I've settled down here with my cup of tea to type out the reading I did about an hour ago. I wasn't sure which spread I wanted to use, and *almost* created my own…but I wasn't feeling quite that inspired. So I found one on a great website, Furious Horde, called "Hallows: A Samhain Spread." The site also offers an Ancestor Spread as a companion to this one, however I'll save that for another moment! I've slightly altered the Samhain spread to add a couple of extra cards, but it goes something like this:
2 3 4
5 6 7 8
1: The Moon - Major influences accompanying you into the New Year
2: The Path - A glimpse into the very near future
3: The Lantern - What is currently engaging your attention and drawing you forward
4: The Mask - What illusions you are maintaining for yourself or others (could be for positive reasons)
5: The Bones - A reflection of ancestry, family, culture, heritage, etc. What relics do you keep as symbols, and what purpose do they serve?
6: The Bonfire - What needs to be cleansed and offered to the fire in order to move into the New Year?
7: The Veil - What is being revealed about your deep self?
8: The Ancient Ones - Guidance offered from Spirit/Guides/Ancestors.
9: Bottom card of the deck - Additional influences
10: Top card of the deck - Additional influences
I used my Wildwood Tarot deck (Mark Ryan, John Matthews, Will Worthington; Sterling Ethos 2011). With the addition of the two extra cards, the shape is rather like an arrow head!
Card 1, the Moon: 5 of Bows ("Empowerment"). I do believe that I've been in the process of "finding my power" for a while now. I feel empowered by having reconnected this year (after 6 or 7 years) with what feels like my purpose in many ways, or at least involves nurturing the gifts I came to this life with (specifically spirit-related things). It has presented a series of "challenges" that I've been diving head-first into, and ultimately enjoying and learning a lot from. The energy created from all of this has been propelling me forward.
Card 2, the Path: 9 of Bows ("Respect"). The Woodwose sits front and center on this card, asking me if I have what it takes to battle onwards. Only time will tell (this is, after all, the "near future" card) but I already know that I do. Challenges are not for the weak-hearted or weak-minded. In order to progress, you must demonstrate the ability to trust in the path, even when you can't see very far ahead, and to respect the experiences you have, and the guides that teach you (in whatever form they may take). I must respect myself, and in turn give respect to others. I think this card is also about not letting myself feel "walked on" by situations or by people. If you pack up and go home at the first sign of struggle, you aren't ready for the journey.
Card 3, the Lantern: Ace of Bows ("Spark of Life"). A door has opened before me, and I've been drawn over the threshold. Bows represent creativity and energy, and in a lot of ways I feel like I'm dealing with harnessing my own energy, and considering the potential that's available when I learn to focus and direct it. Last week I had a dream that I was full of energy, but I needed to learn how to manipulate it so that it could be used for healing. I do feel rather like a baby, so the Ace is fitting. I'm just becoming aware of how much energy I have at my disposal, and how to work with it…which is a whole new path that is leading me on.
Card 4, the Mask: 4 of Stones ("Protection"). This is an interesting card to appear. It took me some time to ponder it, but when I started focusing more intently on the details of the images in the card, things started to click into place. I thought of how much I don't voice my thoughts and feelings - in a sense the fawn represents my inner workings, while everyone else just sees the stony exterior. Jorge always asks me what I'm thinking because I often don't realize how much I don't share with others. Is it a form of protection? It could be sometimes, when I don't want to upset others with my own concerns or worries, or because I think that by managing my concerns on my own they'll somehow be easier to deal with than if I include someone else. And that definitely qualifies as a mask. In fact that is something that my Mom used to always do. She'd say "If I don't ask, I'd never know what's really going on inside you!" Really I'm often unaware of how much I ponder in silence. So I am making an effort to be more conscious of this tendency.
Card 5, the Bones: The World Tree. Hm. Another interesting card to appear. Yggdrasil, the World Tree, has been a recurring theme this past year. And does it get any more ancestral than that?? Several months ago I had a dream: there was an impending sense of doom, like the world was ending. Everyone was taking cover, and rather anxious. As people were leaving the town center, I was walking toward it, and I ended up face-to-trunk with a great, pale tree. I sensed it was very old, and dying. I knew I had to knock on the trunk, though when I did so, the world might end. But I had to knock, and so I did. When I knocked on the trunk, it was simply like the sun rising. Nothing ended, nothing died. The tree was simply reborn. For the rest of the night the name "Yggdrasil" wove its way through my mind. Yggdrasil is a common place for shamans to visit, no matter the culture, though the term is specifically from Norse mythology. That brings in another important element. A significant part of my ancestry is from German and Nordic Europe, though I'd never really felt connected to that part of my family history. In fact having been raised around the native American community, American indigenous culture was probably most important to me growing up. But I had another dream several weeks after the Yggdrasil dream: I was sitting (at night) at a gathering, wondering who I might connect with, or if anyone would like me. Then I saw a guy, blonde, kind of Vikingy, with a necklace. I held the necklace in my hand, and it was very native American, beaded in various colors, almost in a sharp horseshoe shape. As I went to the guy it changed to metal/chain, but in the same form. I felt very connected to this, like I was remembering part of my identity. I felt the fierceness of a warrior, and knew that I would be the person running toward the battle rather than away from it. As a woman. I felt the connection to the norse/Viking people, my ancestry. I thought that it's interesting how the native bead necklace, also representing a big part of who I am, turned into the metal necklace. Like it was showing a connection, transmutation. It felt very right. So again this Nordic connection popped up in my dream, and this time there was a flow from one spiritual tradition (not ancestral) to another (that is ancestral). I read a bit about Odin, and felt very connected to that grandfather, wanderer, shaman, warrior combination. Odin also hung from Yggdrasil for 9 days, a sacrifice in order to receive the wisdom of the runes. So there is some great circle involved in this series of stories and events. Another aspect that relates to this card and position is my mother, who is clairvoyant and intuitive, and a counselor by trade. It was she that introduced me to Tarot at a young age. The maze on the card leads to the heart of the World Tree. There is something related to a spiritual heritage involved here. As a final note, this is a card that came up for me as I was doing a reading about my potential with mediumship, which also seems to relate to the Ace of Bows, for me.
Card 6, the Bonfire: 5 of Arrows reversed ("Frustration"). I use reversals with this deck, though in the context of this spread the only two reversals (this being one of them) don't differ greatly from their upright meaning. First of all, I'm a Capricorn, which is symbolized by the goat, so right away I see myself flying down a hill against a wave of arrows whipping my way. On one hand I feel this card is calling me to release my frustrations, many of which are mental. Attitude is everything, right? What purpose does internalizing frustrations serve? It serves none, other than to eat away at me, creating sleepless nights, and stressful days. That is certainly worth doing away with. This card also relates back to the 5 of Bows (Empowerment). I can't please everyone, so I shouldn't try. I don't always need to be the peacemaker (related to the 4 of Stones). And if I'm grounded, determined, balanced and focused, the arrows coming my way will somehow miss their mark.
Card 7, the Veil: the Blasted Oak reversed. The second of the two reversals in this spread. The position of the card indicates that this reversal refers to my inner workings. I'm experiencing "big change" on an interior level. I've had the burst of insight (the lightening bolt) which has brought me a whole new world of possibility that I'd never considered before, or explored. There's a certain freedom in that, like being reborn, in a way. The traditional RWS card features a crown which relates to the crown chakra. Mine has been open and tingling with activity for a while now, which relates to the Ace of Bows. The insights themselves have been spiritual in nature. This year I've delved back into working with the cards, experienced the awakening of my 6th and 7th chakras, developed my clairsentience to the point of being able to begin exploring psychic readings (without the use of cards), and have begun to experience mediumship, which has been really cool, interesting, eye-opening, humbling, and sort of exciting, in a muted sort of way. Who knew?
Card 8, the Ancient Ones: Knight of Arrows ("Hawk"). In the Wildwood, this Knight is represented by the Hawk. The Hawk card in the Druid Animal Oracle (Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm, Will Worthington; Fireside 1994) has made repeat appearances for me all summer long, and now into the fall, so it was interesting to see it show up here and in this form. The Hawk is about seeing the big picture. In the Druid Animal Oracle book, it says that the Hawk has the "ability to see life in perspective, free yourself from unnecessary baggage, connect to ancestral roots….Once you know where you've come from and where you're going, your life will be filled with inspiration and enthusiasm. You will sense a new day dawning and will be able to make decisions with confidence (pg 42-43)." It also mentions, "Ancestral wisdom lives deep in our psyches (pg 44)." So to me it speaks of a new beginning whose roots go much further back than the present, which fits so well with everything I've been experiencing this past year. Another interesting bit of information about the Hawk is that they were used by Druids to explore the spirit world. Why is the Hawk a Knight? Apparently in Arthurian legend, Gawain's name means "Hawk of May" and Galahad's name means "Hawk of Summer." The Druid Animal Oracle book states that "because of its ability to soar high in the air, the hawk is considered a solar bird and therefore provides a fitting name for these knights who typify the best qualities of courtliness and nobility - they are male solar heroes in quest of the feminine grail (pg 44)." So journeys and quests, perspective on the breadth of one's life/lives, the spirit-world, letting go of what wasn't working, new beginnings, connecting to my ancestral roots…yes. It makes sense and forms another beautiful circle of meaning.
Card 9, Bottom of the deck: 4 of Bows ("Celebration"). Contentment, balance, and most importantly the idea of "coming home" which has significance for me both in the past year, and in this spread.
Card 10, Top of the deck: the Wanderer. This card pretty much speaks for itself. I'm embarking on a new journey….well, it feels new, and yet in some way it's ancient. And in that way it relates closely to the Blasted Oak, the Ace of Bows, and the Knight of Arrows.
Whew!!! If you're still reading, you have earned a special place in my heart! That was quite a post. I would conclude with a numerological analysis of the spread….but I'm not sure I'm up for that much additional typing! So it was a great spread, and I'm so happy to have found it. It's given me a lot of food for thought, and I'll be coming back to it frequently during the week (and possibly months) ahead as I continue to ponder it. I hope you haven't fallen asleep yet, though I wouldn't blame you if you did, as it's quite late, and definitely past my own bedtime. So off I go, sweet dreams, and Happy Halloween!
Click here to follow First Earth Tarot on Facebook!