Beltane Tarot Blog Hop. Whether you’ve hopped in from Amy Lamash's Hudson Valley Tarot site or elsewhere, I hope you’ll consider carrying on through this chain of blogs, seeing what each adds to the mix. And if you hit a broken link, you can always check out the master list to see where's next - find that here.
This time round, thanks go to Andrew McGregor, who was the one to choose the subject for our hop, and wrangle all the bloggers into order. In choosing the title, he was inspired by Joanna Powell-Colbert’s Guardian of Fire card from the Gaian Tarot. This seems a perfect inspiration for a sabbat during which people have long set bonfires and jumped over them to ask for fertility, prosperity and luck for the future. In our everyday lives, fire is used for light, warmth and nourishment, and because of that importance and versitility, it is also used for ritual, to create sacred space.
Putting this all together, I came up with my Bonfire Spread, to look at what we need to fire ourselves up, what risks we must take for what we want, and how we can keep that fire burning in the long run. I think it would work for any new project we have in mind. For this draw in particular, I was thinking about what I need to know in terms of firing up my spiritual practice, which I have written about a few times lately.
I will be using the Wheel of the Year Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2011), as it fits perfectly with the Tarot Blog Hop’s sabbat dates and the idea of looking at the different seasons as we move through them.
What I see here is the need to recognise how I am pulled in different directions. A spiritual practice requires a certain amount of dedication and while I remain scattered and flighty, I will not find the deep sense of connection and peace I am looking for.
I notice the way the man in the image is being tempted by a woman who is dressed up and waving a peacock’s feather. To me, this says that I should recognise the draw of pretty things, and perhaps use that impulse to focus myself. For example, making sure that my altar is colourful and beautiful, rather than purely functional, with pictures of Goddesses, nice stones, colourful candles... This is a way for me to harness my delight in pretty, sparkly things and direct it towards my spiritual goals, rather than it simply being an acquisitive or mundane pleasure. I am also making my own things, too, rather than just buying stuff.
There may also be something here about doing research: looking at different spiritual paths and different ways of approaching this practice. Recently, I’ve been reading Michelle Sky's Goddess Alive, and am thinking of focusing on a fixed set of three goddesses - for Maiden, Mother and Crone - for the period between now and the next sabbat. OK, so it's not dedicating myself to a single Goddess, as she suggests, but they are all aspects of the Goddess. That might not sound impressive to you, but I'm a double Gemini who has trouble choosing less than four of anything ;D
This definitely highlights some of what I saw in the previous card. While I need to know what my options are, the next step is to make a choice, and stick to it. To dedicate myself to one practice, a single focus.
Another thing that comes up with this card is the question of a God. I have long resisted having a male influence on my altar, other than the occasional angel. I felt no need for a male deity, and it was one thing which separated me from Gardnerian Wicca, as opposed to the Faery tradition as explained by Starhawk. However, that has actually changed in the last week! Perhaps I have achieved the balance I needed with the Goddess, or perhaps, as I want to do some Beltane fertility spell-working, I have realised that some male input wouldn't go amiss ;) Either way, the Horned One now has a place on my altar - a new love, as suggested by this card.
I also notice that this is the Two of Cups, rather than the Ten of Cups or the Lovers. This says something about this being a partnership on a day-to-day basis, that it requires regular tending, not just a single dedication, a single choice. Love takes work, the little everyday things like telling someone you love them, thinking about them and what would make them happy. So, I need to do something on a daily basis to express my dedication to the Goddess and God. It doesn’t have to be something big, just heartfelt and regular.
This card emphasises what came up in the last card. I need to man the barricades, to shore up my spiritual practice from the encroachment of all the emotions that arise in life. I need to build a strong base from which to follow my devotion, and tend it regularly, not allowing other things to swamp it.
There is a warning here, that it is feelings which may most threaten my spiritual focus. When I feel especially emotional it is harder to be calm, to meditate, to take time for a spiritual practice rather than focusing on whatever has led to my heightened emotional state. And yet it is precisely in those times that I most need a spiritual connection, a feeling of peace and hope. Making my spirituality a regular part of my life will help me weather any emotional storm, and so I must tend it daily, never giving in or giving up. A spiritual practice is not something which happens with a single ritual, but with regular mindfulness and devotion.
I hope some of you will try out this spread for any project you have in mind. I'd love to hear the results!
In the meantime, dear reader, please carry on round to Kareena Narwani's site for the next installment of this Beltane Blog Hop!