Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Beltane Blog Hop

Hello, and welcome to the 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.

Lighting the Fire - how can I get things started? - Seven of Swords

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

Jumping the Fire - what do I need to do to keep things moving? - Two of Cups

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.

Tending the Fire - what will help me keep this project going in the longer term? - Seven of Wands

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!


  1. An excellent insight Chloe!! *hugs*
    Good luck with the daily thing! And perhaps we can feature that spread on the next Tracker edition?? Always love your spreads and this one is great for sure :)

  2. Thanks, Louise, I've been doing quite well so far - meditated every day for two weeks now! Hope you'll try out the spread, it's always great to see how others get on with them :)

  3. Nice name for your spread. :D And this is an excellent spread. Well done!

  4. Ha, you won't see me forgetting to name my spread again for a while - I know you'll keep me on my toes ;) Off to check out everyone else's - weee!

  5. Emerging Visions visionary art 'zine #22


    In celebration of Earth, our Gifting Gaea has emerged.
    Share our Gift; Enjoy our Earth; Blessed Be

    Sense caressing meadow
    Green grain and brilliant petals
    Lovely buzzing, lively hopping
    Warm, yellow light at play
    Luscious wash of pleasure
    Fragrant, rolling, mellow
    Miles of flowering moments
    Celebrate today

    Imagine May Day

    Brazen witches fly, legends say,
    dark Moon nights; arise, stealthy, silent
    in their joyous revelry.
    Bonded to Earth's creation;
    learning at mother's breast
    to manage life's gifts and lessons.

    Historic Man may proclaim, may murder
    for fealty, to swear allegiance to
    their hunt's command.
    They may elevate their One True King
    to kneel and obey. They may employ
    counting measure, ceremony and sacrifice,
    taunting and torture or other trials
    thus finding for each loyal swan a pond
    to plunder, to parade in royal colour,
    their place of pride.

    Cruelty descends, more master than tactic;
    it is the enemy of joy, of flavor,
    bonding, works of love and honor.

    Yet men, on real ground, work companions
    to soil and rain, engineers trained to each
    moment's urgencies, philosophers of stone and mud,
    reason and toil, persist. Their sinew and bone feed
    the ages, build clay and richness on which
    wealth relies.

    Wisdom knows the sweat of practiced movement,
    flexible to unexpected obstacles, able to modulate
    quiet or loud as the crowd ebbs
    or grows in credulity.
    Where wisdom seeps through, counters
    prevailing poisons, invigorates blood to nourish
    minds and hearts, look there for blessing.

    Arise, lovers! Bring forth better days,
    ours to play in open revelry,
    neighbors enjoying shared labors and our fruit.
    Accept truth of magic; imagine life into this world.

    Beltane 2012

  6. What a fantastic post Chloe! I too have struggled with the God aspect on my alter and did find some peace with it when I was planning my Beltane ritual. You know I always get so much from your posts. *hugs*

  7. Chloe, thanks for such an amazing post!

  8. I love your take on the seven of Swords here. I too love beautiful things and I also love vibrant colours. Incorporating these passions into my spiritual path brings it to life in this world, in a way that's unique to me... it makes it more personal and meaningful to me :) And congratulations on your developing relationship with the Horned One! I've found his energy to be especially useful when trying to get something important moving. He's a great initiator of all sorts of things. If you have The Faery Oracle, take a look at the card called Himself :)

  9. Hi Krysten,
    Thanks, I get a lot from yours, too! Haven't yet posted about your Beltane general reading, but just cos I've been getting my head around it :) *hugs*

    Hi John,

    Thanks for the comment, really enjoyed your post on fire as spiritual connection with the divine, too :)

    Hi Sharon,

    Yes, you've expressed it perfectly: incorporating beautiful things, colours, textures, brings it to life! I shall keep in mind your comment about the Horned One as initiator, and dig out my Faery Oracle ;D

  10. Yes, being a Dianic witch, I also resonated with your question about the male god on your altar, and how you have a new understanding of the horned one. I noticed that you wrote "man the barricades." I've found that men sometimes come to us as partners in the heavy work of learning how to be better at not letting emotions overtake us. There's nothing wrong with that, of course, but as you imply, it can be unbalancing. Maleness: from within, from the Deity, or from our friends and teachers is a blessing. It doesn't mean we need the Great Rite.

    1. Hi Claire-Marie,

      Interesting point about men helping us learn to manage our emotions :) I'm not sure if they manage theirs, or more often supress them... Still, male energy, or should that be masculine energy, is definitely a good thing. I've often been accused of being too masculine, which might be why I didn't want the horned one on my altar til now, when I think I've found my femininity more. Hope you had a blessed Beltane )o(

  11. Glad to see that the Horned One has earned his place on your altar. And getting there on merit, rather than just because you felt you 'ought' to have him is so much more meaningful.

    Great spread positions too btw.

    Ali x

    1. Thanks, Ali. Glad you liked the spread, and you're right, he couldn't go on there "just because" :)