Free Yourself

Healing requires a change of heart and mind

They don’t call it a hook for nothing.

Hello and welcome to Sage’s Short Sips: Tarot for your day in the time it takes to sip from your coffee. I’m Sage and I’m glad that you are here.

Sometimes, when things go a little wonky, you just pick up the pieces and go on without a second thought. It’s like the upside down or reversed cards we’ve talked about before. Sometimes it feels like nothing so I flip the card and keep going. Sometime the reversal feels significant so I read it as a caution that some aspect of the energy is blocked or turbulent.

The same process applies to making the youtube videos of the real world card draw that inspires all of the short sip posts and pods. Sometimes things get clumsy or stuck filming the card draw for the day. Most of the time I just scoop up the cards and re-do it so it fits into a 15 second tiktok or youtube short. Today I was the stuck one instead of the two cards that stuck together for this video. I thought about scooping up the cards and re-shooting, but I felt stuck on this and got a niggly little feeling that the other card…both cards together really… might be important.

Today we get the eight of swords PLUS the eight of cups.

The second card surprised me by being an eight card too. Getting two eight cards back to back feels significant. It might just be validation that the two cards are indeed connected and working in together for today’s message, but it feels bigger than that. Eight isn’t ringing any bells for me personally. What about you? Anybody with an August birthday? Anyone connecting to any August event: a birth, death, or any anything from any August in the past? Any connection with the eighth of any month? Any eight connection at all with the number 8 that lights up for you?

Is that vague and stage cold reading enough for you? Anybody and everybody can probably drum up some connection with either the number 8 or the month of August. All of these suggestions are the standard, banal, boilerplate interpretations of repeating numbers in a Tarot reading. I only mention it because it feels important to the collective energy part of this reading. Like everyone on the planet, I can think of a connection for me with August…so trust me. Your gut will undoubtedly know if your 8 or August connection is energetically significant or not. You’ll know if this is something meaningful that you should pay attention to, or if it is just coincidental B.S. that you can brush right off.

That, I suspect, is where all the scammy hype rip-off Tarot readers and psychics go off the rails by making some big, ego-inflating deal out of common coincidence rather than supporting your individual intuition.

Don’t listen to me, don’t listen to the cards. Listen to your own instincts. The cards, and my role as a reader is just to support your understanding with a few little nudges, creative prompts and lots of food for thought. In the end, your thinking matters more than any coincidences that might come along to fuel it.

Which brings us circling right back around to the the two-card message for today.

Swords have to do with mind, intellect and action. I’m reminded of a line from some 90s song “free your mind, and the rest will follow.” It was some pop song girl group, and I don’t remember a single thing else about it other than that one lyric, but that one line has always stuck. They don’t call it a hook for nothing. This is the message from the 8 of swords today. The card is talking about freeing your mind.

The figure on the card is surrounded by swords and blindfolded. One of the key ideas of this card is that freedom is still possible even when the odds seem stacked against you. The key is to use creative problem solving. In this Pamela Smith card image, the figure’s feet are bare but unbound, and there is a gap in the swords encircling the person. They’d have to be really, really REALLY careful but they could feel their way to freedom given enough time. There would be a price to pay in shallow cuts, but the freedom is possible with the right action.

The eight of cups is connected to emotions more than the cutting intellect and precise careful action suggested by the eight of swords. The eight of cups is about the bittersweet moving on from heartbreak into the future, from emotional devastation into emotional healing. Sure – there were good times. Sure – there were painful times. But sometimes the only way forward is through, and the only way through is to let the past go.

Now put both cards together – free your mind AND free your heart. For true freedom, both mind (attitude, understanding) and heart (feelings, intentions) have to change AND move on from the old ways. Both cards imply movement from a bad situation toward a better future.

Thank you all so much for reading and listening today. I hope everyone, including podcast listeners will follow the free blog, as I always have some blog only content in the works. You can opt in by putting your email in the box in the right hand column of the blog website (link is in the episode description for podcast folks). You can unsubscribe at any time, although obviously I hope you won’t. Instead of unsubscribing, send a blog comment. I use the feedback to improve things or get content ideas. So thanks in advance for any comments, questions, likes, subs, follows or shares that you can spare.

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Thanks again! See you at the next sip!

Never No Means Always

when there is never no hope, that means there always is.

There is never no hope means that there always is.

Hello and welcome to TaoCraft Tarot blog and podcast. I’m glad you are here.

To my way of thinking, the eight of swords is one of those cards with dire looking art, but a bright kernel of courage and perseverance held within it. Just like the yin yang, deep inside anything is the seed of its opposite.

The 8 of swords could be seen as hopeless. The figure is bound, surrounded by swords. As long as time still flows, there is hope. Ropes may loosen, swords fall. Gaps can be found with slow, deliberate, careful, small movements.

This eight of swords card is from the alleyman’s tarot deck by seven dane asmund, used with the author and Publishing Goblin permission. Card art by Liz Mamot.

Swords denote both intellect and action. They also connect with the element of air which can find the smallest spaces and flow between obstacles. When the eight of swords shows up it is your cue to act but thoughtfully. Use out of the box thinking and creative problem solving. Flow and adapt like an autumn breeze. Move, but gently. As long as time still flows there is something to do, even if it is to wait for your opportunity.

Thank you so much for listening. The podcast music is “Daylight is not for Owls” by Owltree, used under a attribution noncommercial nonderivative creative commons license.

The blog and podcast are not monetized. That means that your Tarot message comes first, but it relies on audience support. Please visit the TaoCraft Tarot page on ko-fi where your purchases, memberships and virtual coffees all support this unique and free to access Tarot Content.

Links are in the episode description for podcast listeners.

Thank you again. See you at the next sip!

Stop

If you don’t stop, life will stop you.

Hello and welcome to TaoCraft Tarot blog and podcast. I’m glad you are here.

This is one of those days when Tarot proves it is just a tool, an amplifier, a sort of google translate for our natural inner intuition.

Swords are the element of air, intellect, mind and our relationship with authority and our relationship with culture and society at large.

When I turned the card this morning, the clairvoyant mental images were much stronger than the usual keywords for the card.

I giant red stop sign sprang to mind, along with those running obstacle course video games, like Mario Brothers, Temple Run or Fall Guys. Believe it or not, there is strategy and timing to the games. If you just run flat out fast as you can go start to finish you often don’t finish at all. Especially with swinging obstacles back in the day. You’d have to pause between the swinging things and get the timing so you are not knocked over the edge.

Taking a pause to get your timing right is a real world life hack too.

Many long years in the before time, before stress management and the mind-body connection were as normalized as they are now, it was still recognized that pushing too far was a thing. Students were learning their limits and it was easy in our ambition to leave those limits in the dust.

If you don’t stop, life will stop you.

Luckily, for the majority of us that stopping consisted of a walloping flu or bronchitis or something, but more serious consequences happened too. Books and entire tv dramas could be written, and have, but that is beside the point here. The Eight of Swords is here today to let us know that the stopping happens in whatever form it may take for you as an individual.

Most often when the eight of swords comes around, it reminds us of creative problem solving. Usually it draws my attention to the figure’s unbound feet, and that other senses can lead to freedom despite the obstacles ropes and blindfold and swords.

Today the energy moves one step earlier. Instead of encouraging persistence and creative problem solving, today’s eight of swords begs the question of why was this person tossed in sword jail in the first place?

Ambition and action and effort are all necessary to success, but you can’t make any forward progress when your battery is drained.

Psychoneuroimmunology is a thing. Stress, be it physical, psychological or both, can ding your immune system and open you to a common cold or flu that will slow you down when you don’t have the good sense to do it yourself before you get sick.

Before someone goes all Karen Q. Ivermectin on me, I’m talking about run of the mill take a nap level stuff, not the cure for covid. The suit of swords asks you to use your head, and so do I. They symbolize air and intellect, remember?

But again, the eight of swords is here today to tell us to stop a minute. Listen to your stress levels. Listen to what you mind, body and spirit need. Listen, and for goodness’ sake don’t ignore what you hear. Give your life what it needs. Give yourself what you are asking for. Stop if you needed so life doesn’t have to do the stopping for you.

Thank you all for reading and listening. I appreciate you! I also appreciate any likes, subs, shares, questions or comments.

I’ve opened the comments on the blog, and invited ko-fi members to pick the cut for the short sip readings in the month of September. When I draw each short sip card (you can see the video of the real world short sip card draw on the TaoCraft Tarot youtube channel or here on the blog. The blog link is in the show description for podcast listeners. If I don’t get a majority from the ko-fi members, you all get the chance to chime in. Choose between left, right or center and leave your choice in the blog comments and that is the cut of the deck I’ll use for short sip readings in September. To become a Patron of the Tarot arts, and get access to exclusive Tarot content, shop discounts, private readings and more please visit the TaoCraft Tarot page on ko-fi or click the link in the episode description. Private readings are available to order in the commissions menu if you aren’t interested in the monthly membership part of it. Proceeds from the ko-fi page contribute toward the creation of this blog, podcast and the free-for-everyone Tarot content.

Thanks again. I’ll see you at the next sip!

The how of choosing

TaoCraft Short Sip is Tarot for your day in the time it takes to sip from your coffee. Today: creative problem solving and the 8 of swords

Thank you for watching, reading, and listening to TaoCraft Short Sip Tarot. I’m glad you are here.

Today’s card is the Eight of Swords.

When you are between a rock and a hard place, the choice may not be between options as much as the method of choosing. Choose whether to let your heart or your head lead the way. With that clear in your mind, there is a better chance that the rest will fall into place. Or at least give you a little extra confidence in the the decision that you made.

Albert Einstein is credited with saying that doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. Today’s card hints at that a little bit. There is a feeling of changing things up. If you tend to be logical, try following your emotions. If you feel overwhelmed by emotions, then use cold logic. You might have to get creative with your decision making process as much as the solution to the dilemma itself.

One of the consistent messages I get with the Eight of Swords is creative problem solving, which connects with Pamela Smith’s 1909 artwork that we see here.

For those of you listening on the podcast, there is a video showing the real world card draw for the day at the top of each short sip blog post and on youtube shorts.

The Eight of Swords in this decks and the many decks based on it all show a figure surrounded swords, bound and blindfolded, often with a shore line or some transition behind them. There is often a feeling of being trapped, of being between a rock and a hard place with no good options.

That’s where the creative part of creative problem solving comes in. It may come down to using your unbound bare feet to take the risk of injury sense your way forward, but that is a way forward nevertheless.

If you are caught between terrible options, it may help to have a reason ready in your pocket to justify why you chose what you chose, even if that rationale is for yourself and no one else. Knowing that you mindfully and deliberatly followed your heart or followed your logic isn’t going to magically make the decision for your, but it can help set you up to learn from the experience if it was a mistake or set you up to repeat the process if it is successful.

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Today’s Tarot: Getting away from groundhog day

The Pamela Smith artwork for the Eight of Swords speaks for itself.

The card is about feeling trapped, not knowing the cause, not seeing the way out.

The key piece is the gap in the swords in front of the figure. A way out exists. Their feet aren’t bound. Their feet are still free. A few steps forward, and they are outside of the circle of swords.

They say the height of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly expecting a different outcome. This card cautions against that. Not only is it unproductive, but it lays down paths, builds thought habits that blindfold you just when you need creative problem solving the most. Swords represent mind and intellect. It could be your trap is mental as much as physical. Your feet are still free.

Think outside the box. Shake it up. Do some small thing differently than your usual routine. Shaking things up some safe small ways might help you break out of a mental Groundhog Day movie. A few small steps forward might help to set your mind free.

YouChoose Interactive Tarot: In, Out & All Around

Personalize your Tarot reading:

  1. Take a deep breath, clear your mind and relax as best as you can in this one moment.
  2. Watch the first part of the video and pick a card from the three taken face down from the deck
  3. Choose left, center or right purely on impulse, or if you want more time pause the video then restart to see the reveal.
  4. Read below for your card’s energy

Taken together, the three cards talk about perspective and problem solving. This week is about finding the answer that is already inside, finding an answer outside of the box, and being on the lookout all around for a problem that sneaks up behind and needs solving.

The overall energy is sluggish and slow. It isn’t brick-wall kind of blocked, but feels thick, and just this side of stagnant. Be patient. It might be an annoying slog, but we’ll get through it.



Left: Three of Swords. This card is part of the reason the Swords cards have a little bit of a foreboding reputation. You can’t solve a problem or avoid a trap unless you know it exists. The danger isn’t dire, but warrants your attention. This card always seems to carry an energy of manipulation and petty power plays. Watch your back. If something gives you the creeps, or someone makes you feel uncomfortable, pay attention to that. Follow your gut in that respect.

Center: Eight of Swords. Also dire-looking, this card is already trapped, bound, feeling overwhelmed and helpless. It is less so in this deck, but in the Pamela Smith artwork for the card, the swords are less evenly spaced, leaving an out that must be gingerly sensed, so the woman does not cut her feet if she is to find and use the gap, the way forward to escape. “Careful, shrewd VERY out of the box thinking” comes to mind and may be what is asked of you in the near future.

Right: The Hermit. Just because it isn’t fun doesn’t mean you don’t have things well in hand. If you picked this card, you already have an answer that you need. You may well have what you need already. The trick is to drag it out into the open. Find a way to shut out the distraction and the noise. Not to go all Dune on you, but look within. You already have what you need, it is just a matter of sorting through the noise and clutter to find it. Set boundaries, say no, find some me time to do just that.

YouChoose Interactive Tarot 8-15 August 2020

Take a deep breath. Drink in some soft, intuitive energy from the full moon picture below. Pick a card on impulse, or think about it for a minute. Pause the video if you need more time, then restart to see the reveal. Scroll down for the full one-card meditation style reading.


Left: Six of Cups. Let yourself get lost in the moment. There is an ocean of internal quiet whenever you need it. All it takes is a shift in attention. Gaze. Allow yourself to appreciate some small detail in the middle of chaos. Notice the color of a dandelion growing in the crack of a sidewalk beside a noisy, busy street. Watch a candle burn. Draw a picture. Or color one. Being in the moment and absorbed by any task can offer a moment of silent respite. Happy National Book Lovers Day! Suggested reading for this card: Drawing from the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards

Center: Four of Wands. Find your tribe. What is your self image? What is your self identity? How do you classify or imagine yourself? What is your spiritual foundation and DNA? Finding that, celebrating that can make anywhere a comfort and a home. When you know your own heart, your tribe and home travels with you anywhere. Happy National Book Lovers Day! Suggested reading for this card: The Hero Within by Carol Pearson

Right: Eight of Swords. Fear of the unknown is deep, primal, ubiquitous, often paralyzing. It takes a deep courage to face the unknown and to think outside the box, to problem solve in motion. Go to the go-to and more. Use every sense. Look at a problem…but also listen, touch and smell it too. Bring everything you can online to make the unknown as knowable as you can. Thinking outside the box can help you feel less trapped inside of one. Happy National Book Lovers Day! Suggested reading for this card: Secrets of a Buccaneer Scholar by James Marcus Bach

Today’s Tarot: Restraint Outside of the Box

 

Eight of Swords: Restraint Outside of the Box

On my side of the table…today was a good insight into why we Tarot readers (pro and not) tend to collect decks like magpies collect shiny stones. There are subtle differences in messaging that can come through the different styles and artwork. Through quirks of language and the inner workings of intuition, it is very easy to anthropomorphize these things, and give them personalities and moods. Sure, I know. It’s all just projection, but thinking in those terms is sort of freeing. By parking that inspiration aspect of the cards externally, it clears bandwidth for the ‘psychic’ part of this. By letting the cards function as a muse, we can turn our attention inward, to the purely intuitive aspects of a reading.

Elizabeth Gilbert talks about inspiration and the Muses. I find it helpful to think of the cards as the muse in a reading. Blame the whatever-it-is on the cards as muse / source of the inspiration, then you and I can both focus on solutions and creative, outside the box thinking without judgement, without any sort of performance anxiety on either side of the table. If you do any sort of creative work or have any creative hobbies, it is well worth a watch:

 

That in itself is a bit of today’s 8 of swords message. Creative problem solving and outside the box thinking are the usual messages with this card. But today wanted to be outside of outside of the box.

Which gets back to that projected personality and mood thing. Sometimes, when we work with one deck extensively, it can get stale and sort of wrung-out feeling. It seems crazy to describe an ebb in creativity or intuitive inspiration as “the deck is tired” or “it doesn’t want to talk about this” but that sort of expression captures the subjective experience of it. The Witches Tarot that I usually use just wasn’t having it today. Sure it was projection. The feeling was pure “don’t talk to me, I haven’t had coffee yet” first thing in the morning vibe. On the other hand, the Heart of Stars box was close at hand and all “pffft…easy. I got this”

So here you see it…Eight of Swords from Thom Pham’s excellent Heart of Stars Tarot. I’m always grateful for his permission to use the deck here in the blog and on the YouTube channel.

This card is inspired by Love, and Other Drugs. I’ve never seen the movie, and probably never will (in spite of it being filmed in Pittsburgh.) From what I’ve heard, it has a fatal flaw as a movie: an utter lack of spaceships, marvel superheroes or action scenes.

The Heart of Stars deck not only has today’s guidance idea well in hand, it turns it on its head from the usual. Usually card advises to stand in power despite outside restraints, to find a creative, out of the box way forward BUT exercise care in doing so. Even more traditionally it is about restraint or constraints in general. Today, rather than overcoming external restraints, it is about imposing internal ones.

To paraphrase an old proverb…even an idiot can seem intelligent if they keep their mouth shut and their hot takes off of Twitter.

I gotta work on that one….

In any case, the advice here is to hold up. Stop yourself for half a tick. This isn’t the day / energy for instant gratification. Know for sure before you talk. Have your facts straight before you act. Measure twice and cut once. If you have to ask you can’t afford it, and for the love of all that’s holy wash your hands and wear a mask in public.

YouChoose Interactive Tarot: Leading Indicators

 

“There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hands. You seek problems because you need their gifts.” – Richard Bach

It’s not the no-pentacles thing.

Do you feel it? It isn’t over. The whole pandemic energy is still there, not the buzzing initial panic, but a low key, solid comfortable existential dread. From a place of both logic AND intuition – the switch flipping open the economy folks are insane. It is not time to go whole hog. We need to keep doing what we are doing a few more weeks. Even then there should be limits and cautions and this is nowhere near over until there is a vaccine.  

There is a leading indicator shift in the energy, akin to the resonance of panic and the foreboding ping that came in February and the run up to stay at home orders. This is advance planning. This is a nudge to think about what you are going to do or not do when official restrictions change. Trust me, the work from home freelancer….you don’t HAVE to go out if you don’t want to.

This reading, as a group of three, is about the good things this problem of staying in has brought, and once again this is more for the privileged than for those essential workers in the thick of this. They have bigger fish to fry than the getting and giving of Tarot readings. This is about “This is your chance to appreciate this while you have a chance before this opportunity goes away” This group of cards remind us to take whatever small gifts and good memories from the quarantine with us when it is all, finally and later, over.

Left: Two of Cups. This card, in normal times, is about marriage and other meaningful long term relationships. This is about holding on to long distance friendships that may have been forged online during social distancing. This is about the relationships that were strengthened or stretched to the limit being quarantined together. Think about what relationships have proven themselves to really matter over the past couple of months and think about which ones, if any, have proven themselves to be unnecessary. In short, trim and nurture where needed, cherish the precious from now on.

Center: Knight of Wands. Act on your passions. The rah-rah “toxic positive” vibe was way ahead of this curve. You still l don’t have to achieve or do anything except make it through, day by day. It wasn’t time yet, for many people, to do that spring cleaning or do their equivalent of Shakespeare writing King Lear during the plague. If you have some pet project or dreams to pursue, the energies are turning more toward that. Comfort yourself and those around you, yes. You will need that strength later. But the energies are shifting so it is easier for us to shift from hold-and-survive to once again chasing the dream.

Right: Eight of Swords. We are still trapped. It isn’t time to fully move yet. Now is the time for planning and creative problem solving. The energies may not have started to shift for you. If you have been thinking of these times as prison, now is the time to see them as protection. What do you need to guard that you haven’t seen? Where have you let your guard down….either getting your shields up too late, or dropping them too early?

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YouChoose Interactive Tarot: Persist – with STYLE

 

You know the drill….choose a card. Pause the video if you need some time. Restart it to see the reveal.


 

Left: Eight of Swords. The thread that connects the 8 in all decks it seems is a pervasive feeling of helplessness or a trapped situation. The Pamela Smith artwork suggests an unconventional, ‘outside the box’ solution, even though that wasn’t, of course, the language of the time. The faintness of the sword image in Thom Pham’s artwork might suggest that the barriers are perhaps mental or self-imposed. In any case, real or imagined, if you are feeling trapped or victimized, think of clever work-arounds rather than brute force bash-throughs. Sometimes life needs a little jerry rigging to make it through the day. Just ask anyone who is old enough that the word MacGyver is a verb.

Center: Five of Swords. Adapt. Challenges are ahead, but if you are stubborn, stuck to principle or habit (be it a literal habit, or a habit of thinking) then the outcome is not as good as if you were able to roll with the punches. I’m not super familiar with the Dark Knight movies, but the Keith Ledger version of the Joker is about as single minded as it gets as I remember it. Things are getting pretty Darwinian. Adapt or die, figuratively speaking. 

Right: Seven of Wands. This is a bit of an action hero card. Obyron from Game of Thrones is pictured. Every good action movie has action and conflict, right? Think of the all the pop culture renegade heroes we know and love…Han Solo, Deadpool, Tony Stark, James Kirk, Malcolm Reynolds, heck, the whole Firefly crew…you get the idea. Overcome challenge while letting your individuality show and your freak flag fly. Your greatest individual quirks may well prove to be your greatest individual source of strength just now. So persist and overcome the challenges ahead with humor and with style.