Five of Swords

The Five of Swords Take on Achieving Goals

Today, I did a new moon tarot spread ritual. Being an Aries ♈︎ new moon, the first zodiac in the cycle with a new beginning theme attached to it, I did the spread focusing on the goals I set for myself this year. The last card on the spread was the “message from the Universe“, and I got the Five of Swords.

Five of Swords is about:

conflict resulting in winning but not really (winning at all costs) or being defeated.

Neither is a message I expected to get when asking about achieving my goals.

The card I pulled was from the Tarot of The Divine deck by Yoshi Yoshitani (yep, I finally got the deck after waiting for more than six months). Here, the card shows Anubis, the Egyptian god of the afterlife, holding five scythes while the fertility Goddess Isis is mourning near his feet.

Btw, I feel like it’s worth mentioning that looking at the card only and associating it with The Five of Swords‘ traditional meaning, one might interpret it as Anubis has defeated Iris in the duel. That’s not the case. In the Egyptian mythology, Anubis restored Iris’s husband, Orisis’s, chopped dead body parts, turning him into the first mummy. Therefore, Anubis is more of an ally instead of an opponent. It flipped Five of Swords’ classic deception, which is traditionally drawn as two opposing sides, one side winning and causing a grievance to the other side. Because of this and many other distorted links between the image on the cards and the mythologies behind each of them, I am not sure whether I want to celebrate this deck as the culture-themed tarot deck that I have been waiting for all my tarot-practicing life.

Five of Swords Tarot

Anyway, back to the Five of Swords and my achievement-focused Aries ♈︎ new moon tarot spread. After some mulling-over, I remembered a story from the mega-inspiring book that I read years ago: Happier by Tal Ben Shahar. He started the book with a story of being disappointed after winning a race he put so much effort into because he thought it would make him happy (the classic: I will be happy when *insert future achievements here*), but it didn’t, because achieving goals doesn’t equal being happy/happier.

I guess the Universe is trying to tell me the same thing:

Achieving all my 2021 goals won’t bring me happiness.

Both might work parallelly and possibly interlinked, but I’d be a fool to see them as the same things. This, though I don’t like to admit, is a good reminder for a goal-hungry Virgo like myself.

Now, how do I cultivate happiness, which is the ultimate goal?

Seven of Pentacles

Seven of Patience

These past few days, I have been feeling sad and defeated. The culprit: a personal project that I have been working on since last year, which should be finalized over the weekend, faced yet another sizeable hurdle.

It felt like I was back to square one, and this time instead of being excited and hopeful like I was at the start of this project, I felt cornered and deflated.

There goes hours and hours of time and energy spent on this project”, I thought, and I wasn’t sure I would be able to go through the whole process again.

I was just exhausted.

So, it was no surprise the Seven of Pentacles came up on my daily tarot draw this morning.

How fitting, this is exactly how I feel right now”, I mumbled to myself before putting the card back to the deck. I wasn’t ready to dissect its’ message just yet.

But I am now…

Seven of Pentacles in the classic Rider Waite Smith is depicted by a guy standing in his tended garden looking a bit tired and disconnected. Similar to the guy on the classic Rider Waite Smith deck, I, too, feel like pausing and taking a break. But that’s not the point, is it? It invites me to see my efforts as the seeds that I will reap one day, even though it’s not now and that I ought to practice patience.

Meanwhile, Charlie, the creator of the Fifth Spirit Tarot (the deck that I am currently using), said when this card appears, it’s because we might feel tired and run down, doubting our hard-work and investment. That’s me! Then they go on with:

“It tells us to value our sweat, labor and screw up because we are learning, growing and adapting.”

Lastly, Beth of Little Red Tarot had this to say about the card:

“If things aren’t feeling great – don’t give up, not just yet. Think about how you might do things differently from now on…”

Together with my own understanding of the card, their words brought plenty for me to digest.

To know that these setbacks don’t actually mean I was back to square one. That, I am still in the game. The project is still progressing, maybe just not as close to the end as I wanted it to be. But with the right mindset, some tweaks and perseverance, I am going to tick this one off too ━ as I had for past goals that I have set for myself.

The Fifth Spirit Tarot deck

Tarot Decks Update

Here is a list of the tarot decks I own or once owned. It’s in order of the frequency I use it, which also means how much I adore it. I bought most of these decks myself, while some are gifted to me.

The Fifth Spirit Tarot

I have been using this deck for more than a couple of months now and absolutely love it. Having the book also elevates the whole experience of using the deck. Highly recommend it.

The creator, Charlie Claire Burgess, is currently working on an oracle deck, which I plan to pick up the minute it’s dropped on Kickstarter.

Best use for: learning tarot, spring season and self discovery.

Moon Void Tarot

A surviving-Covid support deck which I got as an early Christmas gift for myself. This was the first deck I bought together with the book. One of the best tarot decisions I have ever made and will continue making.

I have a feeling Moon Void Tarot is going to be one of my forever decks.

The creator, Stefani is coming up with the 3rd edition of the deck. Instead of just black and white, she is infusing the latest edition with a soft pink. Some of the cards have been modified as well, which might just be enough of an incentive for me to get the latest edition.

Best use for: self-empowerment (there is only one archetype on the whole deck, a long haired woman), winter season, self discovery and learning tarot.

Read the deck interview here.

 The Spacious Tarot

It’s a birthday gift from Fafa in September 2020. Making it the first tarot deck I have ever gotten as a gift. The cards are beautiful, gentle and kind. I recently downloaded the $5 guide audio that I have been listening to during my runs. Read The Spacious Tarot deck interview here.

Best use for: self-care days and summer season.

The Gentle Tarot

The latest deck that joined the family. I am currently working through journaling the 78 tarot cards in sequence; starting the first minor arcana card tomorrow, so tbh I am not 100% sure how much I like this deck just yet. Please come back later for an update.

Best use for: self-care days, in nature and spring season.

This Might Hurt Tarot

I got it to celebrate starting a new job in the new company in the early 2020. Read the This Might Hurt deck interview here.

Best use for: socialising and party.

The Numinous Tarot

I tried so much to like this indie deck. It’s colourful. It features candles instead of wands, bells instead of swords, pentacles instead of books – making it much more relatable. But I just am not a fan of it. Happy to it trade off.

The Light Seer’s Tarot

An impulse purchase during lockdown. Happy to barter it.

The Cat Tarot

I bought this deck recently, just because it’s a cat themed tarot deck. Unfortunately, I was unable to connect, let alone learn from it. Happy to pass it to anyone who is into both cat and tarot.

I will keep updating the list. I used to have a few more decks which I donated to a witch during the great-Covid-purge. I am keen to exchange some of these decks, especially with the hard to find tarot decks, do check out if you are keen too. Thanks.

Culture Themed Tarot Decks

There are only a handful of things in life that I am more obsessed with compared to tarot. One of it is culture (check out my other blog: KultureKween).

Eventually, researching the interconnection between traditions and tarot, which started as a curiosity, grew into an obsession and has now turned into a life goal.

I also must admit that I have spent an embarrassing amount of hours researching tarot decks with the two cultures that I associate the most with, Indonesian and Indian.

Though there are more than a few Indian culture themed tarot decks out there, I didn’t find any that I liked nor could relate to as of now.

As for the Indonesian themed tarot deck, first of all, I was surprised that it existed to begin with. It’s called Tarot of Nusantara but it didn’t call out to me either. Instead, I found some other culture themed decks that I absolutely adore. Here they are, sorted by my liking from top to bottom*.

1. Tarot of Divine – $22

With rich, vibrant art and a keen understanding of traditional tarot archetypes, illustrator Yoshi Yoshitani infuses Tarot of the Divine with worldly insight and an intriguing selection of fables and folktales from cultures across the globe. With fables from more than forty countries, this spiritual journey is a worldly experience like no other.

This is a dream deck for a culture-geek such as myself. That combined with the price and zero shipping fee made it too easy for me to click pre-order sometime last year. I am still waiting patiently for it to arrive at my doorstep.

2. Yokai Yochi Tarot – $53

There are plenty of Japanese culture themed tarot decks in the market. From the traditional art of Ukiye to the pop-culture Manga deck but none of it spoke to me as much as Yokai Yochi did. The deck portrays ghosts, folklore, and traditional Japanese artwork. This is the second time I have mentioned this deck on my tarot deck list. Maybe it’s time to bite the bullet and order it.

3. The Gentle Tarot – $60

The Gentle Tarot is an indigenous-made, hand-drawn tarot deck filled with imagery influenced by life in remote Alaska. Mariza, the artist behind Mari in the Sky and The Gentle Tarot deck, is a nature-inspired illustrator, grew with ceremony and daily rituals that connect us with the elements, songs that ancestors sang with words and sounds that speak to this connection. She is inspired to share the love, honor, and respect that the planet is due.

Best part: 10% of all proceeds from the deck sale are donated to ocean and climate change research.

4. The Delta Enduring Tarot – $50

I mentioned above that I couldn’t relate much with the Indian tarot decks out there, but then I could relate so much to some of the cards from The Delta Enduring Tarot deck.

It’s an illustrated tarot deck centering on the natural beauty and struggles of life in the Mississippi Delta. The Delta Enduring Tarot pays tribute to these ebbs and flows, and to the lives of those that continue to make the deep south a more verdant, just, and enduring landscape–despite the storm of oppression always on the horizon. Egan, the artist, is an illustrator born and raised in the arms of the Mississippi Delta. They practice medicine and the esoteric arts of magic, with a predilection for the healing of communal ritual.

This deck has been sold-out, therefore very hard to find. I am not sure whether it will ever be reproduced but I surely hope so.

5. The Hoodoo Tarot – $33

Celebrating the complex American Rootwork tradition, The Hoodoo Tarot integrates esoteric and botanical knowledge from Hoodoo with the divination system of the tarot. The cards features full-color paintings by magical-realist artist Katelan Foisy and elegantly interprets the classical tarot imagery through depictions of legendary rootworkers past and present as well as important Hoodoo symbolism. In the accompanying guidebook, Tayannah Lee McQuillar provides a history of Hoodoo and its complex heritage, including its roots in multiple African and Indigenous American ethnic groups as well as its European influences.

Read the interview with the artist here.

6. The Magical Nordic Tarot – $20

I almost got this deck a few times. I am into Nordic culture and lifestyle and it’s pretty affordable (it’s the cheapest deck on this list), but knowing the majority of the deck (all the minor arcana cards) is not illustrated left a lot to be desired.

*Prices are in USD, excluding shipping.

Nine of Cups

Nine and Half Full Cups

I pulled Nine of Cups this morning and braced myself. I thought, I know what it is about:

Being productive. Planning. Getting my cups, I mean, ducks in a row.

I had a long to-do list and I was in a better mental state today compared to the last few days. If I played my cards right and do most of the things on my to-do list, I would feel accomplished at the end of yet another workweek.

It’s now 16 minutes to midnight. I didn’t manage to finish a work task that I started at 10 AM and continued working on until 9 PM. I didn’t have time to run any errands today, nor to exercise and read. I haven’t written anything except of course for this.

But do I feel semi-accomplished? Tbh, kinda.

I filed my taxes, led a meeting and created an extensive excel spreadsheet. I studied 20 pages from my CPA textbook, which might seem nothing, but at least I started. Also, since I read a book to study, maybe I could claim that I also read. I checked on my cousin, spoke to my parents and told an annoying person off. Granted, I did it all with the help of three cups of coffee. But still, not too bad, eh?

It made me realize that Nine of Cups ━ feeling accomplished, can be seen as a glass half empty or half full. Especially for a Virgo like myself. Today, I chose to see it as the latter.

The Star Tarot The Spacious Tarot

Abandon All Hope Thy Who Pulled The Star

I kept pulling The Star whenever I do a tarot spread during the past couple of months. Be it a new moon, full moon or monthly tarot spread. I should be delighted. The Star is one of the most positive cards in the tarot.

Of pinned hopes and granted wishes.

All these would be a good omen to get if it hadn’t keep turning up on the release/let go part of the spread. Repeatedly.

I knew what it has been trying to tell me. But I kept ignoring it until I couldn’t anymore. So the last time The Star appeared on my tarot spread, I pulled it aside and half-yelled at it that:

Yes, I get it. I must let go of holding on to hopes this year!

I shall… surrender. Hopefully, it will stop appearing in an unfavorable position going forward.

Seven of Swords Fifth Spirit Tarot

Real Bird vs Tarot Bird

I was running around the neighborhood, huffing and puffing trying to clock-in my daily target of 4km, when I saw a black and white feathered bird chilling at the exact the same place I took a picture of the The Fifth Spirit Tarot’s Seven of Swords card a couple weeks earlier. And I thought to myself: another tarot imitating life moment.

Seven of Swords Fifth Spirit Tarot
Justice Fifth Spirit Tarot

Justice in Love

Admittedly, I “huh?“-ed when I pulled the Justice card as a part of my self-love tarot spread last week. My question was:

“What is the one kind thing I can do as an act of love for myself?”

Alas, I let them take the lead and braced myself to explore together.

The Justice in the Fifth Spirit Tarot deck is drawn as a bad ass person. I love everything about them from the expression, attitude, the down to the outfit. Did they appear to remind me of my own bad-ass-ness? To bring it out more often as an act of self-love?

I also noticed that on the scale, unlike on other Justice tarot cards I have seen ━ including the classic Rider Waite Smith, the heart weighed more than the feather. (I can’t wait for the guidebook to arrive to read the artist, Maria’s, reasoning behind this).

Justice Fifth Spirit Tarot

Are they trying to convey that heart matters more than the mind? Is it asking me to listen more to my heart instead of my mind when it comes to self-love? Or is it reminding me to balance it out since I tend to operate the other way around?

Wille of A Little Spark of Joy tarot blog said this about the Justice card in relation to love:

(it) represents decision and choices. Do you know your worth? settling for far less than you deserve, whether single or committed, is never an option.

Well said!

Back to the card I pulled, my attention kept going to the tattoos covering their upper body. Maybe my self-love act can be of getting the evil-eye tattoo on the same part of my body. And that my friends, is what I call wishful thinking.

Seven of Swords Fifth Spirit Tarot

Strategizing With The Seven of Swords

During a recent tarot reading, the Seven of Swords kept appearing. And every time it did, I sucked my breath grudgingly. As you might have noticed, I had never written about it before because, well, I am kind anxious around it.

Unlike other cards that I am not a fan of, because either I don’t have much understanding of (Temperance) or just not that into (Queen of Pentacles), I am all too familiar with the Seven of Swords.

Especially the young me.

As a teenager living under a strict roof of my traditional Indian parents, I have called upon and emulated the Seven of Swords energy plenty of time. Tricking, not telling the whole truth or just plain lying to manipulating ━ I have done it all ━ just to have a chance of a normal teenager life; like eating pizza with friends, not coming straight home after school or going to a friend’s house over the weekend.

Learning the Seven of Swords as a tarot-loving adult unwillingly brought back all those childhood memories ━ or traumas, depends on how I feel like framing it. Either way, it wasn’t fun; hence I avoid hanging-out with the Seven of Swords.

Back to the reading, I was expecting advice along the “beware of trickers and manipulations” line, but the reader kept saying “strategize” whenever the Seven of Swords popped up.

At the end of the session, I asked why, and she said:

“Because it asks you to strategize. You might have the tools, but you need to know how to use it for your advantage to achieve what you want — kind of like The Magician.”

Seven of Swords is the strategy card

Before then, I had never seen the Seven of Swords in a positive light. Strategize doesn’t seem so bad, does it? Maybe I can work with it to slowly rewrite my childhood stories.

Four of Wands Fifth Spirit Tarot Deck

At Home With The Four of Wands

We are looking for the Four of Wands“, Glenys the tarot reader told me as she laid out the black cloth with numbered boxes painted on it. She went on saying that:

“The Four of Wands is the card that indicates anything house related”.

Back home, after the unfavorable reading, I flipped through the Fifth Spirit Tarot deck on my nightstand to find the Four of Wands card.

It took me a while as the card didn’t resemble the classic Rider Waite Smith. In the RWS the Four of Wands potrayed fancy gown wearing people, garlands, grapes, flowers and a castle in the background.

There was none of it on the Four of Wands card that I was holding. There were no wands. Oil lamps have replaced the wands, surrounding a vintage cooker. Burning fire. A boiling kettle and a sizzling pan on top of it.

Could it be… breakfast food?

The image reminded me of the mornings in the Echuca farmhouse, where I was greeted by a very similar scene in the kitchen — of Fafa making us coffee and breakfast.

This card carries so much more home-ey vibe for me than the classic RWS. After all, I don’t envision a castle when I dream of my nest, but more of being greeted by a warm home-cooked meal.

I put the card on my altar for the day, to attract the new home energy that I wish for.