Here is a lovely card, in image and meaning, to head into the weekend with.

Blessings!

Thistle

Butterfly Spirit – Transformation is Beautiful

Message: Joy and the beautiful lightness of being alive and creative in the world is the focus when Butterfly Spirit flutters before you. Transformation is inevitable as you grow into your most beautiful, empowered self. Indeed, you will go through some uncomfortable stages as you let go of the forms of your life that no longer fit the new you. Even relationships must go through shifts to match your new emerging self. If you focus on the beauty and not the challenges, stop taking yourself too seriously, and choose to to be playful, loving, and joyous, you will soon know the miracle your soul wants to experience through you. Today is a day for joy, so alight! Look around and see the beauty that is everywhere and in everyone, including you.

Protection Message: Transformation doesn’t have to be as traumatic or dramatic as things may seem to be right now. Remember, change is the only true constant; when you resist it, you create a tension within you as you refuse to accept the inevitable. In this moment, you might have forgotten the beauty and joy of life as it moves through its seasons, as nature dictates. You are being faced with a choice now. You can struggle with the current condition, refusing to surrender, and see through the lens of lack and loss, or you can surrender to the grace that is calling you to allow life to take its course, moving through the sadness and disappointment. Surrender will soften you, inviting you to bask in gratitude and see through the lens of curiosity; these are the key to tuning in to the infinite potential available to you now. Butterfly Spirit knows the beauty and delight you are on the brink of discovering. Let go and trust that it is there for you.

Spirit Animal Oracle by author Colette Baron-Reid and artist Jena DellaGrottaglia

In this deck, the Five cards are represented by threatened plant species as the cards highlight threat, conflict, and adversity. White Sage is frequently used and heralded for purification and cleansing; however, the plant is endangered and over harvested in the wild. There are many other plants and trees that can be used, including rosemary, lavender, eucalyptus, garden sage, sweet grass, and cedar. Some of these are cultivated and grown in gardens while others can be found out in the wilds. Work with some of these others to see which ones feel right energetically to smudge and cleanse spaces.

OK, the Five of Air is telling us to challenge our beliefs and make room for growth and healing as we do. There is often more than one way to go about something, so consider a different method or ideology if your current one is keeping you held back or even hurting you.

Blessings,

Thistle

Five of Air – White Sage

Long-held beliefs may not be rooted in reality; refuse to go along with the crowd; believe the threatened, oppressed ones.

A healthy white sage plant grows in a pot on a well-worn concrete doorstep. The plant is small but strong; the home sold but well cared for. A basket holds sprigs of the freshly harvested sage. Several leaves are wrapped Ito bundles with red string; the loose leaves will be saved for medicine. Nothing will be wasted.

Meaning: A spiritual crisis challenges long-held beliefs. Though your conscience pulls at you, you are reluctant to let go of your opinions. Rise to the challenge; accept the truth. White sage has become a trendy spiritual tool. It is sacred to many of the indigenous people of North America whose traditions are widely misused. Development and erosion also threaten the survival of this species. White sage is teaching us to protect what is holy. It rids the air of toxins but is also a valued medicinal. Clear the path. Listen to others and make room for healing. Seek a solution that is beneficial to all.

Crafting with Five of Air:

• Familiarize yourself with the origins of your spiritual tools, where the botanicals are grown, and where the practices come from.
• Get to know plants local to you for burning in sacred rituals of your own making.
• Listen to the conservationists. Support United Plant Savers efforts to preserve this plant.

The Herbcrafter’s Tarot by author Latisha Guthrie and artist Joanna Powell Colbert

One of the best things about making jelly, jam, and other preserves is the ability to jar up some of the bright scents and flavors of summer to enjoy any time of year. That’s a nice boon when the weather heads toward late winter with gray, muddy days. Thanks to modern grocery stores and herb shops, this summery jelly can be made any time of year.

Sunshine & Roses Jelly is a recipe I created because I couldn’t find a recipe for what was in my head (a rare thing in this Internet age). There might be something like it now, but there certainly wasn’t 10 or 12 years ago. The love of these flavors combined came from a Middle Eastern-inspired cake flavored with lemon and rosewater that I made for Mother’s Day one year (my Mom was a big fan of lemon desserts). Then I read how it was popular during the Victorian era to make jellies from flowers and herbs. As creating new flavors of jelly and jam is something I enjoy (really, why make something you can buy in the store?), I decided to try using rose buds with lemon zest and juice for a jelly.

This unique jelly was the result. Some of my friends who are diehard fans of it, one even referring to it as “divine nectar.” Some people can’t stand it, but to each their own. I like using it for a jelly thumbprint cookie or fluffy biscuits – it’s a delicate and unexpected flavor.

There are a couple notes about making this. 1) Do not use florist roses, which are full of chemicals. If using roses you grow yourself, note that Damask roses are considered the best for flavoring – a lot of hybrid teas will look gorgeous but not work well for this. I usually buy dried rosebuds or petals from a local herb shop or from the Mountain Rose Herbs online store. 2) Do not let the infusion cool for much longer than what the recipe calls for. You think you can leave it to cool longer, but it can become bitter and not make a very nice jelly.

Like the idea of making jelly but never done it? It’s not that hard and only requires a few specials items in your kitchen. Check out these posts on PTM’s (rather neglected) sister blog, Hodgepodge Alley. Learn some of the basics of making jelly and jam and understand the difference between powder and liquid pectin.

Thistle’s Sunshine & Roses Jelly

2-1/2 cups water

1-3/4 cups dried rosebuds or rose petals*

Zest of two medium lemons

Juice of two medium lemons plus 2 more tablespoons of lemon juice

2 tablespoons of rose water

4 cups sugar

1 package of liquid pectin

½ teaspoon of margarine, optional (to reduce foam)

Wash and sterilize four 8-ounce jelly jars and lids. Get any other items you need, such as a canning funnel, ladle, and jar tongs. Have a deep stockpot or waterbath canner filled with water and getting hot as you work. 

Put the rosebuds, zest, and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over moderate heat, then cover and lower heat to simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Allow the mixture to cool for about 10 to 15 minutes. Note: Do be careful not to let the infusion cool too long as it can become bitter.

Pour the infusion through a strainer or jelly bag and squeeze out as much of the moisture as you can into a large saucepan. Stir in the lemon juice, rose water, margarine, and sugar and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the pectin and return to a full boil, stirring constantly, for two minutes. 

Remove from heat and skim off any foam. Ladle the jelly into the jars, leaving a ¼-inch empty space at the top. Carefully wipe off any jelly from the jar rims and seal with the lids and metal rings hand tight. Place the jars in the water bath canner of boiling water, making sure water is at least an inch above the top of the jars. Process for 5 minutes; then remove to cool. 

*Be sure to use roses that are safe to consume. DO NOT use florist roses, which are full of chemicals. I typically buy them from a local herb store or online at Mountain Rose Herbs.

The Wildwood mythos is mysterious and, as its name suggests, wild. The Green Woman archetype balances some of the wildness by connecting us to the physically and spiritually nurturing aspects of this mythic land. It’s time to seek some of this wildness but temper it with the healing energies of this figure. For some, it might be time to initiated into the Wildwood.

Blessings,

Thistle

The Green Woman

READING POINTS: Appearing at a time of rich nurturing and protection, of learning and initiation, when loving and fertile relationships (both human and universal) abound, the Green Woman mediates the sacred sovereignty of the Earth’s soul and can show the path to understanding and communion with nature. But with this blessing comes responsibility. Remember that this glorious, magnanimous and generous spirit can live through you, radiated by the sacred breath of life and given to others who need guidance and healing. Learn from the abundant and joyous spirit of the Earth and be at one with the world and your true self.

DESCRIPTION: The Green Woman, disgorger of nature, crowned with ferns and wild roses, breaths the divine word of life. Her calm, serene expression is steady and full of graceful sovereignty. Around her neck is the golden Celtic gorget representing the sun throughout the year. The golden amber cup before her has within it the milk of love and nurturing and the sheela-na-gig on its side represents the life force of all women. The Green Woman symbolizes the forest at midsummer. Here, amid the luxuriant foliage, small animals and birds of the Wildwood live and build their homes, creating a whole ecosystem within the branches and a safe haven for the innocent and vulnerable beneath its roots.

MEANING: The Green Woman encompasses the female archetype of wildness and green energy. Her presence balances that of the wild man and represents the earthly manifestation of female solar energy and the rich bounty of the Great Mother. She also represents the goddess of the land, sometimes expressed as Sovereignty, who challenges all comers to brave her tests and to offer to those who succeed the gifts of inner kingship and love and a deepening bond to the riches of the Earth. From her pours the glorious light of the midsummer sun, blessing everything it touches with life and boundless energy.

This figure is complex and subtle but highly dynamic in her interaction with anyone who seeks to understand the nature of the Wildwood mythos. She mediates the sacred blessing of earthly fertility and the beasts that inhabit it and forms a deep bond with the seeker who wishes to attune to the rhythm of the Wheel of the Year.

In the Arthurian tradition, she validates the kingship of Arthur by bringing him the sacred sword and establishes him as a guardian of the Hallows of Britain, sometimes appearing as the Lady of the Lake, who fosters both Arthur himself as well as the young hero Lancelot. In other stories she manifests as the Flower Bride, sought after by more than one of Arthur’s great knights and offering the deep bonds of matrimony and joy to those with whom she shares her bounty. At its heart, her sacred role is the initiator of the human individual into the realm of the Wildwood.

The Wildwood Tarot by authors Mark Ryan and John Matthews and artist Will Worthington

Of course, protecting ourself is just a normal human response. This card also refers to protecting others who are more vulnerable, so keep an eye open for someone or a group that is facing violence, discrimination, emotional attacks, and so forth.

Have a good Monday,

Thistle

Four of Stones – Protection

Meaning: The newly risen sun brings hope and renewed vitality to the vulnerable. Shelter and protection for the weak or the spiritually wounded is the responsibility of us all.

Reading Points: Many trials and tribulations surface during our lifetime, and being able to endure such times is the sign of a strong heart and healthy spirit. Finding a personal place of emotional safety may require patience and a stoical dedication to the quest, but for those who have weathered adversity and known loss, the light of life and love will always burn brightly within them. By building on a foundation of ethical beliefs, boundaries, and skills, we can be assured that when the test comes we are secure in our self-knowledge and confidence. The human ability to recognize and feel compassion for those who need help is just as important.

However the storm may tear at our own inner place of protection, we must keep the faith that the sun will rise again for all those in peril and offer fresh opportunities and spiritual rewards. Such is the law of karma, that each act of selfless protection and mercy for those in need revitalized the spiritual warrior with a sense of peace and divinity rarely found in common practice.

The Wildwood Tarot by authors Mark Ryan and John Matthews and artist Will Worthington

As my partner likes to say, “Some people’s dominoes can only fall one way.” That’s really just fear or perfectionism getting in the way of what we need to do to achieve our goals. Sometimes it’s good to just relax and see what happens when we go with the flow – that day is today.

Blessings and have a lovely weekend!

Thistle

Flowing River

Meaning: Everything is falling into place because you aren’t resisting the drift of the great river of life. It’s time to let go. You’re entering a period of gracious ease and flow. All is unfolding perfectly and with good timing. When you’re in a state of flow, you aren’t pushing the river to go faster and you aren’t swimming against it. Let go of the shore and enjoy the ride.

Native Spirit Message: Rivers have personalities and carry energy, just as animals and plants do. From the Maoris to the Australian Aborigines and to other native cultures throughout the world, it’s believed that it is important to listen to the language of the river. If you aren’t feeling the smooth currents of life, it might mean that you’re trying to control situations or that you’re being self-critical or judgmental. The way to move into flow is through gratitude and appreciation, and by allowing others to support and help you. 

Heed the Native American saying: “It’s best to ride the horse the direction that it’s going.” This means that when the card Flowing River chooses you, you’re being told to let go and go with the flow. If there is something or someone you need to forgive, this is the time. This is also the time to forgive yourself and just let go.

The Journey: As you shower and the water flows over your body, imagine that everything is flowing in your life. Spend time next to a river or stream and watch the flowering waters; use it as a metaphor to let go and enter the flow.

Native Spirit Oracle by author Denise Linn and artist Charles McStravick

Interesting that there is the cranes in the background of this card as the other strong card today was the Crane, which points to the need for patience and secret knowledge. As a Taurus, I can tell you the Bull can keep going and going as long as it’s properly motivated and cared for. Tap into that for your financial matters right now.

Blessings,

Thistle

BULL – WEALTH, POTENCY, BENEFICIENCE

MEANING: The Bull (Gaelic: Tarbh) mediates the influence of Taranis, the Jupiter-like god of the Druids, whose beneficence and expansiveness can bring you the opportunity for a rich and abundant life. The Bull is a symbol of wealth and as such it is auspicious to draw this card when considering financial matters. But remember that the ancient ones were wise enough to understand that true wealth is to be found in the heart and soul first, and only then in the material world. The Bull represents fertility, potency, abundance, and prosperity, but these things can sometimes take a while to achieve. If you need to work steadfastly in trying circumstances for a considerable period of time in order to achieve your goals, the Tarbh will help you to do this without becoming drained or depressed.

This card may also indicate that you are having difficulty in feeling motivated. There is no animal more stubborn than a bull who refuses to move, and – you may be making more of a choice about life than you believe. You may also need to ask yourself whether you are sufficiently sensitive to others’ needs. Do you perhaps act like “a bull in a china shop” when confronted with certain situations? A bull’s power when harnessed or channeled can be awesome, but when a bull is maddened he can become dangerous. You may need to attend to the way in which you react under provocation, and the way in which you might be tempted to use your personal power as “power over” others.

THE CARD: The card shows a bull roaring with three cranes circling in the air above, and with the leaves of a willow tree in the foreground. Two Celtic monuments, carved in the first century, both show a bull with three cranes and a willow tree. The cranes in the card remind us that, although the bull is an animal representing earth, he is also linked with the sky and the heavens. We see the bull’s testes which remind us of the association of the bull with fertility and virility. Early Druid shaman-rattles were shaped in the form of a bull’s testes, and one is shown lying on the grass. To the left we see a Bronze-age Druid horn, whose sound mimics the bull’s roar.

The Druid Animal Oracle by authors Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm and artist Will Worthington

We are back with the Legend Tarot, which I am wanting to include in the mix more. The Giant’s Dance is well known and yet mysterious – much like the Universe it represents here.

Blessings,

Thistle

The Universe – The Giant’s Dance

Meaning: Liberation. The attainment of a long-sought goal. The culmination of events, efforts, and experiences from the past. Completing a task with honors. Trumps and prosperity. Winning the admiration of others.

Attainment bringing change that still retains stability. Security and assurance. Synthesis bring a sense of peace and wholeness. May refer to travel, a new home, or graduation. The ability to direct one’s life. Confidence, success, and lasting happiness.

The card could also indicate regret, lingering doubts inserting with decision making. Delays; lack of support. Losing interest or enthusiasm after beginning a new project. Failing to follow through on plans. Loss of direction; scattered energies.

Description and Symbolism: Under the heavens and amidst the stones, the dancer celebrates life in her victory dance of being. This ecstasy comes from deep within, when the conscious and subconscious work in unison. This leads to encounters, however brief, with the superconscious and its lasting gifts of faith. This synthesis opens many doors to understanding. The woman’s dance represents embracing and enjoying life, living it to its utmost. Her iridescent veil drapes about her but does not restrict her movement, representing a flexible lifestyle and environment. She is the perfectly natural, unencumbered self, free to dance in rhythm with the universe. The wand held in her hand symbolizes that she is the mistress of her own fate, not living by the dictates of others. She carries the wand with ease, representing self-confidence and faith; there is no desperate battle for control.

As the woman dances, she travels the ditch that surrounds the stones. It has been theorized that rituals at these sacred sites involved the king, chief, or druid walking a protective circle, a Path of Blessing. This was thought to harmonize the four energies of the earth, the quaternary powers depicted on the foreground stones. These are the four evangelists traditional to the card, symboling the culmination and balance of energies. These figures correspond to the zodiac as: the man/Aquarius, air; the bull/Taurus, earth; the lion/Leo, fire; and the eagle/Scorpio, water. The qualities they bring to the card are, respectively: intelligence and independence, determination and stability, strength and enthusiasm, and intuitive knowledge and great spiritual heights. The evangelists in the painting are as they appear in the famous Book of Kells. The church associates the man with Matthew, incarnation; the bull with Luke, passion; the lion with Mark, resurrection; the eagle with John, ascension.

The Giant’s Dance

Salisbury Plain in the south of England is home to many prehistoric monuments, long barrows, Woodhenge, and most famously, Stonehenge. Excavations at the site have revealed that its construction occurred in stages that spanned centuries, from approximately 3100 to 2800 BCE. The earliest structures completed were the ditch, its bank, and the Heel Stone.

The Neolithic people of the time were farmers with small numbers of domesticated animals. Small groups of immigrants, called Beaker People because of their pottery, arrived in Britain after 2500 BCE. They settled and merged with the natives, the two groups becoming a successful community whose efforts likely added to Stonehenge. Construction and remodeling would continue until 1100 BCE. Over the centuries, its origins long forgotten, the monument would inspire many tales.

It has been argued that Stonehenge was once considered the Omphalos, the symbolic “navel”of Britain, the point from which all creation spread and the site where energies from heaven, earth, and the underworld all melded together. This is the stream of life, flowering through the World Tree from its pole star heights to the depth of its roots in the Underworld.

Legend: The Arthurian Tarot by author and artist Anna-Marie Ferguson

The Green Woman is here today to aid our healing journeys, whether we need physical or emotional healing. Forgiving ourselves for mistakes as well as forgiving others is key for many.

Blessings,

Thistle

Seven of Stones (Healing)

Description: A Green Woman sits cross-legged at the center of a circle of seven low and weathered stones. In front of her on the ground lies a man dressed in the garb of a hunter. The Green Woman holds out her hands, palms down, over the body, streams of energy shooting along her fingers.

Meaning: After physical or emotional sickness or injury, a time of inner rest and rejuvenation is required. Patience and peaceful healing comes from a spiritual source. Wholeness and recovery will follow a serious physical or emotional wounding.

Reading Points: One of the deepest stages of healing and recovery after any emotional trauma or physical injury is forgiveness. If the healing is from a relationship issue, we often hold onto the pain, mistakenly believing that it keeps us close to the source of that pain. Sometimes, we hang onto sense of loss, loneliness, and betrayal associated with the failure of the relationship. Regret can also be associated with these feelings as one questions one’s own motives and actions. If you have acted with integrity and sincerity, there is no need for regret; it is a waste of energy and healing focus. If regret is present, more work may be required to understand its underlying causes. One of the elements inherent in bringing healing and closure to any situation is acceptance along with self-forgiveness. We are neither perfect nor omnipotent and, therefore, we make mistakes. The acceptance of these simple truths can bring healing to the suffering soul.

The Wildwood Tarot by authors Mark Ryan and John Matthews and artist Will Worthington

Today’s pull proved interesting for me as the women’s group I’m part of is about to begin a revisit to the Cycle of Healing and healing is such a big part of his story. The Fisher King might be wounded, but he is also one given an important charge and has wisdom to share. Today might be a good time to talk to an elder you respect for insight.

Blessings,

Thistle

King of Cups – The Fisher King

Meaning: A mature, dignified person of authority. Someone who may be relied upon for guidance and assurance. A person of strong faith and liberal views. A person who displays an interest in the arts and sciences. One whose strength lies in their mind, which when combined with their uncanny foresight, is capable of orchestrating and achieving long-term goals. Can represent a lawyer, successful business person, scientist, or artist. A person who tends to be reclusive and carries an air of mystery.

Can also indicate dubious dealings, loss and suffering, and illness and injustice. A person who lacks a sense of responsibility and cares only for his or her own personal welfare. Treachery and scandal.

The Fisher King

Fisher King was the name given to the succession of kings who were entrusted to guard the Grail, some of whom were Brons (or Hebron), Pelles, and Anfortas.

The goal of the Quest was to reach the elusive home of the Fisher King and ask the (correctly worded) question. It was believed that this would unlock the secret of the Grail, whereupon the king would be healed of his wound and the Wasteland would rejuvenate. Here the Mimed King or Wounded King motif has fused with the already confounded nature of the Fisher King. Adding to the confusion is that there can be up to three wounded kings, depending on which version of the story you read.

Some maintain that the Fisher King is a Christian motif, owing to the early Christian symbol of the fish. Others argue that Brons is the avatar of the Welsh Bran the Blessed who suffered from a wounded foot. It is further explained that the fish equates with the Celtic Salmon of Knowledge. Continuing on the Celtic line, some consider Pelles to be the original Fisher King, and connect him with Pwyll of the Welsh Mabinogion.

Legend: The Arthurian Tarot by author and artist Anna-Marie Ferguson

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