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Saturday, 28 January 2017

Birthday reading with Tarot de Marseille

Fournier TdM and Dodal TdM

It's my birthday and I've decided to use Angelorum's birthday spread. The card in the middle is my year card, and the other cards clockwise from top are 'area of life most affected by year card', 'aspect that will be most challenged by year card energy', 'avoid this in the year ahead', 'do more of this in the year ahead'.

My year card is Strength, because I use TdM, and Strength is 11, not Justice. I also don't see the point of reducing the number again and having two year cards, so I'm leaving La Papesse out of the equation.

Looking at the spread, there's a good balance of suits here -- one each. That always feels reassuring to me, a balance of elements. We have numbers 5, 9, and 8, and by some reckonings, Knights are 12, which reduces to 3. The Coins and Cups on the left are the 'soft' suits (as described by Yoav Ben-Dov), which can be regarded as feminine, receptive, and favourable. The Swords and Wands or Staves can be regarded as masculine, outgoing, and challenging. The fact that they have taken sides in the spread rather than mixing themselves suggests that there may be a bit of dichotomy or struggle between them. However, the lion is on the 'hard' side of the spread, and the lady is on the soft side, and we know who is winning that struggle! The message of the pips echoes the message of the trump -- gentleness will win out over savageness.  I like the way the Cavalier de Epee is facing in toward the spread; it makes it feel complete of itself. When cards on the edges of spreads face outwards, it makes me feel like the message is incomplete and more cards need to be drawn to see what they're looking at. Strength and Knight facing each other also feels right to me, especially as the position is 'area of life most affected by year card.' So that area is not running away from it, but to me it looks like the two are engaged in conversation about it.

My 'main spiritual lesson' of 2017 comes from Strength. My spiritual teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh, wrote a poem called 'Recommendation' in 1965 during the Vietnam War, calling on his fellow protesters to be strong in the face of hate. I've italicised those lines that resonate with the Strength card for me:

Promise me this day,
promise me now,
while the sun is overhead
exactly at the zenith,
promise me:

Even as they strike you down
with a mountain of hatred and violence;
even as they step on you and crush you
like a worm,
even as they dismember and disembowel you,
remember, brother,
man is not our enemy.

The only thing worthy of you is compassion,
invincible, limitless, unconditional.
Hatred will never let you face
the beast in man.

One day, when you face this beast alone,
with your courage intact, your eyes kind,
(even as no one sees them),
out of your smile
will bloom a flower.
And those who love you
will behold you
across ten thousand worlds of birth and dying.

Alone again,
I will go on with bent head,
knowing that love has become eternal.
On the long, rough road,
the sun and the moon
will continue to shine.

The area that will be most affected by Strength energy will be 5 of Coins. As this card often is interpreted is instability in health/finances, I take this to mean that instability will be affected by Strength in order to become more stable. Strength provides the advice for how to deal with challenge: take the lion by the jaws. 

The aspect that will be most challenged in the year ahead is Knight of Swords, or Cavalier d' Epee. This character has a lack of impulse control and enjoys forcing his opinions on others and not listening. If I'm going to be able to take the lion by the jaws and tame it with gentleness, the Knight of Swords is going to feel challenged by this! He's going to have to rein himself back and let other aspects of self take the lead. 

What should I avoid in the year ahead? 9 of Cups. It seems to me to point to getting too comfortable with the status quo. It is entirely possible to be happy and also want to change things. I do love the simple life, but I also must remember that each day being exactly the same is how years can slip by and you can't believe so much time has passed. That's because after a certain age, once most of life's milestones have been achieved, if you don't make your own milestones, it goes by in a blur. Avoid the comfortable blur. 

And finally, do more of this in the year ahead: 9 of Wands. Again, there is advice to rein in the hard suits in my life and personality. And in the Ben-Dov book, this line sticks out at me: 'In a conflict: avoiding a clash with superior forces by letting them have their way.' Which reminds me of an old John Cougar Mellancamp song:

They like to get you in a compromising position
They like to get you there and smile in your face
They think, they're so cute when they got you in that condition
Well I think, it's a total disgrace
I fight authority, authority always wins
I fight authority, authority always wins
I been doing it, since I was a young kid
I've come out grinnin'
I fight authority, authority always wins

Guess which route I usually go? Oh yeah. Fighting authority. But the card here suggests, less offence, more defence. Oh, all right! This also echoes the Strength card in a way. As Michelle Obama said, when they go low, we go high.

Thanks to Lisa at Angelorum for an interesting spread. :)


  1. Happy Birthday Carla! I can so relate to the Mellencamp song; I tend to go into bulldozing ox mode myself. :)
    Thanks for sharing this spread.