Media Preview Spread - GoT S7 E2

25 July 2017

*** Includes spoilers from the second episode of Game of Thrones Season 7 ***

Following the fun Tarot exercise I did last week (I 'previewed' the first episode of Game of Thrones season 7 via the Linestrider Tarot¹, referred to the accompanying book for interpretations, and after watching the show considered whether the cards were a good match), I couldn't wait to do it again.

As previously, links are provided to the GoT wiki pages for the characters mentioned although a sound knowledge of the show is presumed. Clicking on any of the images will enlarge them for detail.

For anyone who missed the spread in my earlier post, there are five positions - the first is about the main character, which I decided would be Jon Snow. Cards two through four are main themes of the episode, and the final card represents something interesting that happens. 

BEFORE THE SHOW

Card 1.  Something to look out for in relation to the main character - The Magician - When Jon Snow was murdered, the Red Priestess - Melisandre - resurrected him, so it was a fairly good bet that this related to her. Plus, red features prominently on the card. The only other person who makes me think of the 'Magician' archetype is Qyburn but he is still busy with his nefarious experiments at King's Landing so I couldn't imagine a strong connection with Jon is this episode. I felt sure the card related to Melisandre.
The Magician & Judgment by Siolo Thompson

Card 2. Theme - Judgment - This particular illustration shows Judgment as an angel whose mask is coming off. Last week we saw Arya Stark wearing, and removing, the former face of the deceased Walder Frey so I immediately thought of her. In the book, Siolo Thompson writes this about the card (on p. 89 of the book that accompanies the deck):
You must take stock of your life. It may be time to find new ways of living. You may be called to change your life or open yourself up to a new possibility...The Judgment card speaks of an epiphany, a realisation that you have not been living up to your potential or that you can do more for others. This card calls for a period of reflection and self-evaluation. 
Card 3. Theme - The Empress - The Empress is about femininity - creativity, fertility (of body and mind), passion and nurturing. The card made me think of Sansa Stark for a couple of reasons - firstly she is the only main female character who truly embodies these characteristics for me, and secondly because the image shows her protected by a tiger and with a monkey on her back. The monkey made me think of the master manipulator Lord Baelish aka 'Littlefinger', who stands behind her but is as tricksy as a performing monkey and just as likely to steal from her!

The Empress & Ten of Wands by Siolo Thompson

Card 4. Theme - Ten of wands - The burden of responsibility! Jon, as a reluctant 'King of the North' is carrying a huge burden he didn't ever want. The book's description for this card sums up Jon's feelings from the first episode (on p. 171) and which I suspected would continue in episode 2:
Success or investment in a project or period of life often brings heavy responsibilities and commitments. It may be time for you to move on to something new, but right now you are aware of all the weight on your back, the people who depend on you, and the community that supported you. 
Card 5. Something interesting to look out for - Ace of Swords - This would be something to do with truth, clarity of vision, deceit, or self-delusion. The crown and laurel leaves represent victory. I really didn't know what this might refer to.
Ace of Swords by Siolo Thompso

AFTER THE SHOW

Here's my take on how each of these cards related to the events in the episode:

- Melisandre did indeed return, and began the process of getting Jon and Daenerys together. She also mentioned the prophecy of the Prince who was Promised - she believes this is Jon, but it could be Daenerys who (unknown to either of them) is his aunt. The Magician appears "when you need to channel the power of the universe toward your goals" and this certainly represents the Red Priestess in this storyline - her speech to Daenerys and Tyrion is instrumental in getting Jon to Dragonstone (which also holds the raw material he needs to defeat the White Walkers)!

- Arya did indeed have a Judgment moment - an epiphany! While talking to her friend Hot Pie, she discovered that (what remains of) her family are back at Winterfell and leaves her vengeful quest to head to King's Landing to return home instead. She has been fueled entirely by vengeance since her father was killed in season 1 so this is a remarkable change for her... although we don't actually know whether she will continue on her journey home following her encounter with the direwolf Nymeria!

- With Jon heading out to Dragonstone Island, Sansa was left in charge of the North. Yep, that's Empress, alright.

-  As expected, the Ten of Wands did relate to Jon's burden as King of the North. As well as dealing with the ongoing issues of the seven kingdoms, he's the only ruler who truly appreciates the threat from beyond the wall, so it's a heavy burden indeed.

- When I wrote last week's post, I (stupidly!!!) wasn't sure who the pirate in Seven of Swords referred to (this was last week's position 5 card). Even if a reader hadn't suggested it was Euron Greyjoy, I'd have been in no doubt after episode two. Euron's victory over his neice Yara's fleet, not only clarified his position as 'the pirate', but also seems to have been represented in this week's fifth card. 

- The Ace of Swords is "not always a gentle card; it often pushes you to set aside your idealism or fantasies in favour of a more analytic approach... Every indication is given that success is yours if you can clearly understand and assess the facts, be honest about your motivations, accept the truth of your situation, and take decisive action." It was Euron's truthful / insightful assessment of Theon as a "dickless coward" which prompted Theon to desert his sister (like a rat!) and leave her and her fleet to Euron's mercy at the climax of the show. I'd say Euron perfectly embodied the energy of this Ace! 

I really like this spread - I've been so much more invested in the show, sitting with my notes beside me each week. Yet again, the cards I drew were pretty good too! It's likely that I'll continue this exercise for the rest of the season. What do you think? Would you have taken these (book) interpretations and applied them to the same characters and events as me? Or would you have done it differently? 

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¹ The Linestrider Tarot is by Siolo Thompson, published by Llewellyn. Amazon affiliate links are included in this post. Page references are for The Linestrider's Journey book which accompanies the deck.

Media Preview Spread - GoT S7 E1

18 July 2017

***Includes spoilers from the first episode of  Game of Thrones Season 7 ***


A few weeks ago, I came across a 'media preview spread' and decided to give it a try before the new series of Game of Thrones (GoT) aired here in the UK. I found this spread on Facebook, and it was listed as being from littlenonbinarywitch.tumblr.com, although I couldn't find the original post to link directly. I'm assuming anyone interested in reading this is familiar with the show's characters, however links to the Game of Thrones Wikia website are also provided. 

There are 5 positions in the spread:
1. Something to watch put for in the main character - I decided this should be Jon Snow.
2 to 4. The Main Themes.
5. Something interesting to keep an eye out for. 

For this exercise, I chose The Linestrider Tarot¹ by Siolo Thompson and published by Llewellyn, because it feels like a great match for the show. I decided to take the meanings from the accompanying book, so that I couldn't simply apply my own card interpretations to try to make them fit - the meanings would be given and I'd see if they applied to the show, once I watched it. I pulled the following cards, which I digitally scribbled on with some initial thoughts to post on Instagram, before watching the show. I also made notes in my tarot journal which I've used for the points below.  

Click on any of the images for an enlarged view.  

BEFORE THE SHOW 
Immediately after pulling the cards, I was interested to note the appearance of (1) Stags, which are the sigil of House Baratheon and also  (2) the Page of Wands, a young inexperienced, and quite erotic looking woman, pictured with a DRAGON - obviously representing Daenerys Targaryen, plus (3) the King of Swords as Jon. Here's why:

King of Swords, by Siolo Thompson
Card 1. The King of Swords - A perfect card to represent Jon Snow - it also looks a bit like a sword defeating a white walker. Check out this description...
The King of Swords is intelligent, truthful, and a strong ally. He believes in order, systems, and the value of following the rules. He is often a boss, employer, mentor, or community figure. His strengths are many; intellect, good judgment, a tactical mind. However he can also be cold, harsh and inflexible. This card may show up when you need to take your heart out of a situation and bring your intellect to the table instead... to cut to the truth of the matter. - Extract from The Linestrider's Journey, p. 226
It seemed that Jon Snow would need to make a logical decision in this episode, without his heart clouding his judgement. This is something he has had to do on many occasions, so there was nothing very surprising about that.

What about the main themes?

Card 2. Three of Wands - New beginnings, long term plans, opportunities for co-operation and partnership. And maybe something to do with House Baratheon, indicated by the stags on the illustration. There are no 'official' Baratheons left and Gendry's whereabouts are currently unknown - he's the bastard son of Robert Baratheon, and the only 'heir' that we are aware of.

Three of Wands and Five of Cups, by Siolo Thompson

Card 3. Five of Cups - This card indicates negative thinking, a focus on grief and trouble of letting go of the past. It can indicate "former hardship, pain, or heartbreak is a prime component of the person you have become"². So one of the themes would have something to do with this, but honestly this could apply to any one of the characters, so I was none the wiser.

Card 4. Page of Wands - As well as being depicted as a long-haired young blonde woman with a nest of dragons, this card represents 'energy, youth, new beginnings, loyalty, messenger, studiousness, childishness, new erotic adventure'³. This is a pretty good description of Daenerys. She is young and inexperienced and very passionate about following her calling to reclaim the throne. The Page can represent a new phase and in the book, Siolo Thompson says "this card may show up when someone young and dynamic enters your world and shake things up" - that's exactly what the Queen of Dragons is all about!

Page of Wands and Seven of Swords by Siolo Thompson

Card 5. Seven of Swords - As something interesting to watch out for, I'd scribbled the following words from the book in my journal "duplicity, secrets, sneakiness, hidden motivations". In a show like this, I really had no idea what it would refer to - it could have been anything. The card pictures a pirate, but that didn't help me. (EDIT: @anngirl on Instagram kindly pointed out something I completely overlooked here - Euron Greyjoy is a pirate and would fit in this position!)

AFTER THE SHOW 
So after the show, I came back to the notes I'd made and noted thing the cards were applicable to.

- Jon Snow had to make a plan for the defence of the North. He was totally King of Swords about it - under pressure to remove the families of traitors, he was resolute that the children wouldn't pay for the 'sins' of the fathers. He was harsh with Sansa, telling her not to question him in front of others, even though she basically saved his ass in the last season.

Dragonstone Castle was the seat of Stanis Baratheon when GoT started. With Stanis dead, and the castle deserted, Daenerys was able to take the castle - her ancestral home. It did indeed mark the beginning of her long term plans as per the Three of Wands, as she will be co-ordinating the various armies under her control from there. It is also a great vantage point standing atop an island, and looking out from a high point is a fairly typical depiction for this card.  (I'm interested to see if Gendry will turn up soon!)

- With the illustrated owls giving me no clue, I wasn't sure which character the Five of Cups related to until a classic Sandor Clegane scene - when asked why he was so negative, he answered "experience". Later, this seemed to be a key episode for this character - he was able to overcome his fear of fire (from having his face held into a fire by his brother) to look into the flames and receive a prophetic vision. He wasn't only looking at the past, but turned to the future. In the card, the owl could do the same. I googled 'Sandor Clegane Owl' to see if there was anything I'd missed, and interestingly some images did come up - of his brother.

- As already discussed, this was a big episode for Daenerys - the Page of Wands was spot on for her. She's back in the family home, which has Dragons everywhere, and marks her new beginning.

- The opening of the show was a Seven of Swords scene, if ever I've seen one! After killing him at the end of the last season, Arya Stark used Walder Frey's face to impersonate him and kill his many sons with poison, at a feast purported to be in their honour - you don't get much more sneaky and duplicitous than that. She's a total badass!

So this was a really fun exercise. When I started using Tarot (for my own personal development) I was clear that I didn't think I could predict things with it, but that any of the cards could apply to anyone or any situation you care to interpret them for at any time. The more experience I gain with it, the more 'synchronicities' there seem to be in the cards I pull such as the stag and the dragon references and the King of Swords as Jon Snow - they all seem quite relevant. See also this post. I'll certainly be trying this spread again.  Have you tried it? Let me know what you think. 

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¹  Amazon affiliate links are provided for products used in this post. Quotes taken are from the book which accompanies the deck.

²  From p. 112 The Linestrider's Journey

³ From p. 174 The Linestrider's Journey

The Empress Tarot Spread (for International Tarot Day)

7 July 2017

This post is a part of the Blog Hop for International Tarot Day 2017

See footnote ¹ for a list of pictured decks 

Three is a magic number, yes it is, it's a magic number ². It's also the number of The Empress - archetypal 'Mother Earth' and symbol of fertility, femininity, creativity, abundance and nature. Typically illustrated as a pregnant woman in a natural environment, The Empress is about birthing the new - ideas, projects, babies - and helping them to grow and develop. In The Ultimate Guide to Tarot Card Meanings *, Brigit Esselmont offers this Empress affirmation which sums it up perfectly:
I bring forth my creations with joy. I love and nurture them to fruition. - p27
The Empress is fully attuned with nature and understands the ebbs and flows of life. She is deeply connected with her femininity and fulfils her maternal role with grace and ease. She understands the cyclic nature of things and can handle it all 'with joy'. Of course she can - she's not a real person! However she does represent certain aspects which exist in all of us. Female or male, the Empress within us is that part which is capable of manifesting, encouraging growth, and of being in flow with the Universe. 

As most real people will know, all this bringing forth, supporting others, and helping things and people to flourish is very rewarding. However, it is often accompanied by a tendency to give away our power and to disregard our own needs - it's easy to lose sight of the need to 'fill our well' so that we can continue to create. Julia Cameron ³ says:
[W]e must learn to be self-nourishing. We must become alert enough to consciously replenish our creative resources as we draw on them - to restock the trout pond, so to speak. I call this process 'filling the well'. 
So what it boils down to is balance. What we give to (or nurture in) others we also need to give to (or nurture in) ourselves. To help identify these areas, I've written a short four-card spread which focuses on how to create this balance. 

Card 1: How can I more effectively nurture others?
Card 2: What am I bringing to life (or fruition) right now?
Card 3: What can I do to nurture my own creativity (and ability to create)?
Card 4: In which area do I need to reclaim my power?


If you try it out, please feel free to leave a comment below, or to tag me on Instagram, to let me know if you had any interesting insights!

I hope you all have been enjoying this Blog Hop! Please see Goran Novak's post at 78 Midnight Howls for the next next amazing blog in the 'hop'. Thank you for reading! 

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* Amazon affiliate links are included for the products quoted and pictured in this post.   

¹ Pictured: The Empress cards from the following decks The Linestrider Tarot, The Good Tarot, The Wild Unknown, Radiant Rider Waite in a Tin, The Sun and Moon Tarot, Original Rider Waite Tarot, Tarot of the Spirit.

² YouTube link to Three is a Magic Number, written by Bob Dorough

³ Quoted from the book The Artist's Way, which is about nurturing your creativity -  very Empress! 

Tarot Reflections: Three of Swords

1 July 2017

In a recent post, I wrote about the connection between the Tarot suit of Swords, the element of Air, and breath(ing), and talked about the suit's ability to help us reveal deep truths about our own thoughts. So let's try applying this to my randomly drawn 'Card of the  Day' - the Three of Swords.
In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of the things not meant for you.  - Buddhist saying
Three of Swords from The Linestrider Tarot by Siolo Thompson*, published by Llewellyn Books

The Three of Swords is generally considered to be the 'heartbreak' card. Other keywords include¹: painful separation; sorrow; grief; rejection. In the Rider-Waite Smith deck, it is illustrated by a heart pierced with three swords, against a stormy background. However, the Linestrider Tarot by Siolo Thompson, depicts the swords piercing a pair of birds. The background is comprised of white roses, and what looks like ethereal ribbons which, in places, could be smoke -  a reminder of the Air element. The dark watercolour background (murky grey and green) has the same effect as the clouds in the RWS depiction - pure gloom. Siolo's keywords² give further insight. They include: heartache; depression; disorder; confusion; past injury; darkness.

If you look closely you will see that the largest sword - behind them - does not appear to have pierced either of the birds. One sword (front-left) penetrates both creatures, and the other (front-right) pierces only one of them. The birds are facing away from one another and while both are bleeding, neither appears to be dead. The twice-pierced bird is squawking - it probably has a lot to say - while the other is silent, and has a steely gaze. It is as if the bird on the left has hurt them both, but the noisy bird on the right, rather than getting revenge with their own sword, has only hurt him/herself further.

So what does this mean for anyone pulling this card?

The third card in any suit marks a 'first completion'³ - the first card is about new beginnings, the second is balance, choice or duality, and the third marks the transition between the two and four - the number of stability and foundation. Think of stools - a four-legged stool is very stable, but the three-legged variety will do the job well enough. So it is with the threes - there is adequate 'progress', things are in motion. There is a major clue as to what you're on the road to achieving if you consider the 'final completion' of this suit is the nine of swords - extreme mental anguish! 

So how can this help us to access our deepest truths? The Linestrider keywords (above) are a great starting point. If we remember that the swords represent our thoughts, we have to consider that our suffering (heartache / confusion / darkness / depression ) is actually self-inflicted. Now, before anyone starts getting defensive at the very thought, consider this...

Even if we were not responsible for the life situation that triggered the pain (for example, betrayal by a lover) we do have a choice when something happens (to us). We can either wallow in it (like the squawking twice-pierced bird) and let it define us, or we can see it as an opportunity to let this situation 'die'. Any Tarot reader knows that 'death' is a transition, a letting go of things that are no longer useful, a 'pruning', if you will.

So the three of swords, depicted with these bleeding birds (or an impaled heart) acts as a reminder that we can use grief and pain as an opportunity to transition to a new phase, and to evolve:
Suffering has a noble purpose: the evolution of consciousness and the burning up of the ego. - Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth p102
We are each responsible for our own healing. When this card appears, it's time to take three deep breaths⁴  and to move on.

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*Amazon UK affiliate links are used throughout this post, the deck is also widely available from any Llewellyn Books stockist. 

¹ From The Ultimate Guide to Tarot Card Meanings by Brigit Esselmont.
² Found in 'The Linestrider's Journey', which accompanies the deck.
³ Sixes are the 'second completion' and nines the 'third completion', as tens are about excess.
⁴ See the Eckhart Tolle quote in the previous post which talks about observing the rhythm of your breath to create sufficient space to enable you to find the life beneath your life situation.  

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