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Sunday, 22 September 2013

Autumn Made Richer With Lessons From A Myth


At the blink of an eye, ¾ of a year has almost gone by and we are in the throes of welcoming Autumn.  Autumn is a season traditionally surrounded in myths which in turn contribute to the different ways that various communities around the world honour the season. One of these festivals is Mabon.   As I wrote this blog post to celebrate Autumn, I found some lessons in one of the myths associated with the season.  So, I am glad you are visiting this blog whether you are a regular reader, or you had come from the posts on the same topic written by my fellow Tarot blogging mates.  You can find Cassandra's  at http://quickcardreading.com/fall-equinox/ or the ever effervescent Pepi's  at http://depepi.com/2013/09/22/inanna-and-the-journey-to-the-underworld/.  For rest of the posts on the same theme (Mabon - Divination and Myths) from other Tarot bloggers who participated in this blog hop, do visit http://tarottrends.com/content/2013-mabon-tarot-blog-hop-master-list

Celebrating Autumnal Abundance At Mabon

Mabon falls on 22 September, marking the start of the Autumn season.  It is a celebration of the equal division between day and night, when we see impending dwindling sunlight followed by the changing colors of the leaves from a lush green to a hue of rust red and golden brown. Autumn is a season that is traditionally associated with change and transformation.  It is also a season surrounded in myths.  In fact, the name Mabon came from an age-old Celtic myth about the Welsh god, Mabon who was abducted when young, and found again by King Arthur so that he could be reborn into the light. For more on the story of Mabon, do read it at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mabon_ap_Modron

Myth Of Demeter And Persophone

One of the myths I fell in love with as I started my Tarot journey some time back with the New Mythic Tarot deck by Liz Greene and Giovanni Casselli, was the Greek mythology about Demeter and Persophone.  Demeter was the Goddess of the harvest whose patronage had allowed the land to grow in abundance, bountiful crops were harvested throughout the year and fields were blooming with flowers and greenery. The myth goes like this.  Her daughter Persophone was abducted by Hades one day and because she had consumed a Pomegranate (the fruit of the dead), she had unwittingly submitted to become Hades’ wife in the underworld.  Angered by this, and grieving for the loss of her daughter, Demeter cursed the land and allowed crops to die, and the land laid barren and in darkness. Zeus then stepped in to mediate and through a compromise, Persophone was allowed to surface from the underworld to live with her mother for 6 months of the year, during which Demeter would once again allow crops to grow and light to be cast on earth.  For the other 6 months of the year though, Persophone was to return to the underworld to be with Hades and Demeter was allowed, in her grief, to turn the land into barren darkness.   For more on the story of Demeter and Persophone, do read about it at http://www.greekmythology.com/Other_Gods/Demeter/demeter.html

More Autumnal Myths – The Mooncake Festival
Around the same period when my friends celebrate the Autumnal abundance of Mabon, my family and friends over in my part of the world in Singapore, celebrate the Autumn Equinox with  the Moon Cake festival.  Like Mabon, it is also a festival surrounded in myths.One version of the myth is that in ancient China, there was an archer called Hou Yi who successfully shot down  9 out of the 10 suns that appeared in the sky to scorch and destroy the land.  He left only 1 sun in existence to provide light and life, not allowing the earth to fall into darkness.  Celebrated for his prowess, he became King and married the lady Chang Er.  Over time, Hou Yi became a despot obsessed about continuing his rule by searching for an elixir.  This elixir promised eternal life.  When the elixir was found,  Chang Er decided to consume it instead in a bid to prevent her husband from continuing his despotic rule forever.  She then transformed into a fairy and flew to the Moon on which she lived.    The grateful people on earth lighted their lanterns on earth so that Chang Er could see them from the moon.  That is why today, the Chinese hang lanterns around their homes during this festival.    Hou Yi grieved for his beloved wife so he put out a table of offerings of cakes and sweets to honour her every Autumn.  Today, the Chinese consumed moon-shaped cakes today with the same intent to honor her.   To find out more about Chang Er, do read it at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chang%27e . This was a story of loss, transformation and thanksgiving that had lived for generations.

Navigating Transformation

Whether you are celebrating Mabon, Moon Cake festival, or just celebrating a bumper harvest of carrots in your backyard, I would see this period as an occasion to celebrate transformation.  As you know Transformation usually involved a painful process of letting go the “what has been” to accept the “what is to come”. My son, Joel had been going through that, along with me.  As a mother, I held him through this transition from a schoolboy, through to his tertiary stint in Nursing school at a local polytechnic.  It was not a course he had initially opted for.  The course was allocated to him as a second choice because his grades were not good enough to allow him to do a mass communications course which he had indicated as a first choice in the admission forms.  I could see him struggling through the choices, and I still see him struggling with himself to accept the outcome and embrace nursing school as a journey of learning.

So this is a spread I created to get insights on Joel’s transformational journey through Nursing school.  I called it Demeter’s Journey Of Transformational Spread and I have used the New Mythic Tarot deck by Liz Greene and Giovanni Casselli to perform this reading for Joel.


Demeter's Journey Of Transformation Spread

Demeter's Grief - Self

The 4 of Cups was picked to represent Joel at present.  The card indicated that he was taking a step back to re-evaluate the direction he was taking in his life. He might be feeling disengaged and unmotivated by the Nursing course currently.  In fact, he had complained to me about the stress of his examinations and the boredom he was experiencing during his industrial attachment to the hospital.   However, he recognized that he was now committed to the course as he was in his 2nd year.  So the card suggested that he needed to look deep within himself to understand what lessons this experience could bring to the table for him in the long run.  He must not get distracted by “noises” from friends and family.  Ultimately, only Joel was the only who could determine his own career directions.    I liked the number 4 because in numerology, it symbolized his need to use this experience as a period to build his foundation of skills, experience and knowledge for the future whether or not he would decide later, to pursue Nursing as a career.   I used this card to explain to him that he should learn to be grateful for the opportunity afforded him because besides the medical skills, he got to learn so much more from this course, for example, how he could interact and communicate better with people.

Persophone's Dilemma - Situation
The reversed Star was picked to assess the influence Joel’s emotional and mental state had on the situation.  As Joel felt disengaged and uninspired with the course,  he had allowed this feelings of negativity impact his relationship with us, his parents  and his attitude to life.  That explained why we had issues with him not being open and honest in communicating to us.  He had started out with great vision and enthusiasm for nursing in his first year, and then started questioning  his interest for it when the examinations came around the corner to pile the pressure on him. Furthermore, a fellow classmate dropped out of the course midway, and this had impacted Joel’s motivation even further.   From time to time, he seemed quite lost in direction, as if he was hoping to see a sign affirming that he was treading on the right path to a meaningful career.


Hade's deception – Obstacle
Death was picked to determine the stumbling block in Joel’s journey.  Death is a card of transformation and new life.  It was an apt card to pick for Joel as it indicated to me that the card was encouraging him to let go of his past when he had experienced poor academic performance, with lack lustre grades at school and even failure in the examinations during one of his secondary school years.  In fact, it was a less than stellar performance at the GCE O’ Level examinations that had led to the polytechnic allocating him into a course that was his 2ndchoice – Nursing.  He did not get into Nursing school out of pure interest in the vocation.  While he attempted to embrace the course with as much enthusiasm as he could muster, he continuously harbored aspirations to be a marketing professional instead.  He enjoyed his vacation jobs interning at several advertising agencies and wanted very much to get back into advertising.  However, the Death card is telling Joel to let it go and put 100% focus into his Nursing course.  The aim is to complete the course with a Diploma then decide upon graduation what he wanted to do next.  We advised him not to pass over this opportunity at the Nursing course because of his stubbornly clinging on to the past.  Instead, finish the course and gain some hands-on experience with it to build a strong foundation of skills that could enable him to pursue a career as a marketing professional at the Health Promotion Board, the Ministry of Health or the private medical organizations.  There could also be a possibility that he could use his skills to establish a business venture in private nursing care which will give him opportunities to expand his skills to business development and marketing.

The Death card as an obstacle is a manifestation of  Joel carrying negative aspects from the past that may interfere with the opportunity he may have for a new beginning.  He was resisting the change necessary to mould him into a resourceful adult keen on viewing every aspect of life as an opportunity to grow.


Zeus' Mediation – Advice
The Page of Swords was picked to offer Joel some advice.  Joel, like the Page, is young and idealistic.  He has capacity for intellectual growth which the Nursing course can provide.  He was advised by the Page to continue his Nursing course with energy, passion and enthusiasm and not let doubt and distraction get in the way of the completion of this course.  He should leverage the energy of the Page to fuel his vision for his career and not take a short-sighted approach.  The Page of Swords is encouraging him to start thinking about his future career and  aspirations.  His ambition to be a marketing professional should not come to a dead end because of the fact that he is now studying for a Nursing diploma.  Instead, he should look at the Nursing diploma as an added advantage to his marketing and communication skills in future should he wish to pursue the latter as a career later.  There will always be challenges with whatever career option he chooses eventually but the crux of the message from the Page was that he needed to follow his passions and go with the path that he believed to be the best for him.  Also,  the Page of Swords warned that he should not take unnecessary risks with his opportunities for intellectual growth by quitting the Nursing course half way.

Demeter's Harvest - Outcome

The Page of Pentacles is a manifestation of the eventual outcome for Joel’s journey in his Nursing course.  It indicated that Joel will indeed come around from his dilemma, to focus on his goals.  He will be motivated to begin the process of creating tangible plans towards attaining his goals. Like this Page, he will view his Nursing course with a practical approach.  He will start to understand that beyond the medical knowledge gained, the course would also teach him interpersonal skills, accountability, resilience and resourcefulness, opening doors to contacts in the industry that could prove to be important to his career in future.  These are all practical skills needed in future, whatever job he lands himself with.    As he had mentioned about establishing a private nursing care business in future, the Page of Pentacles who is filled with young, entrepreneurial vision also reflects that he will come around to view his current experience as a stepping stone to future growth and expansion that could prove to be a lucrative business venture.


My Hopes For Joel

Like Demeter who worried for Persophone’s welfare in the underworld and rejoiced when Persophone returned to be with her , I am actually doing the same with Joel.  When he was feeling down, defeated and lost with his life directions, I grieved for him.  When he started to come around and tried his best at the 2nd year Nursing examinations, I rejoiced at his determination and effort in trying to pave the way towards his goals.  I felt that this experience has slowly transformed Joel’s level of maturity. If I could not influence the choice of his career, at least, as a Mum, I hoped I had helped shaped him into a resilient adult.


About The Writer:

The writer of this blog post is a marketeer by trade, and a tarot card reader by accident. She was awarded a Certified Professional Tarot Reader qualification from the Tarot Certification Board of America (TCBA) and is also a certified numerologist.  She is currently running a Tarot consultancy based in Singapore called Sun Goddess Tarot,  which provides confidential intuitive readings combining the metaphysical disciplines of Tarot, Numerology and Astrology via face to face and emails as well as readings at corporate and private events and workshops.  A member of the American Tarot Association (ATA) and the Tarot Association of the British Isles (TABI), she is also a reader for the Free Tarot Network and mentors Tarot protégés on behalf of the American Tarot Association

Website:www.sungoddesstarot.com
Email: Joanna@sungoddesstarot.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/SunGoddessTarot
Twitter:www.twitter.com/SunGoddessTarot

26 comments:

  1. What an interesting way to take a myth and make it a spread! I have always loved the story of Demeter and Persephone. My Mother was a big fan of Greek Myths, and they often became my bedtime stories when I was younger. I will definitely be trying this spread out some time!

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    1. Thanks Zac. It was one of my fave stories. I started my Tarot journey with it when I bought the New Mythic Tarot deck:)

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  2. Thanks for the multicultural myths. I really enjoyed learning about the moon cake festival.

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    1. Thanks Cassandra and great to have you as blog neighbour

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  3. I loved reading about Chang Er and the Cake Moon Festival - I'd never heard of it before and will definitely be reading up more on it! :)

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    1. Lol! Olivia....there are soooooo many Chinese myths. Even with Chang Er there are so many versions of the myth...quite interesting

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  4. I had never known the story behind the Moon Cake festivities so it was lovely to learn, thank you. Thank you, too, for sharing your son's trials and journey - bright blessing to you all.

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  5. Thanks Margo for reading my post.

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  7. ' as a Mum, I hoped I had helped shaped him into a resilient adult.' that's a beautiful statement Joanna... and I'm very sure you have :)

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  8. I really liked this spread. I'm a bit confused. Did you intentionally draw each card or were they drawn at random? :D

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    1. Thanks Arwen. They were drawn at random. I kinda created the spread first, acknowledged the positions, then picked the cards one by one to the specific positions:D

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  9. I'd forgotten all about mooncakes and Chang Er - thanks for the reminders! I like the spread too; it's going on my 'to try' list...

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  10. Thanks Alison. I remembered vying to play Chang Er in school plays when I was very young:) but was too ..Er...chubby.

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  11. I love the way you shared myths of many cultures. I also really appreciated the many layers of myth in the spread- that you used a tarot based on myth, and a myth-based spread (creative and meaningful) and that you shared a story from your own family. Brilliant!

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    1. Yours was an inspiring topic Christiana!

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  12. What an original way to flesh out a spread by inducing myths into the card positions, and drawing cards for them to boot. Great job. There's such a wealth of information here.

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    1. Thanks Jordan, it helped that I had a real issue in my hands...my son

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  13. Excellent draw for the situation! Energies aligned nicely for a clear message. Knew about your Greek myth story already--a great explanation for the seasons in the Northern Hemisphere! Very refreshing to hear the story of Chang Er and the Moon Cake festival. I really need to explore more of these Asian myths. Many of them get hidden (at least in the West) because of the later adoption of Confucian's ideas and Buddhism.

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    1. LOL! I'd love to share more of these ancient chinese myths with all of you:)

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  14. That's a great spread utilising the viewpoints of the characters in the Persephone myth! I hadn't heard of the Moon Cake Festival - but since I love the moon and nothing is better than CAKE, i shall be celebrating that in future too!

    AX

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    1. LOL! Ali, you are too funny! I love cake too but I can assure you Mooncake tastes terrible!

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  15. I love the sound of the moon-cake festival! And that's a lovely spread, too. Hope all works out for Joel...

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