Taking the Shining Tribe Tarot as our inspiration for the correspondences and guiding wisdom of this moonth (beginning Sunday, the 8th, with the arrival of the new moon exact at 9:50am ET) we find ourselves walking through the forest of the Six of Trees.
I started to write this moontly missive to you early because I am on break from August 5th to the 13th. I thought I would prep and schedule a quick fun note about traveling the moonth with a sense of adventure. The colorful trees and jaunty stride of the person walking through the card fits that meaning—and haven’t we had enough of intensity?
But intensity hasn’t had enough of us. Heat. Fires and floods. Hidden history rising from where some have tried to bury it. The delta variant surging. These are not isolated incidents that we can move through and forget. There is a larger pattern to be seen. And when we do see it, we know we live in times of upheaval and chaos as a society, as a planet—even if we individually get a break every once in a while to recharge ourselves—and how we work with this great change will determine the direction it takes.
That larger perspective is there in the Six of Trees, if we take a closer look. Buried in the land is a snake, the face of an owl, and geometric shapes. Deck creator Rachel Pollack says they are the “forms and symbols of the underworld.” The trees have eyes that seem to be opened in startle. Looking at the world these days is a startling experience.
So despite it being summer vacation time, this new moon reminds us to keep our eyes open to the fullness of life. To see the beauty and adventure while not ignorning the chaos and upheaval. To do that requires a special kind of strength, the kind we see in the Tarot’s Strength card, our path of the moonth.
In the iconic Rider Waite Smith deck and those decks it inspires, Strength is often a lovely image of a woman bedecked with flowers astride a gentle lion. But the placid image obscures how challenging the work of this archetype actually is. Because we have to stare into the sharp-toothed mouth of the lion to learn how to be with its wild power. We must adjust ourselves to work with the lion—not to beat back its fierce nature, but to work with this energy.
In the Shining Tribe, just the lion appears standing before a Tree of Life to guide us. Rachel Pollack writes in the companion guide that this lion shows us “the strength that comes from the harmony with life.” This card counsels us to connect “our own actions and feelings to spiritual sources.”
And perhaps this is what keeps our Six of Tree’s figure appearing so jaunty on the journey. Instead of ignoring the underworld reality or the startle of the trees, they are taking that energy inside of themselves, mixing it within and using it to move forward. The underworld can be scary because it is unfamiliar, but the ancestors are there sending their support to us. There is a lot of energy in the startle—it is as wild as a lion—but that can become fuel for the journey.
When we take this approach to the journey, we can become Speakers of Trees, the wisdom workers of fire’s energy.
In this image, I see the heart of the tree being at the throat so all that is spoken of comes through this muscle. Reading Joy Harjoy’s poem Exile of Memory in her new anthology Living Nations, Living Words, I heard her as a Speaker of Trees in this stanza from the longer poem:
Here there is a singing tree.
It sings of the history of the trees here.
It sings of Monahwee who stood with his warrior friends On the overlook staring into the new town erected
By illegal residents.
It sings of the Civil War camp, the bloodied The self-righteous, and the forsaken.
It sings of atomic power and the rise
Of banks whose spires mark
The worship places.
The final verse is always the trees.
They will remain.
The last line of the poem is: I will sing it until the day I die.
So even though we live in startling times, I hope you are finding the strength to sing. And in your singing gather out of all the broken and beautiful parts of your life and our world something beautiful because it is truthful. Then the fullness of your song will be a great success and gift to us all.
To help connect with the heart of this moonth, you can use these questions for reflection and/or card play:
SEEING: What is most important to open my eyes to as I travel through this moonth?
STRENGTH: How to connect my actions in response to what I see with spiritual sources?
SINGING: What message can I then bring from my heart to offer to the world?
I do offer this as an e-reading in my collaborative initiative format for $23. Sign up with PayPal or email me about sending a check. Because I am away, I will not be doing readings until Saturday, the 14th, around the time of the quarter moon which is a good time to see how the energies of the moonth are developing.