As our world spins into the year 2017, chaos and discontent abound. It is disturbing to watch the scene unfold, and its scope gives us a sense of helplessness. This brought to my mind The Wheel of Fortune, and its message of a world in flux.
The Wheel of Fortune reminds us that the cycles of the Creative Universe are in constant motion. We may observe this by contemplating the movement of the solar system, the seasons, the tides, and the cycles of the moon, as well as our earthly appearance from birth to death. Why are we here, what have we set in motion in our lives, how do we connect with the rhythms and patterns of Life greater than ourselves? These are all questions connected to the Wheel of Fortune. It holds keys to our own personal journey of growth and expansion.
On the grander scale of Creation, depicted by the Wheel, the world is subject to forces and cycles beyond our vision. Universal laws are constantly in action. As the cosmic wheel turns, great unseen forces are directing us, and guiding us in our journey back to our Source. We are free to choose whether we continue onward as we always have, or take up a new perspective. Perhaps it is time for us to wake up and take notice of a world out of balance.
Here is an opportunity to take heart, and look at the positive aspects of the transformation that is happening around us. Let us recognize the changes in the world as the breaking up of old patterns, making room for something new, beautiful, and awakened to take root. Remember, it is within ourselves that we must begin to initiate the changes that we wish to see in the world.
Quiet the mind, and tune in daily to the evolving Consciousness, the causative principle of all things. Be still and watch it unfold. As we are all united in awareness, we bring to light the higher forces represented by the turning of the Wheel of Fortune. In this card, we have a powerful picture of the evolution of humanity. Observing the positive aspects of change in these tumultuous times is an excellent practice for the coming year. I find this card to be a fascinating study.
During this busy Season, our days often become too hectic and frantic. They are filled with preparing for celebrations, planning gifts for loved ones, and participating in activities with family and friends. It is difficult to find time for what is important. I would like to suggest a special holiday practice.
By creating a few quiet moments at different times throughout each day to feel closer to Spirit, we will be helping to spread Peace in the world. This could also be part of a holiday practice with the tarot deck. We might take a few moments to meditate with our favorite card, with the heartfelt intention of silently sharing its message. Who knows how far our practice might reach if we make time for Spirit to come into the world each day. As a reminder of sharing our inner gifts, here is a wish for the Holidays.
I am wishing you quiet moments to be renewed and to embrace the true meaning of the Season. Through your chosen path into the Sacred Silence, may the Spirit within fill you with the Love of this special time of year. May the peace you bring into the World be shared with all beings in the spirit of Love and good will.
I am including the image of the Four of Swords from the Nature Spirit Tarot. Poised on the card is the praying mantis, an excellent ambassador in the journey of reflection. The mantis understands the power of stillness and calm. In the card, it rests on the great Oak tree, which represents our deep connection to all that is sacred.
Throughout December, all U.S. orders for the Nature Spirit Tarot will be shipped priority mail rather than ground mail. I am doing this to be sure that decks arrive in time for holiday gift giving. This is just a small token of my appreciation for all of you who help me share my work, and send it on a journey of its own, all the way around the globe!
The High Priestess seems to be a favorite with many people. I have sold more prints of this card, and received more comments about it, than any other card in the deck.
When I began to create the imagery, I knew that the High Priestess should be white and luminous. I also wanted to represent her with a silent and mystical creature. The intuitive secrets of the High Priestess can not be explained with words. The owl came to me as the perfect symbol. When this mysterious bird spreads its massive wings, not a single flutter is heard, and the unfathomable silence is remarkable. There is nothing more magical than seeing a snowy owl in a white, snow covered landscape on a clear winter’s day.
In the card, the High Priestess is holding the flower of life, a pattern from sacred geometry that represents the flow of Life within space and time. This pattern is believed to contain the collective consciousness of the planet, known as the Akashic records. This is just one aspect of the vast wisdom held within the realm of the High Priestess.
The other imagery in the card includes the pine tree, the blue lotus, and white and black tulips. And yes, there really are black tulips. The tulip shown in the card is called “Queen of the Night”. All of the descriptions and symbolic meanings are discussed in the book that accompanies the deck.
The High Priestess is the keeper of Divine Feminine wisdom at its deepest level, and she dwells at the portal to the material world. She is immortal and eternal, and holds the cosmic secrets of Life within her domain. It is no wonder that many of us feel the compelling energy of this card, and are drawn by it into the sacred Silence of Spirit.
A Great Blue Heron spends much of the summer cruising up and down the little creek that runs through our property. Sometimes it stops for a meal of small brook trout that spawn in a deeper pool upstream. I often see this serene bird perched along the banks in the motionless pose which it takes at quiet times of the day. It seems to be staring into the void, contemplating what treasures it might bring back, to bless the earth.
The Great Blue Heron graces the Temperance card in the Nature Spirit Tarot. This card speaks of learning to flow with the great stream of cosmic energy that is present behind all manifestation. It symbolizes the process of tempering the forces of personal will, and blending our polar aspects of masculine and feminine to reach a more balanced state. Through astute personal reflection, and striving to attune to the higher cosmic energies, we give ourselves the opportunity to discover inner treasures, and to release our gifts into the world.
The Cowslip and the Common Reed appear on the Temperance card. Fluorite crystals speckle the landscape. The auspicious goldfish also adds to the mystery. All of these elements are described in detail in the book that accompanies the deck.
As I traveled a difficult personal journey this year, I decided to hang a framed print of the Temperance card in my room. This magnificent bird, along with its special message, serves as a vigil. It stands nearby, reminding me to release all of the feelings of distress and anxiety into the waters of tranquility, to quiet my personal will, and to rest in the beauty and healing that exist within.
Here in the northern hemisphere where I live, we are at the height of the summer season. It seems like a good time to talk about the Sun card in the Nature Spirit Tarot.
Like the Sun card in many decks, sunflowers play an important role. I couldn’t imagine a nature deck without these magnificent flowers, and so I, too, have included it in the imagery. Perhaps this is because the enormous blooms of the Sunflower resemble the full sun. Or, it could be because they are heliotropic, which means they turn to face the sun throughout the day. Symbolic meanings for this well-loved flower include seeking the light, illumination, and awakening to new horizons.
The bird on the Sun card is the Golden Eagle. I came upon this account of an ancient myth about the eagle. Its origin was not cited, but I liked it, and decided to share it. It is just one of the countless myths that surround the eagle, a bird which has inspired humanity throughout time.
In this ancient myth, when the eagle reached an advanced age, it was ready to pass from this world. Then it would fly high into the sky until it reached the sun. Now the eagle would fly into the sun, and merge with the solar flames. Finally, it would plunge back to earth and dive deeply into open water, emerging restored and renewed to the fullness of life. Perhaps myths such as this one explain why eagles are symbols of the sun and immortality.
The Sun card represents expansion and regeneration, and the awakening of the soul to full illumination.
The daffodils were so radiant this spring, I decided to write about them, and talk a bit about the suit of pentacles in the Nature Spirit Tarot.
The glorious yellow blooms of the daffodil have inspired many poets and seers. The daffodil began its relationship with people long ago. There are accounts from the 16th century of avid gardeners collecting its wild ancestors and transforming them into the varieties we know today.
I have noticed quite a few reviews of the Nature Spirit Tarot mentioning the yellow flowers in the suit of pentacles. Some identify them as lilies, or other mistaken identities, and some just say yellow flowers. They are daffodils. I envisioned the daffodil flower as the representative of the pentacle from the very inception of the deck.
The daffodil emerges from its bulb, which is deeply rooted in the ground. Plants that grow from bulbs have a close relationship to the energies of the earth, the element represented by the suit of pentacles. The bulbs are dormant for much of the year, and then burst into bloom in spring when the sun returns and nature awakens after a long rest. The daffodil is a robust, vibrant plant that represents sunshine, renewal, and the arrival of new possibilities.
When the pentacles show up in your readings, it is a reminder to observe the nature of your earthly experience. The events in your life reflect the energies you put into the world. I hope the daffodils, and the messages in the suit of pentacles, inspire you to walk through life with a loving and giving heart. As well, through a deeper understanding of their messages, you just may be blessed with positive changes in the world around you.
American Tarot Association Top Tarot Decks of 2015
Finest Reflections Reader’s Choice Award
The Nature Spirit Tarot – Winner of Third Place
The American Tarot Association held a competition this December for the best decks of 2015. From a large number of decks, tarot fans were asked to vote for their favorite.
The votes were cast and counted, and The Nature Spirit Tarot won third place! Since the deck only became available on the internet in September, and my advertising expenditure was a meager $50, winning third place was truly an amazing event.
Please accept my sincere thanks to all of you who voted for the deck. I am moved by how many of you have embraced the Nature Spirit Tarot, and are finding it special and meaningful enough to be considered your favorite. Each time I write, I like to share some card images. I chose these three cards because they express how honored and thrilled I feel to have your support.
The 3 of Cups is a card about celebration. It expresses the pleasure of sharing with others, acknowledging accomplished goals, and honoring the people who are always helping along the way.
The 4 of Wands acknowledges fruitful creativity, and the bringing of our vision into manifestation through dedication to the work.
The 7 of Pentacles speaks of harvesting the fruits of our efforts. Parts of the task have been difficult and demanding, and now it is time to take a refreshing pause and reflect on our accomplishments.
Thank you for sharing in the journey of this deck, for making it a part of your life, and for helping me to send it out into the world.
“The Star emerges from the waters of life, shimmering, exquisite, transcendental, and full of hope. It bathes us in rays of deep mystery and higher wisdom. The Star invites us to cast our intentions into the watery depths and bring to the surface new guidance and restorative powers. The illumination surrounding the Star is a place of nakedness and innocence, where we present ourselves openly and connect with the radiating light within us. The Star is our guide to meditation, inner blessings, and rebirth, slipping us into the waters of serenity by encouraging the mastery of a quiet mind.”
from The Nature Spirit Tarot
The paragraph above is taken from the book which accompanies the deck. Additional information about the Star card includes descriptions and symbolic meanings of the White Tern and the White-topped Pitcher Plant, also featured in the card.
At this time of year, when the world pauses to contemplate the nature of giving and sharing, studying this card might be a meaningful exercise. The Star expresses the Seed of Oneness within. It reminds us of the importance of making time to express and share our deepest treasures, which include understanding, caring, and good will.
This lovely image of the Star card, which also includes the 10 of Cups from the deck, is one of a series of photographs created by Violet Aura. The theme of this photograph is white birds. Her beautiful work is posted on Instagram. You can also visit her website at www.violetaura.com to learn more about her work. I am grateful for the interest and enthusiasm she has expressed in my Nature Spirit Tarot.
Winter is nearly at hand in the northwest corner of the United States where I live. At this time of year I often begin to feel like a hermit. I don’t know about the rest of you, but Winter is my time for creative inspiration. The season compels me to move inward, effortlessly tapping into the natural flow that exists within each of us. This only happens, though, if we stop long enough to allow it to be.
The Hermit, who has withdrawn from the world, follows the inner teachings. Here is our luminary, who always seeks greater wisdom and remains true to a higher calling. This solitary figure lights the path for others to follow, and is always available as an inner guide.
As Winter approaches, nature gives us an abundant opportunity to experience what our physical senses perceive as death. We see the leaves change color and fall from the trees, leaving them barren and seemingly lifeless. All of the living world around us seems to be dying, as the mighty sun leaves us in the cold, long shadows.
But, we know better. Nature is gathering her resources for the long rest, after which the world will burst forth with new growth and vitality. Death is integral to the experience of transformation. It is our challenge to see Death as a process, in which things fall away, making room for life to transform into a renewal which is filled with new opportunities.
This lovely arrangement of framed prints of the Hermit card and the Death card from the Nature Spirit Tarot was created by a wonderful friend. She encouraged my work with this tarot project from its earliest days, and has more “Jean Herzel art” in her house than any of my other supporters. I am very grateful for her kindness, warmth, and wonderful friendship. Thank you for letting me share this inspiring niche from your beautiful home.
The Aces represent the foundational energy of each suit. Since they are the first number in each suit, they represent new and fresh beginnings. The Aces begin our path of development through the particular aspects represented by each of the four suits. They contain the seeds of our potential, which will unfold into realization as we progress through the Cups, Wands, Swords, and Pentacles.
The Ace of Cups is the receptacle for our emotional aspect. It is a card of the heart, and speaks of peace, harmony, and most importantly, Universal Love.
The Ace of Wands is the card of inspiration. It represents the moment when we open the door to spiritual development through conscious thought, and by tapping into our inner spark of knowing. Creativity emerges throughout the Wands.
The Ace of Swords invites us to step out of life’s illusions, and heralds in experiences which are penetrating and direct. Here we are plunged into deeper concentration and focus, and confronted with the awakening of our individuality.
The Ace of Pentacles represents a new opportunity in our physical, earthly experience. Positive and exciting developments are now possible. Here we begin the lessons that teach us a great deal about manifesting higher goals in all of our worldly endeavors.
The Aces are our first glimpse into the deeper meanings represented by the four suits. These seeds of potential are the building blocks upon which all future experience will unfold. So, when we encounter one of the four Aces, remember, we are coming face to face with an invitation to develop emotional, intellectual, physical, and spiritual maturity. What a lovely opportunity!