Tags: nine of swords


Learning Tarot Using Bible Stories

I have an idea for a beginners course tarot using bible stories. It is hard to explain in English, and to be honest, also in Dutch. What follows is a part of it. I want to practice the swords cards wit a spread. The spread is meant to interpret the bible story. Each person in class pulls one card from his/her swords cards. Each one has a different question about the story.

I tried it today with my mother with my new deck the Transformational Tarot. I do not know if I ever dare to teach a class using this method, but this afternoon was amazing.

The story I chose is about King Salomon. Two mothers come to Salomon claiming to be the mother of the same baby. One mother stole the other mothers baby in the night because her own baby died. Salomon ordered to cut the baby in two halves. One of the mothers said “No, do not do it, give the baby to her”. Salomon gave the baby to this mother. She showed with her words that she was the real mother.

We had eight questions.

1.Who is Salomon? Six of Swords. Children are safe with Salomon, they cling to him and there is a rainbow of hope in the back. 


2.Who is the person that tells the story? Five of Swords. The two learned man at the back tell the story. On the forefront are the two mothers. Everyone is looking to them in an excited and frightened way. 


3.Who is the mother of whom the living child is stolen by the other mother? Ten of Swords. She is the little black woman that jumps into what we saw as a black void, telling Salomon not to kill the child but give it to the other mother. 


4.Who is the mother of the dead child? Nine of Swords. This mother is the woman on the forefront. She does not care if the baby – the woman on the card who is about to be stabbed- is cut in two halves. She has no emotional bond with the baby, she is looking the other way. 


5. Who is the living baby? King of Swords. He is the person on the card who is almost hit with the sword. He holds his hand up, his shield is useless, he is defenseless. 


6.What is the sword? Ten of Swords again. Seen as an instrument of death the sword is represented by the evil image on the card: the hooded person of Kukuks clan for which the little black person (the mother of the living baby) is fleeing.

7.The decision (what it means). Ten of Swords again. The card puzzled us. Until now, we saw the right side of the card as a black void. We were staring and staring. And suddenly my mother saw that what we thought was a black void in fact was the face of a black woman, a real living human person. I cannot put in words really well, but that means something as: Salomon and the mother saw a living child, not a mere object. 


8.What does this story mean to us? The card for this question must be drawn from the Major Arcane. Death was the card that came up. Caring (the red heart) and softness (the face of the woman). The mother (skeleton) gave herself up (her self rightness) for the life of her child. 


This is it. My idea is that each one answers one question to interpret the story. With eight people we cover all the questions. As a second step each one must read the card that they had already pulled for their question as a relevant card for their own lives.

If I ever use it, I'll tweak the spread a little bit. There are pitfalls, staying too close to the story, reading too literal, but all in all it was startling.
bed by semyaza


I felt extremely strange in my head today and was very tired as well. I’ve hanged a blanket in front of the window of my attic. The sun was too much for my eyes. I have taken a homeopathic remedy yesterday evening. If it helps the symptoms get worse first. So I already felt a bit strange, but now I felt stranger. The sun was already too much for me, but now I could not endure it any longer.

I have pulled a card with the question what would make me less tired. I have used the Tarot of Saints, because it was lying on my desk. I’ve drawn Nine of Swords. 


Nine of Swords can be about fears that are not realistic. What helps is put my mind at rest by not worrying about being tired. 
death 1

Twelve Days of Christmas, Eighth Day, Snow Day

On the second of January we may realize that the hardest and longest part of winter has yet to come, despite the arrival of the winter solstice. The theme of this day in the Twelve Days of Christmas is the winter. This is not traditional. This theme is made up by Matthews, the writer of Winter Solstice, the book that I have used as a basis for these spreads.

No time to post the spread of this day, but its subject is the winter. It asks to look at the challenges of the winter as a blessing. People find it hard to interpret the cards in the spread, so it is not the best spread in the Twelve Days, although I like the idea behind it.

I’ve picked a card for this question from the spread: “What is the blessing in the challenge of the frost for me?” I felt my fear of frost physically while shuffling and picking the card. I fear slippery roads. Because of my fragile yet longish build the doctor once forbid me to go out when it was slippery. I felt very special and I was impressed. But I do go out. I have rubbers under my shoes with spikes.I have pulled Nine of Swords from the Inner Child Cards as an answer to the question. 


The blessing in the challenge of the frost is that I come into contact with my dread for slippery roads, for this blazing dragon made of ice, and the need to overcome that fear. 

Twelve Days of Christmas, Fourth Day, Feast of Fools

These are my cards pulled in the spread of the Fool, celebrating the Feast of Fools in the Twelve Days of Christmas. There are four cards in the spread.
Card 1, the problem the Fool is heading for, the problem that must be solved in a foolish way,
Card 2, the origin of the problem
Card 3, the card of the Fool
Card 4, a foolish way to solve your problem (this card belongs on top of the Fool, showing a bit of the Fool Card).

For card 1, the card the Fool is walking towards and that represents my problem, I have pulled Five of Crystals from the Inner Child Cards. 


On the card a gnome fits a circle on a mandala that is meant to protect the house. All the while he is whistling. This card shows a problem: combining home and work and other things I like to do.

Card 2 that shows the origin of the problem is Nine of Swords. 


I feel fenced in by the problem, and I might make it bigger than it is in reality; I know I do.

Card 3 is the Fool, represented by Little Redcap, enjoying her walk through the woods, with the wolf lurking around a tree. I am not showing this card.

As card 4 I have drawn the Fairy Godmother, the High Priestess. That is the second time around I've pulled this card in these Twelve days. 


The High Priestess in this deck is a motherly High Priestesses, a combination of the Empress and the High Priestess. Funny is that The Fairy Godmother embodies the problem I am facing: to combine the secluded High Priestess tasks with the motherly Empress. That is a funny and fitting on this Day of Fools in which games are played. And it adds depth to the reading of the first of the Twelve Days, in which she represented what is young and vulnerable.

The Fairy Godmother invites me yet again to find and use the key to my wisdom and my inner compass, reminding me not making the problem bigger than it is by waving my magic wand at it.   

First Sunday of Advent

On the first day of Advent of Advent almost all lectionaries have chosen texts that prelude the Last Judgment. No little sweet Jesus here; it is the end of times what it is about, and on never knows when that arrives. The focus in the reading of the Gospel (Matthew 24: 36-44) is on being ready for the Messiah because he can come unexpectedly, on any moment. One needs to “stay awake” for the arrival of the Messiah.

I’ve picked a card with the question. “How to stay awake for the arrival of the Messiah?” 


I pulled Nine of Crystals (Swords) from the Voyager Tarot, called Narrowness. The card represents the state of mind of the Hermit, and advises to focus on what is most important for me to achieve. It promotes single-minded discipline and suggest to the straight and the narrow, and to go deep. Thus, my mind should not waver from what I find important in order to stay awake for the Messiah. 
Madonna del "Magnificat" (detail)

Cinderella's Victim Spread, Card 1: Victim

I have found my little Ma’at Tarot, it was hidden from view beneath a book.

The first position of the Cinderella Victim Spread, the spread that I am doing to become (a little bit) familiar with the Ma’at Tarot (by Julie Cuccia-Watts) is: “Sitting in the Ashes - This represents what locks us into our own victim mentality”. I have pulled 9 of Swords, First Quarter Moon in Pisces in this position. In the structure of the deck the card belongs in the last period of Autumn. It is a heavy time, winter is almost there, the nights are long and get longer still.


The suggestion in the workbook by Corrine Kenner is that dreams, often strange, are a path to connect with the spirit world. The card shows me my victim mentality. I am victimized by my worries and my fears. They often come during the night -although they can be there as well during the day- the swords on the card represent them. These worries and fears are most of the time unnecessary and not based in reality. Based on spooks.

I often think about this card in the RWS version in those nights: that I succeed in lying down, having the universe with roses and star signs as my blanket. In the Ma’at version of the card a bouquet of roses is presented to the woman in bed – undoubtedly from the spirit world. Accepting that, and with it the lovely scent of roses would be wonderful , and helpful. But that is just the problem, accepting these flowers and accepting the universe as blanket is what is so difficult at those moments. The worries and fears prevail and that is what locks me in my victim mentality. 
bed by semyaza

Harvest Home, Card 5: Health

The card that I have pulled today is again from the Harvest Home spread by Christine Jette, in honour of Lammas, the feast of the first harvest that is to be held on August 1. I have pulled position 5, which is about Health and Healing. The card shows you take care of your body and nurture yourself. It could also be describing an area that is out of balance, and needs full attention.

I have pulled Nine of Swords, themed after the Little Mermaid. 


This card made me ponder all day. Recently I have done many spreads about my health, and struggled with health issues, but this card and its subject was a surprise. However… last week I pulled a Ten of Swords, also a desperate and a melodramatic card.

The story of the Little Mermaid is about sacrifices, loss and pain. The little mermaid, who has a lovely voice, loves a prince so much that she sacrifices her voice by giving it to a witch (the Gorgonlike figure on the card). The witch makes her human, but walking on her feet hurts as if she walks on knives. And sadly, her prince marries not her but another.

So what is this card telling me? Maybe that I worry about my health too much, making my worry almost melodramatic, symbolized on the card by the scary witch in front of the little mermaid. In another take the card tells me I am thinking wrongly that I need to sacrifice the things I like, as working late (for instance on my blog) in order to stay healthy. A third interpretation could be that I view illness and limitations as the witch on the card who demands sacrifices of me (which are the limitations itself), but I do not know for what I sacrifice them - in my worst thought as a as a punishment, or else as a task or lesson. In fact in all the interpretations is a bit of truth, but the first and the second hold the most truth. 

Anyhow, I feel trapped in my health issues; I do not feel I make any progress with them by living healthier (the homeopathic remedies helped though, for which I am grateful).   
Madonna del "Magnificat" (detail)

Three Card Drawing About a Three Legged Stool

Yesterday I have posted the Three-Card-Drawing drawn by my daughter (an exercise from Mary Greer); today I post mine, because I promised it to her. It does differ from the original exercise in that that I included an image of a dream. Last year I did it with one card and a dream-fragment, now I used three cards for it. 


The drawing is about a dream I had last week, while being ill. I pictured an image of the dream in the drawing and parts of the three cards that I had pulled. In my dream I was ill. It was a short dream, consisting of one scene, followed by a sentence. The scene was that I stood on a little stool. That was all. There was a sentence after this scene: “Does she have something that can cure her, and then she does not do it”.

This is what I did:
1. I chose a dream-fragment.
2. I went back into that fragment in my imagination, to see and feel what happened there.
3. I drew a scene from the dream-fragment, and I look at it for a while when it was finished.
4. I asked a relevant question to the cards It was: What helps me? Some other questions: What do I need to look at? What needs to be done? How can I resolve (…)? What is my heart-desire? How can I grow (spiritually, personal) from this? How can I break-through (…)? What would be new behaviour here?
5. I pulled three cards, but the first time I did it, only one card, and I used symbols from them to put in the picture, along the lines Mary Greer suggests in her article about the Three Card Drawing in the Llewellyn Tarotreader 2006.
6. I looked and interpreted it so far as I could at that moment 
7. I went back into the dream to feel what was changed.
8. I finished with an affirmation.

The following is in brief what happened. When I went back into the dream I felt unstable standing on my three-legged stool. I started out with drawing myself on the stool, before pulling the cards, to feel even better what it was about. When I pictured myself on the stool I felt sorrow coming up, and I pictured that as well. Looking to the drawing I noticed I felt very powerless. My arms swayed helplessly in the air.

I decided to ask: “What helps me here?” After that I pulled three cards: Nine of Swords (1), Six of Swords (2), Eight of Cups (3). 

After pulling the cards I went to work on the drawing. After I finished the drawing, I looked at it for a while. I had pictured the boat from Six of Swords as an extension of my left hand, and the man from Eight of Cups on my right hand. After some time looking at it, I went back into the dream in my imagination, in fact because I wanted to explore something more, but I could not explore that any more, because I felt different, standing on that stool. I felt more stable and powerful, and I also felt that I was pulled in to the future, forwards. It was really glad that I went back in the dream after the drawing and looking at it. The affirmation that I wrote down afterwards was: “Steady I am going forwards.”

Having done this it could be rewarding to work with some details on the drawing, for instance with the red bundle in the boat (originating from the Six of Swords). Ah well, enough for now.

Funny is, that I felt that the drawing had changed something when I went back into the dream, but I did get the message on a rational level -what deep fears the dream had touched upon in which the cards try to help me- not earlier than today. So interesting! These things work, without your brain knowing it. That is in important insight. It is not about the interpretation, it is about what happens on a deeper sub-conscious level. That is where healing and changes take place.
Madonna del "Magnificat" (detail)

Wednesday, Fifth Week of Lent, John 10:1-18 The Good Shepherd


It is morning, it got late the past few days before I finished my entries, I thought to try and write it in the morning.

The passage that I have read today is about the Good Shepherd (John 10:1-18); in fact a worn-out image, but here, but in the picture here and under the cut, seen through the eyes of an artist who positions Jesus in the context of a modern city, it takes on new relevance.

Jesus compares himself in this passage with a shepherd who takes good care of his flock. His view and care for the blind man (see the two entries before this) are an example of his leadership.

Although -or maybe because- the image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd is worn-out, I could, I think, devote a whole week in my journal (or a whole course) on this passage, its structure and its images, but well, I want to pose only question.

In the passage of John that I have read before this one, the sense of ‘seeing’ was a central theme, now ‘hearing’ is the sense that is important. The sheep know the voice of the shepherd; they know the shepherd intimately, they know the good thing they can expect of him. That is the reason the sheep follow him, would not they know his voice, they would run away.

I wonder, what does it mean to know Jesus voice? (I mean here to know him intimately, to know what it stands for.)

I have pulled Nine of Quills (Nine of Swords) from the Tarot of Jane Austen made by chelsearoad


Again, just like yesterday (the Moon) night-card. We see Catherine here, the heroin from Northanger Abbey. Catherine likes to read Gothic novels, now she lies in a room of an old abbey. Influenced by her novels she is anxious what the shadows hide in this old spooky room. In the morning she will see that it was all imagination. Catherine suspects the owner of the house of killing his wife. In that she was wrong, but she was right not to trust this man, for he banishes Catherine from the house for wrong reasons.

Applying this on knowing what Jesus voice means, it means to me first of all ‘suspicion’. I do not trust his voice. I would love to be able to say how wonderful this shepherd is, how liberating and healing his way of life and words are, but sadly enough, I cannot. Hearing the voice of Jesus means to me: “What am I lured into?”, “What unhelpful pattern I will fall into now?” “Which of my shadows creeps up here?”

One of the meanings of the Nine of Swords is suffering of long-standing problems. What my eye fell on, seeing this card, were the nine quills, neatly sitting in a row in the forefront of the card. Writing in my journal about Jesus in John this Lent, made me realize that I am deeply ingrained with the down-sides of Jesus’ message, more than with the healing side of it: the theme of giving (for me teamed up with love) and the issue of sacrifice. That surprised me, it was a even revelation to me, and yes, working through it by the cards does heal, but I am not there yet (if I will ever).
Madonna del "Magnificat" (detail)


Today I feel like a mix between Nine and Ten of Wands: burdened, bandaged and anxious. It is coming down with sinusitis combined with a busy scheme that makes me feel like this. Oh yes, and not to forget… laying awake at night does not help. That gives me some sparks of the Nine of Swords as well, in addition to the other two cards.

The day before yesterday in a train I read a Christian book about retreats and days of reflection. In it was a meditative text about challenges. It asked: “Which shoes would God want you to wear for the challenge you are confronted with?” Next to it were several sorts of shoes listed: ballet shoes, slippers, boots with steel toes, flippers, high-heeled evening shoes, sport shoes with sprigs, Wellington boots, sandals and baby shoes. I laughed out loud when I read this, getting funny stares of fellow-passengers. The sheer flatness and banality of it!

Still, it makes a wonderful theme for a spread, because shoes carry meaning in the tarot through their form, colour (sometimes each shoe a different colour), or even by the lack of shoes. Combined with how the person on the card has is feet on the ground, it could make an insightful one-card spread. Thus, my question to the tarot today was: “What sort of shoes do I need for my challenge?” My challenge then is a busy scheme combined with a sinus infection. 


To my surprise my card was: Ten of Wands (just the card I wanted to get rid of). The booties the man wears on this card are white (at least they are in my version of the card, not in all). White is the colour of pureness, meaning that I must try to seek out (or do first) the things that I find of value and pure. Furthermore, the booties are made of supple leather, so I must try to work and do my things with suppleness, and if that is not possible for me to do that, I need to let them rest for a while. Another interesting thing is that the sole of one bootie is black, the colour of not-knowing. To me this means I need to be aware that I make mistakes (I even walk on them!), and I need to be aware that I am not all-knowing, not feeling guilty about that all the time. Further, there is a certain lightness in the shoes, the one behind has a decorative hole. That says that I really need some air and fun so now and then. Lastly, the shoes have laces. Laces can go loose, which makes you fall down. Thus, I must be on my guard for my safety.

The feet of the man show that he is carried forward by something heavy. The one behind is resting heavily on the ground. So, my burdened feeling will not pass, but I possibly I can look at it differently and just let myself be carried through the days by the things I need to do.