Moonthly Musings and Reading: The Wonderful, the Terrible, and the Leadership of Strength


For Seekers – Moonthly Renewal – Practices for Soul & Spirit – Sanctuary

This moonthly missive has been delayed because I was having a wonderful experience for a terrible reason: I co-taught Wisdom of the Tarot at Omega because I was filling in for Rachel Pollack, my Tarot teacher and the teacher of so many through her wisdom-filled books and decks, whose cancer has returned.

Rachel announced the return of her cancer on her Facebook page and ended by saying the way in which she would most like to be supported:

So now I need your help again.  Not financially, I am okay there.  But the support, and the love, and the healing energy, are incredibly powerful and wonderful.  So please, I want to hear from you.  I will not be able to respond to every comment, but I will read and take in every offering. 

The group gathered at Omega wrote messages of love and support on the back of Star cards and did a ritual to send energy to Rachel. Adding your Star-card inspired messages for Rachel—sent energetically or in some physical form—is welcome.

Which brings me to the wonderful. I got to spend a whole week with the Tarot Tribe co-creating a space for learning, playing, going deep, and transforming ourselves.Susie Chang and Jenna Maitlin joined us to bring their depths of knowledge and experience. I stayed through the week to collaborate with Mary Greer to create interactive Tarot learning experiences. Mary Greer! She says her work is to be the midwife of the soul and she has also been a midwife to today’s Tarot community and practices. She has certainly been a midwife to my way of working with the Tarot.

The group gathered was warm, welcoming, and brought so many gifts to the gathering. A number were new to Tarot but others had decades of experience. All were welcomed. Many combined their Tarot work with other healing modalities or divination systems like Reiki,animal communication, or the I-Ching, for example. We were curious. Some decks came accompanied by their creators: The Forgotten Tarot, Abstract Futures, and a peacemaking Tarot in development without images but amazing questions. We got to play with them.

Rituals and ceremonies were co-created throughout the week. I gathered us in circle on the dark moon where Ann led us into healing waters through meditation, June guided us in chanting Moon, and Yesbelt introduced us to mugwort before we poured renewed waters into a dry creek bed enacting Persephone’s movements on the Shining Tribe Star card. Bats flew overhead.

Yes, Yesbelt is our Yesbelt of Walking the Ways of the Summer Light, and though we had other plans together for the week, when I got the call from Rachel, she said, “Let’s change plans. I’ve always wanted to go to Omega.”

Together we created the flow of the ritual the group did for Rachel. When the workshop ended, we had the ritual ready to modify for sending loving energy to a family member in difficulty at the request of one of the participants.

All that happened and so much more. I’m telling you this story to let you know why the enews is late—and maybe a little to get you thinking about coming to this event next year :)—but also because it shows the energy of the new moon embodied in the events of our lives.

The moon became new on Thursday, the 28 (exact at 1:55pm ET), in the place on the Wheel of Astrological Year that corresponds to:

Walking the Path of Strength

Through the Passage of the energetic push and pull of a group in the 5 of Wands

With the invitation to take on the Posture of the King of Wands

The Path of Strength

At Omega, I introduced the Major Arcana through an exploration of 22 essential symbols, one for each card. For Strength I focused our attention on the lemniscate with:

At the top of many Strength images are two equal-sized and connected ellipses known as the lemniscate, a symbol for infinity. This abstract symbol that comes to us from mathematics is embodied in figures below: traditionally a woman and often a lion, though snakes and bears also appear. The woman and the animal are connected like the ellipses of the lemniscate with each exerting themselves and actively participating in the moment but neither dominating. Their flowing connection is the point of power. It takes strength to constantly be calibrating a relationship so that it remains one of balance—the process is infinite—but the reward is great. 

a 1909 card scanned by Holly Voley and retrieved from Sacred Texts. Deck available from US Games

My lemniscate this week was the wonderful and the terrible. They were directly connected. I could not—and did not want to—partition off the terrible reason for my being there; I was bringing Rachel’s wisdom into the room so constantly thinking of her. At the same time, I couldn’t resist the wonderful energy of the group gathered,their brilliant insights into the Tarot, and their generosity to me. I was gratified when my processes served them. I had to—again, wanted to!—receive what was flowing to me.

This is an example from my life. What about you? Where are the wonderful and terrible contending in your life?

Globally, so many of us are seeing that we are going through terrible times. The terrible is manifesting in so many areas of our lives. If you were making a list of the terrible, what would be on it? Mine would be long. But the wonderful also exists. I experienced it this week at Omega. We see it in inspiring art or activist projects. We hear it in women speaking the truth in the streets, on the page, and at the US’s January 6th Committee hearings. We enjoy it in a good meal shared with family or friends. Each day the sun rises and sets in beauty. The wonderful exists in equal measure to the terrible (even if it doesn’t get as much press). This moonth you are invited to gently hold both. 

If you have read my enews for a while, you will know this embrace of seeming opposites is a familiar theme. I keep coming back to it because: 1.) it is one of the great lessons of the Tarot and 2.) we return to the same archetypes again and again as the Wheel keeps turning.

We need the repetition.

Because we don’t learn the wisdom and know it and we’re done. We experience the wisdom, practice it, attain a certain level of mastery even. Then the Wheel turns and we move on to other lessons. But the year is a circle not a line and eventually we find ourselves making another spiral through the wisdom of Strength. We learn new lessons. Not so much because Strength has changed, but because we have.  

Passage through the 5 of Wands

Have you ever been in a group that looks like this?

When I see this image, I laugh and groan a little remembering groups where everyone had their own ideas or agendas and were pushing for them without listening to others. One way to look at this image is as participants oriented only toward themselves and having the goal of convincing others that their way is the best way.

But I also remember groups where the individual expression of unique—sometimes even conflicting—perspectives were a vital stage of moving toward a solution to a problem or the creation of something new that came from a synthesizing of the group’s brilliance.

In these higher performing groups participants had the strength to both fully express themselves and to listen to others. 

If we think of this card as giving us a hint of what is to come during the moonth, there may be more than usual group activity in your life. You could welcome these groups as places you can practice emboding Strength.

When you find yourself in a group of any kind—work, family, activist, art making, knitting circle—you could watch how the group balances expression of individuals’ ideas with listening to others. You can watch your own balance especially. If you see that you tend toward expressing or listening, you might try practicing the other. Perhaps you work this moonth to find that just right balance. You may or may not get there, but no worries. Opportunities to practice will spiral back to you again.

Posture of the King of Wands

This moonth we are called to be the kind of strong leader who balances the wonderful and the terrible, listens as well as expresses, and brings out the best in individuals so the group can function well.

This moonth’s leader is not one who stands alone, but one that stands with the group. I find that the King of Wands from Hilma’s Ghost’ Abstract Futures expresses this idea so strongly to me through its abstract imagery.

Abstract Futures Tarot by Hilma’s Ghost

As Kings we may provide a center line, a container, or a direction for a group’s working together. We see this work reflected in the strong vertical running through the center of the image. This then serves the unique expression of all members of the group as seen in the brilliant colored triangles appearing to the left and right of the center vertical. I see each triangle as a member of the group expressing their unique brilliance. The triangles appear to me to be wings.

The group’s brilliance gathered and directed gives them the wings they need to travel toward their desired destination, to meet their goals. 

Meditating on this image could attune you to the energy of this kind of leadership. If you’d like to combine that inner work with gathering leadership techniques for work with groups in the outer world, Situational Leadership has been a helpful model for me to think about when I facilitate groups. The essence of Situational Leadership is that leaders adapt how they work with the group as the group changes and grows, varying their levels of support and direction. At the core of the model is the idea that there is no one correct style of leadership.

Reflection Questions / Reading of the Moonth

These questions are offered for reflection and to spark practice throughout the moonth. Pulling Tarot and oracle cards in connection to these questions is appropriate, but not absolutely necessary. You might carry a question with you on a walk for example and observe what is happening in the natural world as a way to find insight into the answer to the question. You might carry cards pulled, too, and see what they want to interact with in the world.

LEADERSHIP: What of my unique leadership qualities does the Collective (feel free to pick a specific group to focus your inquiry) need me to express this moonth for the benefit of all?

SELF: How do I best express this quality this moonth?

OTHER: How can I invite others to express their unique leadership qualities this moonth?

I do offer this as an e-reading in my collaborative initiative format for $23.  Sign up with Pay Pal or email me about sending a check. When I receive notification, I’ll be in touch to let you know about when to expect to receive your reading by email. I generally have openings to do these readings on Mondays and Saturdays. I am a little behind on my To Do list. It could take me a week to get to readings.

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