By Sarah Taylor
In this week’s reading, you have assumed the mantle of magician — one who brings forth through magic. As a magician, you have set something in motion that is being distilled as it travels forward, coming to rest in the vessel held by the King of Cups. In fact, if you look at all three cards in sequence from left to right, it very much seems like a game of pass the parcel, the central figure taking something from the figure in the card to her left, turning, and passing it to the king in the card to her right.
Let’s chart the evolution of this journey through the cards.
Look at the figure in the Eight of Staffs (Wands). The hand position adopted in this card and in the King of Cups is a symbolic one and appears throughout the Xultun Tarot deck. It represents birth, the hands opening away from the body creating a canal through which something is given form.
The figure in the Eight of Staffs puts himself in a position to receive what he has also just birthed. What is coming towards him might seem as if it has appeared from ‘somewhere else’, but he is responsible for its manifestation.
Tarot is adept at showing us what lies in the shadow — those things that we cannot see and therefore are not yet able to own. Here, I feel it mirrors to us the attitude, and position, we might adopt if we were to realise that the energy hurtling towards us in one form or another is one that sprung from our own actions. Staffs represent erotic, creative force. They are felt rather than known by the mind; our bodies are our best detectors of Staffs energy when it is activated.
In the Eight of Staffs, there is an unleashing of erotic, and therefore potentially highly creative, energy that is flying towards our protagonist, who is also the generator of that force. It has yet to take shape clearly in concrete form, but he can feel and ‘see’ it coming, and is kneeling, opening himself for the moment that it returns to his hands and he can start shaping it.
This moment of shaping happens in the Two of Staffs next door. The Two of Staffs is associated with personal empire building (the creation of your own world), and here the figure reaches one hand back towards the eight staffs, while her body spans the space between two mountains, and reaches forward with the other, in the direction in which her body is facing. The two staffs seem to form a gateway that frames her experience. She is also kneeling, but her arms and the object in her left hand suggest that she has internalised and grounded the momentum of the staffs in the previous card.
And, finally, she hands over the results of her creation to the King of Cups, who stretches out his vessel to her, his hands also opening to the birth of something. Cups are feelings. The outpouring of energy results in an inflow of feeling and a sense of something coming up from the depths of the unconscious that, too, is feeling-based.
Whereas the two figures in the Staffs cards are close to the ground, the King sits above the ground, connected to it by the jaguar’s tail that forms his throne. The jaguar is the animal who bridges matter and spirit. The King, therefore, is the authority bridging these two worlds — which makes sense given his focus is on bringing something feeling-based to light. Something that, until now, was in the world of spirit, or shadow.
The darkness emerges into light, through the receptacle of Heart. What is implied: to give it form, to ground it in the reality of your own existence. You are, and have, the authority to do this, and it takes authority — the power of personal authority — to confer meaning onto something that would otherwise remain unconnected to you.
Root yourself in your connection, as ruler, to the Authority from which all worldly experience springs. Sit fully in the knowledge that you are bringing to yourself, in distilled form, a vessel of gold: the heart-based manifestation of your own creativity.
Astrology/Elemental correspondences: Eight of Staffs (Mercury in Sagittarius), Two of Staffs (Mars in Aries), The King of Cups (the fiery aspect of water)
If you want to experiment with tarot cards and don’t have any, we provide a free tarot spread generator using the Celtic Wings spread, which is based on the traditional Celtic Cross spread. This article explains how to use the spread.