Sunday, 20 December 2015

Happy Holly Days!

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For this blog hop our wrangler, Arwen Lynch Poe, invited us to a Tarot Holiday Office Party.  Like the office Secret Santa practice, she asked us to create a Winter gift for the blog hop readers, and suggested it could be talking about the card that most reminds us of Winter (amongst other options).

In the Celtic Lenormand, I chose the Moon card to represent Yule, as it is the longest night.  However, I've posted about the Moon card before (notably here, here, and here).  The other card in the deck that is very appropriate for this time of year is the Holly card.  This represents the Tree in Winter, and the Holly King.

In pagan mythos, the Holly King is the consort to the Goddess in the dark months of the year.  He is at his most powerful at Yule, fighting with his counterpart the Oak King at the equinoxes (some pagans see the swap over at the solstices, but that doesn't make sense to me, nor in terms of agriculture/nature, which is one of the prime foundations of paganism).  The Holly represents Winter because it is evergreen, staying verdant throughout the year.  This is, of course, most noticeable at the height of winter when most other trees are brown, bare and dead-looking!

Not only is the Holly green when many trees are not, it also bears bright red fruit that helps many birds and small mammals to survive over the winter.  Its thick, waxy leaves provide protection from the snow and rain, too, for creatures huddling under its boughs, and the cast off leaves of the previous year create a warm bed.  And the spikes on its leaves provide protection of a different sort, persuading many animals not to munch on this oasis of green in the winter landscape. 

So, the Holly is a beacon of life in the depths of Winter.  It protects itself, but also nourishes and protects small creatures that will help disperse its seeds.  A fine tree to choose as the King of Winter.

As well as sharing the image and inspiration for this card in the Celtic Lenormand deck, I also want to share a spread.  Of course, you could also do this drawing three tarot cards, but my intention is for it to offer an alternative way to read a Nine Square. 

The top row (or first card) represents the spiky leaves: how can you best protect yourself?

The centre row (or middle card) represents the green aliveness of the Holly: how can you best express your aliveness?

The bottom row (or last card) represents the red berries: how can you best share with others?

Top row: Bardess (Rider), Shedding Snake, Bard (Rider)

I can best protect myself by maintaining clear boundaries that I express to others.  I don't need to listen to other people's messages, staying with my own process of transformation.

Centre row: Lady, Clouds, Woman

I can best express my aliveness by acknowledging and accepting my dual nature: having a spiritual and a mundane side, a home life and business projects.  While I may sometimes feel ambivalent about one or the other, this duality exists, and being able to sit with the ambiguity will allow me to be more truly alive, more whole: both, rather than this-or-that.

Bottom row: Clover, Anchor, Mountain

In terms of sharing with others, perhaps I can provide a little stability in the face of life's challenges.  Firstly, through being reliable and upbeat, come what may.  Secondly, perhaps my work will come at a serendipitous time for someone, be that in the form of a spread or reading that helps them with a particular issue, or the offer of support in facing and overcoming obstacles through Magical Life Coaching...

You could also then read the spread more traditionally, to give insight into your situation at this time.  For instance, the corners suggest that messages which were blocked now become opportune: appearing in synchronicities and messages from all directions.  The central cross highlights that the temptation to focus on my spiritual life obscures the practical work I also need to do.  Moving forward (last row as future), intuitive messages can help overcome obstacles.

Now, let's see what other gifts await in this holiday party hop!

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  1. " how can you best express your aliveness?" love that question! :)

  2. I really like your take of the Holly King. Most of the time he's described somewhat evil, and people tend to forget about his positive side and how beautiful he is. Or maybe it's only me, I love winter. Nice spread too! I'm sure you have helped and continue to help many people on the way! - a forgotten queen of wands maybe ;)

    1. I'm more of a summer-child, myself, but I recognise the positives of both the Holly and the Winter :) As for Queen of Wands, she is the Queen I most aspire to!

  3. I love your Holly Tree card, and will add this spread to my list! Thank you for your gifts x

    1. Thank you, Alison! I especially love the big, juicy berries :) Cx

  4. Love the write up of holly here. Someone recently told me my style of reading would lend itself to the Lenormand. Since I know nothing about it, I also like the breakdown of your spread. Especially the questions you chose. TY!

    1. You're welcome, Siobhan! And I hope you do give the Lennie's a try, they can take you somewhere different to tarot: it's always good to mix things up, right? :D


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