and the Affirmation of Women's Spirituality
Rider-Waite Tarot DeckR, reproduced by permission of U.S. Games
Systems, Inc. Further reproduction prohibited.
Tarot cards are most
often used in readings that incorporate the images on the cards with the
position of each card in a predetermined layout to offer insight into
a question or situation. Another use of the cards is to illustrate (in
both the common sense of "add pictures to" and the literal meaning
of "to make bright") texts that have deep spiritual or esoteric
meaning. I first saw the cards used in this way at a Reclaiming Witchcamp
to illustrate the Charge of the Goddess, and it inspired me to attempt
a similar "spread" to illustrate the Affirmation of Women's
The Affirmation of
Women's Spirituality was written in 1970 by Jade, and reflects the core
values on which the Re-Formed Congregation of the Goddess was founded.
There are exactly twenty-one lines to the Affirmation, and I have given
each line a corresponding card of the Major Arcana from the Rider-Waite-Smith
tarot deck. The Major Arcana of this deck incorporate layers of esoteric
symbolism and meaning, and the figures on the cards offer archetypal images
that can speak to the deepest and most meaningful aspects of our lives
and our selves.
Here are the correspondences
that revealed themselves to me.
THERE IS ONE CIRCLE
OF WOMEN'S ENERGY, AND I AM PART OF THIS ENERGY: The
I dance inside the circle of life, an infinitely repeating cycle with
no beginning and no end. Energy spirals through and around me, and with
my will and clear intent I join in its rhythms. Outside the circle the
Guardians watch, their elemental powers feeding energy towards the center.
IT IS MINE TO DIRECT:
At my feet lie the Mysteries of Life and Death, awaiting my command to
rise and move. My head and shoulders are adorned with symbols of magic
and divination, sources of inspiration and wisdom. I am armored, shielded,
well-prepared and in charge. The wand, symbol of will, is my only tool.
The energy I harness is ancient beyond imagining.
I WISH TO DIRECT
That I can create my own reality and that sending out a positive expectation
will bring a positive result: The Sun
I ride out into the world with open arms and open heart, the radiance
of the Sun upon me. Riding on horseback, my heart open, connected through
my Root with the realm of the Wild, I send out the expectation of a world
filled with innocence and exuberance, lust and joy, growth and healing.
This I create.
That the energy
which I send out returns to me: The Magician
I stand in my power, wielding tools to work my will between the Worlds,
in all the Worlds. I work my magic consciously, with awareness that the
unexpected consequence of any action may outweigh the expected consequences.
That there are
an infinite number of possibilities for my life: The
Wheel of Fortune
The Wheel spins. When I move with it, unquestioning, I believe I am standing
still, and that the only action possible is what I am already doing. When
I slow down and step off the Wheel I find the infinity of possibility.
The challenge lies in the work it takes to step off the Wheel and step
back on in the place of my choosing.
That every situation
is an opportunity to practice and develop my craft: The
I sit between the twin pillars of wisdom, before the pomegranate veil.
I wear the crown of Isis and the robes of the High Priestess. I am learned,
and yet the more I study, the more I realize the limitations of my knowledge.
Every day offers opportunities to learn, to grow, to reach beyond my limitations.
Every day brings me closer to lifting the veil.
That my instincts
and intuition can be used to guide me: The
Deep in the primitive part of my brain lie instinctive ways of knowing,
beyond thought and reason. When I feel the pull of the moon, when the
hair on my neck rises, when I know what is around the corner before I
see it, I am attuned to that instinct. I quiet my mind into stillness
and find guidance.
That my only power
is in the present: The Hanged One
Secure in my connection to the Tree of Life, I let go of all save what
is now. Neither right-side up, or upside down, I hang suspended in the
instant between inhalation and exhalation, in the moment between heartbeats.
I attune my awareness, still my mind, and let the Mystery surface from
deep within: all that I was, all that I am, all that I shall be, is present
in each moment. My power lies in the time between, in the place between,
in the eternal now.
That the Goddess
or life force energy is within me: Strength
With my feet planted firmly on the Earth, I open to the infinity of the
Omniverse. I am a conduit of Her energy and power. I open my heart and
humble myself to the Wild, and in that moment all Her power is mine.
That I shall never use my energy unwisely or to limit the free will of
another: The Hierophant
I use my energy in accordance with my will to do my work in the world
and between the worlds. The challenges and work of this path are not for
everyone, and others may look to me to lead them where they will not go
by themselves. I lead with the consent of those who follow, without domination,
coercion, deception, or manipulation. Like the original Hierophant of
the Eleusinian Mysteries, I show others what is in their own hearts.
That I shall grow
in wisdom, strength, knowledge, and understanding: The
I kneel on the Earth and draw up the water of wisdom, connection, community.
I pour it out upon the Earth for healing. I stand in the communal pool
and from my own inner well I draw the water of knowledge and understanding
and pour it back. Above me the eight-pointed stars tell of the oneness
of the physical and the spiritual.
That I shall, as
much as I am aware, act in honesty to myself and others: Justice
The sword and scales of Justice are in my hands. I am honest first with
myself, then with others, and I take full responsibility for my actions.
As if bound by an oath, I tell the truth and withhold nothing.
That I shall never
use my energy for what I know to be evil, aggressive, or manipulative
and shall only use my energy for positive ends: The
Every time I work my will in the world and between the worlds I make choices.
I choose to use my energy to bring change within myself, and to support
positive change in my world. I act out of love. I forgo actions that use
power-over to get what I want.
That I shall grow
to understand the cyclic, life affirming rhythms of the Earth and always
act with love toward Her and all Her plants and creatures: The
I embody the Sacred, and I find the Sacred in the Earth and all that grows,
crawls, swims, walks, and flies upon and over Her. I experience Her rhythms
in the yearly waxing and waning of the Sun, in the he waxing and waning
of the Moon, in the hormonal ebbs and flows of my body, in the cycles
of growth and rest, expansion and retreat in my life.
That I shall transform
all negative in my environment: Death
Before transformation can begin, I must release my fear. In the space
between what passes away and what appears in its place is Death - nothingness,
a place between, a place of Mystery. When I fear to pass through this
place, the magic of transformation is beyond my capability. When I face
the fear with my heart open, the magic of transformation is begun.
To be myself: The Fool
With the warmth of the sun on my back and the wind in my face, my eyes
half closed, I stand on the verge. I am fully present in the moment, and
open to the outcome of my actions, whatever it may be. All that I am,
I carry with me, and that is all I need. Those who see me think I am about
to step off the precipice and fall to my death. In truth, I dance with
joy on the edge of death and so I know myself.
To take responsibility
for myself and my actions and know that consciously or unconsciously I
have drawn situations to me: Judgment
The Winged Messenger calls and I must answer. Naked and alone, I must
speak the truth. This is what I did, this is what I said, this is what
happened. And here are my judgments and assessments, my stories and rationales
- I can explain everything. "Explanations are not called for,"
She tells me, "only truth, compassion, and love."
To be strong and
independent even in the midst of struggle: The Devil
My strength lies in seeing beyond illusion, my independence in knowing
that I am the source of my own experience. As my consciousness awakens,
I learn that I can choose my battles, choose when to engage and when to
walk away. I learn that struggle can strengthen, and that facing my demons
brings me closer to my true self.
To accept and understand
those whose ethnic or racial background, social or economic class, appearance,
or sexual preference are different from my own: Temperance
The Temperance angel stands next to a bed of irises, symbol of the Greek
rainbow goddess. She blends and mixes in Her cups, one foot on grounded
on the land, the other in the flowing water of emotional connection. To
accept and understand those who are different from me, I must first empty
my cup - I must let go of assumptions, prejudices, all that I think I
already know about them. I must ground my acceptance and understanding
in present reality, and let the water of connection flow in the channels
To stand firm and
committed to women and my spiritual beliefs even in times of isolation,
pain, desperation, or negativity: The Tower
When lightning strikes, though the Tower crumbles, the foundation holds.
In the midst of upheaval and destruction, my spiritual beliefs and commitment
deepen and strengthen. The Goddess and my sisters catch and cradle me,
and I know Her grace and power in them.
AND TO UNDERSTAND
WHEN TO SPEAK AND WHEN TO KEEP THE SILENCE: The
At times, I am out in the world, speaking my truth and teaching those
who seek to learn. At times, I turn inward, seeking my truth and Her guidance.
The Hermit's lantern guides me, the Hermit's wisdom teaches me the value
and power of silence, of watching and waiting and seeking inner truth.
SO MOTE IT BE:
Seated on an Earthen throne, robed in fiery red, with clear intent and
focused will I speak these words of power and affirmation.
OF WOMEN'S SPIRITUALITY SPREAD
After working out
these correspondences, I laid out the cards as follows:
Row, The Opening: The World and The Chariot
Second Row, To Know: The Sun, The Magician, The Wheel of Fortune,
The High Priestess, The Moon, The Hanged One, Strength
Third Row (line up these cards with the spaces between the cards in
the second row) -- To Will: The Hierophant, The Star, Justice, The
Lovers, The Empress, Death
Fourth Row (line up these cards with spaces between the cards in the
third row) -- To Dare: The Fool, Judgment, The Devil, Temperance,
Fifth Row, The Closing: The Hermit, The Emperor
This layout shows
how each section of the affirmation is connected to the one above it,
which creates new "sub-affirmations." For example: The Sun and
the Magician in the second row form a triangle with the Hierophant. Referring
back to the affirmation, this gives us: "I can create my own reality
and sending out a positive expectation will bring a positive result. The
energy which I send out returns to me. I shall never use my energy unwisely
or to limit the free will of another." The Hierophant then forms
a triangle with The Star and The Fool: "I shall never use my energy
unwisely or to limit the free will of another. I shall grow in wisdom,
strength, and understanding. I shall dare to be myself."
Try it yourself --
use these ideas, or let the cards reveal a different lineup. Try laying
the cards out in rows, concentric circles, or one big circle. Let the
music of the words and the images on the cards wash over you, and see
what new insights they bring.
Let me know what you
+ High Priestess, Rider-Waite Tarot DeckR, known also as the
Rider Tarot and the Waite Tarot, reproduced by permission of U.S.
Games Systems, Inc., Stamford, CT 06902 USA. Copyright C1971 by U.S. Games
Systems, Inc. Further reproduction prohibited. The Rider-Waite Tarot DeckR
is a registered trademark of U.S. Games Systems, Inc. Visit the world's
best source for tarot decks at www.usgamesinc.com.
+ affirmation spread, © 2003 S h e r r y M a r t s. All rights