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 · Daily Tarot Card · Swords

daily tarot card: Four of Swords

four of swords
four of swords, morgan greer tarot

My first repeat card of the year!  The four of swords, from the Wild Unknown, was a card that showed up a lot for me when I was first learning tarot.  I’m noting my daily card pull in a tarot tracker I’ve set up in my bullet journal so I’m curious to see how things pan out this year…

For week 2 of the Alternative Tarot Course, Beth has us read our cards as part of its suit, as one facet of its element.  The Swords are of air, describing our intellectual selves, how our mind integrates, and the cause and effect of our choices.

In the four of swords, there is a lot of “air” showing up.  The four swords are suspended, pointing downward.  If you think of the sword as a kind of wand, the down-pointing swords could signify a downshift in energy, or keeping our energy closer to ourselves, aka conserving energy.  There are misty clouds in the background which implies there is something afoot that the mind is processing.  The processing of the mind is not an overt action and is therefore seen as quite passive.  However, what the mind is accomplishing is active in that it serves to move the “action” forward: helping us to get from point A to B.

The figure in the image is shielded and laying down — potentially in a tomb, but lets go with “resting” for now.  If the figure opens their eyes, they will see an altered image through their shield.  There is an arrangement of leaves near their head.  The laying down and the leaf arrangement imply alignment with the earth element, and encourages grounding and centering of the querent.

The four of swords is all of these things.  A pause, a time to process and center, to cut through the bullshit and get to what is important.  The mind composts and integrates in times of non-action.  This card asks:  where can you pull your energy back to yourself to re-center and re-calibrate?  What lurks below your minds surface that needs a pause to process?

January, besides being the month of fresh New Year’s resolutions, is like a sigh after the craze of the holidays.  Collective culture would have us go right from non-stop consumerism and family gatherings into major overhauls of our mind/body/self without a real break to gather our energy back to us.  (And also, like, life gets in the way of all that shit — but that’s another story.)  So much energy is given away in December that folks may now feel off kilter.  That the four of swords showed up again, just two days after pulling it last, prompts me to examine my energy expenditures and urges me to place more value on my boundaries, my silence, my peace, and what re-charges me in this time.

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 · pentacles · Swords

daily tarot cards: Four of Swords, Nine of Pentacles

four of swords
four of swords, morgan greer tarot

January 7, 2019

The four of swords is a card of pause, rest.  It’s a moment before action, a sleep before big moves.  It emphasizes that the moments in between acting are just as important as the action.  This card has a very Hanged Man energy to it, in that it’s all about the pause, surrendering to the moment.

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the Heaven.”  — Ecclesiastes 3:1, from Notes From the Pagan Otherworlds Tarot

“No one slays a dragon every day,” continues the Pagan Otherworlds guidebook (if you haven’t noticed this is my go to tarot guidebook).  Just living takes enough energy and it’s important to allocate your energy appropriately.  Know your limitations, know your boundaries.  Live.  Enjoy it.

nine of pentacles
nine of pentacles, morgan greer tarot

January 8, 2019

This is one of my favorite cards of the deck, if not one of my favorite cards ever.  The person in this nine of pentacles knows what’s up, this person don’t give a fuck.  I drew this card this morning and didn’t have a chance to journal about it, but kept the thought of it, the feeling of it, close through the day.  The nine of pentacles is lusciousness, confidence, and deep joy.  It is knowing what you’re doing is working.  It is interest and pursuit.  It is being on your path and not caring what anyone else has to say about it.  The nine of pentacles is your inner being winking, and your outer being clicking into alignment.

I’m trying to blog my daily tarot card every day…but sometimes that’s just not feasible, therefore I will double up on cards like this.  Also, I’m going to start tagging cards based on their suit or if they are a major arcana card, mostly just for my own sanity and ability to look it up again afterward.  Yay!

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.