January 31 – February 6, 2019: Four of Swords

Sundown this Friday, February 1st, marks the start of Imbolc, a Sabbat knowns as Brigid’s Day that lasts through February 2nd. This is precisely the halfway point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. The harsh, cold winter is starting to give way. The sun sets just a bit later every day.

This is the time to welcome the Celtic Fire Goddess Brigid with a festival to honor the maiden. Imbolc festivals always involve fire ceremonies, and lots of candles.

The maiden is key in Pagan tradition. The triple goddess symbol shows the phases of the moon and also represents phases of life: the child, the maiden and the crone. Imbolc means “ewe’s milk” and also “in the belly of the mother.” At this time of year, the seeds for Spring are sitting in the womb of mother earth, waiting to pop up through the icy ground. This is a time for rebirth, renewal and preparation for the future.

I’m new to learning about Paganism, I was raised Roman Catholic. I am always fascinated by the ways that Christianity uses Pagan traditions. In the church, February 1st is St. Brigit’s Day and February 2nd is Candlemas, when the candles are blessed for ceremonies throughout the year. The Feast of the Virgin Mary is also this time of year; Mary was a maiden, a mother. Pagan tradition involves making Brigid’s Cross out of wheat stalks, which are similar to the crosses made from palms on Palm Sunday, coming up a little bit later in the Spring for Christians.

Today, there are lots of ways you can honor Brigid. You can have a bonfire or light a candle in each room of the house. Sweeping and clearing the dust from the home is customary. Out with the old and in with the new. Cleaning of anysort is a good way to celebrate, even cleansing the body by taking a nice herbal bath.

Decorate your altar or your mantel with signs of early spring like tulips, daffodils, feathers, or anything green and fresh. Of course food is very important, as with any holiday. You can make a nice meal with seasonal items like root vegetables, seeds, hearty starches. Dairy products are also associated with Imboc (I mentioned the “ewe’s milk” earlier). Yogurt, custard, creamy soups or sauces. I personally like dairy, so I plan to make a vegan “cheesy” cauliflower potato soup (here’s the recipe) and maybe some fresh baked bread or warm cinnamon rolls.

I pulled a tarot card, looking for some advice on the week ahead, and up came the Four of Swords. Here, we have a knight resting on an altar, over a sword. When I see this card, I always think of the idiom, “just sleep on it.” Reflect, rejuvenate yourself, rest as much as possible this week. You have a lot to do, and the sword below the knight suggests there is one particular point or situation, where turning off your brain will be beneficial. The three swords above the knight, pointing down means that other things can wait. Hang up your weapons, put down your shield, and take care of yourself. The knight’s hands are in prayer, which means meditate, pray, whatever you want to call it – just clear your mind. This is great for Imbolc weekend!

As you start the work week on Monday, there is a new moon in Aquarius. New moons are a good time to manifest what you want. I just started a new job, so I’ll be performing my own manifestation ritual to focus on letting go of the old version of myself and expanding into my highest potential during this moon phase. You can make moon water for spells and rituals by placing a bowl of salt water outside or by a window where moonlight will reach the bowl. Then, you might have to defrost the water depending on where you live, but it can be used in sprays, baths, gardens, etc. Anywhere you want to spread some magic.

The new moon in Aquarius might have you feeling a little bit lonely. I think that some alone time to recharge your batteries will be needed over the weekend, but don’t carry that reclusivity with you through the week. Brainstorm with people, ask for input, collaborate on problems, reach out to people in your social circle. Open yourself to new experiences. It will be good to think outside of the box this week. Stir the pot, so to speak.

Here are some excellent articles that I read for this blog:

 

January 24 – 30, 2019: Judgement

It should be smooth sailing right about now. All of the planets have been spinning in direct motion since January 6th, which means you can’t blame anything on a retrograde until March. I pulled the Judgement card this week. When I pull cards for this blog, I simply ask for my guides to give me something to be mindful of as I write this week, then I pull a card at random. If I’ve already covered the card recently, I might pull another. And so often the cards that come up are so perfectly aligned not only with my life, and hopefully with yours, but also the energy of the planets.

The Judgement card features the Archangel Gabriel in glorious colors, blowing his trumpet. Gabriel is the angel that delivered to Mary, the message that she would bear God’s son, Jesus. In the card, Gabriel is coming to call humanity to judgement before God. The men, women and children below give themselves over to God’s will. The mountains in the background represent the fact that you cannot escape judgement, and times may be challenging ahead.

When this card comes up in a reading, it means that you are being called to take a giant step forward on the path to your higher self. You are destined for more. It’s time to man up and learn from your past, but to let the old you go. Sometimes the hardest thing about growth is saying goodbye to the old you. This card often appears at a time of a significant change or growth in life. 

Today, January 24th, Mercury enters Aquarius. This usually means that same old boring way of doing things no longer suits you. You want to mix things up, take a more scattered approach than usual. It’s also the festival of Sementivae, a grain festival that celebrates the sowing of the fields for spring planting. As the old saying goes, you will reap what you sow.

Next week carries us into Februalia, a Roman festival to honor the God Februus from January 30th – February 2nd. Februs was associated with death and purification. The original tradition was a month long period of atonement and sacrifices.

In a more modern fashion, you can recognize the season by getting rid of the things in your life, heart and mind that are no longer serving you. Consider meditating or practice removing negative thoughts from your day. You could simply declutter your home, have an early spring cleaning. Yes it’s still Winter, but it’s over fifty degrees and raining in Rhode Island, so I’m going to call it spring cleaning. I have to say, I really enjoyed Marie Kondo’s show on Netflix, Tidying Up! If you need some motivation to declutter, she’s your girl.

I digress! There was a clear theme to me here from the symbolism in the Judgement tarot card, the movement of Mercury, and the mythological festivals of the season. I asked for something to be mindful of, and the answer is release. Ugh, that’s NOT easy sometimes. Time to let it go! It’s all part of your evolution.

 

Here are the articles that I consulted for this blog, check them out!

Astrology of 2019 (Cafe Astrology)

Pagan Wiccan Calendar (Thoughtco.com)

Feriae Sementivae (romeacrosseurope.com)

The Roman Februalia Festival (Thoughtco.com)

 

 

January 17 – 23, 2019: Nine of Wands

Buckle up, it’s going to be a bumpy ride this week, with a lunar eclipse in Leo on Monday. The nine of wands is about having the courage and the resilience to cross the finish line. The man in the card stands on a stage, and he has set a very clear boundary behind him. He has one last wand to set in the ground, but it looks like he has taken a few hits already. He’s trying to muster up the strength to finish the job. The number nine represents the last challenge you must face before you reach your goal. The line of wands behind him represents setting clear boundaries for your self, and for others.

The nine of wands was the perfect card for me this week because I begin a new job next week. This week is all about tying up projects and ending the chapter on my previous position. I’m just saying, I know how this guy feels!

On Sunday, the sun enters Aquarius. Aquarius is logical, but somewhat detached. This energy will help you see things as they truly are. It will help you find solutions for the greater good of others. You’ll be more apt to stay above the emotional frays of the situation, and other people might perceive that as distance or detachment.

On Monday, we have the big lunar eclipse in Leo! This could affect us for a few days, its much stronger than a typical full moon. This will bring about some unexpected events, uncertainty about the future, feeling rushed or anxious. This is going to be your final challenge before you hit your mark, just like the nine of wands. Hang in there.

This January moon is also known as the “cold moon” and the “rowan moon.” The rowan tree is associated with some amazing mythological stories, with its leaves shaped like eagle feathers and berries like drops of blood. It is considered to be the tree from which the first woman was made, according to Norse mythology.  (read more here)

In the celtic tree calendar, this moon is associated with Brighid, the celtic goddess of hearth and home. This is a good time to clear out your baggage, possibly by decluttering your home a bit. It’s also a great time of year to perform initiations. Personally, I’m partial to some serious home cooking right now!

During this eclipse, losing sight of the moon represents the clearing away of things that are no longer serving us. Pay more attention to your home and family, be in the present moment. Stock up on fresh ingredients, and make some wholesome comfot food. Prepare to endure this last test of endurance because you’re about to hit your mark! Finish this chapter on a high note!

Here are some articles that I consulted. You can read more about these topics:

Lunar Eclipse (Astrology King)

2019 Horoscopes (Cafe Astrology)

Rowan (treesforlife.org)

The Sun in Aquarius (starslikeyou.com)

January 10 – 16, 2019: XI Justice

A judge sits on her throne, cloaked in red and green. The blue square on her crown represents the stability of her thoughts. The double edged swords is held firm, and upright. This shows that she has come to a decision about the matter, and realizes that there will be consequences. She is ready to face them.

The scales in her left hand remind us that intuition has a place in a logical decision making process. The Justice card is ruled by the zodiac sign Libra. Libras search for the truth and seek harmony.

Ask Justice to guide you this week, as Jupiter moves to square Neptune on Sunday. This brings a test of your faith. Perhaps you’ve been too idealistic, and it ends in some embarrassing or disappointing situation for you. This is not a time to be overly optimistic about anything, and as a result, you might feel paranoid and suspicious of others. This is totally normal. If you’re think you’re crazy, talk to a friend that you trust very much.

Sometimes you need to know when to cut your losses, even if it means compromising your pride a little bit. Trust me, I write this because I’m terrible at it! You teach best what you need to learn the most. The Justice card can help you connect with your inner guidance system, ask for her help.

If you are honest with yourself, and you do what it is right, everything will be okay. If you have been dishonest and done something that goes against your highest self, you will be judged fairly. If you are seeking justice or a decision right now, this card is a sign that it will come soon. You will be called to account for your actions in some way this week. Own your decisions!

Here are some articles I consulted on the topic:

December 27, 2018 – January 2, 2019: The Star

As we close out 2018 and celebrate the New Year, I pulled The Star, such a lovely card. She is a symbol of pureness, vulnerability, hope and renewal. The main star behind her shines bright, representing her core essence, her soul. The seven smaller stars represent her chakras. This week is a time to renew your energy and balance your soul. The Star has one leg firmly grounded on the earth and the other stepping into the water. This represents your approach to your spiritual growth. You are transforming.

The Star pours water from the stream to nourish the earth, and the land divides the water into five little streams representing the five senses. I always think about this card as the green light for a good spa day. I like to treat myself at home with a nice pedicure, a steamy, exfoliating shower and a face mask. Maybe some hot chocolate and/or some red wine too. It’s freezing in Rhode Island at this time of year (I took this photo month ago).

Mars enters Aries on Monday, New Year’s Eve. Mars in Aries is a time of synergy; Mars rules Aries so they compliment each other. You may benefit from an increase in activity, confidence and drive. This week is more about trying and less about winning. Just get the ball rolling. If you’re not getting along with someone, bumping heads – check yourself. Are you at least meeting them halfway?

This time of year, from December 24th – January 20th is the Birch Moon, according to the Celtic Tree Calendar. When an area of a forest burns down, birch trees are always the first to grow back. The Birch Moon is a time of rebirth and regeneration like the energy of The Star.

May you feel blessed by the universe as you open your arms to the New Year. Magic flows around you. For me, I’m enjoying some time off from work and a short road trip to a beautiful place. Traveling always helps me renew my perspective. A change in scenery and a break from the routine can do wonders for the mind.

Here are links to some great websites that I consulted for this blog:

https://cafeastrology.com/astrologyof2019horoscopes.html

https://www.thoughtco.com/celtic-tree-months-2562403

https://www.thoughtco.com/pagan-wiccan-calendar-4110202

https://www.biddytarot.com/tarot-card-meanings/major-arcana/star/

December 20 – 26, 2018: Death

Life has been so crazy, that I missed my blog last week! With trying to wrap up the semester and the work year, preparing for the holidays, something had to give. Well, besides my sanity. And so this week brings the Death card.

This is actually one of my favorite cards in the deck because it’s all about, “out with the old; make room for the new.” A skeleton knight rides in on his white horse to take the life of the king. This is a reminder that death comes for all walks of life: rich or poor, bad or good, young or old. The skeleton represents the strongest part of the human body, the only part that remains after death. The armor makes death invincible, nothing can stop him. In the distance is a beautiful sun scape and you can see the towers from the moon card, as though from the other side.

The Death card means that a chapter or a situation in your life is coming to and end and there is much potential to start anew. Remember that death is just as much a part of life as birth, as we usher in the full moon in Cancer on Saturday, December 22nd.

The full moon is a time to slow down and fill your cup. Give gratitude for your blessings. The energy of Cancer in this context will help you balance your heart and mind. You will be in the mood for spending time with family and friends, which is perfect because this week we also celebrate the holidays.

Many people will celebrate Christmas, which actually carries a lot of the same traditions as Yule. Yule is the winter solstice, also called Christmastide. This year it falls on Friday, December 21st. This tradition is traced back thousands of years to Germany and Scandinavia, as late as the 4th century.

Although most of the Yule traditions were absorbed into Christmas, many Neo Pagans and Wiccans still celebrate. Some of these traditions include bringing various winter-hearty plants into the home, like evergreen, holly, birch, mistletoe and pine. This was a type of sympathetic magic, meant to guard the essence and spirit of the plant. A wild boar was sacrificed for the feast, although today a ham is more commonplace. The Viking God Odin was called the first Father of Christmas; he was known to disguide himself as a wanderer with a long white beard.

Yule is celebrated on the night of the Winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. And the celebration is all about light in any form: candles, bonfires, burning the yule log, etc. Many holiday traditions are centered around light: the star of Christmas, there’s Hanukkah with its brightly lit menorahs, Kwanzaa candles, and more.

I think that Death was actually a fantastic card to represent this week. The year is winding down; I’m taking the time to slow down and I have some pretty big plans to reveal in my life in 2019. Sometimes the hardest part of growing, is saying goodbye to the old you. It’s also a reminder not to take life too seriously! To keep your loved ones close, because your time with them is limited. I feel a stirring of change, growth and new beginnings for the new year. Death to the same boring old comfort zone!

 

Here are some excellent sources that I consulted for this blog!

https://www.biddytarot.com/tarot-card-meanings/major-arcana/death/

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/winter-solstice-pagan-yule_us_585970abe4b03904470af4c5

https://www.thoughtco.com/history-of-yule-2562997

December 6-12, 2018: Two of Swords

A young woman sits on a cold, stone bench. This is a stage card, because it’s drawn to look as though she is sitting on a stage. This means that the point of view of the audience, of other people, affects her position. The water and rocky land behind her suggest that the path is not as easy or direct as it seems, and that emotions are flooding the situation. The moon represents the importance of using intuition, heart and mind during any decision making.

This card appears when I’m avoiding a decision that I don’t want to make. Or I’m not addressing an emotion or a situation that needs to be processed. The swords across the woman’s chest in the card disappear off the page. This means that she is literally missing the point!

Sometimes the woman in the card is choosing to wear a blindfold. However, there are situations where the blindfold is not under her control and there is an element the situation that has not been revealed yet. This could mean that I need to really think about all of the options at hand; there is a struggle happening beneath the surface.

This week, Mercury is doing a dance across the heavens. Mercury is the planet of Hermes, the messenger of the Gods. The actions of Mercury affect our reactions and our ability to communicate. On Thursday, it stops spinning in retrograde and goes direct, making us all better observers. This is a good time to fix previous mistakes that you made during Mercury retrograde. Practice tolerance and open mindedness. Business decisions and financial agreements will be easier to manage.

On Friday, the new moon rises in Sagittarius. Sagittarius is the archer, often represented by a centaur. The arrow of the archer is always pointing upwards because Sagittarius is constantly seeking a higher level of being. Use this energy to expand your consciousness and widen the scope of your dreams. I like to spend the new moon making messy meals or starting projects around the house. During the Sagittarius moon, I will likely be a lot more optimistic about getting things done.  

On Wednesday the 12th, communicative Mercury makes a move into spiritual Sagittarius as well. I can tell that this will be the time to take off my two of swords blindfold. My spirit guides will be talking to me.  I think that in my case, the result of a decision or new information will be revealed to me, most likely about my career. I’m trying to practice some patience in the meantime. Like the woman in the two of swords, sometimes you need to close your eyes to see your heart. Other times, you need to rip off that blindfold and bust through your own bullshit.

Remember to bury your spent crystals in the Earth under the light of a new moon. I have a broken piece of flourite that I will be laying to rest. This is also a time to make to-do lists and set your intentions.

Here are some excellent sources that I consulted for this blog!

https://www.biddytarot.com/tarot-card-meanings/minor-arcana/suit-of-swords/two-of-swords/

https://labyrinthos.co/blogs/astrology-horoscope-zodiac-signs/mercury-astrology-symbol-characteristics-planet-energy

https://astrostyle.com/sagittarius-symbol/