“February is the new January,” a friend of mine wrote on Facebook today. “So what are you going to bring into your life with this New Year?” She was being tongue-in-cheek (at least a little) but she was also speaking to the very real thing that is Resolution Fatigue. After that burst of energy on January 1, in which we make all kinds of promises, we tend to give up or burn out on all those big changes we’re attempting by February 1. But what if February 1 gave us a whole new do-over?
The thought made me smile, because as someone who follows a version of the Wheel of the Year, February 1 has always been the time I set my goals for the new year. I gave up January 1 resolutions a while back when I realized how easy it was to get caught up in the cultural Zeitgeist and make promises that I really had no interest in or intention of keeping. February 1, the feast of Imbolc or Brighid, feels more authentic to me. I’ve had time to sit with the new year and ask myself about what I really want to bring forth. Also, since the Earth is beginning to wake up and move towards Spring, it just feels right to plan for what I will plant and nurture over the next turning of the seasons.
The Winter Sabbats in general are a little odd in Texas — it’s a bit jarring to do Winter Solstice in shorts, or celebrate the “first stirrings of Spring” when it’s been 75 degrees for several weeks straight– and Imbolc is no exception. Classically, this Sabbat marks the time when sheep would begin lambing — the first creatures to do so in the new year — and the beginning of the end of Winter. Dedicated to Brighid, Goddess of poetry, smithcraft, and healing, this Sabbat also asks us to honor our creative pursuits, set goals for self-improvement and growth, and begin to turn from the internal work of Winter to the external work of Spring and Summer.
The return of the light, begun at Solstice, continues and the days grow ever lighter. As the Earth leaves behind the long, dark nights of Winter, so we too are asked what darkness we are willing to leave behind, and what lights we will kindle going forward.
If you’d like some guidance as you do your Imbolc workings, try this awesome Tarot spread from Ethony.
Welcome to the Blue Blood or Blue Snow Moon! January brings us not only two Full Moons — today’s Blue Moon being the second — but also a Lunar Eclipse in Leo. We are working with some powerful energy right now. And if all that Lunar Power weren’t enough to get us amped up for Spring, we’re also on the cusp of Imbolc/Brighid — the Sabbat where we set our creative goals and get prepared to manifest beautiful things in the coming Spring.
This Full Moon, amplified by the eclipse, asks us to think about what we want to bring forth this Spring — and in so doing, to think of the things that we can let go. What relationships, habits, or beliefs are holding us back? Where can we level up, take a risk, or try a new way of being?
To support you during this Blue Moon, I’ve drawn three cards from The Vintage Wisdom Oracle by Victoria Moseley.
Take a moment to focus on your breath and center yourself. Trust that you will receive the guidance from the cards which fosters your highest good, this Blue Moon and beyond.
Choose which of the card(s) below you feel most drawn to.
When you are ready, scroll down to see the revealed meanings of the cards.
Now scroll down to see the meaning of the card(s) you chose.
If you chose Card #1 (under the Pink Goddess), your card is Transition. This card indicates that you are moving from one stage or chapter of your life into another. It is a time for something to end so that something new can begin. Trust that the Universe is supporting you in this transition, and that you are moving into a new phase of life that will better nurture your soul — even if the transition is unwelcome or challenging, it is opening the door to a new way of life. Allow for trust and expansion as you move into this new phase. Be willing to honestly evaluate what is no longer serving you in life and let it go so that you may receive all the blessings of this new chapter.
If you have chosen Card #2 (under the white Goddess), your card is Hope. This card reminds you that even if there have been setbacks and obstacles along your path, there is always a new day. Keep on moving forward, and let Hope awaken your courage, strength, and determination. Hope can also come into your life when it’s time to re-evaluate what you are hoping for — how are you working towards the things you most want, and are the things you want those that can serve your highest good? Hope is a powerful emotion, and provides light in even the darkest times. Hold onto Hope to take you though difficult times.
If you chose Card #3 (under the blue Goddess), your card is Expression. This card invites you to explore your creativity and creative expression, including — especially — the things that may block it or prevent you from expressing yourself. Perhaps there are old stories you tell yourself about what you can and can’t do, or maybe you unfavorably compare the things you create with what others create. Be willing to create something just for the pleasure of expressing yourself, instead of worrying about being “good enough.” Are there ares of creative expression you have been afraid to try? Consider engaging in a new creative pursuit or picking up an old one that you have let go by the wayside. Your creative expression, whatever it is, is one way you show your Divinity to the world.
The Wheel of Fortune is, for lack of a better word, something of a persnickety card. While it portends motion or movement of some kind, it also seems to stop short of really telling you what’s coming. It tells you that something is about to happen, but stops short of giving you a clue what’s coming. Instead, it reminds us that the Wheel continues to turn, the cycles roll forward, that change is the only constant.
The reinterpretation of The Wheel of Fortune in The Goddess Tarot has a bit of a different energy. Embodied in Lakshmi (sometimes spelled Laxmi), the Hindu Goddess of abundance and generosity, Fortune brings messages that, literally, Fortune is about to smile upon you. And yet this card also carries the message of The Wheel of Fortune too, indicating that fundamental change is imminent, that we all will occupy every point on the Wheel throughout our lives, and that change is the only constant.
When Lakshmi’s eagle comes into your reading, She is encouraging you to surrender to the inevitable ebb and flow of life. The Wheel may turn, but the hub — the Self — remains a stable center. Lakshmi/Fortune brings messages of important changes to come, and reminds you that you can fight change or move with it — but that even if we fight change, it will do its work. If you are unhappy with your situation, Lakshmi may come into your reading to tell you to be patient — your circumstances will change, as the Wheel inevitably turns.
Lakshmi/Fortune can also bring messages of literal changes of Fortune. Lakshmi is best known for her love of gold and all things luxurious, and for her willingness to share those riches with others. This card can indicate that a change in financial circumstances (for the better) is on the way. This can be the abundant harvest that follows hard work — Lakshmi also rules the Suit of Pentacles in this deck — or an unexpected windfall. And beyond monetary gain, this card can promise that one’s luck or fortune is about to change, that the querent is about to enter a new, more prosperous phase of life.
One of the things I like about this rendition of The Wheel of Fortune is that it feels more benevolent, more loving, and more deliberate. The classic Wheel of Fortune card can sometimes produce a little anxiety when it pops up in reading, as it speaks to the seemingly random and capricious motion of life and the universe. Lakshmi/Fortune feels more supportive. Rather than being told that you’re strapped to the Wheel and subject to the whims of Fate, this card seems to indicate that there is a benevolent, caring energy guiding that Wheel.
There’s a lot of discussion and debate about the role of Fate and Destiny when it comes to Tarot. Are the preset outcomes that we cannot avoid? Or do the cards merely show us most likely outcomes, which can be altered by free will and choice? Do we have to accept the inevitability of the outcome card, or is there more at work? As with so many things Tarot, the answer (at least for me, as a reader) is, “Well, it’s complicated.” But most readers I know, and I, do account for the external forces that are outside our control — and these forces are embodied in card X, The Wheel of Fortune.
Who is the Wheel of Fortune?
The Wheel of Fortune, perched between the personal journey into power and into ourselves represented by cards 0-IX and the forces of the outside world represented by cards XII-XXI, is in some ways the fulcrum of The Fool’s Journey. Representing the cycles of life, the inevitable turning of the seasons, the ways in which outside forces can exert great influence on our human lives, the Wheel of Fortune helps us to remember the interconnectedness of all life.
The figures at the corner of the card in the Rider-Waite Tarot represent the four fixes signs of the Zodiac: Aquarius, Taurus, Leo, and Scorpio. In the midst of this fixed, stable energ,y, the Wheel turns freely. It reminds us that there is an order to things, a process and a cycle, even when things seem random. The Wheel of Fortune can literally represent the twin forces of Fate and Fortune, along with the ways in which humans can seemingly move from the top of the world to the bottom and back again, in ways that can see capricious. The Wheel of Fortune symbolizes the cycles of life. and the ways in which unseen forces are at work behind the scenes of a situation.
When the Wheel of Fortune comes into a reading, you are being reminded that Divine Timing and universal forces are at work. This does not mean you are powerless, but simply that there is more happening than meets the eye. The Wheel of Fortune assures you that life is on the move, but that you shouldn’t just stand still and accept your hand — you are part of the forces that drive the Wheel. The Wheel also reminds us that there are seasons and cycles — hard seasons and rough times do not last, but similarly we will go through these hard seasons along with gentle and sweet seasons. It is all a cycle, and the Wheel can be a message of hope or a reminder to be grateful for all that we have, for these things can pass away.
The Wheel of Fortune can also come into a reading when we are feeling discouraged. This card reminds us that our trials will pass, that the Wheel will turn and we will be on top of the Wheel just as assuredly as we are sometimes on the bottom. This card encourages us to cultivate optimism — not in a “Just Think Positive” kind of way, which can be simplistic and even hurtful when things are genuinely hard, but in the sense that we remind ourselves that all these cycles inevitably turn, and that no matter how dark things seem, the dawn will eventually come.
For The Goddess Tarot, Kris Waldherr chose the Hindu Goddess Laskshmi (Laxmi), the personification of luck, fortune, and abundance. She brings a bit of a different energy to this card. Come back tomorrow to get to know Her!
The Hermit card encourages us to go within, to be guided by our own innermost light, to withdraw and connect with ourselves so that we can return to the world and operate from a place of empowerment. For The Goddess Tarot, Kris Waldherr eschewed the robed Hermit of the classical Tarot and instead chose the Chinese Moon Goddess Chang-O (Or Chang-E) to embody the Hermit and his call to contemplation. Fittingly, Waldherr also retitled the card Contemplation.
Chang-O was exiled to the Moon, as a result of her efforts to obtain divinity. On the Moon, her only companion is a white hare — the Rabbit in the Moon familiar to many of those well-versed in Chinese mythology. With only the hare to keep her company, Chang-O was drawn to seek Truth within herself, to contemplate Life’s mysteries, and to spend time in silence and contemplation.
When she appears in a reading, Chang-O calls upon us to mindfully and purposefully withdraw from the world around us. This is not a retreat born of fear or unwillingness to face issues, but instead a mindful withdrawal so that we can shut off the background noise and find what is True. I take Chang-O as an invitation to go deeper into spiritual practice, particularly contemplative practices such a meditation, prayer, labyrinth walking, journalling, or other solitary, mindful practices. She can also be a message that the “world is too much with” the querent — there may be many people giving their opinions, a lot of information coming in, and a lot of competing demands. Chang-O encourages us to listen to the small, still inner voice that we all have — our intuition, our gut, our connection to the Divine.
In our modern world, it can be difficult or impossible to go on physical retreat or withdraw from the world and its everyday demands. Chang-O reminds us that even if we cannot physically withdraw, we can set aside time to be still and quiet with ourselves. She invites us to cultivate that quiet and contemplative time, even if it’s just a few minutes each day sitting in silence with a candle or a short walk with meditative music in our headphones at lunch.
Perhaps the most important message of Chang-O/Contemplation is that this withdrawal must not be permanent, even though Chang-O’s own exile was lifelong. Rather, she encourages us to withdraw so that we can, in time, re-enter the the world feeling more calm, more centered, more sure, and more empowered.
The greatest journey, so it has been said, is the one within. Up to this point in our journey through the Major Arcana, the focus has been on forward movement and claiming all the various facets of our Power. It’s been an active, sometimes fast-moving journey. But here comes the Hermit to change all that.
We have just dared to pry open the jaws of the subconscious with the Strength card. This represents a turning point in the Fool’s Journey. Now it is time for us to explore the realms that were revealed with the opening of the lion’s jaws.
Who Is The Hermit?
The Hermit, Card IX, calls on us to turn from the outward journey to the inner journey, to follow our own light through the darkness. Cloaked in grey (and looking not unlike Gandalf from The Lord of the Rings, to my eye anyway), The Hermit represents the willingness to seek knowledge in even dark places, to wander alone in search of great Truth.
Associated with the sign of Virgo, The Hermit invites us to disengage from the outside world for a time to reflect, explore, and regroup. While The Hermit signals the need for retreat, this is not retreat in the sense of admitting defeat, but rather retreat in the sense of taking time apart in order to realign and reconnect — more like a religious retreat than a military one, so to speak. With his lantern and staff, The Hermit is able to support his own footing and light his own path.
Like the religious hermits of old, this Hermit has chosen solitude in order to seek Truth. By removing himself from the distractions of day to day life, he frees up his time and energy to explore the unseen inner world that will bring him the wisdom that is one of the goals of the Fool’s Journey.
When The Hermit makes his way into your reading, he is inviting you to take time out and focus on yourself. The world may be too much with you — you have lost your perspective on a situation, or are looking for answers outside yourself that can only be found within. The Hermit may be an indication that it is time to focus on spiritual matters, especially meditation, prayer, and solitary contemplative practices. He also carries the message that it is time to care for yourself, to be willing to say No to things that do not serve you so that you can say Yes to that which feeds your soul. At other times, The Hermit indicates a need take a more detached view of a situation — it is time to pull back and observe, to withdraw your energy from others so that you can have enough to nurture your own growth. The Hermit’s lantern will illuminate the dark corners where Truth and Wisdom lie, if we are willing to venture into the dark with him.
The light of The Hermit’s lantern is re-envisioned at the light of the Full Moon in the version of The Hermit in The Goddess Tarot by Kris Waldherr. In this deck, the Chinese Moon Goddess Chang O (or Chang E) invites us to contemplation. Come back tomorrow to spend time with the Rabbit in the Moon.