Jan 312012
 

So happy to be picking up the Tarot Blog Baton from Barbara Moore at http://practicaltarotreadings.com/blog/ and the 6 bloggers before her.  Find out more about the Tarot Blog Hop at http://www.facebook.com/TarotBlogHop


 February offers me the gift of an enticing light.  I want to be a candle lit from its flame.

Today we are on the cusp of Imbolc, the Celtic festival that marks the start of spring and is dedicated to Brigid, who is venerated as both Goddess and Saint. As Goddess, her realm is fire and she is inspirer of poetry, healing, and smithcraft.  As Saint, she and 19 of her nuns tended a sacred flame and she served as abbess of a double monastery of women and men.  As an expression of traditions’ creative and fertile mixing, Brigid speaks to me of a shared well feeding our search for the sacred and the potential this well offers for the healing of rifts between groups.

Inspired by Brigid and the hint of lengthening days, I usually am ready to rush over the threshold of winter and into spring.

But there is something different this year.

I have been spending time with the “dark” cards of the Tarot these past few weeks as part of the Journey into the Tarot.  The Hanged One, Death, and the Devil have been recent companions and their lessons have been about the necessity, the healing, and even the nurture of the dark, the challenging, the shadow.  So before I light my candle I need to make sure that I’ve really soaked in and honored the dark.

My usual way to check in deeply on such matters is to combine Tarot with guidance from nature.  I asked the Tarot some questions for this threshold time (see below) and received the message to go outside and honor winter, the Cailleach or Old Woman in the Celtic Tradition.

So I walked in my neighborhood.  The wind was sharp though the ground was without the usual January snow.  The sun was bright on the dark limbs creating patterns of branches reaching to the sky in beautiful symmetry.  Well, for the most part.  Because there were also sharp breaks and branches left dangling from the pre-winter October snowstorm that damaged so many trees and left much of Massachusetts and Connecticut without power for days and even weeks.    Like our current lack of snow, our all too early storm and its damage are a sign of the chaos caused by climate change that can not be ignored.

When the trees leaf out in spring this damage will be hidden, but I’m called to bring their wounds with me into this time of returning light.  I can only embrace the joy of spring when I remember the shadows shown in winter.  I’ve been coming to know this balance as a message of The Sun.

This melding of joy and shadow is seen so wonderfully in the Gaian Tarot’s Sun.

Our eyes are drawn, of course, to the brilliant sun, the flowered landscape, and the radiant woman.  But this picture also includes her shadow.  Her dark outline is, in fact, the foundation on which she stands.

So I will light my candle.  And I will honor the dark.  I will seek to be a better candle of dark wick and bright light.  I will hold this whole.

Winter into Spring Spread

Card 1:  What winter / dark work do I need to complete before moving into spring / the light?

Card 2:  What is a lesson learned in the dark time that I can take as a gift into the light?

Card 3:  What can help me cross the threshold from winter into spring?

Card 4:  How can I be a better candle?

Card 5:  What are the gifts of the light that may unfold for me in this season?

I’ll post my reading in the comments and you are invited to do so as well.

Continue the Tarot Blog Hop by visiting Inner Whispers at http://innerwhisperscouk.blogspot.com/

  17 Responses to “Tarot Blog Hop: How can I be a better candle?”

  1. My reading – I looked at a couple of Celtic-themed Tarots to get my message clearly: the Celtic Wisdom Tarot and the Wildwood Tarot. Here is the layout with the Wildwood as the lead

    Card 1/ Work to Complete: Five of Arrows / Frustration – In this card a hunter is aiming at a wild goat bounding away. He hasn’t quite hit his mark. This actually reminded me of some planning tasks that i like to do in January that I don’t yet have done. Must complete!

    Card 2 / Gift of the Season: The Wheel – I have been listening to the seasons and receiving their gifts. I was happy to receive this card as think of my personal practice as being guided by following a spirituality of the seasons.

    Card 3 / Crossing the Threshold: The Journey (yes, Death) card – In the Celtic Wisdom deck, this card is connected to Cailleach and it is from this card that I had the idea I needed to do something more to honor winter.

    Card 4 / Better Candle: Five of Bows / Empowerment – In this card, there are 5 physical bows and a fifth held by the figure of a giant deity carved into a hillside. I’ve just started to work with the Wildwood, but this is a card that has come up for me before and the message then was “I choose the spirit bow.” I listen to the wisdom of nature and the worlds beyond.

    Card 5 / Gifts Coming: Mirror (which is their card that takes the place of the Hanged One) – A wonderful and mysterious card that I look forward to meditating on further, but is about the inner and intuitive journey. This card did remind me of my reflections of the Hanged One re-orienting toward earth.

    So there it ’tis!

  2. I’ll be doing this spread for sure. What a great take on this topic, Carolyn!

    • Thanks, Arwen! It has been wonderful to see the diversity of views on what sounds like a simple topic. I never, for example, thought or the bottom of the candle as you did. It is true: we are smarter together than seperated!

  3. I love your story and this spread, Carolyn. Mmmm. Feels like an excellent spread to do for my personal Candlemas ritual tomorrow night. I had never thought before about the Sun Woman’s shadow representing the Dark, but (of course!) it does. It’s a shadow!

    • Thanks, Joanna! I have been thinking about the Dark in the Sun for a while. I picked up the idea from reading a commentary (at least I think so … I can no longer put my fingers on that source!) but I didn’t really see it much in other images .. but it is so clearly there in your Sun card! The awareness of the Dark makes the Joy more intense. I’ve been talking about it as Earned Joy.

  4. Lovely post and spread, Carolyn! I had never thought of the shadow in the Sun card before, either. And I really like what you say about fully honouring the dark before moving on – don’t think I’ve done enough of that. Still, with winter finally seeming to hit perhaps we’ll have the time and inclination… :)

    • Yes, Chloe, we have had such a mild winter here that it doesn’t seem like we have fully taken in that energy. So now that spring is supposed to be coming I am going to Montana where they have been having winter and will be having it for a good bit more. Climate change is really mixing up our energy. Glad we connected through the Blog Hop.

  5. Just the analogy of lighting a single, simple candle in the midst of those “dark cards” was such a powerful metaphor for me. WOW, Carolyn. Very well done.

  6. “I can only embrace the joy of spring when I remember the shadows shown in winter. ” That’s a courageous thing for a New Englander. Great post, thank you.

    • Ha, ha! Well that is true many year, Claire-Marie, but no bravery needed this year as our winter was a tame pussy cat. Perhaps that is why I am feeling the need to continue to give Winter attention this year! Thanks for stopping by.

  7. Thanks for your wonderful sense, and this great spread. I look forward to taking it for a spin, Carolyn!

  8. The best writing always starts from the personal journey and ends up revealing the universal. You consistently do that in your pieces, Carolyn, but never more so than in this piece.

    • Thank you, Paris! I highly value your excellent opinion on all matters and now that you have started telling the marvelous Tarot parables on your blog especially in regard to writing. (Plus thanks for that typo alert. I must have just a dash of dyslexia and need to teach my Spell Check Wheel of the Year holidays!)

  9. [...] was a plethora of spreads. Well, I may not have said that exactly, but there were. This one is from Carolyn Cushing who used the Gaian Sun as her inspiration for her post on “how can I be a better [...]

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