Alternative Tarot Course · Cups · pentacles · Swords · Wands

Crossover Cards

Phew!  I am verrrry behind with my tarot studies in the Alternative Tarot Course!  I was hoping that January would slow down a bit — and the first half definitely did — but the second half of January was crazy with social and work commitments.  I’m happy to say that I’ve continued to pull a card a day, and have done a pretty dang good job staying committed to my at-home yoga practice.  I’m feeling good!  Anyway, I digress.

Part of week 2 includes analyzing the elements in the tarot.  One of the exercises asks me to pick some minor arcana cards that I view as “crossover” cards, cards that I feel communicate more than their corresponding element.


Four of Wands — fire and earth

One of the major keywords that comes up for me with this card is stability.  In this way, I find this card very earthy.  In the Morgan Greer version, there is a castle built upon a rocky structure.  There is a strong foundation in this card.  There are four, wreathed wands standing before the castle, hinting at celebration, merriment, a opportunity for creativity and optimism that stems from stability.

three of cups

Three of Cups — water and earth

I’ve recently written about this card, more than once, as my daily card.  I love the grounded energy shown by the flower crowns the figures wear and the fresh fruit on the table before them.  The camaraderie of the figures is obvious, the cups before them shared.  This card points to the peaceful acceptance that one can find within healthy community, a deep rootedness, and how when one is open to receiving one is able to connect to the wonder of life.


Seven of Cups — water, fire, and air

The seven of cups, especially the Morgan Greer version, speaks directly to my airy nature.  It is all imagination and ideas.  Look at the clouds the cups sit on, the fantastical creatures coming from the cups.  This card is abundant creativity, it is daydreaming and wishes.  This comes back around to water, for me, in that this is what feeds my soul.


Ten of Cups — water and earth

The ten of cups is interconnectedness.  The Morgan Greer version makes me feel more than just the connection between humans.  The way that the rainbow comes from/goes into their cups and the forest setting in which this card takes place highlights the connection of human to nature, the joy of being of and in the earth.  In addition, the rainbow connects us to God or spirit.  Happiness is a gift, and this card implies a grounded, centered, plugged-in celebration.

Two of Pentacles — earth and water


I love what Rachel Pollack writes about the two of pentacles in Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom:

“Like so many Pentacles, the card implies a hidden magic in its ordinary pleasures.  The juggler holds [their] magic emblem within a loop or ribbon shaped like an infinity sign, the same sign which appears above the head of the Magician, and the [figure] in Strength.  Some people believe that spiritual development occurs only in serious moments.  Pleasure and amusement can also teach us a great deal, as long as we pay attention.”

I pulled this card as my daily card on January 29.  All week, I have been listening to Lindsay Mack’s recent podcast episode on the brain versus intuition and how to use my intuition more in my tarot and spiritual practice.  This excerpt from Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom was like a beacon for me.  I noticed the water in the background, no earth in sight.  I felt the flow of intuition, the trust in self that it takes to balance the mundane, the magical, and the spiritual.  This card is about our daily lives, and guides us in how to stay plugged in.

Knight of Swords — air and fire


This knight is going somewhere, and going there fast.  I love the blatant combination of the air and fire elements;  the Tower burns in the background.  This knight is about to embark on his quest, for vengeance, for redemption, for valor, for honor; he is going right into the thick of the action, where ever he is going.  They are wild, all of their energy moves outward.  In that way, they are of no air at all.  They face the conflict unflinchingly.

This exercise crystalized for me that I find the tarot to be a very earthy tool.  Tarot helps me to ground and center.  Tarot helps me to categorize, to journal, to process.  Tarot is a stalwart friend.  The cards are a comfort, a set of universal experiences and archetypes that humans have known for millennia.  I find that most cards have an inherent earth-like nature to them because of the way in which I connect with the tarot.

I am blogging my experiences here with Beth Maiden’s Alternative Tarot Course which asks students to draw a card each day, reflect on it, complete weekly readings, and other assorted exercises.

Alternative Tarot Course · Cups · pentacles · Swords · Wands

Four Aces

The first exercise in the Alternative Tarot Course Week 2 is all about the aces.

Beth Maiden writes, “Pull out the four ace cards from your deck and lay them out in front of you.  What doors might be opening here, what sort of thing might each ace be suggesting you do?  How might you best take advantage of these opportunities?”

ace of wands
ace of wands, morgan greer tarot

Ace of Wands

The Ace of Wands is the spark of the fire suit.  It is eagerness and strength.  It is often seen as the beginning of the journey of creativity.  To view “creativity” simply as an outlet for the creation of art is limiting to me.  Personally, I have a hard time accessing my own artful abilities.  This is primarily because my creative fire is often expended at work.  As a nurse, my job can be emotionally, mentally, and physically draining.  It is easy to default to coming home from work and sitting on the couch binging the Office on Netflix cuddling with my cat, Gary.  For me, taping in to the fire energy ranges from anything small — maintaining a daily tarot practice — to large — painting the bathroom in our still unfinished home.  Because the Ace of Wands shows up in your reading doesn’t mean you’re about to pick up a new hobby or pen a bestselling novel.  When the Ace of Wands shows up in your reading, there is an invitation to identify and access what physical activities or projects can bring you joy.

ace of cups
ace of cups, morgan greer tarot

Ace of Cups

The Ace of Cups is the source of the water suit.  It is overflowing with sweetness and grace.  It is often seen as the beginning of an emotionally transformative journey.  I like to relate this card to “connection” as opposed to “love,” because love doesn’t always resonate.  Love can be used as a guise for many things, and not all of them healthy.  To read Cups through the lens of connection lends more depth because it includes any kind of relationship we may have, even ones with ourselves or with our spirituality.  I love the sweet water flowers depicted on this card, how they grow from the murky depths and blossom on the surface, representing how we create and curate relationships.  The dove in the sky represents spirit, grace, and flow.  One need not be perfect or clean to show up to the suit of cups, one must simply show up, ready to receive.  The Ace of Cups prompts the reader to consider how they create value in their life.

ace of swords
ace of swords, morgan greer tarot

Ace of Swords

The Ace of Swords is the spirit of the air suit.  It is truth and awareness.  It is often seen as the beginning exploration of deeper wisdom.  This deeper wisdom serves to mature raw emotion.  There is intellect in the Swords, yes, but it also serves as a portal to examine spiritual experience and truths.  The Swords can be a difficult suit because it covers a wide range of situations which relate specifically to the human experience, and within that is pain, complexity, and contradiction.  As an Aquarian, I easily identify with the suit of air.  I like to daydream, plan, and extrapolate.  But, it is also easy for me to overanalyze, judge, obsess, and I have a constant desire to be Right.  I have learned, and continue to learn, how to find greater balance in this.  Ace of Swords is the ferocity to slice through our illusions; it symbolizes our mind and its ability to pierce confusion and suss out a clear understanding of the facts.

ace of pentacles
ace of pentacles, morgan greer tarot

Ace of Pentacles

The Ace of Pentacles is the foundation of the earth suit.  It is manifestation and a grounded sense of being.  It is often seen as the beginning of material building.  The Ace of Pentacles is lush and inviting, it inspires satisfaction with our physical world.  This card highlights the magic of the Earth and everyday things.  The garden in this card invites the reader in, to luxuriate in the peacefulness there, and then, when the reader is ready, to take the path out into the wider world, to the mountains beyond.  This, too, is spiritual work.  It is integrating and implementing the deeper wisdom that our mind has helped us uncover.  The Pentacles relate to self care, family life, physical space and our resources.  When the Ace of Pentacles turns up, it asks the reader how they can shape their world, take action, in order to make their physical world more aligned with their intentions.

I am blogging my experiences here with Beth Maiden’s Alternative Tarot Course which asks students to draw a card each day, reflect on it, complete weekly readings, and other assorted exercises.

Alternative Tarot Course · Cups · Daily Tarot Card · Wands

daily tarot cards: Ten of Cups, Six of Wands

A Note on Shuffling

Yesterday and today’s cards are repeaters.  My shuffling used to be more complicated and, in the grand scheme of things, time consumingly silly.  I have settled into a simple way of selecting cards that I feel cuts down the chance of incidentally turning up a repeater for myself.  Now, I simply overhand shuffle my deck nine times, fan the cards out in one hand and randomly select a card.

Since I’ve been blogging/tracking my daily cards (on December 31, 2018), I’ve had a number of repeating cards.  They have all repeated one time (at this point), and below is the order in which I received the repeats.

Together, I read a redemptive journey for the Seeker.

ten of cups
ten of cups, morgan greer tarot

January 18, 2019

This was a beautiful card to receive on a Friday; and it was definitely a pleasant Friday at work, as far as work days go.  This card is a reminder of the gifts we receive in life, from God, from others, from ourselves, however joy, love, imagination, connection finds us.  This card is a promise that “life brings happiness and not just an absence of pain” (Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom, 194).  It’s a reminder that one must step up and take one’s place in the dancing dream of life.

six of wands
six of wands, morgan greer tarot

January 19, 2019

I am again thinking of how the Six of Wands is considered a victory card, when it comes in the middle of the suit and how the Wands end in overburden.  I wonder how much pride gets in the way in this suit, how ignorance can get out of hand, how one can easily get caught up in one’s own narrative and lose sight of the bigger picture.  I’m thinking of Game of Thrones and how everyone seems concerned with winning the Iron Throne and is unaware of the true threat to Westeros, the White Walkers, to the North.  (Probably because I just watched the teaser four time in a row…)  I’m thinking of Hermione and her constant need to be right and how Harry and Ron temper her obstinance.  Optimism and a belief in oneself will carry one as far as is needed, but it’s important to not let it veer into toxic pride.

I am blogging my experiences here with Beth Maiden’s Alternative Tarot Course which asks students to draw a card each day, reflect on it, complete weekly readings, and other assorted exercises.

Alternative Tarot Course · Daily Tarot Card · Major Arcana

daily tarot card: Wheel of Fortune

wheel of fortune
wheel of fortune, morgan greer tarot

One thing I’ve always loved about this particular depiction of the Wheel of Fortune, is the implication of enjoyment between the crowned pair.  The male figure appears to be smiling and cheering his beverage, and while the reader cannot see the female figure’s face, the pair has a dancing posture.  They seem completely unconcerned with the figure who has fallen off the Wheel and out of the frame.

Another interesting element to this depiction is the Hand of God coming from the left of the frame.  In the Morgan Greer deck, this hand also appears in the Ace cards, presenting the elemental symbol to the Seeker.

Wheel of Fortune in itself is neutral, it signifies nothing good nor bad is coming, but it is a harbinger of change.  The basic meaning of the Wheel of Fortune is the cycles of life: is never the same, it is always changing.  There is nothing that humans can do to stop the forward, or cyclic, or spiral motion of our existence.  There is, as the pair on top of the Wheel shows, nothing to worry about as the Wheel turns.  We do not know what is coming, humans cannot control it — our destiny — as hard as we try.

The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind,
The kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday.

— Baz Luhrmann, “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen),” which was originally an essay written by Mary Schmich in the Chicago Tribune.

As number ten in the Major Arcana, the Wheel of Fortune is the middle of the Seeker’s journey — one could say it is the turning point of for the Seeker.  Here, the Seeker must confront the question of chance versus destiny, choice versus fate, the mystery of life.

This, however, leads to a conundrum within the question, which Rachel Pollack outlines in Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom: human lives are so short that we cannot comprehend the meaning of life.  Thus, life feels meaningless.  We subscribe to the idea of fate, because we are so small that we cannot see the interconnectedness of all things.  It is only when we step back (the Hermit) that we can begin to perceive our life, what we’ve done and where we are going.

With the Wheel comes change, and to the change we must react.
After the Wheel, we must adapt and integrate.
Through the Wheel, we receive glimpses of the meaning of life.

I am blogging my experiences here with Beth Maiden’s Alternative Tarot Course which asks students to draw a card each day, reflect on it, complete weekly readings, and other assorted exercises.

Alternative Tarot Course · Cups · Daily Tarot Card · Wands

daily tarot cards: Two of Wands, Three of Cups, Ace of Wands

two of wands
two of wands, morgan greer tarot

January 13 & 14, 2019

Fun story:  I pulled the two of wands on Sunday, January 13.  Afterward, I “reset” my deck by sorting the suits and major arcana in order and let it rest overnight.  The next morning, I shuffled and pulled my daily card and got the two of wands again.  Another repeating card!  (Continue reading this post for yet another repeater…)

The two of wands shows a figure looking off toward the left field of the card.  To the left, the reader can see another wand and a hand holding onto it.  The main figure holds in their right hand a sphere, which may be a crystal ball, and there is a protective shield adorning their left arm, lending an earthy energy to the card.  Wands typically relate to a “creative” fire; I get more of an adventuring vibe from this card.  I am wondering of what they are thinking as they look at, and through, the crystal ball, toward their adventuring partner.

The two of wands is an invitation.  It comes just after the ace of wand, the spark of the fiery suit.  It’s the planning and contemplation, the first steps of the journey.  The crystal ball relates to the suit of air.  I could see the figure using it to reflect and explore their feelings around the upcoming journey.  The figure is on a journey to becoming themselves and realizing dreams along the way.

three of cups
three of cups, morgan greer tarot

January 15, 2019

My other repeater — I pulled this card on December 31, 2018.  This week, the relation of the three of cups to major arcana III, the Empress, came to the forefront.  How can I receive the good stuff from community?  How can I open up more to myself and to others?

On this day, I started Yoga with Adriene’s “Dedicate — A 30 Day Yoga Journey.”  There is a cultivated and everyday magic to this card and I feel that reflected in my dedication to my at home yoga practice.

ace of wands
ace of wands, morgan greer tarot

January 16, 2019

[The suit of wands in the Morgan Greer is officially named “rods,” but I still call it wands *shrug*]  I really like the earth element present in this fire card.  The wand itself is a large, leafy branch that comes out of the sky over a large forest.  There is a sense of pride radiating from this card acting as a strong support for the Seeker.  This ace is the beginning of a thrilling suit.  What creative and crazy adventures await?

“Potential is the kingdom of all beginnings.” — Notes from the Pagan Otherworlds Tarot

I am blogging my experiences here with Beth Maiden’s Alternative Tarot Course which asks students to draw a card each day, reflect on it, complete weekly readings, and other assorted exercises.