Astrology & Divination

In this section, you’ll find information on your Sun Sign (and other signs!) as well as an introduction to the wonderful world of divination tools such as tarot and crystal-reading.

I’ve been drawn to the mystical ever since I can remember, which is strange thinking about it as this was not something that I learnt to be interested in from a peer or family member nor something I grew up around.

Instead, I happened to stumble across astrology as a child, as many of us do, in magazines and newspaper articles with my initial interest being focused on what my “star” sign was – Aquarius.

I was fascinated, not so much by the fortune-telling aspect of daily or weekly horoscopes, but more in the typical characteristics listed of an Aquarian and others in my immediate family and how the signs inter-related. My mother was a Scorpio, my father a Pisces, my brother a Sagittarius and my nanna a Taurus. My closest family and I were made up of all 4 of the Elements: Fire, Earth, Air & Water and I couldn’t help but notice how this affected our personalities and relationships with one another, even as a child.

By the age of 12 I had developed a healthy obsession on the topic learning that they were in fact Sun (and not the commonly called “Star”) Signs and was introduced via a magazine free gift and article to the tarot – mind-blown!

Here then I would like to share some common misconceptions on astrology and bring the whole of the planets, in particular your Moon and Rising Sign, into focus to explain why looking at just your “star sign” will only get you so far.

We also look at the Tarot in detail, exploring some of the decks I use as well as Oracle cards, channelling and my latest obsession – crystals!

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Astrology

Astrology

Most of us are familiar at least with the astrological signs even if we don’t know much about astrology or even “believe” in it. In simple terms however, astrology is really just the study of the positions of the planets (and for astrological purposes this includes the Sun and the Moon), and the resulting effects that these have on the Earth and its inhabitants.

For example, when a person is born, the planets will be in particular positions in the sky including the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune and Pluto (although not technically a planet anymore). The astrological signs these planets are positioned in at the time of your birth will affect a person and their personality and characteristics according to astrologers. Important to all of the planets except the Sun, is the time and place of birth too. Armed with that information, astrologers can accurately identify which planet was in which sign. They will also include in this your Rising or Ascendant sign, the sign “rising” on the Eastern horizon at the time of your birth which is usually seen as the way you present yourself to others.

From this it should be noted that astrology is far more than your date of birth and provide an explanation as to why horoscopes in magazines and newspapers are not very accurate generally-speaking – how can they be when it only looks at one small aspect of astrology, your Sun Sign (commonly referred to as your star-sign).

There are now tons of free resources on the internet that require you to only know your date, time and place of birth to accurately calculate your full birth chart (natal chart) which will give you a far more accurate reading. For example, whilst I am an Aquarius based on my Sun Sign, my Rising Sign is Leo, my Moon Sign is Aries and my Venus Sign is Pisces. I also discovered that a number of planets at the time of my birth were in the sign of Sagittarius. Taking all of this together gives me a far greater understanding of myself than simply looking at the generic Aquarius overview.

Astrology starts to get even more complex when you take into account the Houses of your birth chart and how the planets being in a certain House interplay along with the various “aspects” that the planets make to one another relative to their positions. I’d recommend sticking to learning the planets and getting to grips with your birth chart as a good starting point though.

Other factors that affect astrology include how a sign can be categorised:

The zodiac signs are said to be Masculine/Positive or Feminine/Negative as set out below:

Masculine

  • Aries
  • Gemini
  • Leo
  • Libra
  • Sagittarius
  • Aquarius

Feminine

  • Taurus
  • Cancer
  • Virgo
  • Scorpio
  • Capricorn
  • Pisces

The twelve signs of the zodiac are also broken down into Elements as follows:

Aries, Leo and Sagittarius = Fire Signs

Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn = Earth Signs

Gemini, Libra and Aquarius = Air Signs

Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces = Water Signs

The signs can also be categorised by their Qualities which are:

Cardinal – Aries/Cancer/Libra/Capricorn

Fixed – Taurus/Leo/Scorpio/Aquarius

Mutable – Gemini/Virgo/Sagittarius/Pisces

Finally, another way of grouping the signs is by their Polarity or opposite sign:

Aries/Libra

Taurus/Scorpio

Gemini/Sagittarius

Cancer/Capricorn

Leo/Aquarius

Virgo/Pisces

In fact, astrology is such a fascinating and complex subject, I wouldn’t want to even try to scratch the surface of it in one short article but hope that this short summary has given those of you interested in exploring the topic further a little more insight into what is really involved. More detailed blogs will follow where I intend to focus on specific areas of astrology in more detail but for now have a go at working out your own birth chart by finding a good birth chart calculator on the web. I personally favour Cafe Astrology.Com https://astro.cafeastrology.com/natal.php

Have a go and let me know in the comments below if you find out anything surprising about yourself!

Tarot

Tarot

Traditionally, tarot cards are often seen as a fortune-telling device, as a way of telling the future.  My own view on this is that whilst the cards can hint at what is to come if we stay on our current path, they are far more useful as a tool for helping us gain insight on a particular issue or a way of looking at things from a different perspective, so that we can better influence our future, having considered likely outcomes based on past and present events.

Historically, use of tarot cards has been traced back as far as Ancient Egyptian times although precisely where they originated from is not clear.  At different times, they have been used for both mystical and divination purposes as well as a form of gaming.

Usually, a deck of tarot cards is made up of 78 cards in total, divided into 22 Major Arcana cards and 56 Minor Arcana, the latter of which are then further sub-divided into four suits.

All of the cards will have a unique image on them each representing different life events or energies that will have some meaning to us.

Major Arcana cards tend to represent the bigger events in our lives that are, at times, less within our control, births, deaths, luck, hopes, secrets, choices, busy times, introspection, legal matters or qualities such as strength, direction, intuition, creativity or drive.  They include cards such as The Sun, The Star, The Hierophant, Wheel of Fortune, The Hanged Man and the notorious Death card (it doesn’t usually mean a literal death!).

Minor Arcana cards are split into four suits with traditional packs consisting of a suit each of Wands, Pentacles, Swords and Cups.  These can also be linked to the astrological elements of Fire, Earth, Air and Water and associations of action (Wands), materialism (Pentacles), intellect (Swords) and emotions (Cups).  Each suit has cards numbered Ace to Ten with a Page, Knight, Queen and King just like in playing cards.  Some packs have substituted these names for Prince and Princess instead of Page and Knight whilst others use terms such as Daughter of/Son of and Mother of/Father of for example.  The basic meaning of the cards however will generally be the same. 

Probably the best known deck is the Rider Waite deck however with a growing interest in the tarot over recent years it is now possible to pick a deck based on almost any topic.  I’ve recently seen a tarot deck based on Star Wars!

Cards are shuffled and the deck cut before being placed into a “spread” by the reader.  Different spreads will suit different querents (the person whom the reading is being conducted for), from a simple one-card spread on a simple issue to more complicated spreads for more complex matters.  A favourite of mine is the much-used Celtic-Cross spread, as I find it to have great application to almost any situation.

I have always read my own cards although some readers believe that it can be difficult to maintain sufficient objectiveness to do this effectively.  Others prefer to attend upon a professional tarot reader for their readings – it comes down to personal preference.  I genuinely believe that anyone can learn to read the mysteries and intricacies of the tarot although the real skill in my view is learning not just the individual meanings of all 78 cards whether upright or reversed, but in learning how the cards are affected by the spread used, the cards positions and taking all the cards collectively in the read, not just individually.

Of course some people have their own beliefs about the tarot such as the oft-quoted one that they are “evil” or “satanic”.  My view on this is that any tool can be used for “evil” intentions but pretty much every tarot reader I have come across is not this way inclined.

There are now a whole host of non-traditional decks being used as well as oracle or goddess cards which come quite often with writing on the cards which can be easier for those new to reading tarot to get to grips with.  If you are interested in learning to read tarot for yourself, a good place to start if you are unsure if you wish to spend £20+ on a deck would be to scout around for a spiritual magazine with these offered as a freebie.  I’ve picked up new decks this way for £7 or less with a magazine as well which is quite a bargain!

A useful tip when starting to read tarot is to study how other readers read the cards.  In due course, when you become more familiar with the cards and learn to trust your instinct when reading, you will come up with your own interpretations within the general meanings, but even though I’ve read tarot for nearly 25 years, I still enjoy watching other tarot readers on YouTube do their reads and nearly always learn something new.  There are literally hundreds of these available whether daily/weekly/monthly or more generally categorised based on your Sun Sign, as very often tarot and astrology are inextricably intertwined.

Have a go and let me know how you get on in the comments below.

Crystals

Crystals

Crystals are a type of mineral which grow underground, often over thousands of years. They come in all different shapes, sizes and colours and are said to contain certain “energies” depending on their type and make-up. Crystals are generally thought to work with the energy-centres or “chakras”. Their energies can be positive or negative and therefore may need to be “charged” or cleared of any potential ill side-effects, both before first-use and periodically.

Popular stones/crystals include amethyst, smoky, rose and clear quartz, jade, black tourmaline and tiger’s eye to name but a few.

There are numerous ways to work with crystal energy; some people like to incorporate it into their jewellery often with their birthstone or a chakra pendant or bracelet as an amulet or for healing. Others prefer to take part in crystal healing therapy such as crystal layouts where certain crystals are placed at corresponding points on the body or as part of their meditations when doing a “chakra cleanse”.

It is even possible to use crystals to do crystal readings where, like with tarot or oracle cards, you read the energy of the crystals that you pull out. This is something I am currently learning to do myself and it can be fun and insightful to combine your tarot cards with your crystals used to clarify cards.

Another common use can be using crystals to help you set your intentions or just as decoration in a room to give out a certain vibe or energy as suits. We have a Himalayan Crystal Salt Lamp which is said to help purify the air amongst other benefits – if nothing else it gives off a nice, cosy-glow that is very relaxing in itself.

The different energies that can be given off by the crystals include not just relaxation but healing energy, lessening of anxiety and stress, helping to clear the mind and/or chakras, as well as helping people feel more spiritually connected.

When working with crystal energy, many people feel extremes of temperature, usually heat or a tingling sensation, a ringing in the ears or just a “sense” of energy, generally taken to be a sign that the effects of the crystal/s are being physically felt.

An easy way to start with crystals would be to find one that you connect with and start carrying it round with you to start to build a connection with it. Bear in mind that it may be worth looking into ways to cleanse your crystals before first-use so as to be sure not to take on any negative effects it may hold.

What are your experiences of working with crystals, what are your favourite types and why – let me know in the comments below.

Channelling

Channelling

For me, channelling just means receiving information whether by using tarot or oracle cards, crystals or journaling or any other means of receiving information and transmitting into a format that is understandable. Another way of describing this would be listening to your intuition, that inner voice that provides guidance or a “gut feeling”.

Sometimes, if I’m feeling out of sorts for no apparent reason I like to sit with a notepad or paper and either draw random shapes or symbols or just start writing about how I feel. Even if what I write or draw makes no sense at all afterwards, it always makes me feel better to try to express creatively whilst thinking about how I feel, sad or angry, hurt or confused.

Other times just sitting still and meditating or burning incense or even just listening to music whilst letting my thoughts wander where they want to can be a really helpful way of clearing my mind. Exercise is another tool so yoga in particular helps me if I’m all “in my head” or in a bad mood for some reason. In fact, the idea for this blog came about after a brisk walk around the block.

Some people like to get into a trance-like state using methods such as self-hypnosis or even hobbies to help bring about that lucid dreaming state of being. When I’m working in the garden on something I’m enjoying or even whilst building this site, I’ve completely lost track of time some days and that’s the kind of state of mind usually conducive to channelling – I’m sure you’ll have experienced it many times yourself whether or not you call it channelling or by some other name e.g. being in the “zone”, feeling connected or just day-dreaming.

I think that whatever method works for you is the best one but it definitely helps to try different methods – journaling is a very new thing for me in the last 6 months or so but has been a very freeing experience so far that has helped me to feel more creative and braver about sharing my creations with others regardless of any criticisms that may be received.

What are some of your favourite ways to tap into your inner voice and intuition?

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