Sage’s Short Sip is Tarot for your day in the time it takes to sip from your coffee
Zen teaches us that only an empty cup can be filled.
So what do you do when your cup is full, when things are good?
That CAN happen, by the way. It’s probably happening right now. Check it out. Shift your attention away from your screen in 3, 2, 1 – NOW. Pay attention to what is around you.
Are you at work? Cool! You have a job and some degree of income! Are you doom scrolling? Cool! You have a device and internet access to scroll with! Are you in physical danger? If you are, get off your phone and do something about it for cryin’ out loud. Have you had something to eat today? Did you get a little bit of sleep last night?
I’m not saying that you don’t have anything on your mind. I’m not saying that you aren’t struggling with anything or that your health is perfect or you have no emotions or emotional pain. Everyone deals with something sometimes. Call it the price of admission to this brief and shining spark we call life.
Pay attention to just this minute for a minute.
Paying attention to right here and right now is what we call mindfulness.
What fills your cup right now?
If you spend your life waiting for champaign, you are going to miss the clear, cool, clean, life-giving water that is there right now. If things are good, drink up.
If things are good, drink it in with gratitude, and make room for more to flow in.
What if the water in a cup is stagnant, or bitter, filled with dirt or germs? Drinking from that would be a bad idea. Instead do what you can to clean out the cup and find a better drink. That requires emptying the cup to make room for more to flow in, too.
How do you know where the good things are to fill your metaphoric cup once there is room in it?
Today’s card is the King of Cups. It symbolizes emotional maturity, emotional protection and healing, mentors, teachers and spirit guides.
Cups and water are timeless symbols for exactly this kind of spiritual, intuitive, emotional learning. Going back to cups and water as an example.
How do you know where the clean, healthy, flowing water is? We don’t necessarily know. We don’t have to know that alone. Teachers, mentors, students and mentees all have a way of finding each other when the time is right. When you are thirsty and your cup is empty, ask for directions to the nearest water fountain. If you know where the clean safe water is, it is up to you to give directions to the empty-bottle thirsty people.
Knowledge and guidance and life flows like water. We all have cups. Drink from the flow even as you help others to do the same.
Thank you for reading and listening! I appreciate each and every one of you.
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The name change from TaoCraft Tarot to Sage Words Tarot is almost finished. There are still a few new things on the horizon, so please follow the free blog for all of the latest. Links are in the episode description for podcast listeners
“Let your brain abide” is advice from the Nine of Swords that is easier said than done.
One of these days, I’ll come up with a creative, fun way to begin and end these things. In the meantime, hello! And welcome to the Daily Sip membership on ki-fi, Sage’s Sip of Tarot podcast and the Sage Words Tarot Blog.
The Daily Sip will sometimes share a card with my posts on other platforms, but the Daily Sip gets it first – sometimes by a lot. The Daily Sip is the one and only place where I post every single weekday. The free blog is the only place for long reads and weekend posts. The podcast, the YouTube channel and the socials are not on any schedule whatsoever. Following both blogs is the only way to get absolutely everything if you are at all interested in doing that, and believe me I am grateful if you are. Member or not, you might as well follow the free blog on my main website because it is, you know…free.
As much as we might not want to admit it, Friday is technically a weekday, so here we are. Weekdays I focus on the “short sip” one card format where we get a Tarot contemplation for our day in the time it takes to sip from our coffee. Or tea. Or adult beverage. Or whatever it is that you sip at the time of day when you read (or hear) this.
The nine of swords is one of those cards where the interpretation seems to strongly rely on the artwork of the particular deck you are using. The Three of Swords, for example, always seems to give the same vibe regardless of the deck or image. This nine gets some interesting refinements in the way it connects with the image on the card. The classic Pamela Smith artwork prompts key words like regrets, worry, anxiety – anything that keeps running through your mind and keeping you awake at night. Corrin McCullough’s Nine of Swords from the Alleyman’s Tarot deck hints at genuine terror, and any overwhelming dark emotion.
The Witches Tarot with artwork by Mark Evans is one of my favorites all around, but particularly for the nine of swords. It hints at a whiff of self-sabotage and the guidebook author Ellen Dugan nails it with the phrase “drama queen.”
Underneath it all, however factually serious the objective, external situation may (or may not) be, the subjective, emotional, internal situation is dark, intense and dire.
So what do we do about that. My philosophy about Tarot has always been that Tarot (or any psychic reading or divination method for that matter) does not tell you what will happen in life, it helps you figure out what to do when life happens. So what do you do when you life over-runs you with intense dark emotions?
Oddly enough – nothing. This totally falls into the “easier said than done” category of advice.
Actually it’s not nothing … it is more like allow the emotions to run their course. When it comes to something as painful as this level of so called negative emotion, allowing is not nothing. The hard part is convincing your brain to abide with profoundly uncomfortable emotions for a while. The crushing and terrifying moments are as much a part of a normal human existence as the joyous and euphoric moments.
This is where life’s inevitable change is your friend. Where there is capacity for change, yes, there is the possibility of things getting worse, but there is equal capacity for change toward the better, too.
When it is the darkest night, dawn follows. When a tide of emotions wash over you know that they will, eventually, recede.
I’m a science fiction fan. The famous litany against fear from 1965 classic novel Dune actually works. In its full version, it talks about exactly the same strategy in the face of strong emotion that the nine of swords card points toward today. In the words of Frank Herbert:
“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”
Thank you all for reading the blog and listening to the podcast! I’ll see you all Monday for the big sip, for the whole cuppa Tarot when we do a full three card pathway reading for the week ahead.
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I know what to do with weekends! (as far as cyberspace and Tarot goes, anyway)
Nothing! The schedule is that there is no schedule. Family is first priority all the time, but even more so on the weekends. Paid private email readings always get priority over the rest of cyberspace so sometimes there will be free Tarot content during the weekend, sometimes there won’t
Exclusive Free-Blog content! If I write or create any free Tarot content at all on the weekends it will be my first and greatest love – writing. On the weekends I’ll post either here or on the associated but non-Tarot “Sage’s Other Words” blog (or both.) This long-read SageWordsTarot.com exclusive content, plus the occasional announcement or update, is why it is worth your while to follow THIS blog by itself or along with a paid membership.
This free blog has its exclusive posts, The Daily Sip subscription has its exclusive posts, both together gets you everything. I post to a variety of social media, but Instagram is the only one I really interact with so if you want to say hi – that’s the place. Simple!
And it all begins tomorrow.
Monday mornings are earmarked for three card pathway readings for the week ahead for everyone: members, free blog, and free podcast. The YouTube channel, Instagram Reels and TikTok will show the real-world card draw for the reading. Facebook and Tumblr will get links to the free blog when it publishes.
Only The Daily Sip membership will get daily Tarot for the rest of the week.
Some days will be a Tarot contemplation with a public domain vintage RWS card image:
Some days will be cards from a different public domain RWS deck that I own, photographed by me and paired with a relevant public-source quote:
Some days will be my card photo and my original card interpretation for the day:
Frank Herbert wrote that beginnings are a time for taking most delicate care. Or as the 1984 movie version put it “A beginning is a very delicate time.” That may be especially true in the planning stages…in the beginning of the beginning. Now it feels more like kicking in the door and getting the party started.
Hello and welcome to Sage’s Short Sip Tarot where we contemplate Tarot in the time it takes to sip from your coffee. Today we are picking up on a second thread of meaning that parallels the meanings we talked about in the Hold Peaceful Space post and episode.
Please feel free to go back to that part of this Nine of Wands reading at the link above or in the podcast episode menu.
Today, instead of thinking about the space within, the nine of wands asks us to think a little bit about the boundary that defines that space.
Last time we talked about the tone and energy and environment of a space, be it a physical space or mental one. The two are parallel. Think of a literal room. If it is cold and noisy and missing a window, would you want to spend the night there? The same is true of our mental and emotional spaces. You might be in a literal unpleasant space but still hold a warm peaceful place within. It isn’t easy, but sometimes one can lead to the other. An inviting and comfortable literal space supports a happy, confident mindset. A happy, whole, and peaceful mindset supports creating a better literal situation. Nature abhors a vacuum and will fill whatever kind of space you hold accordingly.
But you can’t hold or create any space at all without some sort of boundary. A teacup is the classic Zen example. Without its sides, the teacup doesn’t exist. A teacup needs substance, like wood or ceramic. A teacup made from rice paper isn’t going to work for very long. Yet, almost paradoxically, it is the empty space that the teacup bounds and defines and holds that makes the teacup what it is. The space it holds in essence and function defines the teacup. No empty space, no room for tea and it’s not a cup. Only the empty teacup that is holding space can be filled with tea.
That was the main message. The undercurrent of energy, focused on the cup holding the space instead of the space itself.
For an intuitive, energy sensitive person sometimes the teacup is thin to the point of not knowing where the tea begins and air around it ends. To a very sensitive person it’s all tea. For anyone, if the boundary is damaged, the tea is drained away.
I’ve been working with cards and intuition since the early 1990s and reading Tarot professionally for almost – good gravy – twenty years now. In my experience, Tarot clients are an intuitive and energy sensitive group of people. Otherwise, they probably wouldn’t have been drawn to Tarot in the first place. It takes some modicum of intuition and insight to be able to use Tarot for the inspiration, comfort, personal growth and creative problem solving that Tarot was always intended to provide. (We’ll save my ranting about predicting the future for another day.)
Because of that inherent sensitivity, I did readings with some really uncomfortable people in late 2019 and 2020. Many had a vague sense of something wrong, but couldn’t quite figure out what. Other people felt overwhelmed by one specific thing, but the feeling was stronger than usual for the situation. All sorts of things came to the Tarot Table that year. Many of them felt as if the issue was outside of them, not internal. Even though I was reading for them about their specific concern, it also felt like something on the outside was tapping on their teacups like that movie trope of tapping on a wine glass to get attention for a toast. One reading after another, the message was that they were individually OK but that they were also resonating and vibrating with the high voltage zeitgeist energy of the times. It’s like that physical phenomenon where if you sound a note loud enough, nearby bells or instrument strings that are tuned to that note will vibrate along with it. The stress and fear of the pandemic had all of our intuitive teacups quivering.
When that kind of resonance happens, it can be helpful to think about our boundaries. In other words, when the outside world is ringing your teacup, know your teacup and make it as strong as you can.
Here is an imagination experiment to show what I mean.
Take a deep breath, close your eyes and imagine.
Imagine you are surrounded by something that symbolizes protection to you. Imagine you are are in a submarine or a safe room. Imagine you are in a fort or a castle keep. Imagine you are holding a black crystal or wearing a superhero cape. My favorite is to imagine wearing one of those bomb squad blast suits or one of those hazmat suits with the big clear visors like in the movie Outbreak. Whatever symbol you choose, imagine you are surrounded, safe, and protected from any outside influences on your mood.
I’m not talking about you being attacked by psychic vampires or hexes or being beset by negative influences….I’m just saying leave your stress-y mess at the door and be your own true self for half a minute.
Here’s the thought experiment – when you imagine that protected place, how do you feel in there? If you go into your mental bomb shelter and still feel that something is wrong, then you have a different problem. It isn’t a matter of resonance to outside energies. If you go into your hazmat suit and feel like “HEY! It’s kinda happy in here” then that also shows you what you need to do next.
This mental exercise shows you whether your next step is yin or yang. If you still feel bad inside your imagined shelter, then you need to turn your attention inward with self care, self love and healing. If you feel happy inside your mental safe space, then that is a call to turn your attention outward for a little practical, down to earth planning and problem solving.
You can’t hold space without something to hold it in.
This kind of mental exercise helps you learn your teacup.
Don’t save this quick little boundary check just for when times are tough and situations are stressful. The nine of wands came along today to remind us to pay attention to energy boundaries and healthy psychological and emotional boundaries at other times too. Try the mental exercise when things are fine. Learn what it feels like when things are OK both inside and out so you can recognize when things are OK inside but you are reacting to stress from outer collective energies.
Tend to your teacup so it holds good space for your tea when you need it to, so to speak.
Thank you so much for reading and listening!
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Tarot for your day in the time it takes to sip from your coffee
Some days you just call it a day
Hello and welcome to Sage’s Short Sip Tarot. I’m glad you are here.
Today’s card is the five of swords. It’s one of those cards that gives the swords suit its reputation for being doom and gloom bearer of bad tidings. Not everything in life is all cotton candy and unicorns. It’s Tarot’s job to get in our face about the messy parts of life as much as it is to inspire us with the pretty ones. Tarot’s symbolism is both because life and nature is both, to borrow the sentence pattern from that line in that movie The Craft.
The five of swords is, at least in part, about winning at all costs and when the costs are too high. Hannibal and the elephants he used to cross the alps and win a victory in one battle against the Romans, but ultimately lose the war is the classic example of this. He started with 37 elephants and only one survived or some such thing.
Of course, my favorite telling of the Hannibal story is Eddie Izzard’s brilliant stand up bit about the Latin language including something about elephants looking like squirrels in the front and pigs in the back.
Thinking of that favorite piece of video (it’s on the internet, and I recommend it) might be a little carry over from yesterday’s Tarot Turnover where we talk about how to read Tarot on the members only blog. Yesterday’s card was the Page of Cups, which always carries a little bit of humor and absurdity. I mean, it shows a dude on a beach staring at a fish in a cup. Whatever other symbolism that may hold, it is on its face a little silly.
So are pigs and squirrels.
When we combine the two cards we get a reminder very apropro to a Monday morning like this.
Ridiculousness and absurdity might be a clue.
When things are dramatically not going your way, when you run headlong straight into a wall, it might be time to pack up your pigs and squirrels and cross the Alps another day.
Winston Churchill may have equated victory with survival, but is that really the victory we are stressing over? If this card speaks to you today, it may be time to stop and evaluate your goals. If it is survival, yes, by all means do that.
If your goal is a quick mocho-choco -frozo-latte when there is a line at the coffee shop, then this is your cue to ease up, and define victory a little differently. Be kind to yourself AND the local barista. Is this really as big of a deal as it feels? Is it worth it? What do we define as a success? Do we need to re-visit and change our goals and our definition of success? What is really, really worth every bit of your persistence and resources and what should be left for another day?
Thanks so much for reading and listening. I wish you and all of your pigs and squirrels a lovely Monday.
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There is a difference between falling off of a cliff and jumping off of one on purpose.
Hello and welcome to the freshly renamed TaoCraft Tarot blog and podcast. I’ve jumped off the marketing best practices cliff and everything TaoCraft will gradually change over to Sage Words Tarot.
The name change feels totally different this time.
In 2018 when I re-branded from Modern Oracle to TaoCraft Tarot it felt like that scene from The Walking Dead tv series where they watch a cabin the woods burn down as a symbolic release of the character Daryl’s past and old self-image. The change from Modern Oracle to Tao Craft was moderately terrifying because it took every Tarot everything I’d built since 2003 and blew it to bits. It was like taking a step backwards off a cliff and hoping you don’t crash on the rocks below.
Sure, it was all rebuilt as a stronger, more cohesive brand that was following all the good marketing advice I could get my hands on. TaoCraft was far more organized from a business standpoint AND far more aligned with my authentic self. It’s a deeply meaningful as a name to me…but I don’t think it resonates very well with anyone else. I felt like I always needed to explain it. All the T and C sounds made it a little confusing to spell and that’s all a problem because Tarot is about making things clearer, not more confusing. Tarot isn’t about me, it’s about YOU.
Sage is a pen name, which protects privacy a little better for both of us in these days of openly growing theocratic tendencies in this country. Christian nationalism and evangelical bigotry is a real thing. I want to do all I can to make this a safe space for my fellow atheists and the lgbtquia community that is so important to me.
Sage the herb evokes cozy feelings. It has a familiar scent and taste from home cooking and holiday turkeys.
In aromatherapy, Sage incense and smudge sticks can clear negative energy, calm anxiety and promote a general feeling well being.
Most of all, the word sage means something or someone who is wise. The word speaks to all of the wisdom that has accumulated around the Tarot cards over the centuries.
Safety, comfort, calmness, wisdom and a feeling that things will be ok in the end are all qualities that I hope you’ll experience if we do a Tarot reading together. All of these are qualities I hope you’ll experience when you read the blog or listen to the podcast.
And THAT, my friends, is what I’m calling an introduction, not an explanation.
This time the Fool’s cliff feels more like the movie Ironman 2 where Tony Stark gleefully jumped off the side of a building while yelling to Pepper “you complete me!”
Fresh leaps of faith, fresh jumps off of buildings in your super suit aren’t necessarily foolish. Fresh leaps can make things better for everyone. No matter how long you’ve been doing something, you can always make a fresh start in the new year.
Or the new day.
Or the new moment.
Thank you for reading and listening. I’m glad you are here. See you at the next sip!
My Tarot Valentine is a collection of vintage love and romance Tarot blog posts, condensed instruction how to do one Tarot meditations, and a peek behind the scenes of doing a professional romance Tarot reading. (pdf download, 44 pages formatted to A4, standard us copy paper)