The 10 of Swords and Growth

Consciousness, Minor Arcana - Major Thoughts, The Pondering Chair

There are times in our life that just suck… a lot. Usually things get really bad before they get better. I have no reasoning for this, it is just the way it is. That saying “it is always darkest before the dawn” is such a fitting saying for these times and for the 10 of Swords.

For some reason, we humans have to hit rock bottom to see a way out, or up. We have to feel the full force of the pain before we can heal. There is a contradictory beauty to being shattered – it gives us the tools to grow, learn and flourish. Sometimes that is the only way we can.

It is often through intense pain we begin to see and understand. It is the most unpleasant way to revelation, yet the most powerful and transforming way too.

It is not easy to find hope and strength when we are lying weak, broken and alone on the floor, it is not easy to pick oneself up. It is tempting to remain there and give up altogether. To just give in to the wounded and shattered feelings, and feed off our misery.

But as you are evolving and awakening to consciousness, you understand that there is sometimes grace through suffering.

By this I mean drawing on the self love you have, to compassionately see that whilst it feels like you have been wounded beyond repair, you are aware that this too shall pass, and you will be wiser, stronger and ready to face life, and the world with new eyes.

You are able to build your courage, determination and mind back up to wholeness. Knowing what you have learned and experienced.

That is one of the most precious gifts of all – the power of resilience and healing we as humans can naturally adopt. We are designed to gradually self heal from these moments.

Before this healing takes place we must come to terms with the ending and annihalation we are feeling. We must then have faith in the process.

The comfort that comes from this card is that the worst is over or soon will be.

While this ending can be so hard, more often than not it is the slam that can lead us to awakening for the first time. The universe acts for our highest good, regardless of how we see it.

As I reflect for a moment on the 10 of Swords times in life, it occurs to me that if I had never hit the ground, I’d have never seen the stars.


The World – nearing completion. 

Consciousness, Major Arcana, Tarot Thoughts, The Pondering Chair

The final card in the Major arcana or so it is often said. I suppose looking from the perspective of enlightenment or a storytelling kind of view then yes, it kind of fits well. But we aren’t generally living life in sequence of the cards assigned numerical order, and completion is a tall order for any of us. There is usually more finality in the Death Card or The Tower. The World card brings us to the peak – the culmination, blending all of what is good together. But this is temporary, much like anything else we experience. 
How do we know that the Fool in card zero is not the result of The World. After all, he is at the peak of a cliff, is he setting off? Or has he arrived? Round and round. Or is it on and on until we are but dust? 

The World card is where we are ready to begin again. Drawing from all our experiences, an opportunity to start fresh in a way. Let what is gone go and embrace what is coming. This leads me to reflect on what is so special about the distant memories many hold on to. I find these days that I don’t enjoy musing too long on what has been. It doesn’t serve me. It does not enhance my present moment. I realise more and more that all we truly have that is precious is this moment we are living in right now. 
I don’t find that looking forward too far is useful either. It takes so much away from this time of now.  Each journey is what it is. When I am at the final position thinking “yes! I made it, here I am!!”, it soon becomes clear that the adventures of this lifetime, perils and all begin anew, or maybe just continue like the next chapter in a saga.
I was reading something as usual that fits in well with my thoughts. It was a summary of the I-ching hexagram 64, ‘Nearing Completion”, The final hexagram in the Book of Changes. This summary spoke of nearing the peak, the effort it has taken with that goal in sight,only to finally see that you still have to descend down the other side. I loved that description. Life is very much like that. We are never quite where we imagine we should be to be happy completely and permanently.
We allow our spirit to be so eaten up by things that drain us. Thinking it will be over soon if only this or when such and such. I don’t want my precious moments to be filled with anxiety and stress over poverty, physical ailments and self pity. Perhaps using those emotions to motivate me to help others and give more is better than bemoaning my own lack and self absorbed issues. 
The World in a literal sense is something so much bigger than the self.  Perhaps sometimes by the time we reach that part of our journey we see that it’s not just about us, or our tiny little self created ‘world’.
The essence of spirituality is about caring for others, human, animal, earth, sky.. you get what I mean. It’s universal love and compassion. It’s not easy, especially when we believe we have always given. Or even that we have nothing to give. We can be very judgmental and selective without even realising it. Or we can look at ourselves and think we are so lovely. We might be, but then again we may only be in certain circumstances or in certain circles. Sometimes our motives have not been understood wholly by ourselves or entirely truthful. It’s possible. 
The ability to reflect on who we are, in every way, how we think, what our ego voice says – and do it in a brutally honest way too, that’s harsh. Yet it’s part of maturing and adjusting in line with who we authentically want to be and are meant to be. That might be part of this peak moment. Who knows. 

The Knight of Cups – Questing (A shadow side view)

Consciousness, Tarot Court Cards, The Pondering Chair


Sometimes when I turn over the Knight of Cups, I see a figure on a never ending quest to fill his cup; a cup which has a magical bottom in which the contents never come up more than half way, no matter how much liquid goes into it. Or perhaps he is searching for a magic potion that will make his life ideal – just like he has visualized in his imagination.


Mythic Tarot - Knight of Cups

He spends his life travelling, from adventure to adventure, always searching for the magic elixir that will finally fill that golden cup or quench his thirst.

He is the archetypal knight of romantic dreams and fantasies; living in a world of fantasy, high ideals and quests of the heart.

Nothing is ever enough. He is always searching for bigger, better, more fulfilling. Yet he is oblivious to this. He does not see that he is never in one situation long enough to let the bottomless cup have a chance.

When he does arrive at a destination, and is ready to fulfill his quest, he discovers that it is not exactly the perfect ideal situation he imagined. Perhaps for a little while maybe. Once the novelty has worn off, and the heady romance of it all has settled, our Knight is left feeling wanting. The elixir is not as refreshing. And so the questing begins again.


Tarot Illuminati - Knight of Cups

Sometimes I think, when I ponder over this card, that if he hopped off the horse, and set the cup down in a safe place for a while, and looked at his life and what he tries to fill his cup with, he might just realise why that need to continually quest for the perfect elixir seems so elusive.

So often in our life we live in the premise of what will happen next. We fantasize about how things will be, how it will pan out, and how we will feel; only to find out that the reality is far from our idealism.

Searching from dream to dream, looking for fulfillment and romanticising everything is nice, but it leads to disappointment. I often bang on about living in the present moment, and when I think of my Knight on his perpetual quest for love and perfection, it reminds me of forgetting to be present.

There comes a point where we must rest our horse, reflect over what we are doing, and why. Look at the bigger picture perhaps. We get so wrapped up in our dreams and fantasies of how it should be, or perhaps thinking in terms of always ‘one day’ that we forget about today. We forget that while we are chasing dreams and hopes we are forfeiting what we have.  This moment, this life right now, is our life.


Wizard's Tarot - Knight of Cups

Always dream, always hope. But don’t hope and wish your life away trying to fill the magic cup. Look around you right now. Look inside you. Treasure what you have now. Just be. The future will be here in the blink of an eye.

I look upon my beautiful golden cup. It is not always full. Yet it is always beautiful.

Posted With love & joy to you always, Tess

Self Worth Identity and the 4 of Pentacles

Consciousness, Minor Arcana - Major Thoughts, Tarot Thoughts

What amazes me is how a card can be trying for so long to reveal an important truth, yet we sit and ponder every angle but that particular truth. Suddenly, out of the blue you turn over that card (again.. sigh) and it slaps you in the face!

The interesting part is that if we hit on the meaning before we are ready and receptive – well, it would have had no impact or very little. Our unconscious or subconscious knows what it is doing in these instances I am certain!

I am choosing to bypass all the possible meanings and traditional assignations for the 4 of Pentacles today. My focus for this image and this card is based on our attachments to having a defined identity. Those roles we give ourselves, and are given, that define who we are in this world. This includes the value we place on our sense of worth based on these roles and definitions. The need for stability in a world of impermanence and change.

The 4 of Pentacles will prompt thought on why we hold on so tightly, the fears we have and even promote ideas on what if we just loosen our grip a little, perhaps even let go.

When we think of 4 as a numeral it is solid stable and firm. The 4 corners of a square, 4 legs of a chair. Our 4 limbs. To step deeper into 4 there are 4 seasons, 4 elements, in the Kabbalah there are 4 worlds.

Pentacles as you know represent the earthly element. The aspects of life we can touch, see, taste. The material. The tangible. The earth is what we as humans are physically bound to through living.

The 4 of Pentacles can have an air of being too tightly attached to the earthly aspects, clinging to the idea of stability and familiarity to the detriment of our own well being and growth.

There is wisdom in taking care of what is precious to us, but when that becomes our priority above all else – that is when we need to reflect on our values most.

I chose the Mythic Tarot Deck for this Thinking Tarot piece, as the tale of Daedalus fits so well with the concepts present at this time. If you are not familiar with the story, Id love to share it.

Remember the tale of Icarus? Who flew too close to the sun against his father’s warning whilst escaping as prisoners of King Minos? Daedalus was his father. The designer of the wings made of feathers and wax.
Many years before his imprisonment, Daedalus was a famous sculptor in Athens. The best. He took on his nephew Talos as his apprentice. Talos invented the saw amongst other things.

Daedalus valued his identity as the best craftsmen above anything in the universe. He watched as Talos showed amazing potential, so much that Daedalus feared he would exceed himself – and become the best. Not wanting to let go of his position, Daedalus murdered his nephew. He then fled the city and ended up losing anyway.

What he placed so much value on, and held on to so tightly, was not worth it in the end. The essence of who we are is not what we do for a living, our status, our beliefs, our wealth. This is where I truly feel we as humans lose our way.

The 4 of Pentacles can amplify this sense of attachment to worldliness. Look at how Daedalus clutches the Pentacles so tightly.

Is it not so that the parts of us we hold on to so tightly as being ‘us’ are in truth compartmentalized sections of how we want to be perceived? Or even how we think we should be perceived? How is that even close to who we actually are?

We hold dear our cover identity because we believe that is what makes us acceptable and worthy. Or even unacceptable and unworthy. We define ourselves by our experiences, talents, friends, wealth and so on. We place ourselves up high because we are successful in endeavors. We place ourselves low because we fail. We identify ourselves as victims or martyrs, heroes or stars. Is this what we are made to live for? 

Einstein has been quoted to have said “What we have called matter is energy, whose vibration has been lowered as to be perceptible to the senses.” So in a sense what we perceive, hold, touch – matter is empty space. This describes the physical objects. So our value, all of which remains when we leave anyway is emptyness.

Our identity – the protective armour we wear to hide our imagined flaws and shortcomings behind is our measure of self worth, when it is dissected up is empty too.

We fill our arms up with nothingness. We worship and guard what is pointless. Holding on can be a symbol possessiveness.

When we are in our old age, who are we? Often we describe ourselves as a retired something or other. We almost cease to exist already, while we are vibrantly alive and human.

In many images of the 4 of Pentacles we see the figure guarding his precious treasure, and often there is a dividing symbolic image in the art. It may be a wall, a door, a fence.


Gilded Tarot - 4 of Pentacles

This brings to mind how when we focus so much on protecting what we ‘value’ we become seperate and isolated. We lose that freedom of peace of mind.  We are causing our own isolation from growth and seeing what is beyond.

Tolle teaches that who we truly are is separate from who or what our ego wants us to be. I am in agreement!  Our ego is shaped by the experiences around us. It feeds on growing and tricking us into thinking it is really us – each person has ego in their make up. 

What, in spiritual terms is our ego?
‘the part of the mind that mediates between the conscious and the unconscious and is responsible for reality testing and a sense of personal identity.”

So our ego is the part of us that identifies with our mind (thoughts) and our body (feelings). Our thoughts and feelings are not who we are. They are shaped and molded by our life experiences and by our memories, moods, and so on. The ego is the active part of us, that thrives on conditioning and environment. We are comfortable and safe when that environment is familiar and stable. This is when we hold tight, to what we have, what we achieve, what we know. The ego protects us in a way from being truly whole.

Our self – who we truly are, that is another matter entirely. By being aware of our true self, the essence of us, is something we needn’t fear losing. It is something we do not need to hold close to us and guard fiercely. No one can take it, and we must certainly move out of our little fortress to seek it out, to be conscious of it. In order to find it we must relinquish our grip on the worldy aspects we hold dear.

The first step in finding our true self is to discard our attachment to our ego. Acknowledge that in our actions and reactions we are driven by this ego component. This awareness is the very first step in discovering the true being that is you. By noticing the actions of our ego. Seeing how much importance we place on it and how much we listen to it above all else.

Step back and observe what goes on in you. Who exactly are you? What is this self so sought after?

An essence of life. A being with love unlimited. A human. A living breathing miraculous being. A vessel capable of pouring out light and receiving it. A  sentient being equal and worthy of all that is good and pure. A being that is love. A being with compassion. Understanding that this infinitely amazing life force is you – and realizing that wanting to be defined as anything more than that is the ego at work – perhaps this is truly learning to let go.

What more could we be grateful for? In holding on to earthly possessions, to our ego, our identity, our status, our perceived worldly value, we miss out on having our arms open for growth, personal expansion, inner calm and true purpose.

All these things come and go. At the end of the day, all we really have is our spirit, heart and love. These are the things that if cultivated will remain with us eternally.

Broadening our Perspective on Suffering Through Strength Insight

Consciousness, Major Arcana, Tarot Thoughts

Waite-Smith Tarot

Suffering. The inevitable part of life none of us want and try to avoid yet it seems to find each one of us. It is as inescapable as death itself.

It is one of the connections that bind us together as living feeling beings. It comes in many forms. From the pains of birth to the grief of death. It comes from wars and disease, poverty and crime, heartache and longing, loss and hardship to the suffering we inflict on ourselves and others through carelessness or ignorance.  It can be for greater benefit or seem to have no purpose but to break us. The degree each individual experiences suffering varies, and it is not up to us to judge that. We are all equal and valuable. We all want to be happy.

Suffering has the capacity to bring out the best in us as human beings. The flip side is that suffering can also bring out the worst in us. The truth is that neither you, nor I –  are strangers to suffering. All that differs is the degree and the way we react.

The definition of suffering is ‘the pain, misery, or loss experienced by a person who suffers; the state or an instance of enduring pain; physical or mental pain that a person or animal is feeling.”

I cannot for certain explain why we suffer. That part of my journey is still being travelled. But it is true that suffering is inevitable throughout life. Pondering on the Strength card has provided some guidance in dealing with suffering in order to maintain balance and compassion when we experience the inevitable as we move through our

When we meditate or ponder on the actual tarot card of Strength, the figures can be read as reference to our psyche or our self. The beast for instance is symbolic here of our animalistic
nature – the wild tendencies we have within us that connect to the lower self. This is a normal part of each of us.

The first step is looking at some of the positive ideas the Strength card invokes versus the qualities that may consume us when we are afflicted by pain.


As I reflect on the way I personally have handled suffering in my life over the years, I can see from the Strength card that many times I allowed my lower unrefined self to engulf me. This resulted in much more intense and prolonged suffering – which was unnecessary in one sense, but has also provided me with the potential to learn from and grow.

How often in our experience of suffering have we naturally turned to our shadowy side to deal with the pain. This is our basic instinct. This of course only ends up compounding our experience and making it worse. Instead of facing our pain with grace and reality, we may do anything possible to fight what has been or is being. We have the power within to react anyway we choose.

The maiden is symbolic of the higher consciousness that we are all capable of. Her presence demonstrates how learning to understand the beastly side of the self, and forming a bond of awareness with it can result in benefits not only in our approach to the harshness of suffering, but to all the aspects we refuse to accept about ourselves. Almost acting like a filter that purifies and refines our thoughts and reactions for our wellbeing, as opposed to denying or locking them up.

This useful bond creates an awakened and balanced individual, with perspective and a compassionate gentle approach. Awake, conscious and fully equipped to respond to suffering in a way that is constructive and helpful, based on realistic vision and insight.


Meditation on Strength may assist us in making the suffering as minimal as possible. With consistent practice on any degree of hardship, perhaps we might eventually develop inner balance to utilise naturally.

Through our hardships we grow and learn. Suffering has much to teach us upon deep reflection. I ponder what need we would have for compassion, understanding, empathy if suffering were pointless. I ponder also the need for self control if there were no consequences to our actions…. in turn the Strength card from the Tarot has much to teach us also.


Tarot Illuminati

I’ve been looking deeply at many things lately, including the Law of Attraction. Ive read countless email sales pitches from people promising to provide me with the secret key to unlocking what I need to manifest abundance – for a fee.

I have no issue paying for services, but was not compelled to purchase any of these offers. This big ‘secret’ cannot be so elusive that I must pay someone to tell me what we all know down in our essence.

As usually happens, lots of little things fell in front of me to guide me on my way. 4 seperate books totally unrelated pointed at this universal law. My cards when providing guidance on the subject provided more insight. Other esoteric studies I am working on crossed into the theme.

What we send out, we receive back. Eckhart Tolle says “outflow determines inflow”.  So, what we think of ourselves, deep down, in the depths of our unconscious, this is the message we send out to the universe. That vibration thing we hear of. The universe, or what ever you personally choose to call it, listens, picks up our vibrations, and returns them to us. Again, and again and again. And so it goes, like a perpetual game of ping pong.

I have been guilty very much throughout my life of feeling very small. Having an unconscious belief that I have nothing of value to offer. Not understanding or even being aware of this universal law, I could not understand how life was so hard always. My vibration at times was very low, very heavy. I was very weighed down with this mentality of not seeing the beauty around me, or inside me. Not feeling grateful. And it reflected back to me time and time again. The more of our outflow that returns to us, the more despondent we can become. And then we begin to question the purpose of life at all. Once we begin to question, generally that is when we start searching for answers!

If this universal law of outflow determining inflow is proven by the despondent feelings and lack in our lives, then a-ha! Flip the coin. Naturally it will be the same if our outflow was abundantly grateful, giving and we saw ourselves as having so much to offer. This is where we look to raise the vibration we send out. It is so true that the source of abundance is inside us, but sometimes to begin to discover this we need to look outside us first. Simplicity – a snowflake, a fluffy cloud, the laughter of children, your dog looking at you with that silly sideways head tilt – it touches something within and you realise all at once how blessed you truly are. You begin to see how much you already have, how much you have to share. Gratitude begins to flow through you, perhaps it starts small, or perhaps it is a huge wave.

All of a sudden you are motivated to give. Giving is many different things. Your vibration is raised. What you are sending out to the universe is different now. This is something we need to practice constantly. Stop. Be in the moment. Step back from the “big picture” and just breathe in the air, listen to the sounds around you, notice the little things you take for granted every single day. Remember always “outflow determines inflow”. Watch and see how things alter by adjusting your perspective.


Justice teaches us that what we send out, we receive recompense accordingly. Step back and see how much you truly have. I bet it’s more than you think.

11 is a high vibration number, 6 has a very balanced vibration. Justice and the 6 of Pentacles being drawn for this part of the journey was wonderful. After the isolation and lonely feeling of lack in the 5 of Pentacles, Justice shows the way to becoming balanced and at peace. It was perfect for amplifying the Universal Law of karma, which in essence is really what is at the heart of outflow and inflow. I noticed too that 5 and 6 equals 11… I wonder if this is noteworthy.. 😉
Notice that the focus is on giving! Not just material of course. But I will leave that up to you how you determine what is worth giving.

So, in essence what we put out, we get back – our attitude, thoughts, beliefs, actions, words. Behind all our actions is a thought. That saying “change your thinking to change your life” might actually ring true!





One of the Universal Laws

Consciousness, Law of Attraction, tarot spreads