Aug 302016

It is no surprise that a collaboration between Rachel Pollack and Robert Place creates a powerful deck for divination and they are working together again to create the Raziel Tarot. This spring,  I had the good fortune of exploring the deck and doing a wisdom reading with Rachel using the Raziel. It follows as an example of what the Raziel wants to teach us. Be sure to pre-order the deck so you can do your own wisdom readings. 

A note: Wisdom Readings are one of Rachel’s many innovations with the Tarot in which we use the cards to ask not just personal questions, but also to explore collective, philosophical, and spiritual questions. We pulled cards from the Raziel as a response to what is fate, destiny, and fortune. We also pulled support cards for each area. Rachel calls them Teacher cards. I tend to think of them as the deeper foundation that influences the meaning of the primary card.  

A Wisdom Reading for Fate, Destiny, and Fortune

Our fate is Death.

Our Destiny is to stand before something greater than ourselves.

And our Fortune is not ours at all, but the interaction, collision, and alignment of forces and events beyond our control.

Our Fate is Death

death razielLike Moses who stands on the mountain top seeing the Promised Land he will not enter, we are all fated to die.

We don’t have a choice about Death’s place in our life, but we do have a choice in the relationship that we make with Death. So much of the language of Death is filled with the metaphor of battle, but when we make Death our enemy we will fail. We will never conquer Death.

Making Death our enemy closes us off to the generativity that we might learn from its dark transitions. Each card in this reading had a deeper teacher card below, and The Empress in the form of Miriam of the Waters flowed below this Death card.

Miriam is Moses’ sister who saves him from Death by hiding him at the water’s edge when the Pharaoh orders all infant boys of the enslaved Hebrews be killed. When the grown Moses succeeds in leading the Israelites out of enslavement in Egypt, she raises her timbrel to lead a victory song that may be some of the oldest text in the Bible: “Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; Horse and rider he has thrown into the sea.” Here Miriam’s waters are not always gentle; sometimes they bring Death. Miriam herself dies as the Hebrews wander in the wilderness on the way to the Promised Land, but from the place where she is buried a spring of life-sustaining water opens.

empress razielLife and Death are intertwined in Miriam’s story. She saves the infant Moses from Death but celebrates the deaths of the Egyptian forces that would have re-enslaved her people. When her death comes it gives rise to water in the dessert. She flows with cycles of Life-Death-Life, and her example invites us to these forces are linked together. Death can feed Life. Life serves Death.

Unlike his sister, the place of Moses burial is a mystery according to the Bible. The rabbinical literature fills in this gap with the story that inspires the Raziel’s image of Death. Here as he approaches his death, Moses stands in the embrace of the Shekhinah, the Divine Feminine. He faces the unknown and takes a step toward it held and supported by the Shekninah’s wings. In one version of the story, Moses is kissed by the Shekinah and his body lifts away. There was no burial; Moses ascended on the wings of the Divine as a reward his faithful service to God and his people.

Moses’ face is serious. He is looking into the unknown with a certain watchfulness. He doesn’t know what to do next, but he is paying attention to what is coming so he can meet it. While we are unwise to make Death our enemy, we don’t know Death well enough to make It our friend. We know our friends so can be familiar with them. We won’t know Death until we cross Its threshold. Moses attitude in this image shows a way to make that crossing: by paying attention to the unknown coming so that It can be give a proper greeting.

Our Destiny is to stand before something greater than ourselves.

high priest razielIn this card to of Destiny, Aaron as the first High Priest is shown with the Ark of the Covenant, which was created from instructions given by God to hold the 10 Commandments, the Divine law. The Ark becomes a physical representation of God’s presence and the High Priests play a special role in to tending this treasure.

The Hebrews gave God a name that could not be spoken to recognize God’s greatness beyond measure. Other traditions have given the Divine evocative names: Ra, Shining Ones, Qian Yin, Aphrodite, Green Man, Jesus, Spider Woman. Each culture reaches toward its own naming of what is unnamable. And as we humans strive to find that name to call out to, we also connect with practices, places, or objects that help us meet and stand in relationship with something of the Greater Than in our individual lives.  Not everyone believes in a Deity, but the forces of that natural world are awesome, too, and in the end we all stand before Death. Like Aaron before the Ark, our Destiny is to stand before something greater than ourselves.

When we talk about Destiny, we are often referencing a specific role that we believe we are called to play. Aaron in the image stands solidly in his role as High Priest. When stepping into a role we have sought, we may feel our destiny is achieved. But what about what about those areas in which we do not realize our visions? What about the inevitable failures that come along with any life?

sun razielThe deeper teacher for Destiny is The Sun. Here youthful innocents arise from a broken jar, which represents the inherent brokenness of the world. But each child – each one of us – brings a unique light into the world and can play a part in its repair.  This repair is known as tikkun olam, which in its earliest meaning called for religious practices (repair of the soul) and now is equated popularly  with contributing to social justice (repair of the physical world and its institutions).  In neither meaning is a specific role required to participate in tikkun olam. In fact, the nakedness of the Raziel’s children is a symbol of their freedom from roles that so often comes with prescriptions on what to wear and how to appear.

As we move through our lives standing before the Greater Than, we will step into certain roles that can be a container for the expression of the important work we are called to do, our destiny. But The Sun as the deeper teacher reminds us that even when those roles fall away, we still have that light of being to be offered to the world as a contribution toward its repair.

And our Fortune is not ours at all.

tower razielWell, the Tower is an alarming response to the question: What is Fortune? The bursting flames of this image show us Fortune as chaos.

With chaos as a central feature of Fortune, this card is a wake up call for our ego-protecting selves with the reminder: we are not in control. The writer Annie Dillard says it this way: “We are most deeply asleep at the switch when we fancy we control any of the switches at all.” When we fall into such a sleep Fortune wakes us.

The Raziel Tarot shows us the wakeup calls that came to the Israelites when their temple was destroyed not just once but twice (586 BCE and 70 CE) . And each destruction was connected to a period of exile for the Israelites. The human and physical destruction was enormous. Descriptors such as chaos and tragedy are not exaggerations for these historical events.

A people do not emerge from such an experience unchanged. In religious life, the rabbis, who were the religious teachers, became the spiritual leaders replacing the High Priests after the second destruction. This shift led to an emphasis on study of the Torah and Jewish law rather than Temple practices and political governance.  Midrash, which are stories told by rabbis to fill in the gaps of the Torah, became a lively practice and gifted the world with a rich wisdom tradition.

The pain of the destruction Fortune brings is often enormous, at times seems unbearable. But once the structures destroyed by Fortune have fallen, we are invited to work with what has changed, to find the new gestating in what remains.

hanged man razielThe deeper teacher of Fortune is the Hanged Man. Here the fallen angel Sheimhazai continues an ongoing process of descent. First, Sheimhazai surrendered being an angel to become a man, then he surrendered his place on earth as an act of repentance to save humanity from the great flood. But the flood came any way. He is falling still, but if you look at the image, you will see that, at last, the ropes that tie him are loosening. He is surrendering to the falling and failing, and it seems as if this is what will set him free.

The Hanged Man invites us to surrender to the losses of Fortune, and when we do, we shift our perspective to see what new light that can liberated from destruction. In the image, the menorah remains in front of the Temple. Although the nine-branched menorah is better known because of its modern use at Chanukah, the original menorah was seven-branched. Seven is number of alchemical transformation that turns the base and most difficult realities of destruction into powerful new creations that liberate us from what limits us.


Remember you can pre-order The Raziel today. Thanks to Bob for letting me use these glorious images in this post and to Rachel for all her wisdom offered in her words and works and laughter. Even before I met her, she was my Tarot teacher through her books and since then I have been able to study with her in-person. Let me tell you, it is a treat. I’ve absorbed a lot from her, and all the wisdom that flows through the word above have some source in what I’ve learned from her … though she might deny it as she rather likes to be the anti-guru.

And, FYI, in the fall there will be some shifts to the site and the work I am doing – including more explorations like this of Tarot as wisdom images. You can keep up with the shapeshifting by being one my list if you like.  

Feb 082016


In English that’s: “We’d like to wish you an excellent start to the Lunar New Year   (Thanks to the New York Times for the Chinese.)

Happy Year of the Monkey, which begins today signaled by the new moon that arrived this morning at 9:39am ET in the U.S.A. If you receive my e-news or follow this blog, you know that I follow lunar patterns even as I live in solar world for the awareness of the dance of dark and light, moon and sun, mystery and illumination that this practice sparks.

Alchemical StrengthTo mark the occasion, I offer the Moon and Sun Conjunction Reading to help align your lunar and solar parts for a fuller expression of your truest self.

MOON: What part of you that has been more hidden or mysterious is emerging to more opening offer guidance?

SUN: What part of you is already actively cooperating with the flow of life so you are living out of your passion/purpose?

CONJUNCTION: How to help these parts work together for your Soul Self to be expressed?

You can order this as an e-reading for $22. Here is a sample of how I do these readings in a collaborative intuitive format. I have slots to do these readings toward the end of the week (Thursday – Saturday).  

Image is from The Alchemical Tarot by Robert M. Place

Jun 292015

Each week I pull Tarot cards to inspire practice that cultivates soul wisdom for readers of the blog as a group using the Gaian Tarot.  (If you want to read more about the process, check out Sacred Practices of the Gaian Tarot: The 3 P’s).You are invited to use the cards below to inspire your practice, and, if you like, share your reflections in the comments.  You are also free to draw your own cards and share them in the comments.

Gaian Tarot 19 the SunPATH:
  Use Pile 1 / Majors and Aces to pull a card for the question:  What path would it best serve us to walk this week? THE SUN  invites us to walk this week on pathways of  …

  • Earned joy.
  • Being in the flow.
  • Being open to the beauty of earth and the passionate embrace of Love while still holding in your heart the pain, the grief, and the problems of the world. You are unafraid of this paradox.

gaian five-airPRACTICE:  Use Pile 2 / numbered cards for this question:  What practice(s) will best serve us to move along this path this week?  FIVE OF AIR  invites us to practices such as …

  • Create a fith-fath, the Gaelic practice of creating a shape shifting spell for times of danger or vulnerability.
  • Observe how you react to conflict with and between others without judgment. Then consider how you want to be with conflict in the future. Gather tools to help you with this new relationship with conflict.
  • To find a practice that best fits for you, you could pick out the bird in the image that you most identify with first and then…

         Defend or Protect: If you are relating to the birds at the bottom, on the branches, near the nest, you may need to defend or protect something important. Perhaps there is a value or cause that is under attack and you are called to defend it. You may need to active by attending a rally or vigil, writing a letter to the editor, or lobbying a politician. Or you might need to protect space and time for dreaming, devotion to art and writing, or for spiritual practice These can easily be eaten up by everyday demands to take action to guard this time: write it in your calendar, close a door for privacy, silence the cell phone.  Perhaps these callings are combined: you are called to create art or write about an injustice.

         Engage: Is someone in your life acting in an aggressive or unhelpful way? What would it be like to ask them what they need? What would be like to identify what you need? Then perhaps you can dance with that together like the two birds flying around at the center of the card.

         Rise Above: If you are drawn to the bird soaring above at the top of the image, just sitting and observing your thoughts while you shut your eyes and breathe, can help you to see them, be more objective, and let the unnecessary ones go. Than an open space the wider perspective can emerge.

  Use Pile 3 / People cards for a question such as:  What attitudes and behaviors will be most helpful to undertake this practice and walk with path? CHILD OF EARTH  invites you to follow your path and practices with attitudes of …

  • Wonder
  • Total focus.
  • Fascination.
  • Giving yourself fully to what is happening in the natural world.
  • Learning from the physical reality before you (the peeking bulbs, the food on your plate, the animals in your life).

OVERALL MUSINGS:  This week you are called to defend joy. Defending joy does not mean that you ignore the difficulty or pain in the world, but rather that you embrace both the pain and the delight. And dance anyway, forgive anyway, hold up Love anyway. Last week, we were shown so many mentors for living in joy.  As their slain loved ones were laid to rest, the community of the Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston showed the power of forgiveness, truth telling, and celebration even as they grieved. Same sex couples denied marriage equality for decades finally got to make their love legal and there was so much embracing. Even the White House put on rainbows. So how will you defend joy this week? How will you let joy into your heart to emerge renewed? How will you let joy connect you back to the wisdom wonder of when you were a child?

Mar 302015

Each week I pull Tarot cards to inspire practice that cultivates soul wisdom for readers of the blog as a group using the Gaian Tarot.  (If you want to read more about the process, check out Sacred Practices of the Gaian Tarot: The 3 P’s).You are invited to use the cards below to inspire your practice, and, if you like, share your reflections in the comments.  You are also free to draw your own cards and share them in the comments.

Gaian Tarot 19 the SunPATH:  Use Pile 1 / Majors and Aces to pull a card for the question:  What path would it best serve us to walk this week? THE SUN  invites us to walk this week on pathways of  …

  • Earned joy.
  • Being in the flow.
  • Being open to the beauty of earth and the passionate embrace of Love while still holding in your heart the pain, the grief, and the problems of the world. You are unafraid of this paradox.

gaian ten-firePRACTICE:  Use Pile 2 / numbered cards for this question:  What practice(s) will best serve us to move along this path this week? TEN OF FIRE   invites us to practices such as …

  • Taking action to honor/move through something that is ending in your life; for example: writing down all your feelings about something ending and burning it (safely, in a small container, with something to extinguish the flame close by)
  • Practicing Breath of Fire from Kundalini Yoga
  • Study wildfire ecology to see the whole picture of burning—devastation—regrowth—flourishing.

gaian-guardian-firePOSTURE:  Use Pile 3 / People cards for a question such as:  What attitudes and behaviors will be most helpful to undertake this practice and walk with path?  GUARDIAN OF FIRE  invites you to follow your path and practices with attitudes of …

  • Quiet strength.
  • Taking action in a graceful and unhurried way.
  • Taking time to nurture your own inner fire.
  • Coaxing the gifts that might be hidden more deeply to emerge

 OVERALL MUSINGS: Perhaps the fires lit by last week’s Lightning Path Card are still burning. But their purpose now is to complete the process of transformation: to burn away any remaining dead wood; to make room for more light to flow into the forest (of your soul!); and to call forth the new seeds. As this seems like an invitation for inner work (rather than outer challenge), you can take your time, move at the pace of guidance, delight in discovering something you had not imagined was waiting below the surface for you. Build up your energy to move with joy into emerging spring (literal for us in the northern hemisphere and perhaps metaphorical for those in the southern.)


Sep 222012

Welcome to the Equinox Blog Hop!

I hope you have come here from Donnaleigh’s blog. If not, be sure to back up and check out her wisdom.

At the equinoxes, the day and night stand equal. The energy of the sun is balanced with the energy of the moon and the stage is set for transition to a new season.

In the Western esoteric tradition from which the Tarot grows, there is a maxim that you have probably heard, “As above, so below.” The longer translation is: “That which is Below corresponds to that which is Above, and that which is Above corresponds to that which is Below, to accomplish the miracle of the One Thing.”

Following the direction of As above, so below,” the shift in the natural world at the equinox becomes an invitation for us humans to seek the unity of One Thing by meeting and melding our Solar selves and Lunar selves.

And what are our Solar and Lunar selves? This question might turn us to Astrology seeking an answer, but today I’d like to stick just with The Moon and The Sun Tarot cards and the meaning their symbols inspire.

We gain insight into our Lunar Self by looking at The Moon card. This picture of the Self is one in which not all can be known. We are a mystery even to ourselves, but periodically something rises up out of the depths calling for attention. In the Rider-Waite-Smith card, it is a crayfish emerging from the depths. This ancient life form is spiny, prickly, and not that attractive, but some strong desire has it setting out on the golden path that starts at the water’s edge. This tiny creature will have to brave the baying dogs and the guardian towers, but these tests will deepen the work of walking the path. This is our Lunar Self and especially as we move into lengthening nights here in the Northern Hemisphere, it may have something to reveal to you. To better meet this Self, journal or pull Tarot cards to find your way toward answers to these questions:

  • What part of your Lunar Self wants to reveal itself to you at this time?
  • How can you meet this Lunar Self?
  • What challenges might this Self offer at this time?
  • What gifts might this Self offer at this time?


We gain insights into our Solar Self by looking at the Sun card. This radiant and innocent part of our Self meets each day with open arms. Our Solar Self can stand naked before the world because there is nothing to hide. Clarity and accomplishment are the deep wells of this Self, and the way opens up easily before our Solar Self using its best gifts in the world. At the Autumn Equinox, we see the gifts of the sun at their zenith in the bounty of the crops; it is the time to harvest those gifts. This invites a celebration of the bounty of the Solar Self, too, and the work accomplished in the growing season of the past months. To better meet this Self, journal or pull Tarot cards to find your way toward answers to these questions:

  • What part of your Solar Self has been most radiant these past months?
  • How can you honor the gifts of this Solar radiance?
  • What “seeds” or projects did not reach full growth and need to be weeded out of your life?
  • What “crops” or projects should be preserved to nurture you during the long winter?

Supported by greater insight and understanding, these Lunar and Solar selves can meet each other and meld together. This is like what happens each day at dawn and dusk where the red line of their encounter marks the horizon with beauty but perhaps also with an awareness of the difficult surrender, the “blood” that must be spilt. The shifting of the seasons can be like that, too, with unusual and unexpected storms shaking our houses and chaffing our skin. The integrating of Lunar and Solar selves may take some time. My suggested process here is to mix your two sets of cards together and then lay them out in a line or a circle. Leave the cards out for at least a week or perhaps all the way until the Solstice and reflect on the following:

  • What new relationships exist within these cards?
  • What story are these cards telling now about you? Pick a starting point and go straight through the cards writing out a narrative.
  • What is revealed in this new configuration?
  • What remains a mystery?

This integration is a path way toward a transformed Self who can meet the world with greater inner resources.

Continue on your Blog Hop with a visit to Carla Tate’s Rowan Tarot. If you run into breaks in the Hop, you can check out our master list to keep going!

[Images are from what many call the Rider-Waite-Smith deck to honor the artist Pamela Coleman Smith. The deck is published as the Rider-Waite Tarot by U.S. Games Systems in the U.S. and they hold the copywrite to the deck. These images are from the 1st edition collected by Holly Voley.]

Jun 212012

Welcome to the Summer Solstice Tarot Blog Hop!

 Perhaps you are joining me from Christiana Gaudet’s blog (or make sure to back up to her) on this hop around the internet to celebrate the Solstice.  Be sure to continue the hop by moving from this blog to Matt Williams’

This hop’s theme of Celebrate the Sunrisecomes from Chloë McCracken:  “I am inspired in this title by the yearly practice of celebrating the dawn held atStonehenge in celebration of the Summer solstice. This is the dawn of the longest day of the year, and the sun peeks through the heel stones and the outer stone circle to reach into the heart of the stone circle, to the altar stone. For me, the fact of this stone circle connects us with millennia of celebration of this special time of year.”

Our collective posting time is also set to the rising of the sun at Stonehenge.  So though I will be heading to bed as the magic of the modern technology brings this post to you, I, too, will be connected to this celebration grounded in stone, lit by the sun, and unbounded by clock time.

My offering for this hop is a guided visualization meditation that starts at sunrise and brings you into an encounter in a circle.  Not a circle of stone, but of trees.  This is one of my Journey into the Tarot meditations inspired by the 22 cards of the Major Arcana.  The Gaian Wheel with its trees of different seasons is the direct inspiration and The Sun offers its light and wisdom as well.

Gaian Wheel Meditation for the Summer Solstice.

The meditation includes suggestions for Solstice activities, breath work, chakra balancing, and the guided visualization.  The full running time is about 45 minutes.

More meditations can be found at Journey into the Tarot.

Now continue your hop by visiting Matt Williams.

For a full list of all participating blogs (and in case you stumble across a broken link) visit Inner Whispers.

Jan 312012

So happy to be picking up the Tarot Blog Baton from Barbara Moore at and the 6 bloggers before her.  Find out more about the Tarot Blog Hop at

 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