9 of Swords: Grief is a Shade of Love

Nine of Swords, this card fell out of my deck rather spectacularly and the whole night I felt like I couldn’t sleep till I posted it. So whoever needs this message, I hope it is well received.


Grief, despair, sadness only passes through release. Allow yourself that good cry, that time to flat out weep-then and only then can you seek true healing, comfort, relief. The Valerian herb also reassure that the comfort is out there, as you release reach out: to spirit, to family, to community, to that place in yourself that holds you best.

Know that grief is a love process.

New Moon In Virgo & Solar Eclipse Transition Cross

A new moon AND a solar eclipse in the same weekend?

Yeah this calls for a major spread.

I don’t often whip the celtic cross spread out but seeing as how my life is undergoing major shift, whirlwind fast and sudden, all in the middle of a new moon cycle and a solar eclipse. I don’t see why not. Oh and by the way Mercury is about to go into retrograde in my sign in less than a week.

I’m not freaking out, you’re freaking out.

Mercury retrograde in Libra is, yes, about reviewing aspects of how we relate, how we measure up and how we find our way to harmony through the temporary turbulence.

So let’s see!


The Suit of Wands dominates this spread, which figures with my recent need for refocusing and regrounding herbs and crystals for all this scattering?scattered? energy in my life. Look at all those reversals! Which aren’t necessarily bad, but it fits with the scatterbrained nature of my life at the moment.

  1. Current Situation: FOUR OF PENTACLES (reverse) – Upright, the woman in this picture is secure, in perfect balance, all her resources in alignment with purpose. In shadow this relates to my current half in half out feeling. I notice the house in the background and I remember that I was just remarking to myself how nice it will be to have my own consistent space again. Spaces of transition are a challenge for me but I understand I have to make it through, holding on to the pieces of the puzzles I do have and letting some of the ones I had go. Oya says keep whirling, stop panicking, I got you! Maferefun Oya!
  2. Cross/Challenge: KNIGHT OF SWORDS – Knight cards are often ones that call for balance of the properties of the suit. Thinking about what’s in my life right now, I’m being asked to not question everything, release the anxiousness that hits me when I don’t have the answers, and watch in order to learn.
  3. Retrospective (Distant Past): NINE OF WANDS (reverse) – I been through some thaangs. A gentle reminder that I’m way past this stage and not to carry that trauma forward. There’s no need to sit behind my fence of wands anymore.
  4. Recent Past: THE EMPRESS – Rootedness, connection with the natural world. I don’t think I’m being asked to let this particular energy go. I will need it going forward I think, or rather the lessons learned in this time of quiet I’m moving from. Also peep the Venus sign… Venus just moved out of retrograde. Ha.
  5. Best Outcome: THREE OF WANDS – New frontiers ahead! Be visionary, be creative, be open and have the widest view of the picture. I’m okay with this… I’m excited really!
  6. Immediate Future: EIGHT OF WANDS (reverse) – Let’s go, let’s go… or nah. Because look at that tree, remaining unbothered by the whirlwind activity around it. So yeah, stuff is happening, but my success is in my rootedness and ability to grow in the whirlwind. Oya and Shango out here in their element.
  7. Self-Vision: SIX OF WANDS – I’m feelin myself, I’m feelin myself, I’m feelin I’m feelin I’m feelin myself…haha yes!
  8. Resources: FOUR OF SWORDS (reverse) – Time to keep still is no longer, I need to wake up and spot those swords hanging above my head before I fall on them.
  9. Concerns: TEMPERANCE – I don’t often get this card. Anyway, my concern is balance right now. Natural in the middle of major change and transition.
  10. New Visions: THE HIGH PRIESTESS (reverse) – Finishing off with a major arcana in reverse, huh? Okay, spirits. Her moon is always in transition, her eyes are shielded- her sight comes from within not without. Venus out of retrograde. Mercury going into retrograde. New moon in Virgo. Partial solar eclipse. Winds of swift change blow. And you know what? Even in reverse, even as her whole world is going topsy turvy she doesn’t register it beyond a bit of blood rushing to her head. Her wisdom is from within her, not what the world is doing. Bless.

I’m a little in love with this reading. May I take this energy into the next moon cycle!

deck review: The Herbal Tarot

RATING: ●●●●○

Quickly becoming my most used deck, I’ve fallen in love with The Herbal Tarot. One of my favorite things about this deck is that it was co-created by two herbalists passionate about herbs and their use in our daily life. It’s a treat to be able to handle a deck that brings together my love of both tarot and herbs and does so respectfully and with great insight.

Blurb from USGames:

The deck was drawn by artist Candice Cantin under the direction of herbalist Michael Tierra. According to the creators, “The Herbal Tarot is a tool for studying the psycho-physical energy of herbs. Herbs, when joined with the tarot, can provide a symbolic material manifestation to accompany a specific divination. This will encourage communication with the subconscious for which the tarot cards are especially powerful.”

33The deck is very obviously borne of the Rider Waite tradition and thus very useful for beginners looking to begin tarot with a widely studied system. The pictures are rather more charming to me than the traditional Rider Waite deck, but I’m heavily biased by the presence of herbs and the resulting cohesive color palette evoked by the artist here. The card stock is of standard sturdiness and flexibility and is easy to hold and shuffle (and I have tiny hands so this is very important to me). The image on the back of the cards is a reversible gorgeous rendering of rosemary- which is another one of my favorite things and such a great choice of herb to go on the back of tarot cards.

I love the art, evocative of the standard Rider-Waite style without annoying me by looking exactly like it. There also seem to be some ethnically ambiguous brown people in the art! Whether that’s purely an accident of the artist or color printing, I’m choosing not to care because that is always important to me. There is absolutely something to be said about seeing an image of yourself in your deck. I know some tarot folks get annoyed about borders, I’m personally fine either way but I can see why borderless cards would be attractive. In this case particularly, as the art has the traditional white space border margin and a medium size colored border around the art that matches the palette of the card image. This I wouldn’t care about so much except that there is no cohesiveness- i.e I wish all the major arcana would be for example, bordered in green, and all the cups bordered in blue, etc. That irks me depending on my mood but it is a minor quibble.

23While it is impossible for an artist to render too much herb detail on cards this size (2.75″ x 4.75″), I think they do pretty well- and folks with a knowledge of herbs will be able to generally identify most of the herbs here without looking at the keyword at the top of the card. My one critique of the herb names is that on some cards, they chose to use white for the herb name instead of the black that’s used on most of the deck which made it very difficult to read.

Otherwise, the correspondence of herbs to tarot cards is impressive, made even more so when you look them up in the accompanying LWB which gives common name of the herbs, the scientific name (important! to avoid confusion as some herbs can share common names), and their uses for the body, mind, and/or spirit. It also provides information on the “Divinatory Meaning” of the card and its reverse energy. There is an accompanying book, I suppose a BWB, big white book, that includes more information than the LWB like astrological correspondence, herb preparation, and affirmation. I’m seriously thinking I might purchase it as I go deeper into herbs, the reviews out there for the book are mostly positive.

I emphasize herbs here, but I do so only because well it is The Herbal Tarot, and I love herbs and their incredible energy in various healing work. However, you do not have to be an herbalist or even interested in herbs to be charmed and enjoy using this deck. I’ve found this deck to be incisive and clear on the purely tarot side.

RATING: ●●●●○

Deck Interview: Grounded In Conversation w/ The Herbal Tarot

Received the idea from the littleredtarot blog, I don’t know how it didn’t occur to me to be the first thing I do with a tarot deck. Ask the deck what I’m to learn from it! The questions are the same but the layout modified to my own preferences as per my intuition.

1.Tell me about yourself. What is your most important characteristic?
PAGE OF SWORDS (Dill) – this deck comes to me at a time where I’m facing challenge and upheaval and must be at the ready with answers. However, this deck will provide answers where it is meant to and guidance should I choose to be attentive and do the necessary work in the spirit of honesty, perseverance, and truth. There is much to be learned should I accept the challenges for what they are, potential lessons. This is an exciting prospect, if a bit anxiety inducing, but it’s in line with where I am and affirms my rather impulse buy of this deck, and why it’s been so well tuned so far. I also love that it feels like it wants to grow with me. I bet a year from now, I ask it these same questions and its lessons will have evolved- or rather I will have- to match my situation.

2. What are your strengths as a deck?
ACE OF SWORDS (Chamomile) – Notably, chamomile is one of my ‘peace, be still’ herbs. As such it’s always chamomile tea if I need to quiet myself or cool my tendency to fire. In any case, on to the card reading- this is obviously a continuation of the first question. There is truth and knowledge to be found through this deck, but it will require my being attentive and willing to do the work as I move through a rather trying transition period. Support is offered should I seek it and use it.

3. What are your limits as a deck?
THE HIGH PRIESTESS (Peony) (REVERSE) – I’ll admit this one is hard to accept. The work I’ll have to do is internal work, work that ironically requires more stillness than action. Not all my answers will be here, but in meditation with myself in order to get through these challenges. I have the tools with me, I just need to have enough of a care to look. It is a message I’ve received before, be still and move with the necessary flow.

4. What are you here to teach me?
FIVE OF PENTACLES (Mugwort) (REVERSE) – Again with the lessons on getting through setbacks and struggles. I get it! I get it! It’s here for me. I must look to the abundance in the gifts from the earth. That and it is temporary, these lows are temporary.

5. How can I best learn and collaborate with you?
THE EMPRESS (Dong Quai) (REVERSE) – Yes, that thing about abundance and the earth’s gifts? No, really. This is the herbal tarot, and I was drawn to it for that reason. All my medicine comes from the earth, as I utilize the deck, I must also remember and use by my medicine.

6. What is the potential outcome of our working relationship?
NINE OF WANDS (Bayberry Bark) – Movement with discernment as well as a strength gained through surviving strife. A knowledge of my own potential awaits me as I learn with this deck.

Whew! Well this journey is going to be even more interesting than I thought.