Samhain Divination

After the stream of trick or treaters has stopped and the fun of Halloween is over, my thoughts turn to Samhain.  Though my prayers will be adjusted for the holy day, our group celebration was last Saturday so I don’t feel the need for formal ritual tonight.  As I do almost every year, I break out my Tarot cards and do a reading for the coming year.

I usually start by reviewing the previous year’s reading:  what did I get right, what did I misinterpret, and what did I flat-out miss?  Divination is like any other skill – it gets easier with practice, and by reviewing past results you can improve your calibration for future readings (hint from last year’s reading:  when you get The Tower, don’t sugarcoat it).

This year I did two readings.  The first was for myself – that one will remain private.  But then I did a second reading for the overall Pagan community.  Where are we on our journey, what are the challenges we face, how can we best address them, and what is the likely outcome if we continue on our current path?

The overall Pagan community is wide and varied – this reading is in serious violation of Isaac Bonewits’ warning that “fuzzy targets yield fuzzy results.”  If you’re looking for specific predictions you’re going to be disappointed.  But I think there’s value in taking a high-level divinatory look at the state and direction of our movement.

The cards are from the Robin Wood Tarot.  This was the first deck I bought twenty years ago and it’s still my favorite.  It keeps the traditional card names and meanings but replaces the Judeo-Christian imagery of the Rider-Waite deck with Celtic Pagan imagery.  It’s not perfect, but these cards speak to me better than any other deck I’ve found.

And yes, I’m using the Celtic Cross spread.  Most serious Tarot readers I know use a different layout, but this is what I learned first and it works well for me, so I see no reason to change.  My one tweak is to occasionally pull three extra cards if a card in the original layout needs more illumination – if something just doesn’t seem to fit and I need to ask for clarification.

With all that out of the way, here are the cards I drew and the meanings I took from them.

1.  At the heart of the matter:  Two of Pentacles.
2.  The major influence:  The High Priestess
3.  What we seek:  Two of Swords
4.  At the root of the situation:  Queen of Wands
5.  What is passing:  Six of Wands
6.  What is coming:  Three of Pentacles
7.  How we see ourselves:  Five of Wands
8.  The environment in which we work:  Three of Cups
9.  Our hopes and fears:   Page of Pentacles
10.  The final outcome:  The Devil

I see three messages in this reading.  First, our collective heart is in the right place (Two of Pentacles, The High Priestess).  We’re trying to do the right thing, even if some of us think “the right thing” means worshipping the old gods and some think it’s becoming skilled magicians and some think it’s becoming environmental activists.

Second, we’ve had some success (Six of Wands, Three of Cups) and we’re working diligently toward even greater things (Three of Pentacles).

Third, we make things harder than they have to be (Two of Swords, Five of Wands).

And that leads to the final card, The Devil (which I’m sure will provide plenty of amusement for our friends on the Catholic and Evangelical channels).  But this devil is a trap of our own making, a trap we can easily escape if we let go of our false premises.

This reading calls us to deeper spiritual practice, to better align our actions with our ideals.

Remember, this reading is for the overall Pagan movement – its relevance to any specific group or individual is likely to be small.  And remember that the cards show what will be, not what must be.  If you don’t like what this reading or any reading tells you, take action to create a different outcome.

May your coming year be blessed!

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About John Beckett

I grew up in Tennessee with the woods right outside my back door. Wandering through them gave me a sense of connection to Nature and to a certain Forest God. I’m a Druid graduate of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids, the Coordinating Officer of the Denton Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans and a former Vice President of CUUPS Continental. I’ve been writing, speaking, teaching, and leading public rituals for the past eleven years. I live in the Dallas – Fort Worth area and I earn my keep as an engineer.

  • http://www.celestinetarot.com/ Celestine Angel

    The Robin Wood was my first deck, and remains my favorite as well.


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