The Lovers

The Lovers card speaks of companionship, relationships, marriage, and sharing our lives with others. These are its most well known interpretations. We can expand our lives in many meaningful and enriching ways through coming together in loving relationships. These relationships are wonderful opportunities for personal growth. They teach us about sharing, cooperating, and learning to listen and respond to the needs of others.

Looking even more deeply, The Lovers card presents us with a quest to balance the opposing forces that exist within each of us. It is important to recognize our inner duality and strive for balance, with the hope of expressing our more integrated, true nature. We label such opposing aspects within ourselves as passive and active, yin and yang, dark and light, and conscious and unconscious. Contemplation of the Lovers just might bring us closer to integration, and the ability to express divine aspects in our lives.

Within nature and the creation of form, we see many opposing forces at work too. The forces of nature are always coming together and interacting to achieve balance. This is the great mystery of the polarities of creation, as opposing forces transmute into primal unity, and emerge as life on the planet.

The images on this card include the intertwined Red-striped and Blue-striped Garter Snakes. They represent the masculine and feminine, as well as the air/fire and earth/water elements. Entwined, they depict the unification of the life energies, coming together to give birth to creativity and transformation.

The flowering plant on the card is Chinese Wisteria. It is a symbol of love, expansion, beauty, honor, and respect. It creates a lovely foundation for the work at hand when presented with The Lovers.

The Thousand Petal Lotus is pictured above the snakes. It is a symbol representing the crown chakra, the spiritual center located at the top of the head. When this center is open, it is a channel for divine forces to flow through the physical being. This imagery suggests the potential for achieving unity with the Divine.

Four of Wands

The elderberries have ripened on the bushes here in the northern hemisphere as we enter the Fall season. This year’s crop has been harvested, and the ever favorite elderberry jelly is in the cupboard. This has prompted me to share the message of the Four of Wands, and to talk about the elderberries that appear on this card, representing fruitful creativity and accomplishment.

Elderberry trees have been treasured for millennia. Researchers tell us that they have been cultivated since the Stone Age. It is not a surprise that its symbolic meanings are closely tied to humanity and evolution. It is said to be a plant symbolizing transition, continuation, and a gateway to new dimensions.

On the lighter side, the Celts considered the Elderberry to be a tree of the fairy realm. Its hollow branches were once used for the creation of wands, flutes, and panpipes. Perhaps fairies found the alluring music shared at celebrations and festivities to be irresistible? Did they then develop a fondness for this healing tree?

This brings us to the inviting message of the Four of Wands. On the card, the wands appear as pillars, which present a passageway. They beckon us to a celebration of our creativity, which has flourished and is now bearing fruit in our world. There is a common meaning for all of the fourth cards in each suit of the tarot. The fours represent the transition from ideals and creative thoughts into a perceivable form of earthly reality. The Three of Wands cultivates our creative journey though quiet introspection. Then we see those ideas come to fruition with the appearance of the Four of Wands.

With this in mind, I chose to represent the meaning of the Four of Wands by using the wands as pillars, along with the draping elderberry boughs to complete the gateway. Welcome to the celebration of our creative endeavors as they come into the world. This is a joyous time, as we savor the fruits of our success.

Ten of Swords

For many people, one of the most uncomfortable cards to encounter when working with the tarot is the Ten of Swords. The imagery often includes ten swords fully engaged in some ghastly array. In keeping with the desire to present only positive interpretations in the Nature Spirit Tarot, here are some added thoughts about this disturbing card.

The Ten of Swords is meant to shock us. The suit of swords is all about the entanglements of the mind. One of our biggest challenges and impediments to spiritual growth is the inability to recognize old and established patterns which we hold in our minds. It often takes a shock to awaken us out of preconceived mindsets.

The mind, our most powerful tool, rules the way we interact in the world. Many spiritual teachings tell us that mind and matter are interrelated. It is human nature to rarely look outside of our mentally constructed reality. If we try to consciously expand our perception, shocking events often occur. At such times, we are encountering the message of the Ten of Swords.

When dealing with a difficult position expressed by this card, the key is to observe our attachment to the experience, and approach things as an opportunity to become detached. We might seek the higher way, and separate ourselves from the entanglements we are experiencing by elevating our thoughts and reactions. This is first a mental exercise, but with practice, often deepens into spiritual progress. This is the work of releasing our deeper inner self from the ego, so that our higher self has an opening to shine through. It can be a painful process, but the rewards are immeasurable!

In the life of the butterfly, there is a stage when the caterpillar drops everything and builds its cocoon. I think butterflies are closer to the Source than we humans. They don’t need to suffer in order to expand, because they follow their inner calling. They intuitively follow an inner process to evolve from caterpillar, to cocoon, to butterfly. I find that to be a lovely thought. Here we see a living example of naturally expanding into a new way of being in the world. This is an important discovery revealed in the Ten of Swords.

The Magician

Today a Merlin landed in the front yard. I could hardly believe my eyes, even though it was only 15 feet away. I grabbed my binoculars and my field guide to confirm this possibility. And, yes! It was really true. The elegant falcon was standing there, bigger than life itself. There was no hesitation about it, the next blog was to be about the Magician!

This small falcon is pictured on the Magician card. It is known for its aerial feats and great speed. It is rare to see one, because they are silent and mysterious, just like the Magician. The Merlin is symbolic of insight and mental keenness, and the ability to channel the energy of divine forces.

A table of the elements appears before the Magician. Here we see the tools at the Magician’s command. They are used to channel living Light into the world. The Amanita Mushroom represents the table, and signifies the sacredness of the tools. Using highly developed mental skills, which enable a connection to the source, the Magician wields these tools with power and authority.

On the Nature Spirit Tarot card, the Magician is surrounded by the Western Sword Fern. Ferns symbolize magical powers, prophetic dreaming, protection, dignity, and peace. The curling fronds, growing in spirals, also remind us of the sacred spiral of life.

Hovering above the Magician’s head is the Eastern Pondhawk Dragonfly. Dragonflies, with their shimmering wings that refract light, are associated with the power of light, magic, and mysticism. The presence of the dragonfly reminds us that we too have the power to manifest our highest aspirations.

If you enjoyed seeing this card and its descriptions, you will be happy to know that much more information of this kind is included in the book that accompanies the Nature Spirit Tarot deck in the boxed set.

Page of Swords

We are all eagerly awaiting Spring in the northern hemisphere. This led me to ponder the Page of Swords. As the sun returns, and rises higher in the sky, the energies of nature begin to bring the earth’s landscape back to life. In the same way, the Page of Swords is a card of rising energies. Here we have positive and fresh energies liberating us from difficult times. This card represents the idea of awakening to new awareness and a new perspective in our life, as we emerge from troubled circumstances. The Page of Swords appears when we have deepened our perspective by working to heighten our mental capacities.

The Firefly, commonly called the Lightning Bug, has the well known ability to glow. It is bioluminescent, and can even flash the light it produces off and on. It is not surprising that this beetle is associated with illumination.

The Spring Crocus is one of the first flowers to appear after the snow recedes. They do not last long, but they burst forth with a wonderful array of color to awaken our senses after a long Winter. In the card, the crocus symbolizes the joy and exuberance that we experience as we engage in our new found freedom from troubling times.

The American Carrion Beetle survives on dead and decomposing matter. In this way, it plays a crucial role in cleaning the environment, renewing the energies of the earth, and making way for new growth to emerge. Symbolically, the beetles are carrying away negative aspects that have been released, which makes space for our new and higher awareness to flow out from us, and into the world.

Five of Pentacles

This wintery February day brought to my mind the mood expressed in the Five of Pentacles. I know that many of us in the northern hemisphere have dealt with severe winter weather conditions this year. Today we are having a major snowstorm where I live, destined to last throughout another day as well. Next the wind will come, and then the fahrenheit single digit temperatures will arrive. Fortunately, this feeling of malaise will pass once a bit of warmth and a ray of sunshine reappear. When faced with the Five of Pentacles card, it may indicate that the feelings of woefulness and despair run a bit deeper. Could it be a good time for self reflection, and perhaps a personal wake-up call?

The Five of Pentacles suggests that we “pick ourselves up by the bootstraps”, as the saying goes. Dwelling on our problems and personal misery is a very limiting personal world view. It keeps us bound to the outer experiences of the material world. It inhibits us in our ability to access our inner resources and potential, where we may discover some wonderful opportunities just awaiting our recognition. The possibility of a positive upturn in events is also an important aspect of this card.

The Red-breasted Nuthatch sees no limitation when faced with winter weather. It can even be seen out in a storm foraging and climbing up, down, and around with great agility. Symbolically, this little forest bird is known as the innovator of new and fresh perspectives. It is a master of the spiritual quest. It represents our ability to dig deeply into emotional and mental issues, and freeing ourselves from the impediments keeping us from a positive outlook in life. The nuthatch shows us the way with bravery and courage.

The imagery on the Five of Pentacles offers two other important keys. One is the Garden Snowdrop. It often pops up right through the snow, and is the first flower to appear as winter subsides. The symbolism for this plant includes consolation, hope, and faith in times of adversity. The other noteworthy image included in the card is the lighted stained glass window in the background. It is clearly beckoning us toward new and positive opportunities.

Amid predominantly difficult conditions, and as far away as it might seem, Spring really is just around the corner.

Two of Swords

As I was pondering the year 2018 ahead, the Two of Swords repeatedly came to mind. So, I chose this card to be the first entry of the year for the Nature Spirit Tarot website.

Achieving a reflective inner state is the message presented by the Two of Swords. It suggests being poised, and calmly prepared for unknown future events. This might be an excellent position to cultivate with so many tumultuous events transpiring around the planet. The Two of Swords indicates an opportunity, through quiet resolve, to develop trust in unseen forces. Despite outer appearances, these forces are constantly in action to balance this world. The card represents the ability to face challenges in a calm state of readiness. It also reminds us to tap our inner resources through quiet contemplation. Perhaps the new year could be an excellent time to place our attention on deepening the inner journey.

The Great Egret is a magnificent bird, full of grace and silent power. It is often seen alone, and in a state of poised stillness, as it stands in quiet marshes and wetlands. Symbolic meanings for the egret include focus, balance, and the ability to delve into the depths of self to better understand the challenges of personal growth. As well, the egret represents a connection to the invisible spirit that dwells within each of us.

In the image on the Two of Swords, the Field Bindweed entwines itself around the egret. In nature, bindweed spirals around fence posts, stumps, trees, and anywhere it can find an inviting place to climb. It is a common plant, which is found throughout the world. The symbolic meanings of bindweed are perseverance and humility. In the card, it serves as a wonderful reminder to cultivate these two qualities. They are keys to discovering the clarity needed to resolve any challenging and entangling situation.

 

Ten of Pentacles

With the Fall season comes the harvest and the abundance of the Earth manifesting her riches. The Ten of Pentacles represents the flow of prosperity into our lives. On a deeper level, it reminds us to be grateful for the spiritual treasures that are in expression all around us. This is the perfect time of year to observe the perpetual activity of the inner movement of nature, and its infinite display on our planet.

The Ten of Pentacles reminds us to embrace the importance of friendship, cooperation, and community in the expression of abundance. Through sharing and an openness of heart, we too can expand and send our treasures into the world.

The image on the card is from a traditional Native American garden, and tells the story of the Three Sisters. Corn, beans, and squash are grown together in a mutually beneficial and harmonious relationship. Each plays a vital role in the welfare of the others, and through this cooperative activity, abundance flows.

Here is a brief telling of the story of the Three Sisters. Corn is the oldest sister, and she grows in the center of the garden mound. Bees love the corn, and are attracted to the tall stalks for pollination. The stalks also support the climbing beans. Squash is the next sister. The broad leaves of this plant provide shade for the roots of the other sisters, keeping them cool and conserving moisture. Bean is the third sister. Her vines provide stability as they entwine the stalks of the corn. Beans also convert the sun’s energy into nitrogen, which this plant adds to the soil for the nourishment of the others.

Fall is the season of harvest and giving thanks. It is an excellent time to reflect deeply on the message of the Ten of Pentacles, and to contemplate on the true meaning of wealth and abundance.

The Fool

The Fool steps forward into manifestation from the great cosmic life force, and represents all of the potential which we bring with us into the world. The Fool descends into form with freshness and joy, untethered by earthly experiences. This card represents a life filled with unbounded energy and the indivisible connection to spirit which exists at the heart of our earthly journey.

The Fool reminds us to be authentic and true to ourselves, and to move through life always maintaining our connection to spirit. The Fool represents both the beginning and the ending, which is unseen but always with us, as we live through our lifetime in this human experience. In our journey, it is important to always maintain the connection to cosmic energy indicated by the Fool. The inner forces represented by this card flow like a current through everything, and can carry us fearlessly through life’s many challenging experiences.

The hummingbird is the perfect ambassador to the spirit of Air in the Fool card. Here is a description from the Nature Spirit Tarot: “They are pure energy, without any apparent awareness of earthly affairs. Their wings beat at such great speed that they do not just fly, they vibrate. They can maneuver in any direction and even fly upside down. Some say they are in tune with celestial music and dance to its ethereal call. Hummingbirds are symbolic of pure joy, the wonder and love of life, and the act of always journeying with great daring. They are impetuous, bold, and fearless. Hummingbirds fill our world with magic.”

Heliconia also appears on this card. It is a plant found in many tropical regions of the western Hemisphere, and particularly on islands in the Pacific Ocean. It is a favorite nectar source for the hummingbird. At the top of the plant is the flame of the white sun, also known as the eternal flame. Among other symbolic meanings, Heliconia represents divine guidance.

The Kings

 

All of the court cards in the tarot represent an advanced level of mastery. They suggest that the energies at work within a suit have reached a level of culmination within us. From ace to king, our growth and maturity is progressively expressed by each of the cards in a suit. When the kings appear, it means that we are now fully capable of demonstrating these energies in our world. The kings represent the authority of the masculine aspect. Here I have included two kings. I hope that you find their special messages to be both interesting and useful.

The King of Wands is creative and visionary. He rules with intuition and inspiration. We can count on this king to bring new ideas successfully into the world. When we act passionately about our own vision, and do things to bring that vision into reality, we are expressing the energy of the King of Wands. The American Kestrel is symbolic of creativity and intuition. This beautiful little falcon is quick and agile, and committed to whatever task it undertakes. It is perched on the Common Hazel tree, which was traditionally used to make wands and staffs for chiefs and rulers. More information about the symbolism in this card is included in the book that accompanies the deck.

The King of Pentacles represents a lifetime of work and service, which manifests as success and achievement in the material world. He is deeply grounded and earthly, and he is dedicated to all that is sacred in our world. He demonstrates to us the importance of maintaining high standards in all that we do, and the importance of being good caretakers of our planet. Symbolically, the grouse is an earthy bird that represents the sacred spiral of life. On the card, the grouse is perched on the blackberry bush. Blackberries are symbolic of money and protection, as well as other meanings relevant to the King of Pentacles. Above the grouse hangs the elm tree. The elm has always been associated with being well-grounded, and it is an expression of earth energies.