Summer Solstice

An Almost-Summer Solstice Tarot Reading

Last week I wrote about observing and trying to understand the changing season, the arrival of Summer that we're currently experiencing where I live. It's been an interesting process, because the weather doesn't always do what one expects, and whatever it does do is almost certainly different to what is described in traditional pagan texts that come out of traditions in Western Europe. 

There's no doubt, however, that Summer is here today. Let me ham up my Australianness for you and say it is bloody hot in Sydney right now! I actually wore loose pyjama pants to yoga this morning because the thought of leggings was unbearable! I also just ate my first apricot of the season - yay, stone fruits! So many things are available year round, but apricots, peaches, plums, cherries, and nectarines have somehow avoided having their growing season flattened out by the demands of supermarket chains. It always feels like an extra special Summer treat when they do appear in the shops. 

Since it feels suitably summer-y, and I do have a few moments before needing to dash out for my next appointment of the silly season, it's time for me to post my own reading with the spread I shared last week. Let's get to it, shall we?

Card 1: Context. What part of my life would most benefit from receiving the outwardly directed energy of this season? XX Judgement

Big card, straight out of the gate! It seems that right now, I really ought to be directing this energy into my calling - both my spiritual path, and my vocation as a reader and, in my other working life, as a bookseller. Judgement is always a summons, and this card is asking me to listen, and find out what it is I am being called to do. My divine purpose, if you wish to call it that, is asking for some attention!

Card 2: Action. What steps can I take in order to best put this energy to use in that part of my life? Eight of Pentacles

All this talk of divine purpose is a little abstract, but the Eight of Pentacles brings it right back down to the micro. Put it simply, I need to do the work. I need to keep growing my skills, expanding my tarot work, keeping busy and putting the time in to create something equal to Judgement's grand calling. Interestingly, this is the first of two Eights in this spread, which suggests that this period of the year has the potential to bring some quite transformative energy into my life. Eights are all about getting ready to change and mature into a new phase, so I think what I'm working on could undergo quite a shift!

Card 3: Reflection (remember, this one is optional, so if you're not feeling it, skip over it!). During this time of high energy, what are my opportunities for growth? Four of Swords

The Four of Swords, I think, is a lesson about learning when to work and when to take it easy. Given that it follows right of the back of the busy Eight of Pentacles, I don't think this card is straight up telling me to have a lie down. There's shit to do! However, I could learn a little more about how much rest I really need, and how much work I am capable of. Certainly, taking time out will be part of this season, but I suspect the Four of Swords is not about doing it more so much as doing it more effectively. 

Card 4: Self-Care. How can I regulate and replenish my energy stores during this intense period, so that I can stay happily in the flow of this season? Eight of Swords

I like to think of the Eight of Swords as a bit of a bitchslap from the universe. This card says, "Oh come on! You're not really stuck! Stop sticking your head in the sand, you dingbat, and start seeing yourself for the majestic, liberated creature you are!" I will definitely keep that cosmic smack at the forefront of my mind as Summer wears on - a reminder that I can be resourceful if I choose to be, and I'm not really stuck at all! 

Well, that was interesting indeed! I didn't consciously plan this, but I can't help but notice that I wound up doing this spread under the Sagittarius New Moon. With Saturn's strict and structured energy floating around, it seems no surprise that this spread would be all about work, divine summons, and efficiency!  If you suspected from this reading that there is something bubbling away behind the scenes at Two Sides Tarot, you would be correct. I'm busy, busy, busy, cooking up something interesting for the new year, and I'm really happy to see how aligned this reading is with what I've been working on. Of course, it's all a secret right now, so you'll just have to wait and see! 

How are you channeling this upcoming Solstice energy? I'd love to know! Feel free to try this spread out for yourself, and let me know what you find in the comments!

Coming into the Light - Approaching Summer Solstice (and a tarot spread!)

The Sun, from the Morgan Greer Tarot. Is it just me, or is it a relief not to have that smug, fat little baby riding on a horse on this card?! I never liked that guy!

Summer Solstice is only a couple of weeks away down here in the Southern Hemisphere. I've written previously about wanting to overcome cognitive dissonance and forge a personal connection to the wheel of the year in my part of the world, so in recent weeks, I've tried to turn my attention to the seasons - both inner and outer - as much as possible. The jacarandas have bloomed, the koels are serenading their lady friends, and the television is saturated with ads for sunscreen. Solstice and Christmas are on the way!

In terms of the actual weather, Sydney is a funny old place. Of course, we have seasons in the broader sense, but day to day, the temperature and conditions are quite changeable, and extreme temperatures (only on the hotter end of the scale, we don't get what snowier parts of the world would consider extreme cold) generally only last for a week at most before the change comes, which itself then departs again after a day or two. For example, in the last month, there have been several days when the mercury has topped 30 degrees (celsius, natch), and even a day that was over 40, but today we're sitting on a pleasantly cool high of 23, and I'm wearing socks around the house for my chilly toes. 

Of course, we're not the only part of the world to experience weather patterns like this, and I'm sure even places that are consistently covered in snow for months at at time experience nuanced daily changes in temperature and conditions. What I'm learning, though, is that when you actually pay attention, seasons don't always feel like you expect them to! It's December, so summer has officially begun, and yet, chilly toes and socks persist. No doubt I'll be steeping in sock nostalgia when next week brings its forecast of hot, steamy days, complete with thunderstorm.

Each year, I speculate whether it'll be a boiling hot Christmas or a cool and rainy one (or that horrible third kind of Sydney Christmas, a hot and rainy one - by now you may gather I'm no fan of our sporadically tropical weather), and I'm sure I've never guessed correctly. As a child, I could've sworn that sun and rain alternated, but I doubt meteorological records would support that. No doubt a hot Christmas sounds odd to those in the Northern Hemisphere (after almost ten years of living here, my English boyfriend still can't quite come to terms with it!). While Christmas in summer feels natural to me, there is a level of perverseness to it, as we sing about white Christmases and watch wintery movies in shorts and tshirts with the fan blasting - or not, if it's a more temperate one. Strangeness aside though, the most important part of this process is simply attuning to what's going on, not trying to anticipate or compare it to anything, and witnessing my patch of mother earth doing its thing day to day, whatever that may be. 

The weather might be playing games with my assumptions, but where the wheel truly makes itself felt is in the mood. Just as the sunshine draws us out of our caves and onto the beach, so too do the social atmosphere and frantic holiday preparations turn our attention away from our inner lives and towards outwardly energetic pursuits. There's a lot of talk in the blogosphere about reflecting on the year gone by, and finding stillness and quiet during the holidays, candles and quiet, dark nights, and I must say, that is not where I'm at at all! This week has been work work work followed by Christmas parties followed by social catch ups followed by more work and a bit of late night karaoke. Not a lot of time for turning inwards! What I'm realising, though, is that is perfectly natural. Down here in this part of the world, we're heading towards a peak in externally focused energy, the Summer Solstice, so it's not surprising I desire karaoke over meditation. Recognising that and attuning myself to it means I find myself in flow with the atmosphere and the season, not at odds with them. Fellow Australian mystics, I recommend it!

I know I just said there's no time for reflection, but even at the busiest time of year, there's always time for tarot. Pulling a few cards is a great way to examine our relationship with that's going on around us at any time of the year!

Summer Solstice Alignment Spread

This simple three- or four-card spread is designed to help us Southern Hemispherians (or in six months' time, you folks up North) channel that building and brewing Summer Solstice energy, and connect with this active, social, and outwardly directed time of year.

Card 1: CONTEXT. What part of my life would most benefit from receiving the outwardly directed energy of this season?

Card 2: ACTION. What steps can I take in order to best put this energy to use in that part of my life?

CARD 3: REFLECTION. During this time of high energy, where are my opportunities for growth?*

Card 4: SELF-CARE. How can I regulate and replenish my energy stores during this intense period, so that I can stay happily in the flow of this season?

*Note that Card 3: Reflection is totally optional - trust your feelings, and if you don't have time because you have to run out the door to yet another fabulous holiday party, skip it! However, Self-Care is compulsory, no matter what the season, so Card 4 is non-negotiable ;)

I think this post has already gone on long enough, so I'll post my own findings next week. Stay tuned!

If you're feeling in need of a little Solstice support, please do give this spread a go! I'd love to know how you went in the comments. If you're so inclined, please do share your findings on your blog or instagram, or your preferred online hang zone (and don't forget to send me a link so I can check it out!).