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The Lughnassad issue of Starweaver’s Gems from Earth and Sky is now available on the web at www.telp.com. Contents of this issue include

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Prince of Swords (Robin Wood Tarot)

Prince of Swords (Robin Wood Tarot)

Today’s card is the Knight of Swords from the Robin Wood Tarot. Wood has taken the air symbolism of swords very seriously, showing us a knight on a pegasus, soaring above the clouds. His sword crackles with electricity. He seems totally focused on his mission.

The knight of swords is an archetype I have some close familiarity with, having often played the role of intellectual crusader myself. One of the dangers associated with our verbal faculty is that of becoming ungrounded, detached from the realities of a situation. The words and concepts can take on a life of their own, and we can get caught up in the internal logic of our arguments and lose sight of the practical, social, or emotional implications of our ideas.

We can almost imagine this particular knight setting off from a literal “ivory tower” on his crusade to save the world from the dangers of incorrect thinking.

It would be a mistake to paint this fellow in completely negative or cynical terms, however. Sometimes ideas do need champions, and intensity of focus can sometimes have a very clarifying effect. Wood has given her knight a face that is more intent than aggressive, more idealistic than dogmatic. On balance, he is a positive figure, a hero coming to the rescue.

Here are the questions to ask when this card appears:

What cause am I fighting for?
Do I need a reality check?
Why is it important to be right?
How do I bring my good ideas to the world?

The Litha issue of Starweaver’s Gems from Earth and Sky is now available on the web at www.telp.com. Contents of this issue include

laguzThe term “synchronicity”, coined by Carl Jung, is a key idea that applies across all different systems of divination. A synchronicity is a meaningful correlation between our inner thoughts and an event in the external world.

Some examples:

Thinking of an old song and then walking into a store where it happens to be playing.

Contemplating a change of career, then being phoned by a friend in a distant city who is starting a new company and looking for a partner.

Feeling a great need for peace, then having a dove settle onto the fence in front of your house.

Synchronicities are different from coincidences because (1) they connect the inner and outer worlds, and (2) we find them meaningful, full of significance. Two external events that happen at the same time, no matter how unlikely they may be, are just a coincidence, not a synchronicity. (For example, if two people both get flat tires on their cars on the same day.)

Most divination techniques might be thought of as ways to encourage synchronicity to happen. If you draw a tarot card while thinking about an important question, for example, you are setting up the possibility of a meaningful correlation between your question and the card. Since the tarot symbols are designed to be provocative, stimulating, and meaningful, they lend themselves readily to this kind of thing.

But as ancient people knew very well, unplanned external events can also convey meaning, to those who are open to finding it. Once our minds become accustomed to seeing things symbolically, then the whole world becomes a treasure trove of potential meaning.

One of the most basic forms of divination, therefore, is simply being open to synchronicity and noting any events that speak meaningfully to you about the matter on your mind. No special tools are required, although a notebook might be helpful. This is a kind of divination you can do for yourself, anywhere, any time!

The WorldToday’s card is The World from the Waite-Smith Tarot.

At the beginnings of tarot history, this card probably depicted Christ triumphant (the symbolism of the four creatures, representing the four evangelists, is consistent with this, as is the reference in the Steele sermon which glosses the World card with “that is, God the Father”). A very early version of the Tarot de Marseille indeed shows a male figure on this card, posed and draped much like the female figure of later versions.

Whatever the origins of this image, it speaks to us today of the integrated spirit, a person whole and centered and at peace with the cosmos.

The four figures around the outside (in addition to their connection with the evangelists) represent the fixed signs of the Zodiac (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius), and hence the four seasons of the year. The card thus conveys the wholeness and completeness of nature’s cycles.

Whenever I draw this card, I consider it a profound blessing. It reminds me that I am at home in the world, at home in my life, and that the sacred is always present, always permeating everything. As advice, it can suggest a need to breathe deeply, meditate, and put your worries into perspective.

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