Today and Tomorrow are Six of Cups Days

With the sun in Leo (play and self-image) and the moon in Scorpio (catharisis and assimilation), today and tomorrow are Six of Cups days.

Kabbalistically, all the tarot sixes are asociated with Tiferet – the place of the Christ – the sacrificed god.

Because Cups signify emotions (both positive and negative),  I’m reminded of Jesus’ message – ‘suffer the little children unto me’ for ‘theirs’ is the Kingdom of Heaven’.

These are powerful words and you don’t need to be Christian to understand them.   Instead, just watch some kids at play.

Isn’t it amazing how free and easy they are?  How is it that they can be mortal enemies one minute and the next, best friends?

This child-like ability to give and take freely (without the resentments and fears which as adults, we harbor and accumulate) is what today’s and tomorrow’s energy is about.   In other words, today and tomorrow you have a unique opportunity to look back at your past and understand how you can use it as the foundation for the future that you’ve dreamed about.

But as with all the sixes – no pain, no gain.  By definition, sacrifice requires giving up something in which you have a vested interest and you’ll be surprised to discover how much you still have invested in the past (happy and sad).

If you can come to grips with this, so much the better.  So start working on it today and tomorrow!

Today & Tomorrow are Two of Wands Day/ if you want your reward take action now

With the sun in Gemini (ideas) and the moon in Aries (courage & action), today and tomorrow are Two of Wands Days.

The Two of Wands carries with it a sense of impatience and urgency.  This card is often referred to as The Lord of Balance.  But the balance today is anything but comfortable.  Today’s energy suggests you believe you’ve done your spadework and are now waiting for your reward.

So why hasn’t it arrived?

Because you don’t trust your intuition as much as you think.  Hence you wait instead of taking action.

Like all other Two’s of the Minor Arcana, the Two of Wands polarises the raw energy of the Ace, which has already coalesced into something new (be it an aim, an idea, a goal, or a creative project) into action.    But recall, the energy of Two of Wands is one of  balance.  Nothing will move forward until you tip that balance.

On a Two of Wands day it’s imperative you seize the bull by the horns and progress that something to the next stage.

If you fail to take action now, your reward may never come.

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Note that with Mercury, Venus, and Mars all in Taurus – fixed earth – it’s much harder to take that action then at other times when Aries and Gemini combine.  Aries is fire, Gemini is air – when hot air combines with earth you end up with scorched (not fertile) soil.

Resurrection leads to Judgement and from there to ….?

Easter is an excellent time to consider that the doctrine of the resurrection leads straight to that of judgement, which like Karma, leads to the moment  when the ‘rewards’ for your past efforts appear.

Sounds scary, I admit.   But the wisdom of the Tarot suggests that for those who’ve met certain preconditions, judgement is a time of transformation, healing, and – at long last – becoming whole.

So what are those preconditions?  The symbolism on the card makes them clear.

The three persons who are being resurrected from the square grave embody the trinity (divinity), which is now freed from the quarternity (the earthly world).  This suggests that what is authentic, essential, and divine in you is liberated but only to the extent you have been true to yourself.

Through its cross sum, Judgement (XX) connects to The High Priestess (II), to which the cross sum of Strength (XI) also leads.  This link makes clear that commitment and a will to life (Strength) are preconditions of the redemption and healing of Judgment, which comes not from your actions but from the mercy  dispensed by the High Priestess if – and only if –  you’ve allowed yourself to be guided by a higher power than your own.

Today is a Hanged Man Day

With the sun in Aries  (initiation) and the Moon in Libra (completion), today is a Hanged Man day.

The Hanged Man aways leaves a lasting impression.  When holding the card for the first time, you can’t decide if it’s rightside up or upside down.  This is both the problem and the solution with this uniquely uncomfortable energy.

In the Middle Ages, the punishment for traitors was to be hung, like our Hanged Man, by the foot with the head down.   Even today, with this card we sense treachery afoot.

From the symbolism of this card, you can easily see where the problem lies.  The Hanged Man forms a cross with his legs, while his arms are in the position of a triangle.

Like the square, the cross stands for the number 4, which is the number of material order.  We have the 4 directions (East, South, West, and North).  We have four phases of the moon (crescent, waxing, full, and waning).  We have four cardinal (or turning) points to our year (vernal and autumnal equinoxes and the two solstices – summer and winter).   Four stands for what is real and essential here in the earthly realm.

Conversely, the number 3 symbolizes the divine.  Many have tried to explain the unfolding One into the multiplicity by reference to the number 3.   Lao-tzu says: “the Tao produces unity, unity produces, duality produces trinity, and the triad produces all things.”  In Hinduism the great triad appears in the form of Braham the creator, Shiva the destroyer, and Vishnu, the sustainer.  And of course in the Christian concept of Trinity, we have the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

Composed of both 4 and  3, the Hanged Man represents the upside-down world in which the divine is below while the earthly realm is above.   In other words, that which is truly ‘real’ is buried the ‘reality’ of everyday life.  No wonder we feel so stuck in our increasingly secular lives.

Even worse, by multiplying 4 by 3, we come to 12 – which symbolizes the closed circle – an impasse of the most pressing kind.   However will we find the energy needed to break free of the rut?

Yet when we turn 12 around, we reach the number 21.  In the tarot, 21 represents the end of our journey – The World or Paradise Regained.  But we only reach 21 if, when stuck at 12, we turn ourselves around.

The Hanged Man represents the multitude of life’s crises that invite us to do just that.  A crisis is always a turning point.   Yet even then it remains our choice whether we accept the challenge.

On a Hanged Man day, you are forced to pause, so as to consider the direction your life is taking.

Rather than betray your self yet again, you might take heed of the words of the psychologist, CG Jung –

“We cannot live the afternoon of life according to the programme of life’s morning.  For what in the morning was true will at evening have become a lie.”

Virgo Sun and Pisces Moon – it’s a Five of Cups day – UGGGHH!

With the sun in Virgo (critical and self-conscious) and the moon in Pisces (penitence and forgiveness) today and tomorrow are Five of Cups days.[1]

If Leo, where the sun has resided for the past month, is the sign of superiority, then Virgo where it’s residing now is the sign of inferiority.  While sunny, warm Leo appreciates – cold, critical Virgo depreciates.  Because the sun is still creeping through the first few degrees of Virgo, the shift in energy we’re feeling is from ‘what I do right’ to ‘what I do wrong.’

But with Virgo, it doesn’t stop there.  Virgo is the efficient, effective problem-solver who, like the great Belgian detective Hercule Poiret never misses a trick.  Virgo does however often miss the forest for the trees, and when her blunder is uncovered, she berates herself mercilessly for having done so.

On the other hand Pisces never misses the forest for the trees even if she does miss a few tricks.   And she’s doesn’t berate herself for it either – instead she slips into an abyss of guilt.

On a divinatory level, the Five of Cups implies regret over past actions.  Something has gone wrong  – we feel betrayed and abandoned by one whom we thought we could trust.  Even worse, at some level we know we ourselves have played some part.  Our first impulse is that of Virgo, to hang our head in shame and slink away in silence into the night.

And certainly if we’re feeling critical and self conscious that appears the perfect solution – perhaps the only solution – until by chance (or design) we turn to take one last look and discover that although three cups have fallen, their blood red wine seeping untasted into the thirsty ground, two full cups remain.   Sceptical, critical Virgo would likely wrinkle her nose up in distaste and walk away.  She’s discriminating enough to know that whatever is left behind couldn’t be half as good as what she’s lost.

But what would Pisces – the poet, dreamer, and artist – do?

The byword of Pisces is compassion.  The job of Pisces is to see the bigger picture; the forest is made up of individual trees.  However bad she’s feeling, in her heart Pisces knows it’s only through compassion – for her and for those who have hurt her – that she can transcend guilt and find forgiveness and with that comes well-deserved peace and rest.  Yet however sensible this sounds, it isn’t as easy as it might seem.

All languages deriving from Latin form the word ‘compassion’ by combining ‘with’ (com) and the Latin word for ‘suffering’ (passio).   So compassion literally means ‘with passion’.   We are not meant to stand by passively and witness suffering, we are meant to participate passionately in some way.

But another word with approximately the same meaning is ‘pity’ (French, pitié; Italian, pieta), which implies condescension toward the one who is suffering.  ‘To take pity on” a someone suggests we are better off than he or she and boy, do we know it.

So although when we witness suffering we not only passionately participate –we also experience highhandedness – a Virgoan criticality – a tone that makes the skin of the person who is suffering creep.

Yet in languages not deriving from Latin, for example Czech, German, and Swedish – the word compassion is translated by a noun formed of an equivalent prefix of com with a word that means ‘feeling’ (sou-cit, Mit-gefühl, med-känsla).

Here there is little suggestion of our Latin highhandedness.   Instead the word-equivalent of “compassion” takes on a tone of equality.  Instead of pitying another – we enter into their suffering – we share their pain.  To do this, we must develop our capacity for imagination.  The art of emotional telepathy requires us to move past the individual trees to the forest of suffering of all mankind.

In English, we have a saying – “A burden shared is a burden halved.”

And on a Five of Cups day, this is precisely what we’re meant to remember.  It’s the Virgoan energy that makes us self-critical.  But it’s the Piscean energy that allows us to move past that and heal.

Today and tomorrow, don’t just turn your back on those three empty cups.  True, they are gone forever.  But if you can practice emotional telepathy on yourself – you just might pluck up the courage to look inside the two cups that remain.


[1] For astrology buffs, the Moon in Pisces at the time I’m writing this is conjunct Chiron/Neptune in the 6th house opposite the Sun in Virgo the 12th.   To my mind, this is an apt portrait of the draining self-pity- and potentially healing – energy that I’m addressing in this blog.   25 August 2010, 7:34 AM, Oxford, UK. (BST).

It’s a King of Wands Day – take the challenge and rise above yourself to be a leader of men

With the sun in Leo (leadership) and the moon in Sagittarius (adventurous philanthropic pursuits), today is a King of Wands day.

In the King of Wands, we meet first-hand astrological fire symbolising the human imagination in its most dynamic aspect.  Ever wondered why we ‘dream’ by the fireside and ‘light a candle’ to ‘show the way’?  It’s because fire speaks in a primitive language we desire desperately, to understand.

However when dealing with fire, there are two key points to keep in mind; (1) by its nature fire transforms and consumes and (2) unless controlled, fire is deadly destructive.

For insight into the energy of a King of Wands day consider the adventures of the mythic hero King Theseus of Athens, who was at the same time brave, inspirational, and downright mean.

After single-handedly slaying the monstrous Minotaur, Theseus abandoned Ariadne, the woman he loved and who’d helped him, and went on to change the course of history with the sheer power of his ideas.

Three cheers for Theseus, we’re tempted to say.

However it takes a certain single-minded selfishness to be a successful King of Wands, which if left unchecked can bring disastrous results.  Such was the fate of Theseus.

After years of chasing dreams, King Theseus eventually married Phaedra, a Cretan princess who tragically fell in love with his son, Hippolytus, whom Theseus had fathered on another.  When Hippolytus rejected his stepmother’s advances, Phaedra convinced Theseus that he’d raped her.  Infuriated, Theseus cursed Hippolytus, which resulted in Hippolytus’ gruesome, untimely death.  After Phaedra committed suicide, Theseus was so saddened by the mess that he’d created that he could see no option but throwing himself off a high rock into the sea.

The trick to getting the best of a King of Wands day is to avoid racing impulsively about to selfishly further our own ends, as did Theseus.  Instead we might summon our innate nobility and rise above ourselves to inspire others (as well as ourselves) to strive for ever higher ground.

Lying at the very heart of our being, fire gives meaning to our lives.  It points us toward new and exciting experiences that will make us into all we potentially can be.  But as the King of Wands discovered, it’s one thing to strive towards greatness and quite another to chase after our own tail.  Once we’ve discerned the difference, we can confidently go forward and give our all to life.

It’s a Two of Swords Day – time for a ‘sick headache’

With the sun in Leo (creative self-expression) and the moon in Libra (balance and compromise), today is a Two of Swords day.

On a divinatory level, the Two of Swords implies a tense state where we’ve closed our eyes to life’s problems rather than trying to sort them out.

Interestingly, the information and motivation needed to succeed are already in place.  So the problem lies not with preparation, but with implementation.

For the Kabbalist, today’s energy relates to the 2nd sepira, Chockmah, where we find the male energy in its dynamic aspect – constructive, stimulating, and evolutionary – the driving force behind much needed change.

All change starts with a conflict in need of resolution – hence the present state of tension.

Yet however much the moon in Libra would like to push ahead, it simply can’t.   Libra is an air sign, not an earth sign, and therefore is not directly involved with the material world.  They swim with the tide – not against it.   Taking a stand against anyone or anything is more than they can possibly manage.  Perceiving these inadequacies, the moon in Libra retreats into the realm of ideas and does battle not with the world at large, but with its own inner demons.

The sun in Leo suffers much the same fate, albeit for different reasons.  Like Libra, Leo’s weak spot lies with its interaction with the material world; it’s the nature of Leo bask in the limelight of his fiery personality rather than to do anyone’s dirty work including his own.  But haughty as he may seem, Leo is all too aware of his shortcomings.  His ego dented, Leo retreats into sulky solitude.

So on a Two of Swords day, although action is what’s called for, the impetus required to affect it is lacking.    This sad state of affairs creates more and tension until we reach the point where we can do nothing more than go to bed with a sick headache.

The best that can be said for a Two of Swords day is that in a day or two the energy will change and with some fresh air we can  get moving again.