reasdy to go, I can no longer remember what that great inspiration is. This is why I sit here writing this. I am sure many of you can understand. I am also sure that I will remember this great idea while at my "day job" (working at Trader Joe's) I will suddenly remember this fabulous idea and also forget it again by the time I get home or go to lunch and can write it down.
Running a business is hard. Running one while working 37.5 hours a week in a retail job is exshausting, yet here I am struggling to realize this dream. Doing my best to follow my heart and my passion. I am lucky enouhg to have a man behind me telling me to go for it and do what feels right to me. All things I should know right? I mean read Tarot, and mediatate and practice Shamanism. It's not those things or my knowledge in and of those things that give me the most pause in moving forward and forgetting or overpowering my intuition. I know my intuition rules those and guides me in those. It's my business skills, it's worrying that I make the right coinnections, that my blog is perfect or even entertaining while informative. It's do I pay for this service or attempt it on my own, how do I afford to keep this going? The list goes on and on.
As, I sit here writing out these vulnerabilities for you to read all I can think is it doesn't matter. I have neglected writing on topics that I know about and understand through experience because I did not have time to do the research and provide the scientific research and rescources or the multitudes of studies done on a topic. While, I love doing that research and providing that information for others to peruse and devine their own opinions and thoughts on it, I have come to relaize that it is not needed 100% of the time. As time consuming as it is to do the research I just don't have the time all the time. I know I will still provide blogs chalk full of sciencey stuff and rescources and studies, but I also need to include my experiences my inner thoughts and writing this now I am driven entirely by intuition.
I don't know who will read this or even really how others will respond and yet my intuition is urging me to right this. I think that somehow in writing this I am allowing myself to realize that I am enough, my experiance is enough. I am new to the entreprenuer game, I am still learning and experimenting and I know I will continue to learn and try new things. Right now the motion is sometimes fast and jarring and until I can find that rythym that fits with me as I move along this journey it may continue. Right now all I know is that starting Esoterig Apothecary has been a long time coming and something that just feels right to me.
I deal with naysayers regularly and I don't think that those people will ever be able to understand that it doesn't matter how I know doing this is the right thing for me but that it only matters that I do it. I am heading in the right direction and I can feel it. I can also tell that when I start letting in those fears and letting them take control I can feel that shift too. This past year since I opened the website and started the blog (which I will admitt writing blogs scares me, which is why I hide behind the scientific-esque blogs I have written) has been a rollercoaster of pure confidences and pure self doubt. I have asked myself constantly if this is really what I should be doing when I have a great job with the security of a steady pay check and benefits? It's then that I tell myself that Esoterig Apothecary is more about feeding my soul and giving me a sense of purpose and sharing my knowledge and giving others the knowledge and opportunities to bring their body, mind and soul into alignment.
This is something that has to be worked on constantly. We are always in motion and therefore always need to readjust and fine tune our centers back to alignment. I started Esoterig Apothecary because I was driven to do so and ever since I have noticed the synchronicities lining up and falling into place. I just need to remember to that my intuition is my greatest tool and my desire to seek knowledge and understanding is an empowering tool when guided by my intuition.
Thank you for being a part of Esoterig Apothecary, for reading my thoughts and for seeking out that information which will help you to grow.
Information is one key to gaining knowledge. Each blog is written with the intent to inform the audience about esoteric forms of healing for body and spirit. Some blogs will be about histories of practices and developments of ideas from ancient cultures.
I have been reading Tarot for over a decade. It is my passion and I enjoy sharing my knowledge and learning new perspectives about Tarot on a regular basis. I teach Tarot classes out of Austin, TX where my business Esoterig Apothecary is based. I am also learned in other forms of Metaphysical topics such as meditation. I am a part of a Women's Shaminc Group and continue to expand my knowledge of esoteric healing practices.