Saturday, 10 July 2010

Tarot Reversals

Students of tarot often wonder how to handle reversed cards. Sometimes even advanced readers dance around reversals, trying to settle on a system that applies across the board. One of those includes the idea that a reversed card means a reversed meaning. Some readers go through their reading process without ever making more of reversed cards and that is also absolutely fine. The reversal can be ignored, or we can read meaning into it if we want to. I generally find, however, that, if I need to take notice of something within my divination practice, it finds a way to let me know. It might show itself in a repeated way or it might stand out in some sort of unusual way. And that is the reason for this particular piece of writing.

For quite some time now I have read reversed cards based on my frame of mind at the time of the reading. In other words I have read them intuitively. That seems to have worked ok and I see no particular reason to deviate from that general approach, since intuition in a reading seems to have served its purpose well over the years. However, I did notice a certain pattern in the cards just recently, which stood out and made me stop and think. It was in the context of being aware of changes in another divination system, which is astrology. I have always thought that these two systems held equal value and so I learnt about them hand in hand. This seems to have been helpful in unexpected ways because, for example, when I find it hard to find a reliable answer on timing through the tarot, I can turn to astrology instead. Similarly, when I cannot see an obvious answer to my current question in the birth chart, the tarot will often give me a clearer clue. Interestingly, the observation that I made seems to relate to something that ties astrology and tarot together, although I have not noticed it mentioned much elsewhere. This is that there is a way in which planets seem to “reverse” in the skies, at certain times, just as there are moments when tarot cards appear reversed. Notably, these two phenomena are based on appearances only, but as readers of symbols we can ascribe significance to those appearances.

In astrology we call this apparent change of direction by the planets as “retrograde motion”, which simply means that some planets sometimes look to be moving in a backward path, compared with the direction of the other planets in the sky. There are specific meanings given to planets “in retrograde” and I have spoken about some of the ideas and events associated with them before in this blog (see under Mercury Retrograde, Mars Retrograde etc). Moving on to when we turn up cards from the tarot deck that appear to be reversed, we can also assign specific meanings to this phenomenon and tarotists who do see tarot reversals as significant may have all sorts of ideas about what those reversals can mean. One of my favourite sources on this subject is Mary Greer’s book aptly named The Complete Book of Tarot Reversals. As you might guess from the title, Mary looks at every single card in the deck, including the Court cards, so it is a really helpful source. But I want to look at this phenomenon of reversed tarot cards for a moment in another context, because I have noticed that a lot more cards have turned up in their reversed positions, whilst Mercury was last in retrograde motion earlier this year (from April 18 to May 11 2010, in the zodiac sign of Taurus). Mercury is the communications planet in astrology, so I suppose it makes sense that tarot cards, as “messengers” might appear upside down. The question here, I think, is, do they then especially carry reversed messages? I think the answer is that yes, they do – and possibly more.

A clue as to the “what and why” of this can be found through a comparison with retrograde planets in astrology. Frequently, when planets are retrograde, we end up going over things again, either at the time of the retrograde path or soon after it. We end up reviewing matters or revisiting ideas, places and people. Sometimes the world itself seems turned upside down, or at least our own little world may do. Nothing seems to work the way we expect it to. Other people don’t respond the way we think they will. Everything is confusing! In a specific sense this is like the normal appearance of card XII The Hanged Man, in the Major Arcana, which is an image of someone permanently upside down! But in broader terms, across the deck, I think that reversed tarot cards often show these various themes, too: confusion, things being the opposite of what we expect, feeling the need to look again at everything – and so on. It probably doesn’t matter if the cards happen to show up that way when planets are also apparently reversing (so you don’t actually need to know any astrology to make any sense of this, if you are a tarot reader!). What does matter is that there is some sort of linkage of ideas here. The clue, just as with understanding what retrograde planets are about, is really simple – it is to have a think about any words that begin with the prefix “Re”. Because those words will often tell you what the problem is. As a verb prefix in the English language, “Re” simply means “again” or “back”. So, to review is to look over again and to return is to turn back, to revisit is to visit again, to reinforce is to enforce something again – and so it goes on.

Here is a recent example of what I mean, when it comes to tarot reversals.

You may not be too surprised to hear that I have received a lot of questions about work and money, during the current recession (another “re” word!). The Two of Wands, from the Minor Arcana, turned up reversed in a reading for someone who was finding they could not move ahead in the same old way in their world of work. The main issue was that they had to realise that they no longer had the energy and passion for the work that they were doing. They were feeling burnt out and exhausted in that area. So the key here was a need to recharge and review the situation. Confusingly, they had ended up demoted into a role that they felt was beneath them. It was like they were forced to revert to something from the past. To me, this card was showing that the brakes were on, but for a good reason. This person could not just go on as they had done. They had to stop and reconsider everything achieved so far and look at what was now going to work for the future, too. Could it be that they would become resigned to this situation or that they could see some new way of moving forward? Surrounding cards, which were upright, gave clues as to a new approach that would help for the future. However, the one reversed card, the Two of Wands, spoke reams about the problem and the need for action of a certain kind.

It has taken me a long time to feel really comfortable working with reversed cards. Generally, I have done my best to interpret them. Sometimes I have noted them whilst feeling that I did not fully understand, in that moment, what they were trying to show. More recently I have increasingly felt that the reversals are truly there for a reason and have felt their message was clearer. Have you had any memorable experiences with reversed tarot cards in your readings, I wonder? If so why not share about them. If not, I wish you some meaningful – and hopefully useful and helpful – experiences in the future!

Celestially Yours...


Thursday, 13 May 2010

Backward and Forward with Mercury Retrograde in Taurus

Yet again, I feel awestruck at the difficulties that seem to show up when Mercury, the planet of thought, decisions, communication and mobility moves in retrograde motion. This past spate has involved Mercury moving through the sign of Taurus and that means that anyone with planets in that sign may have had a particularly difficult time in the past few weeks. But I think this will have applied, also, to people with planets in the other “Fixed” signs of the zodiac – that is, Scorpio (Taurus’s direct opposite partner), Leo and Aquarius. We can picture these four planets as two sets of opposing pairs in a simple cross formation. So if you imagine Taurus at the top, then Scorpio is at the bottom, Leo is on the right hand side of the cross and Aquarius is on the left.

How will things have panned out under this latest apparent backward path of Mercury? Well, the UK election tells the bigger story. It will be no surprise to any astrologer that we ended up with a hung parliament. An opposition in the skies at this time, also, between crusty old Saturn and zingy, liberating Uranus shows the match of the two parties in the coalition government – old school, traditional Conservatives with reforming, modernistic Liberals. As my astro pal Helen often says “you couldn’t make it up!”. In my own life it coincided with a number of difficult episodes, including an accident when crossing the road – fortunately I wasn’t hit by a vehicle, but I did end up with very bruised ribs and a swollen hand, after colliding with the pavement head on! It certain put paid to my ability for a while and about 5 people who heard about the accident told me, in no uncertain terms, it was a signal to “slow down” (how very Taurus-like!).

Thankfully the planet went forward again just over the past few days, so I do think that many people will be starting to feel some sense of relief or recovery and will be finding a way forward with recently difficult issues. If you are still struggling, then look forward to the end of this month because, around 28th May 2010, the planet once again reaches the degree it was at when it started to “retrograde”. So that should mark a real move forward with any sticky issues.

A note on the relevance of this particular Mercury retrograde period, when the sign involved was Taurus: this sign is traditionally ruled by Venus – a planet which emphasises harmony and co-operation. On the more personal level, maybe you’ve been experiencing this in your relationships? Or possibly when it comes to dealing with finances, property and other such Earthly matters, given that Taurus is an Earth sign. Which suggests I should end this post by quoting a George Harrison song title “Give me love (give me peace on earth)”. You can listen to it at the following Last.fm link if you like: http://www.last.fm/music/George+Harrison/_/Give+Me+Love+%28Give+Me+Peace+on+Earth%29

Celestial Blessings!

Celestia at Mindbliss

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Peak of Eternal Light (and Other Moon Stories)

Just at the moment I find myself attracted to stories about the moon.  News and discoveries in the past 5 years emphasise solar light on the moon and water on the moon.  From a scientific and astronomical point of view, the significance of these finds relates primarily to the desire to find a moon base - a human outpost on the moon.  From an astrological point of view we are interested in the symbolism of celestial and cosmologial phenomena - in what these developments can signify for us in terms of human understanding.  On that basis, if we are looking for a moon base, maybe the human search is really about an emotional base.  If there is one area of human existence that we have to navigate every single day of our lives, it is the emotional area.  Nobody knows for certain how our moods appear and why feelings are triggered as they are.  A lot of this goes on unconsciously or subconsciously.  We do know quite a lot about specific ways that our feelings are affected.  But trying to keep them on an even keel, that is a huge human challenge!

The stories contained at the sites below, which relate to the Peak of Eternal Light (a permanent sun on a lunar mountain) and the discovery of water on the moon seem to speak of something deeper, something even more signfiicant - perhaps because those terms speak to us in a metaphorical way.  Their message may touch us in various individual ways, depending on what is happening at the personal level, right now.  For example, for anyone who has lost someone through bereavement, the idea of a permanent place of light could be quite appealing.  Could that place be where our loved ones reside, in spirit form?  Carrying this idea across, maybe the water on the moon could symbolise the residue of all the tears that show or don't show themselves, depending on how far we are able to contact our own feelings - because people are often afraid of feelings and try to submerge and avoid them in various ways.  For people who are swamped with feelings and for those who feel unable to cry, even if crying might seem the most appropriate action, maybe the moon can be a comfort.  Who knows where all those tears go?  Do the cried ones evaporate back into the atmosphere?  What happens to the uncried tears?

In astrological symbolism the moon relates to the mother and nurturing.  Perhaps a glance at the moon can remind us that we are cared about, deep within the heart of the cosmos.  Maybe, in some strange way, the moon helps to take care of our tears, even if only allowing the light and conditions under which we can make contact with them and thereby confirm the fullness of our humanity. There may be many other meanings that feel relevant here.  I hope you will enjoy reading the stories that the links below lead to and that you can decide what the light and water on the moon mean for you.

Lunar Mountain has Eternal Light

Permanent Sun on the Moon (scroll down to paragraph 14)

Discovery of Water on Moon Boosts Prospects for Permanent Lunar Base

Celestial blessings,


Sunday, 28 February 2010

Mars Retrograde

Every time that Mars is retrograde - which is every couple of years or so - I am reminded how difficult I find Mars retrograde periods! Have you been noticing just how long our winter feels in the UK? Who hasn't! Well, it feels about right for Mars in apparent backward motion (another way to say that a planet is retrograde). To be exact, the start of the latest big event of this nature was 20th December 2009 - right around the Winter Solstice, in fact. So, all those fights or all that lacklustre energy just before Christmas - yes, you guessed it - Mars retrograde. Or, as we tend to abbreviate it, Mars Rx. Look closely and you might think it comes with a kiss. Well I can tell you that it seldom feels like a pleasant one. And, although it might sound a bit crude, not always to be expected on the face....!

Perhaps the most important thing to know right now, though, is when the planet goes forward again and that date is March 10th 2020. Not too long to wait, is it? Or it it... The thing is that, when a planet is "on the turn" to a different stage of apparent motion, that is the point at which we can be said to sense its energy the most. In other words, watch out, because the next ten days could be fiery than ever.

Of course, you may have already experienced something of this energy. We may observe it in the wider world as earthquakes - Haiti in January, Chile in February. We may experience it in our local areas - unexpected vehicle crashes. We may know about it in the personal arena, with anger flare ups, relationship splits and people acting out of character.

To me, one of the greatest difficult sides of Mars Rx is a tendency for repressed anger to emerge. One of the most fascinating sides is the potential for an old flame to reappear. This can literally be about romantic passion appearing again, for someone we once knew, or even for someone new - the whole point being that passion is felt powerfully, once again. Or it can be about feeling a passion for something we used to do, or for a new hobby. Again, it's all about an energy shift.

Mars has been Retrograde and currently remains that way, in the sign of Leo, which means that link ups with people who have fixed signs in their birth chart are especially powerful. Maybe you have a planet in Leo, Aquarius, Taurus or Scorpio? Those are the fixed signs. If you have the Sun in a planet either side of those signs there is a strong possibility that one of the other, "inner" planets, such as Mercury, Venus or Mars itself is in one of those fixed signs in your chart. If you are not sure, post your Sun sign and I will let you know...

Meanwhile, to all those people wondering if the energy will ever improve, if the winter will ever end, if you will ever stop bickering with X, if that relationship with Y has potential and if that job or project will go forward for you - keep an eye on what happens on or around March 10th!

Celestially yours


Saturday, 2 January 2010

2010 Astrology Outlook - World & Personal

It seems only natural at the start of a new year to be interested in "the year ahead". It is certainly a key time when astrologers are asked "what's in the stars?". Some of us want to know from a personal point of view, some are interested in the state of the world. Either way, plenty has already been written about this year and so, rather than try to find something new to add, I thought I would employ some Virgo organisation skills, to list some of the excellent, existing online sources - the ones that have so far made the most sense to me of the astrology of 2010. Here are the links, with a short description of the typical content or message of each:

The Global Situation by Jean Elliott at Sky Script - featuring exact dates of the Saturn-Uranus-Pluto T Square -
around the theme of "Moving Too Fast" vs "Fear of Change"
plus details on historical precedents such as the Great Depression
in the 1930s and the radical changes of the mid 1960s:


* Checkout the heading that says "The Challenging Saturn, Uranus and Pluto aspects over the next few years" *

An Alignment for Our Times: 2010 by Bill Streett at Astrology for the Soul
- Comparison with 1930s and 1960s Historical Precedents of the Saturn-Uranus_Pluto
- the first of three essays that make specific reference to 2010:


* Check out the heading that says * The Saturn, Pluto, Uranus alignment of 2010 *

An Alignment for Our Times Part Two: The Aftermath of 2010 by Bill Streett, as above

A turning point in history; a crucible of socio-cultural forces
- the second of the three essays in this excellent series


The Astrology of 2010: Personal and General Implications by Bill Streett, as above

The Cardinal and Mutable Cross, Legacy of the Sixties Generation, A Saturn Return "like no other" & notes on Indigo Children
- the final of the three essays in the series


Political Astrology by Marjorie Orr at Star4Cast

Long swathes of time are covered here, with excellent detail on specific years and astral events. Includes a brilliant set of links to specific themes, countries and people, at the end of the page.


* Check Out the heading that says The Real Test: Pluto in Capricorn 2008 to 2024 *

There are no doubt many other quality commentaries around, but hopefully these will prove happy and informative reading! Please feel free to submit a comment if you find any more quality links on this theme.

If you would like an individual, truly personal reading for the year ahead, please visit our Mindbliss website to explore the options on offer:


Celestially Yours....