This is another spread I saw on New Moon Tarot. I modified the layout to suit my feel for things: positions of “earth” and “air” below and above the centre card; “water” behind (left) and “fire” in front (right). The sixth – crossing – cards are pulled out to the top right for better visibility.
………………3 (Air) …………………… 6
5 (Water) ….. 1 ………. 4 (Fire)
………………2 (Earth) …………
Based on what it showed of itself during the deck interview and on the theme of the deck itself, I chose the Book of Shadows Tarot for this vaguely NeoWiccan-flavoured reading. I also decided to make this a double-decker reading, to get as much clarity as possible (we all know tarot can be a tricksy little thing when it wants to) and, as you will see below –
M i s s i o n v e r y m u c h a c c o m p l i s h e d.
 What subject am I passionate about sharing with other people?
(This tells you where your passion is now and how you’re expressing it)
II Wisdom – Sophia (“Wisdom”)
This is what it looks like when a reading punches you in the gut, knees you in the nose as you go down and then stands laughing over you as you gasp for air. All for your own good, of course. (And it’s not as if this is a giant !newsflash! of information; I just really wasn’t expecting such an obvious answer!)
Yes, the pursuit, discovery and attainment of information is my primary vice. I call it such because it isn’t always a healthy drive. Sometimes I get caught up in acquiring more and more and MORE “knowing” at the expense of other pursuits that might be more beneficial to my overall growth and fulfilment as a human being. I even wrote an essay once on how – at its worst – this manifests as a trifecta of Lust, Greed & Gluttony that dominates my existence; that I get hopelessly caught up in and can’t escape from. That I don’t want to escape from.
But at the same time, because I find knowing to be such a heady, transformative experience, I love to share what I know, hoping that it will benefit the receiver in the same way it benefits me (and being called a know-it-all for my efforts). I do not consider myself “wise” – that is for far, far further down the line – but I am very good at making connections, at seeing patterns and identifying common threads.
Drawing on this skill, I can build towering constructs out of a single, tiny snippet of information, using the vast stores of random knowledge I have hoarded away (it is no coincidence that I am born under the sign of the dragon). I utilise this when I do readings, intuitively joining the dots as they come to me and then colouring in what remains more consciously.
 How can I turn my passion into a business idea?
(Expressing your passion through the Earth element)
Crone of Air – Laverna
On more than one occasion I have asked career counsellors how I can get paid to learn, or how to turn “knowing everything” into a job. To date, no one has had an answer for me. Recently I have been thinking more and more about pursuing tarot reading as a source of additional income, which would qualify as sharing my passion for discovering answers.
I get the sense though that these cards are a gentle advisement against pursuing my passion as a business: the Crone of Air “closes the book” and Laverna makes off with the money. Or is this fear seeing what it wants to see? Hmm.
- The Crone is the “wise” aspect of the MMC triplicity, who passes down knowledge to the Maiden
- This is an Air card in the position of Earth ie. ideas becoming grounded and gaining substance
- Laverna is the goddess of thieves, and the dubious activities that take place under cover of dark
- She is also something of a trickster (or shyster, given her connections)
Perhaps I’ll change my mind on my initial judgement of these cards:
Turning my passion into a business is possible and perhaps even a natural progression for me, so long as I am prepared. More practical, real world experience is needed, as well as work on grounding and insulating myself (no divination burn-out required!) Money is not my area of expertise, so I need to make solid preparations there too, or risk losing it. Finally, tarot readers still have a reputation for being charlatans. I need to be aware this – and all its associated yuck -, not be discouraged and just smile and make off into the night with my big bag of money ;)
 What’s the best way for me to communicate my passion for this subject with other people?
(Expressing your passion through the Air element)
2 of Earth (Beach) – Blodeuwedd
“Do what comes naturally,” is what the Beach card says to me. That is the place I am most comfortable, most content, most myself. And I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love tide pools; it’s ridiculous. What is especially remarkable about this beach is that it is a sunset scene, mirroring my in-world beach perfectly (it is a completely liminal place). I am my passion; my passion is me; we flow together.
Blodeuwedd was literally crafted from the earth (flowers and plants), an ideal of beauty and love meant to serve a singular purpose, which She fulfilled well enough until Her passion was ignited; then She came into Herself. Based on Her mythology, She is Maiden (of flowers and Spring), Mother (of Her own power and choices) and (wise, independent) Crone. Her transformation into an owl points to Sight – being able to “see” in the “dark” – and creates a link to Laverna (operating in the dark).
Interestingly, these are both Earth cards in the position of Air (though Blodeuwedd could be said to transform from one to the other). This tells me that I am capable of elevating my passion – transforming it – from something that is an integral part of my foundation (internal) to something more visible in the external world.
 How can I inspire other people to explore this subject through the work I do?
(Expressing your passion through the Fire element)
Mother of Earth – Melaina
Melaina is the “dark” (/chthonic/Underworld) aspect of Demeter, the Mother of Earth. That’s three goddesses who work in the dark and another strong push towards the element of Earth – as expressed in Fire. I also have to say that Melaina here looks very much like my mother (with a pointier chin) and even more like my grandmother.
The Mother aspect is the Maiden coming into her own, wholly comfortable in her skin, unashamedly claiming her place in the world. A woman who acknowledges, listens to and responds appropriately to the passion within herself. She might not be fearless, but she has the courage to face whatever crosses her path. As such, she inspires other people to do the same purely through example.
In contrast to the bright openness of the Mother of Earth – represented by the full moon and what appears to be high noon – Melaina “indicates supressed anger or fears… indicating some buried issues need attention.” However, She has snakes in Her hair, a common symbol of wisdom (often of the “forbidden knowledge maybe not-so-legally attained” variety, the stuff that grants man an express ticket to godhood). Melaina then sets the example of facing the dark within in order to become all you can be.
I don’t know what this has to do with my inpiring other people through my work, but there it is.
 What services can I provide for other people through this subject and the work I do?
(Expressing your passion through the Water element)
VI Beltane – Gwenhwyfer
Another perfect pairing! The Beltane card urges to “follow your heart”, which is what Gwenhwyfer is most known for. Indeed, Gwenhwyfer is the May Queen and is the fourth earth goddess in a row in this spread. She also mirrors Blodeuwedd – the Welsh May Queen – who chose Her lover over Her king. Here Gwenhwyfer holds a sprig of hawthorn (one of the plants that went into creating Blodeuwedd) and, to my mind, looks to be deciding whom to give it to.
Gwenhwyfer – and similar goddesses – play a vital role in assuring the sovereignty of the land. The choice She makes between king and consort (and their death/transformation) is symbolic of the turning of the seasons, as the Oak and Holly Kings trade off ruling the land. The sacrifices She makes as a result of this choice is Her service to the people. Appearing under the influence of the Water element – so changeable and associated with emotions – is a natural fit for these cards.
One thing I couldn’t leave alone in these cards was the hawthorn that Gwenhwyfer holds, so I went “gathering”…
- Hawthorn is a symbol of opposites contained within each other; duality; the balance and exchange of power illustrated by the yin-yang symbol. Fancy that.
- It is a member of the rose (symbol of love) family, genus Crataegus, getting its name from the Greek God “Kratos” (Cratus = “power”)
- In Ancient Greek culture, hawthorn was dedicated to Hymen, a God presiding over marriage.
- Hawthorn is said to guard the gate to the Underworld and the Faerie Realms. In Arabic culture, it is associated with death. Its pungent blossoms have been described as smelling like “the plague” ie. decaying meat, and are pollinated by flies. Being a hard wood, it burns hot and was used for funeral pyres.
- Then again, in Arabic erotic literature it is regarded as an aphrodisiac, because the flowers are said to smell like an aroused woman. Hi-yo.
- Medicinally, it is used as a heart tonic.
That’s a lot of pieces that match up _just so_.
Matching up pieces.
 What’s the likeliest outcome if I share my passion for this subject with other people?
(This tells you where your passion can take you and how you’re likely to express it in the future)
7 of Air (I-Ching) – Ishtar
Several things popped out to me immediately in the 7 of Air:
- I-Ching = coins = money
- This is the same suit – Air – as represented in the business position (card 2) of the spread
- Coins/money also links back to Laverna, seen in the business position
- The Suit of Air is themed around the divinatory arts
- The taijitu (yin-yang symbol) in the 7 of Air stands in for the moon in the Wisdom card (position 1) – if the Majors are the spiritual ideal and the Minors are the practical implementation, then it follows that the 7 of Air shows the real-world manifestation of my passion for wisdom!
- It also links back to the Beltane-Gwenhwyfer cards – the pairing of dualities, separate yet forming a harmonized whole
Finally, the LWB offers up this [paraphrased] snippet in regards to the 7 of Air: “The answer is in the question.” Precisely.
Ishtar is a bit of a wildcard, representing both Love and War. In her Love aspect, She performs a similar function to Gwennie. In one version of Her myth, Ishtar has a true love for whom She ventures into the very deepest depths of the Underworld in order to reclaim. The Journey requires that She shed Her garments, Her jewellery, Her pride and dignity – everything that outwardly defines Her, until She stands naked before the Queen of the Underword. This can be equated to (Melaina) Demeter’s retreat after the abduction of Kore.
She is a very determined goddess, unafraid of taking Her light into the darkness in order to get what She wants. In this card She looks like She is working a magical lock-pick, or just about to break down a wall. I know with certainty that pursuing my passion will stir up things in my personal Underworld and require me to travel through my own seven special gates of hell. Whatever lessons I learn along the way could potentially be useful in sharing my passion with others as they make their own Underworld journeys. Who knows.
And I’m spent (guess that New Moon reading will have to wait a day).
I will definitely be letting these two decks hang out together in the future!