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
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
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
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
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.