Saturday, April 30, 2022

ALIGNING WITH FAIRY-WORLD ENERGIES ON THE EVE OF MAY

Tomorrow is May Day, which is rich in folk custom and lore, with roots in the old Celtic fire festival of Beltane and the Roman Floralia in celebration of the goddess of flowers.  This is a time when the energies of the Fairy World blossom forth at full strength, just as, in our northern climes, many flowers are blooming, and the trees are starting to leaf out.

In a previous Beltane post, (May 2013), I wrote about how this is a good occasion to consult fairy themed tarot and oracle decks to affirm and learn more about your relationship with the Fairy World.  Because I need to reaffirm my own connection to the Fairy World—something that’s easy to neglect when you work full time and also have family caretaker duties, though having age-related health issues yourself—I have brought out my “Fairy Ring” oracle, (which is designed by Anna Franklin and Paul Mason), and which features “Fairy Festival Cards” illustrating the eight ancient festivals of the Celtic year wheel.  Using a card search technique, (as opposed to shuffling and drawing cards at random), I will pose the question:

Please show me how I can connect with the Fairy World at this special time of the Year.

First, however, to connect with the seasonal entries, it’s best to step outside to take in what’s going on in Nature where one lives.  Having stepped outside on this morning in lower Michigan, I notice that daffodils and forsythia bushes with their yellow flowers are the prominent blooms, though periwinkles and violets are also to be seen.  The trees have not yet leafed out, though in previous years I have noticed that right after May Day they all seem suddenly to be in full foliage.  The buzzing of redwing blackbirds and the clacking of grackles define the sound environment, though robins, song sparrows, and Canada geese are also heard.  A baby rabbit darts into the copse behind my house.  It’s chilly this morning, but a warmup is expected.

Now, back to the card table:

I shuffle and cut my cards in the usual manner, while posing the question about connecting witthe Fairy World.  When I feel that I have shuffled enough, I turn the deck over so that I am viewing the picture side of the cards.  I then thumb my way through the deck until I come to the Beltane card, and then I pull that card, as well as the ones just before and after it.  The three-card spread that I get out of this does not offhand look auspicious for me, so it’s going to take some thought as to how to interpret this.  The cards are 1) the Phooka, 2) the Beltane card reversed, and 3) the Fairy Horse/Kelpie.

So, the first notable thing here is that the Beltane card is reversed, indicating that I’m not fully able to express and appreciate the celebrational energies of this season.  (OK, I can accept that, because recent surgeries have prevented me from getting out on long walks, as well as doing much-needed yard work; I genuinely enjoy yard work as a way of being in Nature.)  To amplify the Beltane magic, I could do something proactive, like go out and gather some blossoms.  Maybe I can find a watery ditch where the Marsh Marigold, (known as “the Flower of Beltane”) grows, and scramble down to collect a few petals for prosperity magic.

As the flanking cards are both edged with autumnal foliage, we see that those fairies are among those that the Fairy Ring assigns to “The Autumn Court.”  This could indicate being under the influence of issues and events dating from autumn, or issues relating to the autumn of life.

The Phooka card depicts a trickster fairy, best known for its shape-shifting abilities, so it could denote unexpected setbacks.  To turn this around into something positive, I’ll need to think about how I can utilize shape-shifting energies for personal regeneration, perhaps by observing the springtime Earth’s powers of metamorphosis.

The Fairy Horse, also known as the Kelpie, is also a shapeshifting trickster, (and sometimes the Phooka takes the shape of a horse), so this doubles the shapeshifting trickster implications of this reading.  Note that the reversed side of this card features the darker, more dangerous aspect of the horse, but as my card was upright, it would indicate that I won’t be seeing the worst side of him.  Also, Anna Franklin’s own divinatory meaning for this card is positive, suggesting that “He is the harbinger of good health, vitality, energy, and innovation.”  So that is energizing—even if a wild ride that brings its own set of challenges.  

Well, that’s my own Beltane reading, but I present it here to illustrate how you can utilize the card-search technique when you have an oracle deck that features different festivals or seasons.  Obviously, this same technique applies to the seven other Fairy Festival cards.  In this way, the Fairy Ring Oracle is useful in helping you align yourself with the Fairy World as it manifests in the cycle of the seasons.

Monday, January 3, 2022

CONTINUED TOUR OF THE HOUSE OF 2022

Having walked through the downstairs chambers of the dollhouse symbolizing the magical, metaphorical House of 2022, we now head upstairs.

But before going farther, I want to emphasize that because the Tarot works holographically, in a New Year’s reading to look into my house or your house, issues that affect you or me will be reflected in our larger society—and vice versa.  That’s why I say the divination done here is a way of looking at what is in store for myself, but also in relation to what’s we might expect for the world at large in 2022.  (By the way, if your birthday is January 1st, any New Year’s forecast will be especially relevant to your year ahead.)

For the upstairs hallway, which pertains to how well one moves through the different compartments of one’s life, (and therefore how well the different areas of one’s life are integrated), I pulled the reversed Herald of Autumn (i.e. Page of Pentacles).  Because this tarot personality is focused on the needs of everyday life, the reversed card may indicate some setbacks in getting around to attend to different needs.  At this point, it should be obvious that a number of the cards that have been drawn can predictably relate to the inconveniences of the ongoing COVID situation, as it surges, subsides, and surges again.

Stepping into the master bedroom, the card drawn is the Two of Autumn, (Two of Pentacles), reversed.  For people in intimate relationships, the card symbolism associated with the bedroom can apply to the quality of the relationship, while for solitary persons, it may have more to do with their ability to rest and regenerate.  In either case, this is not an auspicious card for the bedroom, because it depicts the challenges of balancing one’s own material needs with the needs of others.  The balance is even more difficult as portrayed in the Victorian Fairy Tarot, where an elderly fairy rides a unicycle as he attempts to clutch a bunch of hazel nuts.  Here, the reversed card additionally suggests the graphic image of falling off the unicycle.

The next room is the bathroom, which relates to health and body issues, as well as purification.  The card that came up for this room is the Ten of Summer, (Ten of Cups), which denotes the well-being we enjoy through family and community relationships.  This particular card portrays fairies enjoying themselves as they swim and play in a pool by a waterfall.  (Note the parallelism between the Ten of Summer and the Ten of Autumn, which both portray happy community scenes.)  As this card is very auspicious for health and happiness,  I wonder if this could foretell the end of the pandemic, or maybe we’re all just more health conscious as a result of it.  If aligned with a timeline, this card position relates to Lammas, (the cross-quarter day which falls in August), and this is significant for me personally, because that’s when I plan to retire, so that I can start rebuilding my health (as well as my writing career).

 The final room is the nursery.  If you have children, cards in this position can relate to their concerns.  (Due to the fact that many of us live with other people, we do have to expect that their issues are going to be encountered in certain rooms of the house.)  Otherwise, this can relate to issues concerning your Inner Child, as well as your capacity for creativity and generativity.  The card that came up for this room is the Empress reversed, which is quite striking, because this VFT deck portrays the Empress as a fairy queen surrounded by four children of different ages, who are pulling on her skirts.  I don’t offhand recall any other tarot decks that show the Empress with children, though she is often portrayed as pregnant to emphasize her own qualities of creativity and generativity.  However, because the card is reversed, it could warn of challenges in parents’ relationship with children, (possibly due to the social isolation of the pandemic).  Otherwise, it could pertain to challenges in creative work.  To turn this around to stimulate creative vision and inspiration for the year 2022, we might try reconnecting with the things that gave us joy when we were very young, as these have the power to generate new vitality in older age.

Although that completes the house tour, there was one more card.  While I was shuffling, the Temperance card almost fell out of the deck, and then when I had pulled the eight cards for the rooms, Temperance was the next card in line in the deck order.  The illustration for this card shows a fairy in green, who drips droplets from a green leaf into a green elixir in a golden goblet.  As Temperance is about living in balance and often pertains to health issues, I think this sums up much of the advice offered in this overall reading.


Sunday, January 2, 2022

MOVING ENERGY IN THE HOUSE OF 2022

Yesterday’s post described using the Dollhouse Oracle to get a tour of the House of 2022, by seeing who’s coming in the front door.  Today I continue moving through the rest of the rooms downstairs.

So, after greeting the King of Summer in the entry way, (King of Cups in a conventional deck), we move to the parlor.  The card pulled for this room was the Five of Spring.  This would be the Five of Wands in a conventional deck, which usually portrays a group of five men in a melée with quarterstaffs, and in this room of the dollhouse denotes the moving energy that forces changes in lifestyle.  In the Victorian Fairy Tarot, the image is more festive, portraying five old male fairies dressed as Morris dancers, with circlets of bells tied to their knees; they are wielding sticks as they perform a “Sticks and Bells” form of this traditional folk dance, where the dancers tap their staves against each other in rhythm as they perform a circular dance.

When performing the Dollhouse Oracle, one should think about how the card imagery interacts with the room imagery.  In this case, the card’s energy is chaotic, because stomping around in this Victorian parlor, (with all of its cluttered furniture and fragile ornaments, including a tea set on a little table), could result in broken china.  Thus, this card could also warn of incautious celebration, in the same way that the King of Cups can denote excess.


We proceed into the dining room, where we have the Five of Summer, (i.e. Five of Cups), whose card image depicts a girl’s sandcastle being assaulted by the waves of an incoming tide.  As sand and wave activity are incongruous images for a dining room, we see how the disruptive energy of the Fives also flows through this area of life.  However, the card is reversed, so changes may not be experienced as intensely by myself and by the general population—though they can still be a cause for anxiety.  Because the dining room can denote our linking to tradition, (as dining rooms are often reserved for formal occasions), our anxieties might relate to changes in our customary way of doing things).  Because of the recent COVID resurgence, I should say continued changes in our way of doing things.

By contrast, the next card, for the kitchen, is very auspicious for stability, prosperity, and tradition, because it is the Ten of Autumn, (Ten of Pentacles), which can pertain to values passed down through families and traditions.  The card depicts a multigenerational fairy family feast, so the graphic imagery of the card is very congruous with the graphic imagery of the kitchen.  In fact, the room in the foreground is either a kitchen or dining room with a fireplace where some of the group are eating at a table, and we also see into the room behind it, where more are at another table, while a door in that wall is open to show additional family or friends arriving.  In addition to foretelling the plenitude we like to see in kitchen imagery, it may denote our ability to reconnect with a greater number of family and friends.

By the way, if we also want to associate the rooms of the house to the festival year, the living room would relate to Candlemas (February 2nd), the dining room to Spring Equinox (about March 20th in 2022), and the kitchen to Beltane/May Day (May 1st).

Well, I will close here, but will continue with a tour of the upstairs of the house in my next post.

Saturday, January 1, 2022

OPENING THE DOOR TO THE MAGICAL HOUSE OF 2022

To start the new year auspiciously, I have once again consulted the Dollhouse Oracle.  Using the cardboard three-dimensional pop-out Victorian Doll House and the Victorian Fairy Tarot deck, which works very well with the design of the dollhouse, I posed the question, “Please show me what’s new in the House of 2022.”  (Note, the Victorian Fairy deck is the creation of Lunea Weatherstone and Gary A. Lippincott, and the Victorian Doll House is designed by Willabel L. Tong and illustrated by Phil Wilson.)

Although the Dollhouse Oracle can be performed at any time to take a fanciful walk through the metaphorical House of Your Life, I was thinking about the occasions one can perform the Dollhouse Oracle as a way of looking into the year ahead--as, due to different cultures’ having different dates for the start of the year, there are multiple times within a year to celebrate new beginnings.  As the ancient Celtic New Year began on Halloween, (Samhain), last Halloween, I entertained friends with another dollhouse popout, known as “The Witches’ Scary House,” (by Ib Bellew, Mick Wells, Ian Honeybone, and John Lupton).  The idea is to confront the things that can scare you in the year ahead.  Though meant for the strong of mind and spirit, it is done in a light-hearted way—as a way of taming your fears by better preparing for them.

Because in astrology, your birthday is your solar return, (when your sun returns to the degree it was in on the day you were born), your birthday is your personal astrological New Year, so a good occasion to do a divination for the year ahead of you.  Therefore, I’m thinking to do the oracle on my birthday as a way of looking at my very personal issues as they manifest throughout the year, but doing the New Years’ Day divination as a way of looking at what is in store for myself in relation to what’s going on in the world at large in 2022.

So, after shuffling and cutting the cards, the first card goes into the first room, which is the entry hall.  This position relates to your linking to the outside world, as well as what is entering your life.  In this way, it pertains to who or what is coming in, as well as to your ability to go out and about.  In this case, I got the “The King of Summer,” which in this fairy deck corresponds to the King of Cups.  This card traditionally denotes a gentleman who is jovial and presides over celebrations, but can also be given to excess.  This suggests that despite the current rise in COVID cases, we may all soon have something to go out and celebrate, (though there is also the potential of overdoing it, as some of us may get careless when we are finally able to get back out into the world again).  It is also significant that the first card is a King, as kings denote being in charge, and they can also denote the appearance of people who have the power to help us.

The King of Cups/ King of Summer in this front entry position also made me think about the old New Year’s tradition of first-footing, as well as various New Years’ traditions of opening the door to let in the New Year.

I think that opening the door first thing in the morning on any day is a deeply meaningful spiritual practice, as well as a magical act.   However, in many countries, there is a tradition of opening the front door to welcome the New Year.  (Some also open the back door to let out the Old Year). 

First-footing is a tradition which was especially prevalent in Scotland, though variations of the practice are known in other parts of Europe.  The belief was that the first person, (other than household members and other persons already present), to enter your house after the hour of midnight on the new year should be someone auspicious, because the nature of the person would determine the nature of your luck for the year ahead.  Many people made it a practice of arranging with a luck-bringing person in advance.  Due to cultural prejudice, this should always be a man.  This person should also bring a symbolic gift symbolizing prosperity, such as a coin or a loaf of bread, as it would be inauspicious to come empty-handed.  Certainly the King of Cups is one of the more auspicious tarot characters to come through your door.  Interestingly, because in this deck he is called the King of Summer, this could denote more summer-like conditions coming for what (at least in my state of Michigan) has been a particularly chilly winter.  However, I do recall a year when it got so warm, that I was gardening in shirt-sleeves in February.  Otherwise, it may be a metaphorical summer, as in a time of warmth and pleasure.

When a tarot card portraying an archetypal character appears in the entry of the Dollhouse Oracle, it is good to make a suitable greeting.  Here, I could say, “I welcome the King of the Year into the House of My Life.  May it be a bright year, a bold year, a golden year, a year of magic!”  (This last line I’ve adapted from my “Candle Spell to Welcome the New Year” in my book “By Candlelight: Rights for Celebration, Blessing, and Prayer.”)

Another thing: the King of Summer in this position suggests the archetypal battle between the Summer King and the Winter King, which relates to Celtic legend, and is enacted in European folk festival pageants, where the avatar of Winter is defeated by the avatar of Summer at the time of winter solstice, when the year wheel turns and the days begin to lengthen.  The Summer King then reigns until the summer solstice, when he, in turn, is defeated, and the days begin to shorten.  If we associate the eight cards in the eight rooms of the house to the quarter and cross-quarter days of the folk calendar, the entryway would link to the winter solstice, because, (before various historical calendar adjustments), the winter solstice used to fall on January 1st.

Now, as I am pressed for time, I shall continue the tour of the House of 2022 in an upcoming post.