Monday, 29 August 2011

Knights and Warriors

Knights of Wands, Pentacles, Swords and Cups: Universal Waite Tarot (Lo Scarabeo)
Virabhadrasana 1
Suryanamaskar, or Sun Salutation, in one form or another is a staple of many styles of physical yoga practice.  And as with anything we do a lot it can become routine.  So, when my thoughts drifted during my daily practice I decided to focus them by trying to once again link yoga and tarot.

What came to mind this time was the question of whether and how I could link Virabhadrasana, or Warrior Pose, with the tarot knights.  Given that I was practising a Dancing Warrior variation on the Sun Salute may explain why this particular question came up.

Using this focus to guide my practice, I thought about what energies I associate with each of the tarot knights, and then, feeling my way into each pose, decided which might be the appropriate warrior pose to link it with.

For me, Warrior 1 (sometimes called proud warrior) is about preparedness and forward focus, or even focus straight upward.  It is about meeting things head on and reaching for what you want (even if that is calm stillness).  So, I linked it with the Knight of Wands.
Virabhadrasana 2
 Warrior 2 is often used as a transition  between different poses, a way of grounding and centering before moving to the next position.  It is more open and balanced than Warrior 1, more stable and not quite as dynamic.  Instead of the energy being forward and up, it is balanced between front and back, up and down.  I know this is true of all yoga poses in some ways, but I feel it is more apparent in this variation of Virabadhrasana.  For these reasons, I linked it with the Knight of Pentacles.
Virabhadrasana 3
Virabhadrasana 4
Warrior 3, sometimes called flying warrior, is more dynamic and less easily balanced than any of the other three variants.  This warrior pushes off into the unknown, launches him/herself forward somewhat recklessly.  There is far more chance here to fall, and it is our mind, more than our body, which controls this pose.  The Knight of Swords says I.

Finally, Warrior 4, sometimes called reverse warrior, othertimes wounded warrior.  This is the warrior who doesn't really want to be one, the lover not the fighter.  Here, we open and present our chest, our heart, lifting it up to the heavens.  In this I see not just the open-hearted, romantic side of the Knight of Cups, but also the Grail Knight aspect, dedicated to a search for divine love.

Perhaps by flowing between these poses we can help balance these different aspects of ourselves.  Or else, choosing the pose that represents the characteristics we want to enhance in ourselves, we can practice it, linking the physical and more character-based aspects and thus creating a bodily-anchored intention. 
To do this, we could add an affirmation for each.  For example: Warrior 1 - I focus my mind and spirit on my goal; Warrior 2 - I am balanced and grounded; Warrior 3 - I plan clearly and move forward with determination; Warrior 4 - I open my heart to divine love.   A magical, moving meditation :)  What do you think?


  1. what a fun way to tie two passions together. Yoga changed my life, all to the good.

  2. Hi Sharyn,
    Glad you approve :) I know some people in the yoga community would accuse me of contaminating the practice, but I feel so long as I'm moving mindfully it's all good...

  3. Cool! I have neglected my yoga practice, along with all my other practices--but as the autumn approaches, I start to feel more spiritually inclined. Happens every year. :) I'd like to read more about how you like yoga and tarot. :)

  4. Hi Carla,

    I've never managed to get a tag cloud working for some reason, but if you click the yoga tag below the body of the post it should take you to my previous yoga/tarot posts. I've written about the yamas and niyamas, comparing them to tarot archetypes, among other things :)

    Good luck getting back into your practice/s!

  5. In good form as always! Hope you are having a good week, Warrior Woman! :)

  6. Hi MM,

    Ooh, I like that! "Warrior Woman": I may have to take that as my new moniker :) Wishing you a good week, too :D