The 5 of Wands: Fight Club Revisited

As the final card in a very challenging suit, the 5 of Wands marries the volatile unpredictability of the 5 with the element of Fire.  Think a towering inferno, or gasoline being poured onto a gently crackling bonfire.  What results is chaos; untamed, uncontained, uncontrolled.  Here, passion can morph into aggression, what starts out as a friendly game can escalate into a full-blown competition, and a playful sparring between lovers can become a bitter argument. The focus is on competition, action and rivalry – an excess of energy that is expressed through forceful, unhealthy channels.

5 of Wands from the 'Fenestra Tarot'

Decks in classic Rider-Waite style show a group of five young men battling. Neither party appears to be winning, and the scene is rife with chaos and disharmony. Here are some possible scenarios:

(a) A group of friends who started out with the sole intention of having fun but once engrossed in the passion of the game, forgot the spirit of camaraderie among them. The focus for each individual was then redirected towards winning the game, no matter what the cost.

(b) A group of people who have met for the first time and and upon being instructed to work together, realise their differences are far too overwhelming to ever be reconciled in harmony. Instead of working towards the ‘greater good’ of the group, individual egos prevail, leading to a clash of values and beliefs.

(c) Two tribes with a longstanding history of mutual enmity, who battle for sovereignty/ territory/ power.

Which scenario is correct? All are applicable to the 5 of Wands, but what the reader needs to remember when interpreting this card is the underlying reason behind the chaos. It helps to remember what the suit of Wands has domain over: values, beliefs, ambition, power, courage, the ego and motivation, among others.

What is being called into question here? Your principles? Your personal sense of self and power? How much energy are you willing to invest in what going after what you want, and how sure are you that your efforts will produce the results that you desire?

5 of Wands from the 'Thoth Tarot'

Astrological Association: Saturn in Leo

The Thoth tarot recognises the 5 of Wands as Strife, a state of mind and being in which anxiety and frustrated desire hold sway. Astrologically, Saturn is in its detriment in Leo. Ruled by Sun – the cruelest of all planetary bodies – the Lion wants to roar and to shine, to be petted and feared, reviled and worshiped by all and sundry. Leo thrives on ego gratification, and will seek every opportunity to dramatise and be in perfect, utter control. Leo wants to command and be adored for his ultimate authority – the spoiled, petulant child who thrives on the knowledge that throwing a tantrum will manifest the exact results he wants from parents who both love and despise him.

Saturn, on the other hand, is the complete antithesis to the Lion’s need for validation. Leo represents creative power that demands full expression while Saturn emphasises the need for boundaries. Imagine telling a willful child that he cannot have that extra cookie before dinner, and watch the fireworks start. While Leo extols the virtues of the self, Saturn negates them…not out of a respect for the greater good, but due to a fear of the spotlight, of being thrust into the public eye, and of the countless responsibilities that power and greatness will bring. The yellow background of the card highlights intense creative potential but the jumble of staves being forced every which way in the centre represents the internal restrictions (a mind plagued by fears of failure/ lack of self confidence) and the external challenges (an unsupportive environment/ financial troubles) that stand in the way of full self expression.

This clash of two very powerful yet uncomplementary energies (Leo’s need for ego gratification vs Saturn’s fear) is birthed in the 5 of Wands where the ego clamours to be loved and respected but is held back by its own innate fear of failure. Strife results, with these frustrated desires manifesting in ruthless tyranny and undeserved aggression which the underdeveloped ego mistakenly believes will bring about the results it most craves.

5 of Wands from the 'Shadowscapes Tarot'

In the context of a love reading, the 5 of Wands often points to a situation in which constant quarrels and conflicts are rife, and most often take place over a clash in values and beliefs. If paired with the 5 of Swords, these arguments can take place for the sole purpose of ego dominance. When paired with the 7 of Swords, it can indicate a deceptive partner who’s stepping out on you, especially if the High Priestess, Queen of Wands or the Empress (reversed) are also present. The focus is on competition, whether it is with the partner or with other people for the partner’s attention. Paired with the 2 of Pentacles, the 5 of Wands can indicate personal and career responsibilities that are competing for dominance, leaving you little time or energy for your partnership.

If the spread is focused on work, then there can be petty jealousies in the workplace, though sabotage is not indicated unless the 5 of Swords or 7 of Swords is present. If the querent is seeking a new job or a promotion in their existing workplace, they should be warned that the competition is stiff. Cards that indicate a positive outcome in their favour include the 6 or Page of Wands which suggests that despite the challenges, they will emerge victorious. From a financial perspective, the 5 of Wands can indicate a situation in which multiple debts or obligations clamour for attention, and the querent might need to resort to freelancing or a second job to ease the tension.

Always look to the surrounding cards for more information. Like the 7 of Swords, the 5 of Wands may sometimes be tricky to interpret as it can point to either internal or external influences. On the whole, it is the least unpleasant of the suit of the 5’s as its consequences are more transient in nature than its Swords, Cups and Pentacles brethren.



The 8 of Cups: Transcending the Familiar

It’s been long – too long – since my last post here on Shades of Midnight. Between juggling the hassles – internal and external – of a new job (which has served its purpose and is now at an end), the commencing of another, and attending to a thousand and one details that never seem to achieve completion, I have been hard-pressed to find time for the things that truly matter. So it only seems fitting that I should commemorate the recent upheavals in my life with the suit of the 8’s, of which the 8 of Cups has the honour of being the first.

Numerological wisdom attributes the number 8 to the planet Saturn, the Lord of Sorrows and Karma. The 8 symbolizes success through struggle and honour through hardship. Those born under its influence have the potential for great financial power, but so too exists the tendency to abuse the human and fiscal resources available to them. Often, those who have the number 8 in their numerological makeup are no strangers to hard work: for them, success is commeasurate with the effort put in. Highly karmic, the 8’s portend struggle, perseverance and ultimate transcendence of the ego by merging the lessons of the 2’s (balance, decision, opportunity) with the 4’s (caution, detachment, achievement).

The 8 of Cups brings Saturnian lessons to bear in matters of the heart. Cups, being emblematic of the element of Water, rule our emotions, attachments and most deep-seated spiritual needs. The 8 of Cups represents detachment, withdrawal and transcendence – typically Saturnian traits – and herald a time when we voluntarily leave a situation or a relationship behind. It is important to note that this transition is not forced. Rather, it is the culmination of experience and prolonged soul-searching….an honouring of a gut feeling that someone or something is no longer right for you. This decision is the product of choice.

8 of Cups from the Rider-Waite Tarot

Decks in traditional Rider-Waite style show a figure walking into the distance, leaving 8 standing cups behind. Is there a difference in that they are standing as opposed to lying strewn on the ground? I think so. I view these as situations/ relationships/ concepts that are intact and without flaws, but no longer suit a higher purpose. The dual lunar symbol of crescent and full moon can be said to represent the ‘many moons’ it might have taken for the figure to decide that the cups no longer fulfilled him and that to seek true meaning, he’d have to journey across the river to unfamiliar lands. It would hardly come as a surprise then that one of the more traditional meanings of this card is to go on a pilgrimage.

The river (symbol of emotions/ attachments) lies between the cups (the ego/ material desires) and the figure (the enlightened soul). Frequently, the individual is depicted wearing a red cloak and I choose to see this as the courage to go (literally!) the distance. Leaving the safe and familiar behind is never easy. Indeed, it is a tremendous and potentially foolhardy risk, with no guarantee of success and save for that warmth in the pit of your soul (intuition/ truth) nudging you onwards, you may in all likelihood receive little if any reassurance of the future at all.


8 of Cups from the 'Thoth Tarot'

Astrological Association: Saturn in Pisces

In the Thoth tarot, the 8 of Cups is titled Indolence and is associated with Saturn in Pisces. When the twin qualities of Pisces (Jupiter and Neptune) merge with Saturn, the result can be an odd mix of desire and detachment. Jupiter expands what it touches while Neptune dissolves what it comes into contact with, indicating people or situations that might initially seem appealing but are experienced as tedious or disappointing once the glamour wears off. Contempt breeds frustration, and kicks off a vicious cycle with no discernible beginning or end.

The Piscean principle of evolution is rooted in the desire for transcendence, and while the material can be satisfying initially, this sense of meaning is rarely if ever sustained. It is no secret that those with Pisces prominent in their natal charts frequently drown their ‘worldly’ sorrows in drugs, alcohol or some other form of addiction, in a bid to reach higher planes of existence. While great spiritual enlightenment can result, it often comes as a consequence of years of self-abuse and self-damage. Bring Saturn into the picture and restriction, struggle, and frustration become amplified. Saturn aims to teach through deprivation and detachment, and in the 8 of Cups, we are gifted with success/ happiness (Jupiter) only to find that it is an illusion/ unfulfilling/ unreflective of our true soul needs (Neptune), and must then make a decision that will change the course of our life path (Saturn). Do we stay with what is familiar and risk perpetual malcontent or do we take a risk and trust that our truth will take us where we most need to be?

8 of Cups from the Rohrig Tarot



While seemingly negative on the surface, the 8 of Cups does in fact have a very positive underlying message, though this may not be apparent initially. This card appears in an individual’s life most frequently when they are at a crossroads. The challenge of the 2’s comes to bear (what choice will you make?) and is amplified by the lesson of the 4’s (be truthful about what gives your life meaning: stability vs spontaneity) which leads to the crux of the 8’s: are you willing to own your power and honour the truth of your being?

Difficult decisions that involve the severing of ties are always painful, no matter how aware we are of the situation’s limitations. I’ve found this card to show up when one door closes and another has (or is about to) open. The question that needs to be posed to the querant is this: are you brave enough to walk through it?

“Often the thought of pain is actually worse than the pain itself.” ~ Greg Behrendht


In the context of a love relationship, the 8 of Cups foretells a situation when love has run its course and one party is ready to move on. The 5 of Cups signifies being abandoned by one’s lover but the 8 of Cups shows a reversal of power, with the querent being in the position of walking away. Often times, this involves leaving a long-term relationship though I have seen it applied to relationships that are passionate but impermanent.

“Take a second to think about this: in your life you search and search for the right person for you. Every time you break up with someone, you get one step closer to that person. You should look at moving on as getting closer to meeting the one.” ~ Ian Philpot

Examine the querent’s emotional attachment to the relationship, and make an effort to understand what prompted the loss of its significance. Oftentimes clients know deep down inside that the relationship has outlived its purpose but cling to the notion that what is familiar is safe and ‘right’. Sometimes, this card can indicate a person’s need for space to work things out in their own time, especially if coupled with The Hermit or the 4 of Swords. A change of scenery does wonders to put things into perspective, so recommend that the client take a vacation or an extended holiday away from the obligations of the relationship.

8 of Cups from the Tarot of Dreams


With regards to work, the 8 of Cups signifies leaving a job that no longer satisfies you. This card kept flipping out of the deck for weeks before I made the decision to leave my previous workplace. The delay in making a decision I knew was what I needed to do all along? I fell into the all-too-human trap of equating the familiar with safety when in fact, the workplace environment and its people were sucking every drop of joy from my soul. The minute I duct-taped my preconceptions of security up, tossed it into the boot and stepped on the accelerator, a new door opened….and took me exactly where I needed to be. I am happy to report that my new job leaves me time for the things that truly matter, and by taking a chance, I rediscovered a me whom I thought I’d never find again.

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but simply moving on with dignity despite that fear.” ~ Pat Riley


From a financial perspective, the 8 of Cups advises that investments will promise short-term rather than long-term returns, and advises against any purchase intended for long-term use.  Any financial decisions should be the result of long-term consideration rather than spur-of-the-moment impulse. This card can also indicate less of a preoccupation with financial issues and the adopting of a more spiritual outlook in its stead. When present with a reversed 4 of Pentacles, the 8 of Cups indicates that the querent is rejecting the material in favour of a more simple lifestyle. I have also seen this card coincide with clients moving from an affluent neighborhood to one that is less so.

Healthwise, the 8 of Cups signifies recovery from a long drawn-out illness or period of convalescence. Oftentimes, this can mean a prolonged period of depression in which the person might have ‘lost themselves’, and after much soul-searching and guided therapy, have emerged reborn with a new sense of self and identity. Any physical complaints are likely to be psychosomatic in nature, and stem from clinging on to outmoded ways of feeling and behaving despite knowing that better times await elsewhere. Any form of therapy or intervention should target the emotions and spiritual needs (Cups) as opposed to being focused on treating the physical manifestations.

8 of Cups from the Deviant Moon Tarot

The 8 of Cups is a sign that the change that you’ve been hoping for (even if not consciously acknowledged) is within your grasp. Speak up, take charge of your life, and let truth be your guiding light in choosing the right path to tread. No one says it better than Natasha Bedingfield in her song Unwritten:

No one else can speak the words on your lips

Drench yourself in words unspoken

Live your life with arms wide open

Today is where your book begins

The rest is still unwritten.

Valentine’s Day Tarot and Astrology Promotion – February 2012

What a whirlwind 2012 has proved to be so far! February has blazed in with the force of a tornado, uprooting all that we’ve held dear and propelling us onto greater things with the promise that challenges faced thus far will ultimately pave the way for amazing rewards. With spirited Mars turning retrograde in the sign of the virgin, all things Mercury-ruled have come under fire. Between the 23rd of Jan and the 14th of April, we will be coming to terms with issues surrounding communication, passive-aggressiveness, and the ability to be assertive without being aggressive. All matters pertaining to the Virgo-ruled 6th house (Health and Service) will also come to the fore: a lot of us will be revamping our day-to-day routines, working out misunderstandings with employers and colleagues, and trying to find greater meaning in the work that we do. Long-term health problems can also resurface at this time, demanding resolution. Skin ailments, digestive issues, nervous disorders, as well as stress and overwork are a few of the Virgo-ruled medical issues that can arise.

Relationships promise to be intense in the first half of 2012 with love planets Mars and Venus turning retrograde one after the other. With sexual Mars retrograde in the first quarter and Mercury joining suit in March, the third month of 2012 will be telling for a lot of relationships formed in the last quarter of 2011. During this period, a lot of us will be redefining how we feel about our sexuality and how comfortable we are in negating that thin line between love and sex. We are more given to reflection about intimacy, and how willing we are to actively pursue that (or those) who captivate us.


A stunning rendition of the zodiac's Twins by Lithuanian photographer and illustrator, Natalie Shau.

Sultry Venus enters her retrograde shadow phase on the 15th of April before she commences her backward transit of Gemini from the 17th of May to the 29th of June. In mutable air, Venus is flirtatious, fickle and given to double-dealing in relationships. Those born under the signs (or with an ascendent of) Taurus, Gemini, Virgo and Libra will be especially prone to the effects of this retrograde. For many, a new soulmate can enter their personal sphere during this period. However, utmost caution and discretion must be exercised as relationships formed under the influence of a retrograde Venus can be fraught with sexual and romantic drama. These affairs, while passionate and insightful, can also be destructive and will ultimately disintegrate in the months following Venus’ forward motion. Existing relationships are also tested during Venus retrograde, and with Lady Love flitting through fickle Gemini, the temptation for promiscuous behavior and affairs can run high.

The retrograde of 2012 will be especially powerful as wily siren Venus forms a solar conjunction with the Gemini Sun during her retrograde motion. Relationships established during this time  – while offering the chance to redefine one’s identity and ego – can be severely detrimental to one’s social or financial standing in the long run. Look to the houses ruled by Mercury (Virgo and Gemini) for a more in-depth understanding of how Venus Rx will affect you.


For the month of February, I will be offering a discount on love readings using a combination of tarot, astrology and oracle divination, to uncover your deepest needs in romantic and sexual relationships. Sessions are 90 minutes in duration and priced at RM 150 per sitting.  Please see below for details of the consultation:


The Soulmate Package 

Normal Price: RM 400

Discounted Price : RM 150

  • Relationship Reading – using a combination of tarot and oracle divination, this spread examines challenges/ strengths in an existing relationship. An in-depth exploration of how you and your partner see each other, whether your hopes and goals are aligned, and what can be done to iron out the wrinkles.
  • Synastry Report – a comprehensive astrology report exploring relationship compatibility. Personal birth details essential as well as those of your (prospective) partner.  (Stand-alone Price : RM 200).
  • Personal Birth Chart – based on your personal horoscope, uncover how the planets contribute to your unique love style!
Please contact me at to make an appointment or if further clarification is needed. I have a limited number of slots available so please schedule in advance to avoid disappointment.
Love with light, and let love light the way!


Tarot and Astrology Forecast Offer (New Year Package), December 2011

Tomorrow will mark the 1st of December, and as I write this and reflect upon all that has transpired in the months leading up to this point, I can’t help but wonder where 2011 has gone.  It’s been an eventful year, to say the least, filled with ups and downs on both a personal and professional level.  Life continues to be a rollercoaster (do the highest of the highs ever make up for the lowest of the lows?) but on the whole, it’s been a definite improvement over the chaotic mess that was 2010.  There have been subtle shifts on both emotional and spiritual levels, as well as unexpected (but not unwelcome) opportunities for personal and career development.  Letting go has been easier in 2011, though it is not without some sadness that I bid farewell to the relationships and events that have helped shape who I am.  I have more insight into my own personal motivations, am more willing to fight for what I want than to surrender it to chance.  Perhaps most importantly, I have been blessed with the knowledge and the wisdom to know when to fight and when to let go.

2011 has been an astrologically busy year.  We’ve witnessed a total of 5 eclipses so far, with another full moon eclipse looming on the not-too-distant horizon in the second week of December. All eclipses function to bring about a crisis of consciousness, which then manifest as either external or internal dramas.  Though existing relationships can be tested at this time, there can also be opportunities for new ones to be formed. The first of the eclipse series took place in January, with the partial solar eclipse in Capricorn setting the theme for the first half of 2011 through conservatism, hard work, and success through discipline.  A lot of us were putting the finishing touches on projects we’d been working on in 2010 while the rest of us were preparing to start endeavors, both personal and professional, that would take up much of our time in 2011.  There could have been difficulties between finding enough time for our professional responsibilities (Capricorn) as opposed to our domestic obligations (Cancer).  This would have been most prominent in June and July.  Eclipses this year fall along two spectrums: Capricorn-Cancer and Gemini-Sagittarius.  Our public and private lives clamor for dominance with the first pairing while in the second, we are faced with issues of communication and learning, and how we view the world at large.  The latter would figure more in the second half of 2011.

Jupiter turned direct in Aries on the 22nd of Jan, marking a time when success was achieved easiest through courage, enthusiasm and daring to challenge the status-quo.  There could have been internal battles between wanting to do what was right and needing to go the distance, to carve new identities for ourselves, to discover meaning in different roles and relationships while holding on to the traditions and norms that have shaped our lives thus far. Chiron, the Wounded Healer, entered Pisces on the 8th of Feb followed by volatile Uranus’ move into Aries on the 11th of March.  Greater interest in new-age and holistic medicine, music, drama, and art as sources of internal and external healing became prominent with the former while the latter saw an increase in natural disasters worldwide, a theme that will continue for the next 8 years.

Communicator Mercury has turned retrograde 3 times in 2011, each time in fire signs.  It is currently in its final retrograde phase of the year in Sagittarius before it resumes forward motion on the 15th of December.  A lot of us found the summer months (Jun-Sept) to be the most dynamic of the year, given Jupiter’s move into bountiful Taurus in the first week of June, 3 eclipses taking place over the course of a month (1st June, 15th June, and 1st July), and Mercury retrograding in Leo in early August.  For me, April and August have been the most dynamic months of 2011, with unexpected opportunities surfacing and propelling me forward into wonderful experiences.  Jupiter’s retrograde phase commenced on the 30th of August, heralding a time when all the opportunities that surfaced in the earlier months were brought under for review.  The shift at this time was from the external to the internal, and whether forced or volitional, October and November saw a consolidating of these issues and a gradual need to let go of all that no longer served us.

What opportunities/ challenges await in 2012?  The first half of the year promises to be intense, with Mars retrograding in Virgo on the 23rd of Jan and Venus following suit in Gemini from the 15th of May to the 27th of June.  Relationship dramas will take up much of our energy in the first half of 2012 but will simmer down once July is past.  Mercury will retrograde 3 times in both fire and water signs, so watch out for communication stuff-ups, travel delays, and problems with paperwork and other documentation in March, July and November.  Jupiter’s transits of Taurus in the first half will see the blossoming and completion of projects started in the summer months of this year, and its shift into Gemini in the second half of 2012 will prove a fortuitous time for learning, traveling, and finding greater pleasure in our hobbies and studies.

Between the 1st-31st of December 2011, I will be offering a discount on forecasts for 2012 using a combination of tarot, astrology and oracle divination.  Sessions are 90 minutes in duration and priced at RM 150 per sitting.  Please see below for details of the consultation:

New Year Forecast Package

  • Zodiac Tarot Forecast:  A tarot spread to examine the major themes that will be in effect throughout 2012. An in-depth look at opportunities for career, finance, love, health, spirituality and general well-being.
  • Monthly Tarot Forecast:  A month-by-month breakdown using the tarot to discover the best times to move house, start a new relationship, plan for a new career, travel overseas, etc.
  • Astrology Forecast:  Using personal birth details (time/ date/ place of birth) to construct a planetary overview of the challenges and opportunities that await in 2012.
  • Firdaria Report:  A brief report of the main and sub planetary period currently experienced, the one preceding it, and the one succeeding it.
  • Free Birth Chart for first ten customers!

Please contact me at to make an appointment or if further clarification is needed.  All queries are welcome! Please book early as I have a limited number of slots available.

Love and blessings,


Solar Eclipse November 25, 2011: Journeys of the Soul

A partial solar eclipse (new moon eclipse) will occur at 2 degrees 37 minutes of Sagittarius at 1:09 a.m. EST.  New moon eclipses are representative of new beginnings and usually manifest as external opportunities as opposed to lunar eclipses which portend a time of significant growth and development on more emotional/ spiritual planes.  The partial solar eclipse of November 25th is the last of the 4 new moon eclipses taking place in 2011, with the most recent one occurring on the 1st of July at 9 degrees and 12 minutes of Cancer.    Because new beginnings are common at the time of these eclipses, it would be useful to think back to the month prior to and after the last solar eclipse, and to reflect on the opportunities and challenges that surfaced around that time.

In Sagittarius, the sign of Mutable Fire, this eclipse has the potential to trigger new beginnings in areas surrounding higher education, law, our personal philosophies and beliefs, religion, politics, publishing, foreign affairs and international travel.  Jupiter, as ruler of Sagittarius, is currently in retrograde motion in the early degrees of Taurus, indicating some frustrations and delays in the manifesting of these new opportunities.  The eclipse forms a tight quincunx to retrograde Jupiter in Taurus, and matters surrounding our finances, resources and perceptions of material security could be challenged now.  We might be tempted to overspend and overindulge, perhaps in a bid towards helping these new opportunities prosper and blossom, so extra care must be taken with both our pocketbook as well as what we are willing to do to help ourselves feel more secure.

Mercury, the planet of communication, is also in its retrograde phase through Sagittarius, and we might tend to gloss over details at this time in favour of the bigger picture.  Compounding the Sagittarian nature to be overly optimistic and reckless, we can be extra careless at this time.  Details must be attended to when making travel arrangements, drawing up contracts and agreements, and making long-term plans for the future. It is best to stave off all important decision-making during the periods when Mercury is retrograde, in this instance between the 23rd of November til the 14th of December.  Guard against impulsive purchases and commitments until this period has passed, though the one week prior to and after the retrograde is considered inauspicious as well.  The solar eclipse will also be affected by a square to Mars in Virgo, and with the ruler of Mars retrograde at the time of the eclipse, we can experience a scattering of focus and general fluctuations in mood.  We can be on edge at this time, and are in danger of letting our irritability get the better of us.  Extra care must be paid to all written and spoken communication at this time.

This solar eclipse has the potential to trigger significant developments in areas pertaining to religion, politics, foreign affairs, publishing and higher education, but how it will affect each of us specifically depends upon the astrological house in the natal chart triggered by the eclipse.While new beginnings are typically the flavor with all solar eclipses, this effect can be challenged by difficult planetary contacts between natal and elliptical chart points.  So while important breakthroughs can occur, they might manifest alongside a fair degree of drama and tension.  For example, some of us might meet a new partner at this time, and due to the Sagittarian influence, this individual could be of a different religious or cultural background.  In order to embrace this ‘new beginning’, we might need to let go of certain outmoded perceptions of what a ‘perfect’ partner can represent, or to a more difficult extent, let go of an existing relationship in order to be with someone new.  Therefore, while new beginnings can occur, a ‘death’ or ‘letting go’ of old situations and relationships is necessary before these opportunities can manifest fully.

Fortunately, a trine between the eclipse and Uranus in Aries allows us to be more spontaneous and accepting of change.  Uranus is known for gifting us with flashes of brilliant insight, so during this time, we need to capitalize on these moments of unanticipated genius and make the most of these burst of creativity.  Thinking outside the box, daring to be original, and turning our nose up at the status quo are all bound to ruffle a few feathers, but important personal and career developments can occur at this time if we dare to venture outside our comfort zone.  This is the time to embrace more freedom in our personal relationships, and to bring a touch of the avant-garde to our creative and professional ventures.  There can be important scientific discoveries at this time, as well as exciting technological breakthroughs due to the Uranian influence.  All pioneering activities are highlighted though courage and enthusiasm must be tempered with a healthy dose of common sense.  Due to the Arien and Sagittarian (Fire) influences, our passions can run high but so too can our tendencies to flirt with danger.

It is important to remember that how the solar eclipse of November 25th manifests will depend on the personal play between points in an individual’s natal chart with the new moon in Sagittarius.  Look to the house ruled by Sagittarius in your personal natal chart to see what area of life will be stimulated by the upcoming eclipse. Factors such as time of birth, place of birth and date of birth must be considered in tandem before any conclusive prediction can be made.  Do feel free to contact me at for an in-depth look at what challenges and opportunities lie in store for you in the 6 months post-eclipse.

In Sagittarius, we are motivated to explore, learn, and be open-minded, compassionate, and philosophical. Teaching, publishing, studying, and travelling are but a few of the ways in which we can embrace the Sagittarian opportunities that might present themselves to us during the eclipse.  We are driven to seek out new experiences and above all, to temper the passion in our hearts with the courage to stand up for our beliefs and go the distance.  Happy journeying!

The 5 of Pentacles: Out in the Cold

Gosh, I’m really loving how this week is turning out. Not.  I do not like working with some of the more difficult cards in the tarot because somehow, I end up inviting those particular energies into my life.  I’m looking forward to finishing my discussion of the suit of the 5’s so I can move on to a more cheerful set.  I breathe a sigh of relief at having the more unpleasant two of the four (the 5 of Swords and the 5 of Cups) done.  I can’t wait to bid good riddance to bad rubbish!  Now as I’ve established in my two previous posts, all 5’s deal with challenge and change.  This is a volatile suit with difficult lessons that need to be overcome before the calm, soothing pleasantness of the 6’s can be embraced.  The next card in my chosen sequence, the 5 of Pentacles, deals with issues of lack.  Pentacles, being the element of Earth, hold domain over the more material concerns in our lives such as income, career, daily routines, and health.   The 5 of Pentacles deals with the uprooting of these foundations, and as a result, we can find ourselves ill, jobless, and craving support that never comes.  Although this suit deals primarily with tangible concerns, it can also be interpreted to mean emotional and spiritual impoverishment.  Feelings of abandonment and a loss of faith in God are some common manifestations, as are issues of survival.  Each day feels like a struggle to keep on going, with no light appearing at the end of the proverbial tunnel.

5 of Pentacles from the 'Aquatic Tarot'

Cards in traditional Rider-Waite style show a man and a woman clad in rags, huddling together for warmth outside a brightly-lit church. Other depictions have one of the characters handicapped/ disfigured, their faces turned away from the wind as they trudge through the snow, each seemingly contemplating their own misfortunes. It is a bitterly cold winter’s night and yet, they do not seek refuge in God’s house.  Have they been turned away, shunned as lepers, not even being able to rely on the charity of the church?  Or do they choose to suffer out of their own volition, so steeped in pride that it is beneath them to ask for help?  It is a bleak scene, and one straight out of a Dickens novel.  In each case, the scene elicits a mix of sympathy and horror as we gaze upon the unfortunates, at once grateful that we are not them and fearing that the unthinkable should befall us too.

5 of Pentacles from the 'Thoth Tarot'

Astrological Association:  Mercury in Taurus

In the Thoth tarot, the 5 of Pentacles is titled Worry.  Running the gamut from stresses about health and finance to ruminations about work and our relationships, this card predicts a time when we are so consumed with fears about the future that we find it difficult to function in our day-to-day activities.  The 5 of Pentacles’ astrological correspondence to Mercury in Taurus highlights issues of personal productivity and so, forces us to confront resulting feelings of self-worth and self-esteem (or the lack thereof).  The  mercurial element of this card also highlights concerns with communication, in particular the doubt that our opinions are worth voicing. There can be a fear of being met with disapproval or worse, rejection, and to avoid this end, we stifle our own creative urges and experience discontent when we choose instead to follow the status quo.

Angeles Arrien, author of The Tarot Handbook, notes that, “Worry is an interesting state of consciousness because it takes us to the future and it takes us to the past, but has us totally avoiding the present.”  In this context, the 5 of Pentacles can predict a time when we are overcome with ‘what-ifs’: we worry about how to succeed in the future because we base those possibilities on our failures in the past, completely neglecting to factor in the skills, abilities and resources available to us in the present.  We exhaust ourselves running in circles, going nowhere and ultimately convincing ourselves that external factors are against us when we have not given ourselves enough of a chance to discover the wealth of internal resources at our disposal.

5 of Pentacles from the 'Bohemian Gothic Tarot'

When the 5 of Pentacles turns up in a love reading, a number of possible interpretations may apply. It is possible that financial issues are placing  strain on the relationship.  The responsibilities of mortgages, loans, and the other trappings of marriage can make it difficult for both partners to invest quality time in their relationship.  One or both parties may harbor insecurities about their status in the partnership, resulting in feelings of alienation and isolation.  A general sense of lack pervades, and a once-warm partnership might abruptly turn cold.  Feelings of rejection widen the ridge between you and your partner, and a lack of communication for fear of being dismissed does not help matters improve.  There can also be a lack of common interests shared, resulting in emotional and spiritual impoverishment.  Also, due to the 5 of Pentacles’ association with physical concerns, issues of personal attractiveness and sexual confidence can arise.  It could point to a lack of physical passion in the relationship and thus, a loss of intimacy.  Another interesting interpretation is in the context of religion; due to the Christian themes present in the Rider-Waite version of the card, the 5 of Pentacles can also point to differing religious convictions between partners.  Such a fundamental difference in values and belief systems can be responsible for significant difficulties in the partnership.  On the bright side, this card encourages that if love can withstand such trying hardships and vast differences in values, then the relationship can weather any storm.

5 of Pentacles from the 'Mystic Dreamer' Tarot

With regards to finance and career, the 5 of Pentacles predicts a period of intense hardship.  There can be a struggle to make ends meet, and support from the most likely quarters won’t be forthcoming.  Unemployment, significant financial losses and debts that hard to make good on are a few of the more common manifestations of this card. I have also read that this card can refer to self-employment or freelance work that tends towards feast or famine. Communication challenges with business associates and colleagues can also arise. Contracts can be lost and negotiations can be the source of a lot of stress and uncertainty.  It’s best to approach this period with caution and review all assets available with an unbiased, objective eye.  Career and income options previously dismissed warrant a second appraisal.

Health-wise, the 5 of Pentacles augurs for a difficult time ahead.  A variety of physical complaints can present, and no resolution to these ailments is forthcoming.  Physical manifestations of illness can point to spiritual malnutrition; stress, unhappiness and feelings of isolation all create blocks in the etheric body which can lead to fatigue and other more serious presentations.  Sometimes, this card can also refer to abuse, self rather than other, though that sometimes can be far more difficult. Look for cards like the Devil and a reversed Temperance for confirmation. Connect with religion, or seek out a new faith. If orthodox healing is not what you’re looking for, then seek out alternative modes of spirituality.  Develop an appreciation for the mind-body-spirit link and your symptoms will disappear, though this will not happen overnight.

On the whole, the 5 of Pentacles is a difficult card to have turn up in any context. Like all other challenging cards in the tarot, it represents an opportunity for intense growth and self-awareness.  These are situations in which we need to call upon our own resources rather than relying on the goodwill of others, because the greatest lessons are learnt through hardship and experience.  Taken together, these then form the foundation for other ventures and relationships, borne of common sense and what we now know to be right for us. We become aware of how much we are capable of, of how much faith we have, and perhaps most importantly, of how much strength we have to push on in the face of adversity.


The 5 of Cups: Grief and Mourning

Following on the heels of a very unpleasant card comes another which seeks to match it in nastiness.  In keeping with the numerological theme of change inherent to the suit of the 5’s, the 5 of Cups merges the unstability of the 5’s with the element of Water.  Think of a whirlpool spinning out of control, or a sea being tossed about by rough gusting winds.  As Water is representative of emotions, in the 5 of Cups, our feelings are subjected to great (and oftentimes uncontrollable) turbulence.  It is important to remember that all 5’s deal with change – a metaphorical death of sorts – in varying degrees.  In the 5 of Cups, this change is experienced as loss.  Be it the ‘death’ of a relationship or the actual passing of a loved one, this card points to a period in the querant’s life where grief can take its toll and the individual’s personal world is rocked and its foundations shattered.

5 of Cups from the 'Aquatic Tarot'

Decks adhering to the Rider-Waite tradition typically show a figure garbed in black, its back to the viewer, contemplating four spilled cups on the ground while a solitary cup remains standing.  The Aquatic Tarot, though conforming for the most part to the Rider-Waite symbolism, diverges from it in one respect: more than 5 cups are present in the picture.  I have pondered their presence at length but still can find no good reason for their being there.  If anyone should have any insight into this conundrum, I’d love to hear from you!

The black robe worn by the figure represents a mourning shroud, black being the universal colour of death, if not grief.  Some cultures recognize white as the colour of mourning but as tarot is based on a primarily Eurocentric perspective, for the purposes of this discussion, we shall accept black as emblematic of grief.  It is difficult to say whether the figure depicted in the card is male or female in gender. Perhaps the ambiguity of its sex shows how grief is universal in nature, affecting people from all different cultures, ages, and walks of life.  The clouds that hang over the figure’s head are darker than the ones in the distance, suggesting a preoccupation/ obsession with the loss experienced, and difficulty letting go in order to move on.  Observe, too, the beautiful pink sunrise that breaks over the horizon where a township stands.  Both the sunrise and the distant town can be interpreted as the promise of hope, as the gift of new life.  The river that separates the figure from this promise of new life represents important emotional work (flowing water = healing) that must be undertaken before the past can be left behind and new vistas embraced.  And the mysterious cup (or in this case cups) that remain standing?  I interpret them as hope and the beautiful memories that still remain despite this loss, that provide solace and succor in helping us navigate through experiences of loss or adversity.  Is it coincidence or was it a calculated move on the artist’s part that the figure was drawn facing away from the standing cups, not seeing that even through the pain, memories can be salvaged and that life can and will go on?

5 of Cups from the 'Thoth Tarot'

Astrological Association:  Mars in Scorpio

The Thoth tarot recognizes the 5 of Cups as Disappointment.  The orange-red sky in the background symbolizes anger, frustration and the loss of faith and courage.  This colour represents a melding of the root and sacral chakras, which are red and orange respectively.  The root chakra governs our sense of security and determines how grounded we are while the sacral has dominion over how we view and exert control over the events in our lives.  The sacral chakra also indicates how we choose to express the more powerful emotions that hold sway over us.  When we experience loss, one of the first things to crumble is our faith in a ‘just world’.  Our sense of stability and in particular, our faith that we are protected from pain and trauma, are shattered.  The things and people that we relied on to give us comfort and support are no more, and we struggle with a harsh new reality in which we need to find a way to go on without them.  Our root chakra is thus thrown of balance. A malfunctioning sacral chakra, on the other hand, suggests an imbalance of emotional expression, and a lack of control in tempering our appetites and desires.  In the face of loss, many of us find ourselves resorting to unhealthy habits that serve as temporary band-aids for our pain.  We might seek that special brand of solace that can only be found at the bottom of bottles, or indulge in risky sexual practices in a bid to recreate the sense of intimacy that was lost when our partner left us.  We might choose to nurse our wounds in ways that heal our bodies, but that do irreparable damage to our minds and souls.

Astrologically, the 5 of Cups corresponds to Mars in Scorpio.  The aggression and power of Mars is married with the dark, all-consuming nature that is Scorpio.  Ruled by Pluto, a planet that seeks to effect intense soul change through trauma, suffering and shadow-work, those with Scorpio strong in their charts are no strangers to loss and pain.  Their lives are marked by periods of intense change, often forcibly imposed, which drive them to the depths of despair but in doing so, challenge them to rise like the proverbial phoenix of old through the ashes of their loss.  Scorpio energy is deep, has the ability to penetrate to the soul of matter or person, and is associated with the potential of immense transformation and regeneration.  Those for whom Scorpio features prominently in their astrological makeup will find themselves drawn to studies of psychology and the occult.  These individuals seek to plumb down to the very depths of their psyche, to lay their personal truths bare with unflinching openness and honesty, and in the process, to exorcise themselves of their demons forever.  Many become psychologists and counselors, addiction specialists and grief therapists.  Others are ordained into the darker occult and spiritual practices, walking the path of the shaman, the healer, or the witch doctor.  Regardless of their chosen vocation, their insight into the human condition has the potential to pave the way for intense emotional and spiritual catharsis, both for their own benefit and for others.

5 of Cups from the 'Tarot of Dreams'

“True love doesn’t have a happy ending, because true love never ends. Letting go is one way of saying ‘I love you'”. ~  Author Unknown.

“Let go.  Why do you cling to pain?  There is nothing you can do about the wrongs of yesterday.  It is not yours to judge.  Why hold on to the very thing which keeps you from hope and love?” ~  Leo Buscaglia.

“You never leave someone behind.  You take a part of them with you and leave a part of yourself behind.”  ~  Author Unknown.

When the 5 of Cups turns up in a love spread, there is no delicate way to tell the querant that the relationship that they so treasured is over, and all there is left to do now is pick up the pieces and move along. There can be obsessions with regards to how the relationship was terminated, as well as a denial that the relationship is in fact at an end.  Oftentimes, the client is in a state of grief so deep that they are numb to the facts; many are unable to relinquish the relationship because they genuinely believe that their lover will come back to them!  I have also seen this card indicate a prolonged period of depression in the aftermath of a breakup or a loved one’s passing.  Consumed with pain, we swaddle ourselves in memories, cloak ourselves in a refusal to admit the truth.  We each grieve in our own ways, and it is important to honour this need in the client.  But similarly, it is equally as important to impress upon the client that grief only lasts as long as we consciously want to hold on to the pain.  Try to guide the querant towards that single cup that remains standing, and allow them to see the sunrise that breaks on the distant horizon.  Know that the death of a relationship does not mean the death of your heart.  Time heals all wounds and when the moment is right, you will love again.

5 of Cups from the 'Legacy of the Divine' Tarot

In the context of work, the 5 of Cups portends a period in which countless obstacles and delays crop up. There can be loss of jobs, projects, or other significant career opportunities.  A general feeling of unhappiness with present job circumstances can result.  I’ve seen this card come up most frequently in predictions of retrenchment.  The only advice I extend to clients is to see this as a blessing in disguise; if they were unhappy with their jobs in the first place, then what better opportunity than to seek out a career that is meaningful and better suited to your talents?  From a financial perspective, the 5 of Cups predicts much of the same: losses and unsuccessful business ventures, investments that were once thought to hold promise are now revealed as pipe dreams, bankruptcy, the denial of loans, etc.  A turbulent period for work and finances is expected when this card makes an appearance so proceed with caution but don’t resist making changes that can pave the way to greater happiness.

In a health spread, the 5 of Cups points to chronic depression in the face of a personal loss or trauma. Holding onto past hurts and dwelling on disappointments can result in physical symptoms born of an unhappy mind. Seek out the services of a counselor or a grief therapist, perhaps even a religious figure if spiritual solace is what you seek. Sometimes, having someone to talk to can make all the difference.

This is a difficult card to deal with, and I’m sure that both novice and expert readers alike will agree with me.  It’s never easy having to openly confront issues of loss, grief and pain.  It is part and parcel of life to form attachments to people and things as it is these bonds that grant us a sense of security and help us make sense of the world around us.  When these attachments are severed, through choice or circumstance, the resulting pain can be extreme.  We are driven to seek pleasure as much as it is an innate feature of the human condition to avoid pain; love forms the bonds that allow us to feel protected, cherished, and safe.  But Life cannot exist without Death; indeed, Death walks our chosen paths with us as we grow, learn, love.  And it a painful thing indeed when we realize that some of those attachments that have helped create who we are have outlived their use.

I read somewhere recently that there are times when you or the one you love changes to such an extent that the only thing that makes sense at that point is to let go of the relationship you have shared.  This is done with Love in mind, so that each person can fulfill their soul’s true calling and continue on the path that they have chosen to walk.  I smiled through my tears, for could anything truer exist?  The greatest sacrifice we make in Love’s name is the act of letting go.

5 of Cups from the 'Shadowscapes Tarot'

“Sometimes being a friend means mastering the act of timing.  There is a time for silence.  A time to let go and allow people to hurl themselves into their own destiny.  And a time to pick up the pieces when it’s all over.”  ~  Gloria Naylor.

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