Last week was an absolute bust for readings! I expected the full moon in Gemini to bring amazing communications and insights, but all it brought was garbage and insolence. I might as well have thrown the cards up in the air and read whichever ones landed face up (I thought of doing this with the Tarot of Metamorphosis, but regret I forgot to). Once the chaos died down though, I was able to do the Healing Cross Spread from Zorian at Tarot Quest, with some very interesting results.
From Zorian’s description of this spread:
“I call this ‘The Healing Cross’ spread, primarily because like the traditional ‘Celtic Cross’ spread, this spread gets to the root of the issue with which we need healing, as well as, shows us the path we need to take in order to heal. The beauty about this spread is that unlike most healing spreads that are either based on a spiritual healing philosophy (the chakras, reiki, yoga, etc), this is spread is ‘universal’, and can be applied by anyone and everyone no matter what their philosophy regarding health is (or even reading style), and thus allowing us the liberty to interpret the positions in a way we feel best.”
That last sentence is especially relevant to the spread I got. When I look at the cards as a whole, there are certain very definite patterns that are immediately obvious and I feel like what the cards say visually is as important – if not more so – as which cards came up. There are other cards which could have communicated the same message, but not with the same visual impact, so I’m tackling this aspect of the reading first.
Card positions, from bottom to top, left to right:
CARD ONE: The Root cause of my issue – 6 of Wands
CARD TWO: Why am I faced with such an issue within my life? – 6 of Pentacles
CARD THREE: What can I do to heal it? – Princess of Pentacles
CARD FOUR: What’s helping me heal it? – Knight of Wands
CARD FIVE: What’s the major obstacle in my path of healing? – The Hierophant/Strength
CARD SIX: Advice and Guidance – 2 of Cups
CARD SEVEN: The Result of my healing journey – Justice
6 of Pents, Strength, 2 of Cups, Justice and even The Hierophant acting as a conduit between heaven and earth/spirit and matter.
Now, either the record’s stuck or I am even more thick-skulled than I know, because I feel like I am being beat about the head with the Balance Stick! Is there something I’m missing due to inexperience, or is the theme of “Temperance” really being expressed over and over again in my readings of late?
There are two sets of scales in this reading, including those of the sign of Libra (Justice)! The message I see repeated is: “Balance, equilibrium, achieved through a union of disparate and/or opposing elements.” I embrace the concept with lovingly open arms and sincerely wish to implement this state of existence and I think I’m making headway… so is this merely encouragement and reinforcement that I’m on the right track, or is there a crucial bit of insight am I missing?
 Right hands raised
6 of Wands, Princess of Pentacles, Knight of Wands, Hierophant, Strength, Justice***
There is definitely something going on here, even if I don’t completely grasp it; all those right hands raised up, holding something aloft and channeling power. Justice makes it even more interesting – her hand positions are reversed, which makes complete sense as the culmination of the spread and the theme of balance BUT: due to the sword in her right hand, her right side is still higher than the left!
Is it an offering to me? From me? An instruction – reach out and take it? Use your power? The hands appear as answers to cause as well as solution and outcome, so it’s not something to be conquered nor is it something new to discover. Something to be transmuted, maybe?
And then there are the two cards with hands on equal ground – 6 of Pents (Why am I faced with such an issue within my life?) and 2 of Cups (Advice and Guidance), which seem to point to a lesson to be learned. Which brings us back to the issue of “sharing”, “exchange”, “duality”, “harmony”. I’m really starting to wonder if the duality cards aren’t pointing to an _actual_ person, rather than just me.
ARGH! I feel like a complete dunce when this happens! I’m not frustrated – fascination far outweighs frustration – but I wish I had the insight and experience to fully “get” the message. I know it will come in due time, once it’s stewed nicely and all the connective tissue has dissolved into juicy tenderness, but the not knowing is killing me! STUPID FULL MOON!!
[3a] Quint(essential) Card
In Zorian’s words, the Quint is
“… the Major Arcana card derived by adding all the numeric values of the cards. Since there [are] ‘Court Cards’ within the reading, I do not include a numerical value for [them].”
Basically, it’s a summary or control card, a sort of litmus test for a reading’s interpretation. In my reading this equates to:
6 (of Wands) + 6 (of Pentacles) + 5 (Hierophant) + 2 (of Cups) + 11 (Justice) = 30 = 3 The Empress
The Womb of Creation. And patience.
Another card I’ve never been too tight with, mainly due to a lack of understanding of her entirety. She is a mother, creator, nurterer. Fertility, abundance, sensuality. Physical pleasure and delight. Nourishment. Desire. Smotherer, consumer, destroyer, withholder. Maya, Kali, Demeter.
She is mistress of the Knights and Hanged Man (12); associated with Pentacles through their sharing of the Earth element by way of Venus and Wands through their masculine, generative Fire element. She also bonds with The Hierophant, who is associated with the sign of Taurus. (Oh my, look at that, all neatly tied up in typical 5 fashion.)
But overall, she is Love. Unconditional Love, as the embodiment of female beauty and strength.
I think I might be drawing closer to the centre of the labyrinth, where I have that “something” under lock and key. When I utter the phrase, “self-love”, it feels like a rock in my mouth. I think, just maybe, that there is a lie in there somewhere. That maybe I have an underlying issue with self-love and self-acceptance, despite how I might have convinced myself otherwise. I don’t think I’m quite ready for daily Affirmations of Awesomeness, but I am being a teeny bit kinder to myself, giving more leeway for error in the area of creativity.
Tying into the theme of balance, the number 3 symbolises the reconciliation of opposites, leading to a new unity. The Empress is very “real”, as opposed to the more “esoteric” cards like the High Priestess. What I mean is, this is very encouraging, as it seems to point towards my moving out of the phase of living and creating completely internally, and more towards a time where I can physically do something with all the wondrous ideas inside my head. The Empress is active, alive, vibrant; she is also grounded.
It’s time for me to put aside my “mommy issues” (as in, I have no desire to be one) and visions of hippie-chicks with nasty dreads; relinquish my debilitating shame and guilt and sit in the lap of The Empress, who loves me just the way I am.
In a related note, I have suddenly become very interested in bees again (and they are being delivered to me on a Silver platter of Synchronicity). Although I’m allergic to their sting, I think it would be cool to be an apiarist. Pretty much every culture and religion sees some significance in the bee. Demeter – The Empress – was addressed as ‘Pure Mother Bee’, as was Ceres, her Roman counterpart. Aphrodite – Venus – had a shrine at Mount Eryx, where the Goddess’s fetish was a golden honeycomb. Her priestesses were melissae – “bees” – and the Goddess herself was entitled Melissa, the Queen Bee. Pythagoreans perceived the hexagon as an expression of the spirit of Aphrodite whose sacred number was six (of Wands and Pentacles).
So, bees and The Empress it is then.
The Empress who just happens to be holding something in her raised right hand.
However, if you assign a value of 11 to the Princess and 12 to the Knight, then the equation totals 53 = 8 = Strength.
Which happens to be the clarifier I drew for The Hermit.
And if you add The Hermit (5) and The Empress (3) you get Strength (8)!
Finally, Strength and Justice sometimes switch places. For funsies.
Ergo, Strength has earned her place in this reading and a number near the front of the “To Be Examined” queue.
(I can chase my own tail quite happily for days)
[3c] Wheel of Fortune
This is where it gets just plain weird.
When I did this reading, I somehow got the cards to add up to 28, which gave me 10 – The Wheel of Fortune – as the Quint. I did the addition 4 or 5 times, adding the numbers differently each time and got “28” for every equation. Wheel of Fortune, without a doubt.
But I really wasn’t “feeling” the WoF that day, having seen it one too many times recently and not really understanding what it has to say about the matter at hand, so I decided “Screw it” and went to pack the cards up. When I picked the deck up, I saw the card at the bottom of the deck: the Wheel of Fortune. Oh, ho. So the “Shadow” element for the reading was the same as the Quint! Obviously important and not to be ignored, regardless of how lazy I am feeling.
Except, it wasn’t the Quint.
Except, it was?
Tarot is a funny beast.
Or maybe it’s just the moon having its wacky way with me.
There is a predominance of Fire and Earth – a departure from my usually Water/Air-heavy readings:
Fire – 6 of Wands, Knight of Wands, Strength
Earth – 6 of Pentacles, Princess of Pentacles, The Hierophant
The lightest of the Light and darkest of the Dark (I experience Water as more “powerful” than Earth, but Earth is “darker”) – but in perfect balance (3 of each). Of course. And look at how they’re expressed: a 6, a Court and a Major each. Truly fascinating stuff, this.
These two elements express the “worst” in me, which is appropriate for a reading about healing, and healing creatively especially. I vacillate (hello, Libra/Justice) between the extremes of über-creativeness (Fire) and complete stuck-in-a-rutness (Earth), both caused by my excess of Air and Water. When I over-intellectualise and dream in nightmares/fear, I get Earth; when I use those same powers to be inspired and dream in visions/hope, I get Fire. Temperance is the key, m’girl, Temperance is the key.
Temperance is the lock.
6’s = Venus = The Empress!
The Empress is the key! The Empress is the key!
(And for a little extra soupçon of tail-chasing: I was born on a Friday – sacred to Venus – in the hour of Venus, with Venus in Cancer, my birth sign.)
 The Hierophant
Question: “What’s the major obstacle in my path of healing?” Answer: Me.
This is an answer I wouldn’t have gotten in the past, but I feel like I’m being (gently) laughed at here, with my recent examination of myself as expressed by The Hierophant. I see what’s going on, though. In contrast to the Knight of Wands who is very get-up-and-go, filled with energy and surging forward, the traditionalist Hierophant is more comfortable with the way things are. He might be on a path towards enlightenment, but it takes time, thought, careful contemplation. You don’t just wake up one morning all “enlightened” and aware. Silly Knight. Whereas the Knight wants to leave the old codger and his outmoded ways of being and thinking behind. In truth, the Knight of Wands would prefer it if “thinking” was left behind all together: let’s DO! After all, that keg isn’t going to drink itself.
At the same time, The Hierophant can indicate issues with (non-)conformity. Conformity: DO NOT WANT! It’s a cross I bear quite heavily, being torn between my innate respect for laws, authority, justice – fairness, really – and my essential “otherness”. I can fake “normalcy”, but it makes me miserable and physically sick. Being completely myself brings a high risk of rejection, which hurts my tender little heart (and sense of self… sense of WORTHINESS!) I am able to project a mix of the two, but it’s tiring at best, and rage-inducing at best (WHY SHOULD I HAVE TO BE ANYTHING OTHER THAN MYSELF RAWRRRR!!!) So we come back to The Empress: self-love.
 Princess of Pentacles
I look over the spread again and what I’ve written here, to see if I’ve covered everything in my – albeit unconventional – way and I see something missing: the Ace of Pentacles. She seems to stand out from the rest… What is the Ace? Raw Potential; active energy, ready to be used. A seed planted, waiting to sprout. What are Pentacles? Earth, material pleasure, abundance and prosperity, groundedness. What do they say?
“The end of a process is near. After the initial excitement of a new idea (Wands), the inner turmoil of it all (Cups), the struggle with it in the outside world (swords), now the time has come that your ideas will be materialised. There will be a lot of hard work involved (this is Pentacles after all), but it is an exciting card that helps you manifest your ideas in the outside world.”
I smell jasmine and hear The Empress laughing softly in the background…
Illustrations from the Spiral Tarot deck reproduced by permission of U.S. Games Systems, Inc., Stamford, CT 06902 USA. Copyright ©1999 by U.S. Games Systems, Inc. Further reproduction prohibited.