Moon 7 // New Moon in Aquarius

Year of the Fire Monkey begins


For the next 3 moons we will be diving into different practices that enhance your intuitive abilities. Intuition is just like any other muscle, it needs to be used to be toned & flexible.

We begin our exploration with learning about connecting to the Oracle Within.


Historically, an oracle had several meanings: a prophecy that was considered to have come directly from a divine source, aka Spirit; a shrine where a deity reveals hidden knowledge; or the answer from the shrine as channeled through a priestess or priest. Today we use the word more freely -  any good source of information might be called an oracle. I believe your intuition is an oracle. One of my favorite ways to connect with my intuition and receive oracle guidance is to work with tarot and oracle cards; both are useful tools for any spiritual seeker. 


Tarot cards


Unless you are already a tarot reader or know someone who is, tarot cards can seem somewhat esoteric. I'm here to tell you that they are absolutely user friendly and don't have to be complicated at all. You don't have to be an expert or know everything there is to know about the tarot to enjoy making them a regular part of your spiritual practice. 


The key is in finding the right deck - one whose imagery speaks to you and makes you want to play with your cards. I think this is the most important step in learning how to read any oracle cards. It might take playing with a few different decks before you find “the one”; or, you might end up using a particular deck for years and then change decks at some point. 


Personally, I have gone through at least 10 different tarot decks and many types of oracle cards in the last 20 years. Each deck served me well for where I was at the time. My current favorite tarot decks are The Wild Unknown and Starchild Tarot. You might also like to use different decks for different times of the month, or year, or on different occasions. The possibilities are endless.


The standard tarot deck consists of 78 cards which are divided into 2 basic subsets: The Major and the Minor Arcana. The word Arcana means “secrets or mysteries”. I’m going to break-down both sets of cards so that you can have some understanding of these cards before you do your own reading.


The Major Arcana


The Major arcana is a group of 22 “trump” cards that represent universal archetypal forces that govern our lives. These cards are numbered from 0 - 21 and each card is titled with the archetypal energy of the card; ie: The High Priestess {II}, The Moon {XVIII), and The Wheel of Fortune {X}. These cards represent natural forces and energies that are beyond your control and which flavor & shape your current situation. 


Just because these forces are external doesn’t mean that you can’t work with them on a personal and internal level. The internal and external are not separate. As Above, So Below and As Without, So Within are words to remember when working with the Major Arcana. External forces work to shape internal experiences of the seeker, so the Major Arcana are deeply connected to the inner realms.


Each of the 22 cards of the Major Arcana can stand alone, but if you lay them out in order from 0 - 21, they tell the story of the Fool's journey through life. (Hint, each of one of us is the Fool.) In Jungian terms, this is the process of individuation or coming to spiritual maturity. The Major Arcana cards represent important stages of development in your life; themes like love, hope, deity, tradition, release, change, etc. These cards can represent pivotal moments in your soul’s journey and therefore carry more weight in a reading than the Minor Arcana.


We all go through the same themes in our lives, so in a way, Major Arcana represent that which we have in common. How this theme shows up in your life is of course unique to you, and it is the Minor Arcana which represents the things that make each of our lives unique. Here's an analogy I came across that makes a lot of sense: if Life were the same song covered by many different artists, then the Major Arcana would be the basic structure of the melody while the Minor Arcana would be the endless possible variations on that melody.


The Minor Arcana


While the Major Arcana represent universal themes that you experience through your inner self, the Minor Arcana represent the outer - the actual, physical world that you live in. The cards in the Minor Arcana generally concern themselves with the day to day business of life, representing people and events that fill your everyday experience. You can think of them as the smaller details that help to make the bigger picture of your life. The combined total of the Minor Arcana is 56 cards, split into four suits that loosely correspond to the four suits of modern day playing cards. These suits are connected to the fourelements: Air, Fire, Water and Earth. Different tarot decks will have different names for the suits; a common quartet is Swords, Wands, Cups and Pentacles.


Swords (Air) correspond to the mind: intellect, knowledge and ambition are key themes.


Wands (Fire) correspond to the spirit: creativity, passion & willpower are key themes.


Cups (Water) correspond to intuition: relationships, emotions and empathy are key themes.


Pentacles (Earth) correspond to resources: possessions, finances and health are key themes. 


Each suit is made up of 10 number cards - also known as “pips”, which are numbered Ace through Ten. Like in life, one is a little and ten is a lot, so the higher the number the more intense the energy of the card. If there are a string of pip cards in your reading, you can learn a lot by looking at the progression of the numbers. Do the numbers start big and then get smaller? Something is reducing. Or on the contrary, do the numbers start slow and get steadily bigger? Something is building. If there are many numbers from the same suit in your reading it indicates that whatever themes are connected to that suit are currently a strong influence in your life.


Some numerological associations with the pips cards are:


Aces: beginnings, action, ideas, opportunities.

Twos: balance, duality, polarity, opposites.

Threes: fruition, integration, manifestations, harmony.

Fours: stability, boundaries, order, foundation.

Fives: uncertainty, adaptation, challenge, struggle.

Sixes: exuberance, expressive, reconciliation, sharing.

Sevens: discipline, restraint, inner-work, self-reflection.

Eights: expanding, re-evaluation, movement, prioritizing.

Nines: luck, force, capability, change.

Tens: endings and beginnings, results, karma, release.


There are also four court cards per suit: Pages, Knights, Queens and Kings. Sometimes these cards are called family cards, and different decks have different names for these families. For example, in The Wild Unknown Tarot Pages become Daughters, Knights become Sons, Queens become Mothers and Kings become Fathers. In tarot readings, court/family cards usually represent other people in your life and/or different aspects of yourself.


Pages: Students, apprentices, catalysts for change, open to new possibilities. Pages often indicate an actual child or your own inner child; naive, innocent or learning.


Knights: Action oriented, Knights are committed to the things that are indicated by their suit. Knights are courageous, headstrong and can be self-centered and rash.


Queens: Queens have the ability to nurture the qualities indicated by their suit. They administer and channel inner authority and power.


Kings: Representing mastery and external authority in the field that is represented by their suit, Kings are secure but can be rigid, being limited by the very rules they have established.


Other oracle decks


Oracle cards are decks of cards not divided into suits or Major and Minor Arcana. Like the tarot, they are a vehicle to reflect both your inner thoughts and guidance from Spirit. There are probably hundreds of oracle decks to choose from. Again, you want to find a deck that resonates with you because these decks often rely heavily on visual imagery. Sometimes they consist only of an image, sometimes there are words, and sometimes there is a book that accompanies them with more information. My favorite oracle deck that is one that I have used for the past 15 years: Medicine Cards: Discovery of Power through the ways of the Animals.


Reading Tarot and Oracle Cards


So now that you have some basic information about tarot & oracle decks, it's time to learn how to give yourself a reading. Most decks come with a little pamphlet or book that gives the meaning of each card. I want to encourage you to try to read the cards intuitively first, spending a few moment with the imagery and the feelings it brings up in you before turning to the book or the internet for an answer. While the standard interpretation of the cards can be helpful, I think it is more important to begin with and acknowledge your own intuitive impressions and the feelings you receive when looking at the imagery on your cards. 

It is also important not to take your readings in a predictive or literal way. If you draw the Death card it doesn't mean you or someone near you is going to die. Rather it might suggest an ending to a situation or a time of transformation.


Before you begin your reading it is important to clarify what your question. What do you want to know? Why do you want to know it? Always ask questions about your own life, not someone else’s. It is not always necessary to ask a specific question in an oracle reading. You can ask something like "What do I need to look at or examine in my life right now?"


Some things you might consider asking:


  • Questions about the most appropriate action to take in a situation
  • Questions about choice; which option among several is best or the consequences of various choices
  • What is this situation trying to teach me?


There are many different types of readings you can do, from a single card to a more complex spread like the Celtic Cross which has 10 cards. A lot of tarot and oracle decks will come with suggested readings in the book or pamphlet. There is not right or wrong type of reading to do, follow your inner guidance as to what is right for you in the moment.


A great way to begin consulting the Oracle within is to start with one card readings. This is a quick and simple method and quite easy to incorporate into your life. You only have to focus on one image at a time and it is a nice way to get to know the cards in your deck. A question like "What do I need to focus on today?" is a great way to start the day. Or, you can end the day with a question like "What was the teaching for me today?". 


Whenever you are feeling comfortable with one card readings consider trying a three card reading. With these readings you have a little bit more going as you begin to look at relationships between the cards. A simple three card reading would be Past, Present, Future. If you are feeling like diving into a more complex reading, the Celtic Cross is a classic spread to experiment with. You can also just lay out cards one by one until you feel complete.


Whenever you are ready to begin, start by creating a Sacred space to work in. You can gather any items that help you with this: a cloth or scarf to lay the cards out on, a candle,crystals, etc. At the very least, take a moment to ground yourself and connect with your intuition and intention.


As you shuffle your cards, hold your question in your heart and mind. You can even speak your question out loud if you like. Holding your question in your mind while you shuffle is important as it infuses the energy of the question into the cards. When you feel you are done shuffling, you can cut the deck (or not) in whatever way feels right.


Starting with the top card, lay the cards out face down in whatever pattern or spread you are working with. Or, spread all the cards in the deck out in a fan and intuitively choose cards. 


Once you have chosen your cards, turn over the cards one by one.  How do you feel when you look at the card? Does this feeling change as you examine the card in detail? Pay attention to the colors, the shapes, the images and the general energy of the card. 


If you have laid out more than one card, look at the cards together - what is the story in the sequencing of the cards? Make sure to write down any ideas you have about the cards before consulting the book for a definition.


When I’m done with a reading, I like to leave the cards out for a little while. Sometimes just for the day, and sometimes for many days. The cards are a visual touchstone of the reading and remind me of the themes or places in my life that are being activated. Also, sometimes I will use tarot cards, sometimes oracle cards, or a combination of the two.


Reversed cards


A reversed card is a card that is upside down in your reading. Many books and websites will offer definitions on reversed cards, and sometimes the language can be more than a little negative. I consider reversed cards as the shadow side of the upright meaning. Everything has both a light side and a shadow side - neither is good or bad and both offer us information about ourselves and our situation. 


The other way Iconsider reversed cards is that there is something blocking the full expression of the card. It might be a person or event, but often it is our own mind and beliefs about the situation that are causing the resistance. 


Some readers don't read reverse cards at all - either turning them upright before shuffling or turning them upright during the reading. I play around with both ways, sometimes only reading cards upright and sometimes both ways. You might want to begin reading cards upright only until you get more comfortable with the whole process. Or not. Do what feels right!


Repeat cards


There is a learning opportunity for you when you draw the same card repeatedly. Often it is something that is a deep pattern or a blind spot that you might not want to look at. It is usually something you already know. Use the card as a prompt for a free write and see what material arises.


Practice: Daily connection with the Oracle


Daily one card readings. You’ll need your tarot and/or oracle cards, materials to create sacred space and your journal. Maybe you want to practice this for a week, a month, or a lunar cycle. Whatever feels right. Try making time for this practice in the morning so that you can check back in with the card at the end of the day.


  • Carve out 5-15 minutes for this practice
  • Create sacred space & connect with your intuition
  • Draw one tarot or oracle card 
  • What do you think it is relating to in your life?
  • Write down your impressions about the card before you look up the meaning in the book
  • If you consult a book, write down anything from this definition book that resonates for you
  • Leave the card on your altar or desk to look at throughout the day. If you aren’t at home, you can take a picture of the card and look at that.
  • At the end of the day, go back to your journal and review what you have written. Did the card reflect the energy of your day? The connection may be subtle or it may be clear as a bell.


Next month:

Moon 8 | New Moon in Pisces

Reflecting Your Inner Wisdom | Creative Practice

Kristina Wingeier is a Lunar Mystic, Soul Counselor, and Intuitive Healer. Her services include: Soul Counsel Depth CoachingIntuitive Tarot Readings, and The Conscious Empath Sessions: Re-Patterning Energetic Boundaries

Her new e-course, The Lunar Womb begins on March 8, 2016.

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