Category Archives: Tarot Journal

Mystic Monkey: The 6 of Wands

Well, howdy-do! Lookie who’s crawled out from beneath the rubble of the Tower to blog another day! And today’s tarot card of the day looks much brighter indeed. Technically, I first pulled the 8 of Cups, but I’ve covered that one previously, so I drew an additional card: the Six of Wands.

Stringing the above three cards together, I see a narrative of upending unstable living to move on to something better, healthier and more purposeful, and seeing some positive achievement as a result of that. While this isn’t playing out for me in a dramatic way at the moment, I do see how my immediate present has followed this trajectory in micro ways, and that’s been satisfying. Being a Major Arcana card, the Tower warns me of an overarching issue that could plague my life in general if I let it, but for today, the Minor cards are telling me that in my day-to-day, I’m doing okay. The past week, I haven’t exactly been at my best (giving in to tendencies as I will often do when left to my own devices), but these last two days definitely mark improvement.

Anyway, to bring focus back to the Six of Wands, we see a man confidently riding on his horse, like a knight on his white steed, returning from some victory abroad, perhaps, that has earned him his laurel wreaths. With back straight up and chest puffed out, he’s feeling pretty good about himself at the moment, which is reward in itself, but we see that he is also being celebrated by a group of people in the background, seemingly cheering on his triumphs with staffs upraised in hip-hip-hooray fashion. So, in that regard, this card signifies not only achievement but recognition of it, which is always nice. When we toil day to day at work or home, we can get through it (and keep it up) better when we at least feel like we’re appreciated for our efforts, that all our work isn’t for nothing. Not that we should be all about external praise and impressing others–those can be shallow and short-lived glories–but at the right moments, the right encouragement and reward can be a powerful esteem-booster and help us believe that we can just when we feared we couldn’t.

I particularly take this meaning away from this card because it came up once in a reading for my adult nephew, who was a bit lost on his path and asked the tarot for some clarity on when he could expect to finally start making forward movement in a career. The cards showed his eagerness to set out on this journey and how his temporary job was at least a practical way to earn some money in the meantime. As to what would give him that ultimate nudge, though, his frustrations and disappointments also showed up in the cards as a potential sink-or-swim catalyst. Looking for clarity on that, I drew the Six of Wands and speculated that after a discouraging period, maybe it would take getting recognized for something (whether at his day job or for his personal, creative projects) to feel more confident in his abilities and add momentum to his quest. Sure enough, he soon after received an award and extra responsibilities at his part-time job in recognition of his good work, which seemed to spark his pilot light back to life and transform his outlook on himself and his options, at least enough to motivate him to more seriously research and pursue his desired path. He embraced the fire and action of the Wands and is totally on his way now!

Anecdotes aside, every tarot card has a shadow side (yeah, they’re nuanced like that), so the Six of Wands sometimes also strikes me as a warning not to rest on your laurels. Yes, great, you’ve accomplished something and should treat yo self for that, but there comes a time when you have to buckle down again and keep at it. Keep striving, improving, because each little victory is fleeting and there’s always something else we must reckon with. Don’t let the highs go to your head, as you might not weather the lows so well if caught off your guard. It’s like in ancient Rome when a victorious military leader returned from war and was celebrated with a grand public triumph; standing behind him on the chariot would be someone whispering in his ear, “Look behind you”–as in, remember where you came from, that you’re just a man and fortune can turn on a dime (or in their case, I dunno, on a denarius?), so, sure, soak this moment up but leggo the ego. And when I really look closely at this Rider-Waite-Smith version of the card, the person on the left doesn’t actually look that happy for the victor, and the one next to him/her doesn’t even appear to be looking at the man of the hour at all, staring off to the side instead. Fame is fickle, and folks can be quick to envy or begrudge someone else’s success, especially if you’re a sore winner, so don’t rub yours in anyone’s face–and be ready for some competition that might take you down a peg. Any of those bystanders could easily use their sticks to knock you off that horse.

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Crystal pairing: almandine garnet for success and confidence while also staying grounded.

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Mystic Monkey: The Tower

Wait, whaaat?? I haven’t posted here since January? Egads! Well, let’s just say it feels like I’ve been everywhere, done everything since then, and now my tarot journal is back with a bang.

The Tower. Oh crap.

Sooo…on its surface, let’s just say it: This card is pants-pissing terrifying. A tower struck by lightning, fires raging, smoke billowing, people (and primates) falling in the dark of night. This is one card that seems to come with audio included as I can hear the explosion and screams. Lovely. Looking at the card’s less literal meaning is still scary as hell to me. Why? Because it represents big changes, total upheaval, and nothing scares the ever-living stuffing out of me more than change. I like stability. Calm. Consistency. You could ask, well, who doesn’t, but I’d venture to say that some restless folks out there do like to jump from one thing to the next, always looking to shake things up whereas introverted little hermits like me thrive on routine, feeling safe within what they already know. But the Tower is the big shake-up that comes for all of us at some point or another. And it’s not without good reason. What we might think is stable is not actually sustainable, and our shaky foundation will inevitably crumble and bring the whole flimsy house of cards to the ground. Something’s gotta give, and when it does, it levels everything, bringing us back to square one–but with a chance to rebuild for our better good. So, this card’s not bad. It’s not the villain–our own delusions and dishonesty are. We can kid ourselves that everything is fine and that we can keep going as we are without consequence, but the Tower tells it like it is: Nope. Do-over.

And therein lies the bright side. Change is scary–oh, hell yes–but it’s necessary for our growth, and if something’s not serving us well, it’s gotsta go. So the positive here is twofold: 1) something wrong for us must leave our lives, and, 2) we have a chance to course-correct. Be the third little pig and build our house out of brick this time. And maybe just a two-story would suffice, huh? A ranch? Need we really have such bravado, thinking we need a skyscraper capped with a friggin’ gold crown, for cripes sake? I mean, compensate for something much? As a tremendous wake-up call–be it painful, core-shaking change or an acute revelation that transforms us before our world comes crashing down–the Tower reminds us that it’s with truth and honesty that we can truly reach the skies.

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Crystal pairing: obsidian for grounding and clearing negativity.


Mystic Monkey: The 6 of Pentacles

Finally, another Pentacles card! We haven’t gotten many of these so far, so show me the money! 👛😉

Today’s tarot card of the day is the Six of Pentacles:

If the Three of Pentacles showed us an initial stage of accomplishment and the Ten of Pentacles depicted the end of that cycle, where goals have been achieved and wealth accumulated and bestowed upon the next generation, then the Six finds us midway between–where we’ve just amassed enough to not only feel comfortable, but there’s enough to go around. As we look at this nobleman standing over two kneeling less-fortunates, we see he holds a scale in one hand as he doles out money with the other. This shows the balancing of his scale, which likely tipped more in his favor just prior to removing the excess for others’ benefit. He’s maintaining an even flow of giving and receiving.

So, this card encourages our generous spirit; we need to recognize when we’ve been blessed and bountiful and can afford to share our abundance with others. While the card literally depicts coins, and Pentacles do generally represent our material world, depending on context, this could represent an abundance of anything, really, that gives us a sense of security. There’s intangible wealth to be spread, too, if there’s anything we can do to help those in need, even if it’s just offering some of our time or advice.

Conversely, we could be the ones in need. Maybe we must learn to accept help when it’s given. We might be on the receiving end of someone’s charity or a loan that we can work hard to pay back someday. Or maybe we’ve become overly dependent and need to balance those scales on our end by not taking more than we give. It’s possible, too, that someone’s patronizing us and trying to make us submissive. It really does depend on the nature of your question and where this card may fall in a spread (as well as if it’s reversed).

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Crystal pairing: pyrite + citrine for prosperity and generosity.


Mystic Monkey: The 10 of Swords

Today’s was a dark photo shoot…

Sorry, Monkey. 😦

The Ten of Swords is a tough one to take. But on the bright side, it can’t get worse than this! You might have hit rock bottom, but it’s uphill from here as this cycle comes to a close and you make a new start. See that sunlight on the horizon? The yellow light fends off the black darkness looming above. So though it looks bleak, all hope’s not lost. You’ve gotten your ass handed to you, is all. You’ll get back up again. Remember that in tarot, Swords are of the mind, and so is your defeat. Yeah, it hurts. And yeah, the guy on the card looks dead. Quite dead. If he’s not, he’s a freaking medical marvel. But this death isn’t literal; it’s just some sort of ending, loss, or betrayal. Painful, but you can come back from it and stand again simply by shifting your mindset. Don’t dwell on the negative, learn from it. Grow from it. Recover, then rise.

The brown earth and red shroud, from a chakra-color standpoint, show a need to get grounded, to find stability, and the still, blue water shows calming emotion. Breathe it out and get clear on the truth of the situation, however painful it might be, so that you can see it for what it is and move on. There will always be more obstacles ahead (which I see in the distant mountains), but you’ve overcome them before and you’ll do it again. Yes, you will survive this to see another day and go the distance with new goals in mind.

You’ll see.

Once you get your face outta the mud.

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Crystal pairing: red jasper + yellow aventurine for endurance and hope.


Mystic Monkey: The 8 of Swords

All righty, back to classic Mystic Monkey! In which I return to the original Rider-Waite-Smith tarot deck for my one-card draw–just in time to leave town again and probably not post again ’til I’m back! Woo!!

Eck. Sorry. ‘Tis been one of those years with a lot of back-and-forth and disruption, and I’m horrible at maintaining routine during these times. I absolutely could maintain routine, I have the ability to, but I get overwhelmed when pulled in different directions, and my reaction is to just freeze. Press pause until distractions magically disappear and the time is somehow “right.” Which is probably why today’s card pops up for me so often…the Eight of Swords.

While the Swords can be a scary suit, I must say I love this card. It looks negative at a glance–and the situation it calls out is indeed not positive, per se–but it’s really quite empowering. Or maybe that’s what I have to tell myself because, as I said, I get this one a lot. Why? Because I’m constantly stuck in my head. My mind whirs with this thought and that, and it gets to where I’m paralyzed with indecision or fear. But it’s all in my head.

Look at this gal, for instance. She’s blindfolded, bound up, and seemingly trapped within a cage of swords, but they don’t form a complete circle, so if she could just see clearly, she’d realize she can just step right out of her confinement. There is nothing and no one else keeping her there but herself. And if she really thought it through clearly, she could even use one of those swords to cut herself loose from those ropes. In a nutshell, she has psyched herself out, wallowing in emotion that gets her stuck in the mud like the puddles at her feet. She might be throwing herself one righteous pity-party in her mind, but this card is a call to escape that victim mentality and free ourselves from the cages of our own making. It’s just a matter of shifting our mindset, gaining a new perspective and realizing that we have the ability to take our power back after giving it away in the first place. We truly do have control over our situation–at the very least, how we choose to think and feel about it–which is why this card rules. It calls you out on your shit and reassures that you can make the changes you want once you shed your self-limiting beliefs. Mind over matter. So, get over it and get going!

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Crystal pairing: epidote to enhance personal power.


Mystic Monkey – CORNISH EDITION: The Page of Swords

In honor of my recent trip to Cornwall (which contributed to my blog hiatus), I managed to stage one tarot photo there for this post. As we were staying in the renovated engine house of an old tin mine, it felt right to bring my Steampunk Tarot deck into our vintage industrial surroundings. But since I was sans sock monkey, posing with the tarot card is the next best thing: a hand-knit Cornish pasty, because AS IF I DIDN’T NEED THAT IN MY LIFE THE SECOND I SAW IT IN THE SHOP.

Anyway, getting on with it, I present to you the Page of Swords

Is she hawt or what?! The hot-air balloon and billowing cape so perfectly capture the air element, and her no-nonsense stance conveys the smart and logical essence of the Swords suit. She’s a page, so still a rookie, but raring for adventure with a head full of ideas and strategy that she’ll hone with more experience. Being that she is new to the game, she might get in over her head, but she’s got the intellect and will to try, fueled by a very inquisitive nature. A straight-shooter with a sharp mind, she’s ready for take-off at the first opportunity.

As we can see in the original Rider-Waite-Smith counterpart, there’s also an airy if not blustery quality showing much eagerness to cut through the crap and venture forth in pursuit of high ideals. There’s a risk of overconfidence with these Pages sometimes, though, if they get bullheaded with their ideas or cloud their focus with a lot of thought but little implementation.

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Crystal pairing: blue apatite to clear confusion and stimulate intellect for personal growth.


Mystic Monkey – HALLOWEEN EDITION: The Queen of Cups

Today, I am deliberately drawing my signifier card, mainly because she’s so gosh darn cute in the Trick or Tarot deck.

Why is the Queen of Cups my signifier card, and what in hell is a signifier in the first place? Well, the signifier (or significator) is a card meant to represent the querent (or seeker–i.e., the person receiving the tarot reading). There are different ways to select a signifier for someone, but I personally follow Benebell Wen‘s approach, which uses court cards to reflect the querent’s age and gender and then selects the tarot suit (Wands, Cups, Pentacles, or Swords) based on the querent’s sun sign and its corresponding element. So, since my sign is Cancer, a water sign, I’m represented by Cups. And since I’m an adult female, I’m a Queen. 👑

I didn’t always use a signifier, but lately I’ve found that I really like anchoring a reading with one. It just sets the stage with the querent’s energy (which is why you could choose any card, really, that embodies a person in that moment, changing it from reading to reading as you see fit).

Anywho, I’m satisfied with the Queen of Cups, as I always have considered myself an emotional person. Not just in terms of my own feelings and moods, but also the compassion and empathy I try to offer others. I’m a pragmatist, too, but ultimately ruled by the touchy-feely. Relationships, creativity, and spirituality are what I live and breathe.

The Queen of Cups isn’t a flaky pushover, though. She can keep a lid on her emotions when necessary, maturely managing them like the King of Cups. Nonetheless, she also has the romanticism and imagination of the Knight of Cups and Page of Cups. She’s a compassionate, nurturing soul like the Empress, and she’s highly intuitive like the High Priestess. A comforter and counselor, this Queen is more sensitive than the Queen of Wands or Swords. As you can see from the flowing water and pale draping clothing in the traditional Rider-Waite-Smith depiction, she has an expressive nature and soft countenance, her love and gentleness echoed by the cherubs surrounding her.

Well, I’m sure not gonna pretend I’m sweetness and light all the time, nor that my river doesn’t rage more often than I’d like. That cup that she holds is quite elaborate like my complicated (and complicating) emotions, and those angels’ wings curve up like the horns I sometimes wear on my head. 😈 Yet I still humbly hail to this Queen as my tarot counterpart when seeking guidance for moody me. 😊

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Crystal pairing: mangano calcite for comfort and compassion.

 


Mystic Monkey – HALLOWEEN EDITION: The King of Swords

Hear ye, hear ye! His Majesty demandeth your attention!

Mummy Monkey is really using his head for this one…a.k.a., my little fluorite skull, Lula. Sorry the card itself appears so faded in the image, but what we see here is an owl-masked King of Swords smoking his pipe as a mist of swirling smoke envelopes his head. The Swords suit in tarot represents the air element and is all to do with our noggins–that is, our thoughts and intellect. In contrast to the touchy-feelier King of Cups, this monarch rules with reason more than emotion.

The King of Swords from the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot deck.

This can make him seem a bit more detached, aloof, as he approaches life rationally and objectively. He can cut through the crap to see a situation with clarity and troubleshoot it without personal baggage or compassion influencing his decisions. Not that he’s completely cold-hearted; he’s just able to distance himself with a mental acuity that enables him to make the tough choices, the ones that are probably in everyone’s best interest in the long run even if might hurt feelings or seem callous in the short run. I can’t help but think of a sociopath as an extreme example–not the serial-murdery kind, but the sort who remains utterly cool under pressure. The kind we actually need in society because someone’s gotta diffuse that bomb without freaking out! So, this card tends to pop up when you need to check your emotions at the door and think things through more intelligently and less impetuously. It could also mean seeking out an advisor who can offer sound logic and advice.

To supplement this card, I also drew one from The Halloween Oracle. I swear I do not make this stuff up…

I mean, seriously, the owl?! The owl! After I just said the King of Swords from the Trick or Tarot deck is wearing an owl mask and represents intellect and reason–or one could say, “Wise seeing, wise action,” as this oracle card indeed does. The accompanying guidebook goes on to say:

Should the hooting owl come looking for you this Halloween, it indicates the need for wise council or further information before you make a decision. Considered action is warranted. Think before you act emotionally and ensure you think strategically, not impulsively.

Well, gol’ darn. If that’s not a perfect counterpart to today’s tarot card, I don’t know what is.

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Crystal pairing: clear quartz + purple fluorite for clear thinking and discernment.


Mystic Monkey – HALLOWEEN EDITION: The Hierophant

Oh, my goodness. I just love this Halloween-ified version of The Hierophant:

Once again, I’ve used Duck Soup Production’s Trick or Tarot deck for this seasonal edition of my one-card-draw tarot journal. Here we see a wizened witch guiding two trick-or-treaters with promises of tricks and treats indeed. She dangles a skeleton key before them like the proverbial carrot, motivating them toward what knowledge and opportunities such a key could unlock.

The traditional Rider-Waite-Smith Hierophant isn’t too different, with an ecclesiastical-looking man bestowing blessings upon the two followers at his feet (between which are also keys to higher/spiritual understanding). This card tends to trip up folks–I mean, WTF is a hierophant, amiright? Essentially, we have a high priest here who can interpret esoteric knowledge for us schmucks. A middleman between us and God, a teacher who can unlock truths that are otherwise beyond us, putting them in terms we can understand. This card can pop up when we need to seek someone else for their insights and expertise in a situation–a religious leader, sure, but also a mentor or therapist or the like. It can but doesn’t necessarily have to pertain to religion. The Hierophant can generally represent group membership and conventional wisdom. But depending on how this comes up in a tarot reading, it could be a call to conform to prescribed expectations or to rebel against such authority, bust out of the traditional structures that bind us (patriarchy, anyone?).

Okay, so this one’s for the Buffy buffs (looking at you, Josie): If you at all struggle with this card, I came across a brilliant way to conceptualize it in Mary Caelsto’s The Fool’s Journey through Sunnydale, in which the Hierophant is, in essence, the Watchers Council:

The Watchers Council is a somewhat secretive organization dedicated to training the Slayers and preserving the traditions of Watchers and their Slayers. They are the descendants of the Shadow Men who created the first Slayer. Many of them have magical training and are taught in demonology and other esoteric subjects. […]

It is said that the Hierophant helps us to unlock the door to truth and see the meaning in life. He helps us get closer to our divine purpose. The Watchers Council, no matter what you may think of their methods, strives to unlock the truth for the Slayer and show her that her purpose in life is to kill vampires. […]

However, the Hierophant reminds us that we do answer to a higher power, and here is where the Watchers Council fails. They turn to the reversed side of the card, because […] they believe that they are the higher power. Whatever individual spirituality may be embraced by each individual Watcher is of no consequence, because the organization as a whole believes it is above the law, both human and spiritual.

In that case, rather than serve as a conduit for higher consciousness that would encourage one’s pursuit of personal truth, the Hierophant might dictate a dogma that restricts individual freedom.

Which is why I kinda love the witch in this Trick or Tarot deck. She embodies ancient wisdom and ritual, but in a less mainstream and more matriarchal way. There’s a mysticism to her that infuses this card with the essence of the High Priestess (#2 in the tarot’s Major Arcana), pulling in the more positive aspect of attuning with our higher selves with the aid of a guide. She’s the ghoulish guru who’ll help us unlock our own magical powers. Her mischievous smirk and sidelong gaze also imply she’s a bit of a trickster, who may use her secret knowledge in unorthodox ways. So, we might want to inspect the wrappers before swallowing her treats whole–or even go it alone rather join her coven. Then again, she might show us cunningly cool ways to challenge the status quo ourselves. Put that in your cauldron and boil it!

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Crystal pairing: lapis lazuli for higher wisdom and learning.


Mystic Monkey – HALLOWEEN EDITION: The 10 of Pentacles

Hiya, how are ya? I neglected to give a heads-up in my last post that I’d be going M.I.A. (Monkey in America), so off the radar for a few days. My posts may be sporadic going forward as well, at least for a few weeks while I am visiting my folks in the good ol’ U.S. of A.

In any case, I am traveling without my usual monkeys and traditional Rider-Waite-Smith tarot deck, but I do have Halloween-themed tarot and oracle cards with me because, y’know, ’tis the season! So, I’ve procured a mini-Mummy Monkey to pose with this month’s special-edition cards.

Okay, then. Now that those very important administrative details have been addressed, let’s begin today’s one-card draw from the Trick or Tarot deck by Duck Soup Productions! The Ten of Pentacles

In tarot, 10s typically mean completion of a cycle but also excess. By this point, we’ve accomplished what we’ve wanted and accumulated more than enough for ourselves, so we can share our bounty with others. This is a card of legacy, of family, inheritance. Pentacles represent our status in the physical world, our financial wealth, our homes, our families and sense of stability. And as we see in the Trick or Tarot card here, there is a house looming behind a woman, her two creepy costumed kiddos, and their fierce family “pet”–or maybe that’s just Dad in werewolf form. Gravestones in the foreground give a nod to ancestors and reinforce that idea of family legacy.

This Gothic glimpse at the Ten of Pentacles really isn’t all too different from the traditional RWS card. The Rider-Waite-Smith version roots us in the physical through imposing architecture (the archway an example of solid support), grapevines, three generations of people (who have pets — or shape-shifting dads — as well), and a plethora of coins (well, ten, to be exact). It’s got that abundance of wealth and security to pass on to the next generation, a feeling of satisfaction and achievement that enables us to now rest and enjoy sharing with our loved ones. There is a lush sense of all is well and there’s more than enough to go around. A lovely card to draw on my first full day in my hometown, seated here in my childhood home and catching up with my parents and getting excited to also see siblings and nieces and nephews. Nothing makes me feel more grounded and content and secure than being here, I tell ya. It’s a tremendous sense of fulfillment, and I’m so grateful to my parents for the generous and loving legacy they’ve passed down to grandchildren who adore them as much as their kids do. My cup runneth over being with them and seeing everyone do so well.

That’s all I really have to say about this particular card, Halloween version or otherwise. Except maybe…

…someone give those kids candy before they kill anyone. And put Dad on a leash.

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Crystal pairing: citrine + pyrite for prosperity and manifestation


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