Like Attracts Like
When we study metaphysics in any tradition, we learn this basic rule: like attracts like.
Whenever I teach this, someone will always protest, “But opposites attract!”
That’s true in magnetics. When it comes to energy, we attract to ourselves the energy we cultivate.
So often our energy is driven by our perspective. If we perceive every problem as catastrophic, we may well set the stage for actual catastrophe. On the other hand, if we process problems as opportunities, we work to create new opportunities around us.
When we use candles, plants, stones, colors and symbols to attract specific things into our lives, we are actively putting the wisdom of “like attracts like” into practice.
Sometimes life throws us curve-balls that can really make us suffer. When difficult things happen, we aren’t served by jumping to the conclusion that we created these situations with our fears or negative thoughts.
As humans, we all have negative thoughts. The trick is to get on to a better thought as quickly as possible.
When we work to reframe our difficulties with a positive perspective, we attract more positive possibilities into our lives.
When we intentionally surround ourselves with colors, symbols and other tools in order to attract specific energies, we open up possibilities for success.
When we pay attention to the idea that like attracts like, we have the opportunity to be active co-creators of our journey through life.
What Can You Attract with Tarot Cards?
Every tarot card holds, and attracts, specific energies. You can activate a card’s specific energy to attract that energy into your life.
For instance, the energies held within the Ace of Cups include the high vibration of unconditional love, the healed heart chakra and new romance. Those are three related energies, but they are significantly different from one another.
If you wanted to use the Ace of Cups to attract a new romance, you would simple state that as your intention.
You could hold the card to your heart as say something like, “With this card I bring to my heart, and to my life, a new beneficial love relationship.”
On the other hand, if you wanted to heal your heart from past hurts, you could use the same card, and hold it in the same way, but say something like this instead, “With this card I release past sorrow, and claim my ability to give and receive love. With this image I heal my heart, and claim it as my own”.
As an exercise, look through your deck and consider two or three energies each tarot card holds. When you find energies you would like to attract into your life, consider what affirming statement you might make about those energies, and what physical action you would take with the card.
For example, it seems natural to hold the Ace of Cups to the heart. If you were working with a different card and a different energy, you might choose to simply gaze at it and breathe it in. You might feel lead to hold it to a different chakra, or to hold it over your head. Choose whatever action feels most strongly attuned to the energy you are working to attract.
As much as tarot is a tool of divination, tarot is a tool of magic. The more we can understand the energies of each card, the more ability we have to choose the energies we want to manifest.
The Week in Review
This week I was honored that Ste McCabe, The Tarot Cat, shared a thoughtful post on our Community Blog. Read his thoughts about Major Arcana 13, Death, and your tarot theme card.
The Community Blog is open to anyone who would like to share a piece that is somehow tarot-related. What would you like to say to the world about tarot?
From Around the Web
From Hazellie Wong at Myna’s Moon, here are “9 Ways to Forgive and Let Go with Tarot and Numerology”.
Do you remember that, a few months ago, I shared a story about a tarot reader working to get a “fortune-telling” ban lifted in her town? Well, she won! Check out the news from Parkersburg, West Virginia.
Are you considering creating a tarot deck with another person? Benebell Wen is both a respected tarotist and a practicing attorney. She has made available a Collaboration and Joint Venture Agreement for your use!
Song of the Week
I had forgotten all about this amazing song until this morning, and I love how it fits the week’s theme.
Here’s Des’ree with You Gotta Be.
This is the final installment in the "Breaking Down Tarot's Elements" series from Michael Bridge-Dickson. I am looking forward to meeting Michael in person at TarotCon!
Michael Bridge-Dickson is a tarot reader, yoga instructor, graphic artist, and writer living in Montreal, Canada. He is also the creator of The Orbifold Tarot, which is a modern tarot deck that places tarot’s basic essence — the Four Elements — at the forefront. He is also well versed in the pprinciplesof Ayurveda, which is the traditional sister practice of yoga, and is based on a five-Element system. His interest in tarot and yoga is in helping people discover the intrinsic connections between the inner self and outer interactions.
For more from Michael visit his blog Mirrors of Consciousness. or his YouTube channel. All card images are from The Orbifold Tarot, which can be purchased at www.orbifoldtarot. com/purchase.html
Breaking Down Tarot’s Elements
For the bulk of this series, we have looked primarily at the Elements in isolation. However, to truly understand how they feature in our readings, we must look at how the Elements interact with each other, since none of them work alone: every Element is always present, and tarot can serve to highlights which are most prevalent in what proportions and combination. As the Elements exert their influence over each other, the flux of life and its situations is revealed. We can sometimes even see how the Elements transform from one to the next.
The study of this interaction, in tarot terms is that of Elemental Dignities. Traditionally, this study pairs Elements by their compatibility: compatible Elements are considered “dignified,” incompatible Elements are considered “I’ll-dignified,” and the remaining pairs are neutral, meaning that they are considered to not have much of an effect on each other whether positive or negative.
These traditional pairings are as follows, note that there are only 6 pairings possible: Dignified — Air & Fire, Water & Earth Ill-dignified — Fire & Water, Air & Earth Neutral — Air & Water, Fire & Earth.
This view, while helpful at first, can also be limiting in really understanding how Elements interact, and doesn’t acknowledge that each pairing can have productive, destructive, or sustaining effects on each other. Further, combinations of three or all four Elements are not considered in traditional dignities — three being quite useful to study as well.
Before looking at the combinations of three Elements (of which there are only 4 triads), let’s examine these classical pairings first, since they are the basis of understanding later possibilities.
Air & Fire:
It’s easy to see why this pair is classically considered compatible, as the two most subtle Elements. They share lightweight-ness and are generally more active forces. If we consider Air as the gaseous state of matter, and not just the air that we breathe, Air can be seen as both the fuel and product of Fire. Air also has a drying effect, and so aids Fire’s combustion and sustenance by removing any moisture (Water) that could hinder Fire. Similarly, Fire’s heat drives Air, creating winds and currents that cause Air to blow. Fire also releases gases as it burns, feeding the Air Element, but also supporting its dryness.
However, this pair is not always conducive. Air easily blows out Fire when Air is greater, and Fire can suffocate in its consumption.
In us, Fire and Air can also be creative and sustaining. New ideas lead toward the actions and efforts to make those ideas reality, which further generates newer and more refined ideas alike. Fire’s drive can inspire brilliant analyses, and together they are illumination. Air’s wisdom directs Fire’s transformative qualities, and can prevent it from consuming needlessly.
At the same time, Air can also fuel Fire’s negative qualities, and Fire can cause irritation that destabilizes the mind. This can result in angry outbursts or the seething flame of resentment. The destructive force of Fire can be terrible on its own, but when amplified by a cunning, premeditated mind, Air’s influence makes it downright devastating.
Water & Earth:
It’s also relatively easy to see why Water and Earth are usually seen as an amiable pair: being at the denser side of the Elemental continuum, they are heavy, tangible, and receptive. Both have a downward action with Water washing downward and Earth grounded and anchored. Earth contains Water, giving it form and a receptacle to settle into, and Water contains Earth in solution, eroding then redistributing Earth to build it up over time.
This relationship between Water and Earth is in calming our emotions and sensations by our ability to be present with them. That same presence allows us to be clearer about our feelings when we feel them, and be at peace with those feelings as they change. Here, the Earth quality stabilizes Water, containing it and giving it a solid base. Water softens Earth, too, giving it feeling and the ability to change comfortably and gradually.
Earth and Water are not always convivial, however — their similarities can bring out their mutually best, but can also bring out their mutually worst. Earth’s constancy can make Water habitual, where we lose touch with our sensations as they are, and instead fall into the ease of familiar sensation, even when inaccurate. We’ve all at one time or another fallen into an emotional rut, where we feel down simply because it was how we felt yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before that... only to realize one day that this feeling is out of habit; a sustained memory we grow accustomed to, distorting our perception of reality while also weighing us down. Earth’s persistence can make these emotional habits hard to break, with Water and Earth commiserating with each other.
To break the negative effects of “dignified” pairings, we need to look at the more dynamic, “ill-dignified” pairings — which also have their own positive and negative qualities.
Fire & Water:
This is the most volatile combination of Elements, and even before studying the Elements in any esoteric way, we all know that Fire and Water “don’t get along” ...or do they?
Water douses Fire, and we’ve certainly experienced times when our feelings have drowned any desire or impulse to exert effort. At the same time, our emotions can also drive our actions, the way that Water and Fire creates steam! When Fire and Water are well-balanced, and the result is directed, this combination can be extremely productive. This combination creates passion and lends depth to our efforts so that our actions carry with them meaning rather than just performing rote tasks.
Similarly, when emotions are overwhelming, adding some heat through effort and action can dissipate the intensity of that emotional overflow by boiling off the excess.
It’s here in the ill-dignified pairings that we start to see the importance of proportion. In previous exercises, we looked at the degrees of each Element individually, to see what results less of an Element caused compared to excesses of that Element. Now, as the Elements combine, it is not just the combinations themselves that are important, but the proportions as well. This is true of all Elemental combinations, but is perhaps most obvious with Fire and Water.
The proportions deeply affect how the Elements will interact and what the result will be. Keep this in mind as we continue through the other pairings.
Air & Earth:
This pairing is probably less obvious. Being at opposite ends of the density spectrum, Air and Earth may not seem to have much effect on each other, creating a more neutral relationship.
There can be conflict, however, when we look at these Elements’ effects within us. Air can work against Earth by ungrounding us, and Earth works against Air by keeping us so tethered to reality that we lose our ability to think ahead and dream, to let Air do what it does and move beyond constraints.
Together, though, Air and Earth can again be very productive — if they can learn to get along.
Earth grounds Air’s lofty ideas, and provided it doesn’t become oppressive, Earth guides Air toward being both innovative and practical. At a deeper level, Earth also gives weight to the intangible nature of Air. It gives our words impact, and allows us to communicate honestly with ourselves and others, from the seat of our being to others at this deep place, so that although communication may be through words and ideas, their source within our own presence is also transmitted in the exchange. Whenever documents, theories, phrases, and expressions take hold and change the world, they have been the expression of this combination: Air carrying the weight of Earth. Some say that genius is where practicality meets innovation, and this is the realm of Air and Earth in harmony. When we are too caught up in our thoughts, fears, and fantasies, Earth balances and grounds us.
Together, Air and Earth lack both heat and moisture, and so can become dry and stale; Air having first a preservative effect, removing the moisture that can lead to rot and decay, but then as Air increases, it has a dis-integrative effect as it reduces Earth to dust. This can be very helpful when facing challenges that seem insurmountable, as Air breaks down the density of difficulty and barriers. Air’s influence on Earth can make all that seems solid crumble around us, forcing us to see through the illusion of material existence. This can liberate us when we are too stuck in the solid world, but can also work against us when we need the anchoring effect of Earth.
Air & Water:
This is a more neutral pairing, classically. Although it’s perhaps not as dynamic as Air and Fire or Fire and Water (or really Fire and anything!), it is still quite dynamic, as Air and Water are very similar in many ways. Both are related to the mind, and both are of the nature to flow. Water can even be thought of as dense Air, or Air as subtle Water, because they are both so fluid and so essential to life. And, even though Air is generally considered active, I often view it as the softer of the two active Elements, which connects it favorably with Water, as the softer of the passive Elements.
When calmly balanced, Air and Water are serene, peaceful, and elegant — the sensitive, subconscious mind expressing itself clearly through the conscious mind’s articulate manner. The fluidity between Air and Water links thought to sensation, and when this link is unobstructed, the mind operates at its full capacity between conscious and unconscious, systematic and intuitive.
Despite this soft affinity, Air and Water can be just as powerful as any other combination. The way that clouds can be light and wispy or dark and brooding, Air and Water can build to the intensity of the strongest hurricane! When Air and Water combine in this way, Water’s emotional aspect can darken the mind’s clarity, showing more negative aspects of analysis and altering its perceptions so that we perceive things that aren’t there and misinterpret people’s actions through an emotional filter. This stormy distortion can cause the turnings of an disturbed mind to extremes of emotional expression, making us feel like we are being tossed around, by fast and heavy currents, and it can drag those around us into this turmoil.
At the same time, this intensity of Air and Water, of emotionally driven intellect can be an equally positive force and one to be reckoned with! It humanizes our theories, and balances divisive thoughts with our common and connecting emotions — we all feel joy, pain, sorrow, loss, love, pleasure, and compassion. A sentimental pairing, Water connect our feelings with Air’s ability to express them. This combination merges brilliance and sensitivity, shaping our thoughts while appealing to our hearts.
Fire & Earth:
This is the combination of steadfast persistence, the kind of “slow burn” that causes lasting change whose effects continue being felt over time. Fire in any combination tends to make things more exciting, being such a uniquely volatile Element — the Element of action — but it is also very delicate as we have seen in previous combinations: when Fire isn’t hot enough, it is easily quashed by other Elements when they outweigh it.
With Earth, Fire finds a sustainable fuel where the smallest spark ignites into a steady, smoldering blaze. Earth can also easily overpower Fire, however, snuffing out even strong Fires and circumventing any possibility for glimmers to flare. Earth and Fire are the firmer or harsher aspects of the active and receptive principles, the way that Air and Water were the softer aspects.
Where Earth brought practicality to Air’s thoughts, it similarly brings practicality to Fire’s actions. Earth ensures that no effort is wasted, that its intent is always directed toward results. However, also like the way that Earth constrained and restricted other Elements, especially Air, being too concerned with the tangible results of action and conserving energy for only those things seen as worthwhile can also suffocate the drive and inspiration of Fire.
Much can be learned though from the steady persistence of Fire and Earth. Its changes are slow and steady, reminding us of the value in directing our actions in small steps toward large goals, the cumulative effect of consistent effort. Earth also reminds us that our efforts require sustenance, that while our thoughts and ideas can inspire, and our sensitive world makes us care about our actions and their results, seeing those results, no matter how large or small spurs us along and bolsters our efforts in continuing forward.
When Fire burns too fervently, Earth can get caught up in the heat, lending all its resources to the flame. This too can be productive or destructive, depending on the cause... but due to Fire’s volatility it can easily turn into a consuming cause that finds no pause or logical reconsideration until the resources are depleted and the destruction left is beyond reversal. Of course, as we know through observing the Elements’ cycles, even in its most severe expression, Earth and Fire can clear the space for new cycles to emerge from the remains.
Again, the key is to balance these Elements such that their best qualities are utilized. Each situation requires different proportions of the Elements to attain balance. Balance does not necessarily equate to stillness, but rather the ability to temper each cycle’s excesses with an Elemental combination that will reduce excess without halting movement and progress. Each cycle requires a productive, sustaining, and destructive phase, and Elemental combinations that are productive may not always be desirable when a destructive phase is necessary, even though we generally tend to prefer production and sustenance. Some of us are so familiar with destruction and chaos, however, that even if it is not desirable, we create destructive patterns excessively, no matter the Elemental combination. These are times when sustaining and productive proportions of Elements are most helpful in cultivating.
Tarot reveals these patterns and combinations to us. It does so in certain individual cards, but perhaps more interestingly in spreads and actual readings. Spreads using fewer cards will usually show a total of two or three Elements, but even in larger spreads it is not uncommon for there to be a dominance of a particular Elements while one or more Elements are noticeably deficient or even entirely absent. This absence can be as telling as what is present in the spread, and recognizing the favorable aspects of the Elements that are present as well as the potential pitfalls can lead us toward solutions that involve what is not on the table as much as what is.
Two-Element combinations are the basis of understanding how Elements interact with each other, and from them we also start to see how three-Element combinations have their own beneficial and detrimental aspects, whether productive, sustaining, or destructive.
To practice these two-Element combinations, we can extend the exercises from when we looked at the Elements individually.
Once again, separate the Minor Arcana from your deck. Draw two cards and set them side by side. If both are the same Element, simply draw another for one of them (you could also separate the suits further in various ways to explore particular Elements or pairings, but for relative simplicity, using all 40 Minors is effective in studying all pairings). Study these two cards together, looking at the Elemental combination and the proportions of each, looking at whether they are productive, sustaining, or destructive, and imagine situations where the resulting pair and combination could be a boon or a warning, of benefit or detriment.
For instance, let’s say the Five of Water and the Eight of Earth are drawn. By classical dignities, these are a favorable pair. Since the Earth card is a higher number, it is containing the Water’s Five. This pair is sustaining. They interact calmly with each other, Earth’s stability reinforced by the number Eight, and Water’s flowing nature shared by the Five — it’s an emotionally steady state.
The pair doesn’t have a lot of movement, however: even though the Five is a number of change, the Earth’s Eight stops or at least slows this flow. At times when an emotional change is necessary, the containing quality of Earth here is detrimental, even preventing that necessary change. At times when change is too drastic or quick, this holding back that Earth provides can make emotional change more manageable.
Work through the stack, pairing Elements in different proportions and exploring how Elemental pairs are affected by their proportion, and continue looking at whether each pairing is creative, preserving, or destructive, and how that effect could be favorable or not in different situations.
Another way to explore these pairings is through the Court Cards. Of the 16 Courts, each relating to an Element by both rank and suit, there are 12 that are Elemental pairings and four Courts whose rank and suit are of the same Element. Since there are different associations for each rank’s Element, use the one that you have been taught or makes the most sense to you, but think of them for this exercise as “Earth of Air” or “Water of Fire,” the first Element referring to the rank, the second to the suit. Proportionally, I prefer to think of the suit as being more dominant than the rank, so “Water of Fire” or “Queen of Wands” is more Fire than she is Water. This is a person (can be male -or- female, of any sexuality) who is more action and less feeling; a person that acts based on their feelings, but is more on the doing side than the feeling side. Passion rules, and this person will put a great deal of effort into feeling good, but is often also compassionate toward others, and will work in service of others because connecting with others emotionally through her deeds is fulfilling.
Contemplate each Court by this combination of Elements, and how those Elemental combinations form a personality. The Courts that share Elemental combination, but in different proportion can be confusing because of their similarity. Using the above example, The Knight (or in some systems King) of Cups or “Fire of Water” would have many similarities to the Queen of Wands or “Water of Fire.” The proportions are different, however. A Fire of Water person is more guided by their feelings first, and then acts upon those feelings, they may expend less effort outwardly and be more in touch with their inner world, more interested in maintaining their own emotional wellness before doing things for the emotional wellness of others. This is not necessarily selfish, but they have to be comfortable with their own feelings first. They are emotionally affected by the actions of others in a similar way as the Queen of Wands, but may be more inclined to internalize that reaction and process their feelings before acting out, whereas the Queen of Wands may react first and process later.
In exploring these proportions among the Courts, your conclusions may differ, but what is important is that you start to relate to and understand how the Elements interact and how their degrees affect their expression. Again, look at the ways the Courts create, sustain, and destroy, and how their personalities can help and hinder themselves and the people around them.
Once you’ve gotten a handle on two-Element combinations, within the Minors as well as the Courts, start exploring the three-Element combinations, seeing their multi-faceted aspects in differing proportions and in various proportions.
In my opinion, no Element or Elemental combination is better than any other. None is particularly positive or negative, but each has aspects that reveal the best or worst in us and our human interactions. The exploration is fascinating and endless, and I hope this series has opened up new possibilities and perspectives in studying the Elements, deepening your understanding of them and their application in readings.
May this exploration be as fascinating to you as it is for me!
Success: Creating or Predicting?
Will I be successful?
That’s a question that can come in many forms, about business, school, love and life.
It’s a hard prediction to make, because so much of our future success depends on what we do, and the choices we make.
When coming to the tarot with questions about an enterprise, it is infinitely more helpful to phrase “action questions.” That is, questions that give you agency in your situation.
Here are some examples.
What do I need to do to be successful?
What do I need to be to attract success?
What energy do I need to cultivate at this time?
What energy am I cultivating that isn’t serving me at this time?
You can ask a question, and pull a single card, or a few cards, in answer. Let this process help guide you and support you as you create your success!
Image from Gilded Tarot by Ciro Marchetti
Your One-Card Weekly Reading
Two of Swords
The Two of Swords is about finding peace within, during a time of confusion and indecision.
You may need to hold space for yourself while you struggle with choices and options.
You may need to agree to disagree with someone.
The Two of Swords reminds you that correct decisions may come from the head rather than the heart, and that you must not let others inappropriately influence your sacred truth, and your correct path.
September 14-18 Happening Now!
Card Reading Magic Tarot Telesummit with Tori Hartman
Discover the 5 essentials of card reading, mistakes that keep you from accurate readings, and how you can use your intuition more effectively during this FREE virtual intuitive festival, Card Reading Magic, where I’ll be one of 18 featured experts. Sign up now!
Sunday, September 25, 3:30 pm
Tampa Bay Area Tarot Meetup
Panera Bread, 23388 State Rd 54, Lutz, FL
Michael Newton-Brown will lead this meeting.
Bring your tarot decks and be prepared for some great tarot games!
You can RSVP on the Meetup, or simply meet us at Panera.
October 7 Professional Development Intensive
October 8-9 TarotCon (Florida) 2016
October 14-23 Christiana's Trip to West Palm Beach. Call or test 561-655-1160 to schedule your party, house call or private reading.
Origins Spa and Wellness Center
1537 N Dale Mabry Highway #102
Lutz, FL 33548
Private telephone, Skype and in person readings and instruction are available by appointment.
Tarot parties at your home or office are available throughout Florida.
Call 813-948-4488, toll free 866-99TAROT,
or text or call 561-655-1160
for more information or to schedule your event.
Agent inquiries are welcome.