I belong to a group on Facebook with other practicing Tarot readers, in which we help each other with sticky spots, and mentor each other. It’s a group that I collaboratively formed and I feel blessed to be a part of it, because it gives me a sense of community, solidarity, and support in my practice.
Recently I chatted with another member about the overlapping inputs I get when I feel astrological energies in my cards, and we both agreed that knowledge of astrology and astrological principles can be a nice complement to card interpretation. Because I’ve spent many years studying humanistic astrology (along the lines of writers such as Stephen Arroyo, Robert Hand, Liz Greene, Dane Rudhyar, Alexander Ruperti, Zipporah Dobbyns), I take the same approach with astrological aspects, transits and energies as I do with my approach to the cards: it’s an approach of constructive working “with” the energies at hand, rather than trying to resist them. So this post will delve a bit into the mixture and melding between tarot and astrology and how it is currently playing out in my own life.
The High Priestess and Neptune
I mentioned a bit in my recent post about how The Hermit energy is hitting me hard right now, that The High Priestess is also playing a significant complementary role. In that reading, The High Priestess came up as the outlook for the upcoming near future of my love life, which accurately reflects how I’ve completely stopped dating and instead am now using all the time I used to devote on cultivating my love life to now literally “fall in love” again with all the energies surrounding The High Priestess: intuition, initiation into sacred mysteries, hidden truths, deep inner knowing. In another recent reading I did for myself, in the initial card representing me, there again was The High Priestess. Now not only was she my love life, she was completely melding and intertwining with my self-identity.
At the same time, I was feeling a sort of nebulous, mental fog. It was as if the road wasn’t clear anymore. I’m a very goal-oriented and “earthy” person. I’m a Taurus, and I have Saturn square my Sun, so discipline, hard work, and achievement are all facets of my personality at its core. Suddenly I started feeling rather drifty, unable to concentrate, and having lots of exploratory thoughts about spiritualism and esotericism and how to bring those into the world in a practical way, in terms of an actual career goal so to speak, in service to others. I returned to my meditation group after over a year being away; I felt compelled to once again have the immediate support of a like-minded group focused on a practice aimed at higher-level consciousness.
I have a stable “day job” but as my hours were recently reduced, it prompted me to begin thinking about how I could supplement my earthly day-to-day job with something that was more fully in line with my passion for intuitive knowing and spiritual seeking. In fact, I serendipitously ended up connecting with a very important tarot professional: the wise, insightful and throughly lovely Brigit, who gave me the courage and encouragement to take the leap in putting my skills to work for others, and I launched my tarot website towards the end of January. It was no small feat for me to “come out of the closet” with this, because I was quite concerned about how I’d appear to the outside world and especially to all of those who knew me well as a very rational, down-to-Earth thinker. Would they think I’d gone crazy? Would they see me as some sort of flighty fortune teller? Despite my ego-based worries about social status, I felt truly compelled to push forward. There was a strong compulsion to make a contribution to others in this way.
I took a look at my birth chart and especially looked at transits, since this nebulous feeling had come up on me rather out of the blue around the end of last year, coincidentally right around the time The High Priestess started showing up in my personal readings for myself. Sure enough, there it was: transiting Neptune was conjunct my Midheaven, right there on the cusp of the 10th house, the house dealing not only with work and social status in the world, but the Midheaven itself representing, according to Cafe Astrology, a site I like a lot for its explanations of astrological elements:
The soul of the native per se, the so-called “ego”, therefore the most important point in the horoscope. The “I”, the spiritual. Intellectual and social impressions. The minute, the moment.
Neptune as “Ego Wipeout”
So let’s think about the incredible impact of this transit and how it relates back to the tarot card of The High Priestess. Noel Tyl refers to Neptune as “ego wipeout” in this excellent article by Kathy Rose about Neptune transits. Then we have the Midheaven as representative of the ego itself, along with social status, vocation, and meaning in life. Meanwhile, here I am feeling like I want to completely delve into esoteric topics, and I find myself deeply researching religious practices, mythology, and any other forms of approach to the world from a non-ego perspective, searching for how to transcend this world and the self, and wondering how to incorporate all of this into a viable vocation in service to others.
A Note About The High Priestess Vs. The Moon
Here I put 2 and 2 together and started to recognize how The High Priestess was seemingly the tarot manifestation of this very strong and significant Neptune transit to my birth chart and Midheaven. Those who know the tarot might be asking, “What about The Moon?” and true, that might also be a suitable card in some aspects. However, The Moon hasn’t surfaced in any of my readings for myself in this period, and I attribute that to the fact that the way I’m personally experiencing this process is not in feeling bewildered like The Moon so much as compelled to explore “underworld” topics like The High Priestess. I feel like The Moon is more an energy that borders on deep anxiety and insecurity, it’s never really a comfortable energy for me or a welcome one, it almost feels hostile in some respects, while my perception of this time is more one of necessary exploration of the subconscious and the mysterious, but without accompanying feelings of insecurity or anxiety. I think this is an important point to clarify, because it shows once again how tarot is deeply connected to the individual’s own perception of their situation. Some people, placed in a similar astrological transit, might feel The Moon in relation to Neptune, and I do think the qualities are very closed related, but there are subtle differences that a perceptive tarot reader can intuit and clarify for the querent.
Turning New and Unknown Energies into Constructive Periods of Growth
While I am enjoying this new compulsion and passion to delve very deeply into these topics (as evidenced by my prolific writing on my journey), at the same time it isn’t an easy energy for me to navigate. Neptune, given my strong natal identification with Saturn, can be really frustrating at times, because it is so “foggy.” At first I thought it must just be the fact that we’re in the midst of a Mercury Retrograde, but then I realized it was more than that, because this mental fog has been pursuing me for a few months now, and looking at the ephemeris, that’s been ever since Neptune came within about 3 degrees of my Midheaven.
In summary, if I were discussing this transit and energies with a client going through them, I’d highlight the positive ways that the influence of Neptune and The High Priestess were actively encouraging esoteric study, looking within, using intuition for guidance, and helping shape the client’s way of interacting with the world, finding new ways other than always using rational methods for life direction. Furthermore, I’d examine how the client was feeling that their “purpose in life” was being fulfilled or not, and how the energies of inner knowing and invisible perception, as well as service to others, played a role in current and future career ideas, and the client’s beliefs and desires around vocation and social status. Time would also probably be devoted to how to navigate the sometimes difficult and confusing feelings of being lost, not knowing the way, insecurity and self-doubt, and how those energies could be harnessed and understood, to see the positive ways that they operate in bringing about new revelations and necessary “seeking” to elicit a deeper self-knowledge. Fear can play a role in Neptune transits because it can feel as if everything that was sure is now up for discussion, and that just when something seems to be clear, it dissolves away and leaves more questioning. Books by Pema Chodron come to mind as excellent resources for learning how to stay present with these uncomfortable and unsettling energies.
I share this example as evidence of why I believe divinatory practices are such amazing life tools. These ancient instruments of wisdom about the human condition can give us substance and structure to help us understand WHY we feel the way we do, and WHY on Earth things start to seem sometimes so incredibly different to us than they “normally” do. For me, being such a rational person, it’s incredibly reassuring and helpful to have validation that there’s reason behind the seeming “madness.”
Knowing how the movement of the planets touches our individual mandala of development known as the birth chart, and how the tarot can reflect these transits if the proper questions are asked, is deeply helpful in learning how to work together with these energies rather than against them. You don’t have to “believe” in astrology or tarot for these energies to make themselves known in your life, just as you don’t have to “believe” in electricity for the light switch to make the lightbulb turn on. These invisible energies are present in our lives regardless of whether we actively acknowledge them or not. However, for those of us who study them and try to understand how they operate in our lives and how they can bring about positive and necessary modifications in our being, the way to navigate them becomes a journey of discovery, rather than a battle of resistance.