The Weekend Tarot Reading — Sunday, June 9, 2013

By Sarah Taylor

What do you feel when you see these cards? Tell me. What do you feel? Once you’ve identified your feelings, how about this: what was the thought on which your feelings were predicated? And how were you feeling before you had the thought? Was there a significant shift in how you were feeling before you saw the reading, and how you felt afterwards?

If so, then perhaps you have come away with a greater sense of the power that your thoughts about what you see have in affecting your perception of reality.

The Tower, Three of Swords, Eight of Swords -- RWS Tarot deck.
The Tower, Three of Swords, Eight of Swords from the Rider-Waite Smith Tarot deck, created by A E Waite and illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith. Click on the image for a larger version.

Thoughts create beliefs — a belief being a thought that has been repeated to the point where it isn’t as immediately open to enquiry. It can become entrenched like the grooves of a record, which is only capable of playing the same song, over and over again.

If that song is a song of fear, one that drowns out your connection to what lies at the very heart of you and separates you from your Self, then you have a choice. You can stick with the song you know — predictable, familiar, conjuring equally predictable and familiar feelings. Or you can see the song for what it is and the effect it has on you each time you get it out and play it. When you can do that, your options expand and you open yourself to freedom.

Take a look at the cards again. It may be that all is not what it at first seems.

On the left there is The Tower, in the centre the Three of Swords, and on the right the Eight of Swords: one major arcana card, which points to an archetypal experience, followed by two cards that describe the thoughts about that experience.

The Tower lies at the foundation of the reading — it has already happened in one form or another. When The Tower has been activated in our lives, we live through an upheaval over which we have little or no control. It occurs when a structure we have built — whether literal or metaphorical — has moved so far out of integrity with our essential selves that it can no longer exist in its current form.

The soul seeks freedom and creativity, and it cannot live fully in the confines of an inflexible and constricting ivory tower. In a misguided attempt to create a place of safety, where we crown ourselves kings over our lives, we find out sooner or later that the ivory becomes grey and lifeless, the skies surrounding it rendered black and without a source of light.

Thus we are overthrown by a higher authority that sees beyond the walls we’ve constructed around us: the divine breaks into consciousness with full impact. When the lightning strikes, it is the lightning of the transpersonal. What falls releases an element of the psyche that has been trapped or isolated by our actions, however well-intentioned, and the energy to the card will very often be felt collectively as well as personally.

In the second card, the foundation of The Tower is given its context — that of relationship. The Three of Swords is typically a love triangle of one form or another, whether personal, familial, professional, or the divided allegiances of communities, governments and cultures. Remember that Swords are thoughts, though — not emotions and not material reality. In the Three of Swords, we witness the belief that we can lay claim to love in the face of perceived competition. By asserting ownership over something that cannot be controlled, we strike to the heart of the love itself. We are not the victims as much as love is. Our limiting thoughts have wounded the very thing we wanted to have; the skies weep with us.

And so to the Eight of Swords. Looking at the swords around the bound and blindfolded figure, there are three swords at the left of the picture, a reflection of the Three of Swords. The figure is turned towards them, aware of their presence, but she cannot see the reality of her circumstances. This demonstrates an inability to see fully, or to recognise that, although the swords — her thoughts — feel familiar, what she is encountering is in fact different.

The Three of Swords is resonating. It has started to play its song, one that she has known before. Yet the song is in her mind; it is not an emotional or physical reality. If she were to exercise her right to freedom, she could remove her blindfold and see the threat for what it is: static blades, unmanned by others, points embedded in the ground. Weapons of her imagination.

Astrologically, we are entering the energy of the grand water trine now, which stretches over the next season and beyond. Water in tarot is the domain of the Cups suit, and it represents both the emotions and the unconscious.

When we move into the deeper waters of our psyche, our conscious mind can interpret this sense of fluidity as a threat, and it throws up all of the thought patterns that have become entrenched as a way of defending against it. Thus we meet the Cups energy with Swords. We try to think ourselves out of a sensation that asks for no-thought. We do this by running tried and tested thought patterns, because that is what our mind defaults to. We bring out our old records and we play them.

But our feeling natures work differently. They move with the beat of our hearts; they are attuned to a wisdom that transcends thought. The old patterns no longer apply. All the old patterns do is to keep us in the landscape of the Eight of Swords: blind to our power, trapped in the shallows while the sea is waiting a little further beyond to welcome us.

Freedom is right in front of you, if you are able to see your prison for what it is. It is the prison of your thoughts and your beliefs, and what you tell yourself based on them. What has happened in the past only continues to happen in the ideas you have about it. Look at the thoughts that hold you hostage, bring them out into the open and talk about them, and disarm them.

Be prepared to see another way, and another way is open to you.

Astrology/Elemental correspondences: The Tower (Mars), Three of Swords (Saturn in Libra), Eight of Swords (Jupiter in Gemini)

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.

14 thoughts on “The Weekend Tarot Reading — Sunday, June 9, 2013”

  1. thank YOU, sarah…
    if you had not asked – so insistently and incessantly (in the first para itself) – i would not have dared to look.
    if i had not looked, i would not have seen.
    if i had not seen, i would have missed one of the most important lesson (guidance) i needed.


  2. biren – I love what you’ve written! That makes a lot of sense to me. Thank you!

    trinity – That does indeed feel like a physical manifestation of The Tower. What is less visible would be the internal manifestations of it, and what they mean in terms of the soul’s growth.

    wandering_yeti – Yes, that feels like another valid interpretation, and the mirroring of the personal with the collective is powerful.

    Judith – You’re welcome! 🙂

  3. dear sarah,
    i am a complete novice, and ‘blind’ as in difficult for me to see and think in images… or understand symbols (symbolism)…
    yet… this is what i saw in the 8 of swords: that boxed inside the wall of swords, and blindfolded, i saw a way out… as i ‘felt’ the water lying around my feet… and followed it.
    it told me closed eyes is a boon during this time… not being able to see things is good… lest i see i am boxed in. the way out is in following my ‘feelings’ – feeling my feelings, and following them. that, is the way out.

  4. Yikes! I’ve been in that reading before and I never want to go back there again. In reference to the Tower card, in 2011 from the start of the year and till after mid year, a friend of mine was regularly getting the Tower card. Well her mother died in May. Her house is built high off the ground and she lives in a very isolated place. So she accidentally locked herself in the toilet and couldn’t get out the door or get any assistance. So she had to climb out the small window and drop to the ground from a fair height, and unfortunately broke her back and her wrist from which she is still recovering. An unfortunate literal manifestation of the Tower card.

  5. This looks like a picture of a recurring dream that always wears different clothes, but has the same theme: walking out of a building where I can’t find a niche, a building holding the culture I started to grow up in, the Big Box, the maze of metal, McCulture. Once as I left the Box I encountered a TV screen the size of an outer wall of a Big Box store. I woke up looking for the OFF button, but remembered a path around the side of the TV where the sun was rising. Another time I found a baby green dragon in a garbage bin, right around the same time I began my Tai Ji practices. As far as I can tell the green dragon represents integration, strength, flexibility, a sense of the flow of time, the green life of Earth.

    I feel like I’ve been here many times. It’s as though my dreams were preparing me to grok the situation on the ground when the crumbling phase of the Empire I grew up in started to get strong enough to shake me out of my TV-sugar-fat-grease-salt-more-sugar-and-TV trance. The Box makes believe it’s the Mother and God Almighty Father of the consuming congregation. It makes us so dependent on things produced by machines we don’t remember how to live without it. It blinds us to the source of its own materials; LOOK: WE MADE THIS THEREFORE YOU OWE US. But the Box didn’t make the metals forged in stars, or the DNA spirals that organized themselves, or the plants that coexisted with humans and other critters before all the Boxes cut us up. On and on it’s the idea illustrated in the play of Orestes: Athena making things up to justify the lies of Zeus: in other words ideas sprouting from the thunder kings and developed by lawyers to keep us in thrall to the artificial dragon. In other words the lies profit has to tell in order to get us to play along with a game that primarily benefits the profiteers.

    Our culture is an idea. The sense that we need to drive cars and live in boxes and destroy forests to make food for humans is an idea. If we’ve done those things our whole lives and never practiced anything else THE TOWER is freaky. Sorrow sets in when the trance of the desert falls. The woman is so used to being in the desert she might hack up the forest in fear of its clinging spirits if she suddenly found a different kind of abundance that that which she knew before the Tower fell. Our memories of the fall didn’t grok the medicine of the Tower, also known as the dance of Shiva: Shiva is lord of dance AND destroyer of worlds because movement shakes loose blockages that keep us bound to unhappy yesterdays.

  6. So timely, Sarah — yet another jewel of insight. Deep appreciation for your wisdom today.

  7. Thank you, everyone!

    I see this reading as the contrast that comes up with what is new — for how can we recognise the new without seeing it against what we already know? And how can we make new choices unless our circumstances present us with situations that are familiar to us and where we have made the old choices many times before?

    This requires action on our parts. It doesn’t happen by itself. The key here is the Eight of Swords: to find a way to liberate ourselves from the bondage of self.

  8. Hi Sarah.
    Another unbelievable reading. W.O.W.
    Thank you for your incredible insight and gift of it again and again in this column.

    My first take on seeing the cards: I *felt* like, to look at them, my heart was breaking on a lot of fronts.

    You make me see that if it is breaking, it is trying to break open to be different from where it was not working.

    What I was feeling just before I saw the cards: vulnerable but also grateful that love, so simple and yet so profound, is healing, and that I feel grateful for its presence in my life
    AND that this week has been scary in its upheaval –way scary, uncomfortable scary, crouch under the table scary- and I hope it repairs and calms and gets nicer again this week.

    And, perhaps I was not looking at the upheaval as a good thing. (Nope, not at all.) But you shine a light on it that it actually might open up possibly much needed new ways of thinking
    about things/people/events when they are being shifted. (I might yet find the way to open my eyes and not be consumed by the upheaval. But transformed instead.

  9. Amazing Sarah. “Look at the thoughts that hold you hostage, bring them out into the open and talk about them, and disarm them. Be prepared to see another way, and another way is open to you.”

    Sounds like the convo I started on Friday’s Oracle. This was very helpful.

    I had a dream last night that this guy got out of his car in front of me and started uncontrollably vomiting and having huge diarrhea. Sorry for the visual. But I recognized instantly the psychic release I had in the dream.

  10. Sarah, thanks for another beautiful reading. I appreciate your talent so much – I really look forward to these weekly readings and selfishly hope that they go on forever!

  11. Yes. I have been working with this so much over the last months, and having been rocked from that constricting tower again my perception of reality is deeply changing. Though it’s not easy to throw off that blindfold and see things as they really are. I’ve never read such a brilliant description of the whole process of the tower, Sarah, very helpful. Thank you for this amazing piece.

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