The Power of Tarot
The Herbal Tarot by Michael Tierra and Candis Candin provides a glimpse into the energetic properties of the plant world and reveals how plants act as correlates for aiding health of body, mind, and spirit. The format is similar to the traditional Rider-Waite version but I think the illustrations are especially insightful. They seem to focus on health and wholeness in how they communicate meaning, plus the colors and depictions of plant life are so beautiful!
I confess, my energy takes a dive in the Fall as the solar light diminishes in my northerly location of the country. So, I am really in the mood for a little herbal enlightenment. Maybe you are, too! Having relatively little knowledge of herbs, I found it fun and exciting to discover the uses, and limitations, of these well-known green things and how they can relate to the meaning of Tarot.
Of course, it is super important to use medicinal herbs only under the direction of a highly trained and licensed practitioner, but we won’t be swallowing any now, just partaking of their energetic properties, so relax. Let’s take a stroll through the garden together and see how plants can be matched up with the cards.
November 3 – Sunday
Queen of Swords
This queen is pictured with a giant pink “Lady’s Slipper” overarching her in the background. This herb is part of the orchid family and like the Queen of Swords, is aloof and rare. It is abundant in the late summer and was used by Native Americans as a tonic and tranquilizer. It is thought to be a tonic for insomnia.
In this depiction, the Queen of Swords is standing in a royal blue gown with one foot grounded on a large stone. Her sword is aloft signaling her critical intelligence. She is disliked for this frequently because she sees through superficialities into the truth of situations. She ultimately refers to her own counsel and does not ask permission for what she believes needs to happen. What message does she have for us today?
Where do I need to trust my perceptions and not be too swayed by the advice of others today?
November 4 – Monday
Eight of Cups
A departure is necessary. We are leaving something behind in order to reach for something better. Gravel Root is the herb for this card. It was traditionally used for breaking up hard conditions in the body, and to ease stiff joints. But, it must be used in small doses. It is radical and powerful in expelling toxins.
If a situation has become truly untenable, after attempts to correct it have failed, a departure can be necessary. The picture on this card depicts someone leaving the cups of their happiness on the shore and embarking on a journey by night. It is a somber card but one which speaks of grit and determination. It speaks of acceptance of what we are unable to change. The card’s message for us today:
What situation must I finally accept as unfixable, and move on?
November 5 – Tuesday
This fool is depicted near a cliff but his feet are both firmly on the ground. In contrast to the swaying posture of the fool in traditional decks, he sniffs a full blown red rose, but his head is level and he is aware of his surroundings. He is taking a risk, but is minimizing the chance for harm. He is reaching out for the unknown in a way that increases the chance that he will encounter good things because he journeys with the daylight of awareness.
His herb is Ginseng, a mind stimulant which was believed to increase clear thought. What is his message for us today?
How can I enter new territory with the right balance of openness and caution today?
November 6 – Wednesday
Eight of Wands
The Wands speak of ambition and desire. The card tells us that events will unfold swiftly whether we are prepared or not. This generally refers to career events, but it can mean growth of any kind, even the growth of children or a relationship. It can mean a strong upsurge of communications. This can work in our favor, or against it. If we don’t want too much, too soon, this will result in success!
The herb for this card is Sassafras. Although it has beneficial applications, it has been proven, also, to have a high degree of toxicity. Like growth that is too fast and unstable, it demonstrates that not all proliferation is sustainable and healthful. What is its message today for us?
Where might I be pushing ahead for more in my career or relationships, and actually be promoting toxicity in those matters, not healthy, stable growth?
November 7 – Thursday
Nine of Cups
Sometimes rationality won’t answer our questions, but intuition will. The seated figure on this card has the typical flushed cheeks from the wine of inspiration, but his level look and serene posture tell us he’s come back from his wild revel with nuggets of intuitive wisdom! His herb is Squaw vine. As a preparation for birth, it symbolizes that he is on the verge of a creative product and his revelry has strengthened his creative powers for that purpose. The red and blue that he wears symbolize the passion and creativity that takes place when the subconscious merges with physical vitality. He has this message for us today:
How can wildness and adventure serve my productivity today? Where can I find it and how can I channel it toward my greatest good?
November 8 – Friday
Seven of Coins
The patient figure hoeing his field is contemplatively watching his growing crop. The crop could be his career or an investment in a relationship. He tells us that cultivation is slow and steady. He tells us to show up and persevere. We are advised to cooperate with nature and universal timing. Flashy and showy moves, especially in romance, are not generally going to trigger the long term rewards we might be seeking.
We are warned against making rash decisions by this card’s herb, Rhubarb. It is a culinary herb with an extremely tart taste and outstanding nutritional properties. It must be eaten with caution because toxins from certain parts of the plant can be hazardous. It is slow growing. What can we glean from this?
When I am showy about my career or my relationships, who is it really for? How does it affect substance in those areas?
November 9 – Saturday
This card is about the evolution of the soul through the skillful mix of vital and spiritual energies. The woman on the card has the flush of physical health but steps mindfully into the blue pool of spirit and emotions. Her herb is Echinacea. This herb possesses a complex mix of active substances, similar to the mix of subtle energies the Temperance card is asking us to balance in our lives.
We are asked by this card to look for what there is too much of, or too little of, in our lives. Those things could be hindering our spiritual growth. The card’s message for us today:
What elements do I need to get where I want to go spiritually, and in what amount? Conversely, what is merely using up my time and energy?
Thanks for joining me this week! See you again.
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