Thursday, 21 September 2017

Autumn, Balance and Preparation

Merry meet once more my friends - I cannot believe that it is September already and the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness is upon us!

Photo from https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/
September has always been one of my favourite months, despite it meaning I had to go back to school as a child.  Those long walks along woods drapes with wisps of mist, my breath just visible as the sun climbs high enough to warm the land, it getting so warm during the afternoon that you wonder why you bothered to grab a coat that morning, yep I love it all.

Even those of us who do not follow a nature-based spirituality can't help noticing the changes.  Maybe it's in the fading sun tans, or the need for a jumper when you go out.  For some it will be the change in produce available in the supermarkets and farmers' markets, as we say goodbye to such summer delights as tomatoes, courgettes and sardines but greet local apples, plums, oysters and venison.

For me, the most exciting change (OK, apart from the food) is the changing of the leaves.  I really missed them when Mr Witch Hazel and I were stationed in Florida and Southern California, but I hadn't realised how much until last autumn when, settled in Maryland on the East Coast, I saw my first proper autumn in four years and got a bit emotional.  I hadn't realised just how much my magick, which has died back so much since moving to the USA, is tied into the seasons, so to feel my power rushing through me again was a real relief.  I know things in nature are cyclical, so when I felt a real disconnection from my spirituality and magick here in the US I didn't beat myself up but used the time to focus on other areas.  I trained with a Lightworker who helped me to focus my energy and open up to working with the spirit realm, I learnt more about Voodoo and the Creole magick of New Orleans, I took up yoga again, and I honed my skills in the home, learning how to make breads, preserve the harvest and create unique quilts to keep us warm.

But the Autumn Equinox, known as Mabon in many witchy circles, is a time to find balance.  Like the trees about to face winter storms, we must decide what no longer serves us and shed those things, be they clutter from our homes or clutter from our souls.  For my husband and I this has already begun, and if you follow me on Twitter you may notice I am going through our house and putting loads of stuff in eBay ahead of moving back to the UK in the spring.  But it is also a time for me to spiritually clean house. What emotions or memories am I holding onto that are holding me back or even hurting me?  Do I need to make amends for anything in order to move on?  In a similar vein have I let things slip that I will regret further down the line, or is it time to move on with something?  These are all questions the equinox force us to face, and with the new moon coinciding with the equinox this is the perfect time to shed whatever is weighing us down and prepare for the dark months.

Blessed be )0(

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

The Dark Trio of Tarot Part 3 - The Devil

There are a few tarot cards that seem to have permeated pop culture.  In the first post in this series I wrote about the most notorious of them all, the Death card, while in part two I examined The Tower.  Here we will complete the dark trio of tarot with an examination of The Devil.

The Devil collective
Having read the first two articles we understand the differences between the two cards of change, namely Death and The Tower; I often see The Devil as something of a bridge between them in many ways.  Taking the Tarot de Marseille as our starting point, we have the recognisable image of a winged and horned figure who is both male and female, sword in hand, with a man and a woman chained at its feet, and the Old English Tarot follows the same traditional imagery.  The idea here is to demonstrate our bondage to our daemons and the way they enslave us; to those encountering this card in centuries past in particular, this card literally represented the devil from the bible and all the temptation for sin that that embodied.


The Devil, from Old English Tarot by Maggie Kneen Published by U.S.Games Systems, Inc
Le Diable, from the Tarot de Marseille ©1993 Funtime Ltd
The Devil, from the Deviant Moon Tarot by Patrick Valenza Published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc
The Deviant Moon tarot has a rather chilling red devil, still with horns and wings, but this time in place of the chained figures he dances over a volcanic world destroyed by our obsessions and greed, suggesting our selfish desires for more are not just destroying us individually but globally; we are being driven by these lusts and they are tearing us apart.

The Devil, from the Tyldwick Tarot by Neil Lovell.
© Malpertuis Designs Ltd 2013
In the Tyldwick Tarot, The Devil is my favourite card of the deck. In a darkened room there is a mirror on the wall, daring us to stand before it and face our inner daemons alone.  This is very clever because in many ways it is the most honest challenge of all.  The seeds of our destruction are reflected back at us and it is up to us to battle them.

The Guardian, from Wildwood Tarot
by Mark Ryan and John Matthews
Published by Connections

With the Wildwood Tarot we are faced with the skeleton of a bear reared up on its back legs and blocking the path to a cave.  As scary as this is, we note he is not The Devil, he is The Guardian.  He is just a set of bones, yet in his open jaw we see our own primal fears flare up, and fear can take us over if we don't recognise our instinctive reaction in body and soul and overcome that.  Only then will we be able to pass The Guardian and be brave enough to finally explore the darkest realms of our subconscious, hidden within the cave.

This is the way in which The Devil can bridge the gap between the Death and Tower cards.  Often we can sense change coming in our lives, but fear can hold us back and stop us from taking action to determine the outcome, so when the change does occur it appears unforeseen, traumatic and beyond our control.

To give an example, perhaps a relationship is no longer nurturing us, yet we fear being single or a change in our material standing.  We cling on with our fingertips instead of facing the truth and resolving the problem, either by a conscious effort to make things better or both agreeing the relationship has run its course.  By not facing our fears we reject the energy of the Death card and instead the outcome is destructive and cruel; we either find ourselves trapped in an unhappy relationship that fails to satisfy on any level or we find ourself unceremoniously dumped with seemingly no notice, looking at the shattered remnants of our future life and wondering what happened.

By consulting with the tarot at the first suggestion that something is amiss, this dark trio can actually work in your favour despite being rather feared. Even the most exciting change has an element of fear attached to it, but by taking responsibility for our lives and our choices we can ensure the outcome is one we desire rather than one we fear.

Blessed be )0(

If you are interested in any of the decks here, please note the following are affiliate links, but by purchasing through Witch Hazel's Magick you help to keep this website going, so many thanks.

                   

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

The Dark Trio of Tarot Part 2 - The Tower

There are a few tarot cards that seem to have permeated pop culture.  In the previous post I wrote about the most notorious of them all, the Death card.  However as a reader I am aware that there are certain cards that cause concern whenever they come up in a spread; Death is understandably one of them, but also The Devil and The Tower have this air of unease about them.

The Tower collective
While Death reminds us that everything must end, The Tower card reminds us that some change will come from out of the blue and will often cause great emotional trauma, but like Death that's not the whole story when you study individual cards and decks.  As with part one I will demonstrate what I mean using some of the decks in my collection.

La Maison Dieu, from the Tarot de Marseille ©1993 Funtime LtdThe Tower, from Old English Tarot by Maggie Kneen Published by U.S.Games Systems, IncThe Tower, from the Deviant Moon Tarot by Patrick Valenza Published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc
The Tarot de Marseille has the easily recognised image of a round tower being struck by heavenly flames and people tumbling to their fate, reinforcing the idea that the change is going to be a bolt out of the blue and therefore out of your control, and all you can do is react or be destroyed. The Old English and Deviant Moon decks only vary the way in which the tower is destroyed, with lightning and deviant moonlight being their respective methods of choice.

The Tower, from the Tyldwick Tarot by Neil Lovell.
© Malpertuis Designs Ltd 2013
www.malpertuis.co.uk

The Tyldwick tarot has a picture of the tower of Babel hanging on a wall, the protective glass smashed while the masks of different cultures look on dispassionately.  This suggests that if only we had stopped hiding and deceiving ourselves we might have been able to avoid disaster but now we must face the consequences.

The Wildwood Tarot again breaks with tradition and in place of The Tower we have Blasted Oak, a combination of The Hanged Man and The Tower cards in a traditional deck.  In this we see that while the lightning striking the tree is indeed out of our control, we still chose to be in a position to fall. I find this particular concept fascinating because it does put responsibility back onto the individual to some degree, and begs the question what signs did I miss that put me in this situation?

The Blasted Oak, from Wildwood Tarot by Mark Ryan and John Matthews
Published by Connections
This highlights a significant difference between the Death and Tower cards.  With Death you can see the change coming and can therefore prepare and even embrace it, but the presence of The Tower implies you've ignored the warning signs and missed your chance to preempt it and must now face this change blind, making it much worse than it needed to be.  How does The Devil play its part?  I explore this in part 3.

Blessed be )0(


If you are interested in any of the decks here, please note the following are affiliate links, but by purchasing through Witch Hazel's Magick you help to keep this website going, so many thanks.