Emily Carding, ordered back in July 2010, I couldn't wait to give it a little test run. I decided to do an Elemental Spread reading on my current work situation, having started seeing clients for counselling back in November. I drew one card each for fire/action, water/emotion, air/mind, earth/practicalities, spirit/overarching message.
In the fire position the card that came up was The Dancer, equivalent in traditional decks to the Ace of Cups. Interestingly, if you reverse this card the image becomes very close to the traditional image of an overflowing cup, with the elemental sign of water on it. However, right way up what I see is a female figure rising from the water, growing from it almost, and dancing, balancing on one leg. She is framed by a full moon, and from her head sprout green branches, suggesting growth. Life and growth come from being at one with emotion seems to be the message here. How, then, does this relate to the spread. I normally read this position as examining "What action do I need to take?" and so the response seems to be that I need to be more at one with emotions - mine and those of others - acknowledging, accepting, even delighting in them. There is no such thing as a bad emotion, this says to me, just one that may be more difficult to process, to connect with. But they can all lead to growth. It seems somewhat antithetical to say that my "action" should be to feel more, but it reminds me of something Klein said about needing to know rather than simply know about - a sense of experiencing rather than analysing. This also chimes with something my supervisor said today about needing to stay with emotion when I am with clients, and not get drawn into distracting practicalities.
It's interesting that I had a water card in the fire position and vice versa. These are often seen, in terms of elemental dignities, to be antithetical. However, working in an emotional area, this mixing of action and emotion, of fire and water, seems quite appropriate to me.
In this spread, I see this position representing "What do I need to know about thought?" Subtitled the Gift of Judgement, this card suggests to me that I need to bring clarity and decisiveness to my thoughts, and perhaps those of others. No wishy-washyness here, logic is brought to the fore: the assessing of pros and cons, and then taking necessary action. However, this logic must be tempered by intuition - the mind is not purely the everyday thoughts and rationalisations we have and make, it also includes an intuitive side, that third eye, that sees beyond the obvious. This aspect must be included in any overview of the situation, it is also a part of knowing. How can this be accessed? The moon behind and the sword pointed straight up suggest to me meditation - honing ideas through insight.
This card feels very etheric to me. It is subtitled Guardian, and the figure seems to protect not only himself, but perhaps the very fabric of the universe. In terms of this spread, I would see this answering "What do I need to manifest?" and the response is that I need to create clear, firm boundaries when working in such an emotional area. These protect not just myself, but also those I counsel. In an area that can feel very open, even vulnerable, I need to take care of myself and others, by creating a protected space for sharing emotion.
I get a deep feeling of balance, unity and connection from this card, of emotions shared, of giving and receiving in equal measure. My challenge therefore seems to be to help others, and myself, through connecting at a deep level. This should happen in a way that is nurturing to both of us, and can lead to understanding and higher truths. In terms of working therapeutically with clients - staying with emotion even when, like the full moon behind them, it feels like it may overwhelm - this emotional balance is not something easily achieved. Still, doing so can bring great rewards in terms of increasing soul understanding and joy through deep emotional connection. How to achieve this is suggested by the image, we have to have each other's back, to act from a place of trust as well as deep emotion, and not allow that emotion to overwhelm us. I think part of that comes from being in it together - like a container of water, if two people are in it, they displace more water than one alone. I also see a message of keeping things playful - like the fish leaping around the figures. These are serious matters, but they are not necessarily helped by being serious.
Altogether I found this an interesting reading, and I find the cards very expressive and intuitive. There is much to be learned here, and I feel this is a deck that I will be able to turn to time and again.