Controlled Burn

TaoCraft Short Sip is Tarot for your day in the time it takes to sip from your coffee. Today: the King of Wands and the controlled burn.

Hello and welcome to TaoCraft Short Sip: Tarot for your day in the time it takes to sip from your coffee.

Today’s card is the King of Wands.

The connection between the whole suit of wands and the classic element of fire steps forward this morning. My attention was particularly drawn to the salamanders on the tapestry or throne behind the king in the classic Pamela Smith artwork we see here. There is no doubt in my mind that the artist used them and the little guy on the ground to signify the elemental connection with the cards.

The myth of salamanders as fireproof inhabitants of hearth and flame is a whole thing in itself. Books have been written about elementals and nature spirits and such. That’s not quite the point here. It’s interesting that the artist draws the salamanders on the throne as curled in a circle, nose touching tail, just like the classic Ouroboros symbol with a snake or dragon biting their own tail. The Ouroboros symbolizes wholeness and infinity and the cosmos among other things, akin to the simple enzo circle in Zen philosophy. Books have been written about that, too, and it’s not quite the message for today either.

When I first noticed the salamander motif, for just the smallest tic, just for a split second, I thought it was a yin yang symbol which in turn reminded me of the Tao Te Ching’s advice about leadership. Lao Tzu was not a fan of micromanagement. To paraphrase “when a good master governs, the people hardly know he is there.” That is closer to the energy today.

Another way to say it might be “Slow your roll, Karen.”

Don’t be a doormat, certainly, but a little diplomacy might be go a long way.

When gasoline explodes in small amounts inside an engine cylinder, we go far. When gasoline explodes in large amounts outside of an engine, we get disaster. When a campfire toasts marshmallows we get a treat. When a wildfire starts from a campfire, destruction follows.

I’m also reminded of the character Ang learning firebending in the animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender. The scene particularly comes to mind were he is given the exercise of lighting the center of a small leaf and controlling the small ember so it only burns to, but not over, the edge of the leaf. Later, in a burst of enthusiasm and carelessness, he accidentally burns his friend Kitara’s hands. Ang then refuses to ever fire bend again which in turn leads to its own set of problems.

It serves no one to extinguish your passions. By the same token passions that burn out of control can lead to disaster. Passion with discretion, passions with a controlled burn can light the way to something better.

Thank you for reading and listening.

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See you at the next sip!

Today’s Tarot: Decide, Walk, Talk

The King of Wands card is the confluence of elemental fire, leadership, and our relationship with ourselves, our inner world. It speaks to our inner passions. There is a strong element of ‘decision’ energy here today. In my minds eye I can see the King talking, announcing a decision, making a pronouncement. The inner passion part reminds me of the idea of “walk your talk.” Live your beliefs. Be your true self.

Before you can do those admirable things, you have to decide what they are.

Before you can walk your talk, you have to decide what to say.

Today’s Tarot: Fresh Air

Today’s Tarot: The Empress. Get some fresh air, or at least refresh the feed on a webcam

The Empress is a major arcana card, and in many ways the feminine counterpart to the Emperor card as you might expect. Minor arcana king cards are protective, outward, proactive leadership and queens are nurturing, care taking leadership. The Emperor and Empress are the same, but with the energy turned up to 11. They are the power couple of the major arcana.

Like many, if not most cards, there are multiple threads of meaning and energy. In addition to nurturing leadership and a sometimes association with growth and fertility, the Empress broadly represents nature. Nature in this case also has multiple connotations. It can talk about the literal, physical natural environment; the plants and birds and rocks and things we can directly experience. Nature includes the inner world, as in nature vs. nurture or being true to your nature.

When a card has multiple threads of meaning, I stop, listen for a minute and see if one thread seems to draw attention more than the others. Today, the part that catches my attention is the simplest and most pleasant: nature-nature. The rocks and trees one.

I vaguely remember a study about natural images. I don’t remember the source or details enough to even try and search for it. I have the impression it was a small study at a college (Emory springs to mind, though I have no logical justification for why) In any case, I can speak to study size or methodology, but the result was the same as the Empress’ advice. Humans benefit by interacting with nature. Naturally (ha!) actually being outside is best. Even a walk down the street or a few minutes on the porch is something. If that isn’t available, the study, if memory serves, suggested that substitute interactions can have a stress reduction benefit, even something as simple as looking at pictures of nature on a computer.

The advice from today’s card is just exactly that. In a world of social distancing and self quarantines, enjoy nature (six feet away from any other humans) or at least find small natural indulgences. A brief touch is better than none: water a houseplant, step out on a porch or fire escape, go to a park, find a live webcam of a zoo or aquarium (or a live volcano – why not?)


Today’s Tarot: Queen of Wands


Queen cards represent leadership as much as the King cards do, very much a team, not unlike a maternal / paternal partnership. The Queen’s leadership takes a more nurturing form. While the king is protector, Queen is a manager. While the King is out whacking away at the enemy, the Queen is in the castle keep making sure there are enough food stores, and supplies. That is exactly the kind of leadership we need in the times of a pandemic. You can’t whack a virus. It isn’t about male or female, but about leadership style that either gender can use and exhibit. We are all being asked to use skills that we haven’t had to use in a long time, if ever. 

I’ve worked from home for a while now. And I use the term work loosely…and yes, that is a shameless plug to please give me more Tarot and Reiki work to do…but it takes a different skill set than it did way back in the day when the alarm went off and days unfolded on a pre-determined schedule. Don’t get me wrong, I love the free flowing coffee and being able to tool around in my fuzzy bunny slippers, but you do have to have some discipline and put some real time, thought and effort into managing time. And resources. And going for groceries. People in the gig economy who work out of their home have been ready for this. Now everyone has to latch on to those kinds of skills, and they are there.  You got this. 

Make and keep a schedule. Plan meals in advance and shop strategically (pro tip: use grocery store sales flyers to get meal ideas)…all simple but effective. You got this.

Leadership comes in a lot of forms. A little TLC and queenly management is one of them. Everyone can use a little comfort these days. That includes the queenly management. That includes you.

Stay safe out there.

And wash your hands.

12 Second Tarot: King of Wands (12 October 19)

Let your passions light the way. Follow your interest, curiosity and enthusiasm. Not feeling interested or curious or passionate about anything? That is your cue to wait for the right spark before you act.

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