Late Chanukah Spread


No, I’m not Jewish.Yes, I’m aware that Chanukah is already over for this year. Nevertheless, I liked this Chanukah spread (created by RedMaple on AT) so much and found it so appropriate for what’s on my mind these days that I decided to read with it today. The spread looks like this:


1. CH – Chaim – Life – How do you celebrate life?Wind Resolving (equivalent of the King of Swords)

Behind the blades of a windmill, a man sits at a desk and writes. It seems that right now, in reflecting upon life, I become most aware of it and celebrate it most. I also see this as life happening while I’m doing something else, which could either mean I need to pay more attention to life while it’s happening, or that I celebrate life by making time for solitude and reflection. Both ring true for me today.

2. A – Aysh – Fire- What is the fire that burns in your life? What candles need lighting?8th Wave Song (Eight of Cups)

A table has been set for eight people at the edge of the sea. After the meal at night, all of them have left the table, seven to walk up a hill, one to walk across the plains. One of the chairs is about to fall into the water. This is about the transience of community, and about celebrating togetherness while it lasts instead of focusing on how it will be over soon. I take it to mean that I need to look for the joys of community and togetherness without expecting it to be “forever.” The companion book adds this:

Are you continually moving on […] always hoping happiness will find you in some new place? If this aspect of the image rings true for you, recognise that this emptiness can only be completely filled when you come home fully into yourself.


3. N – N’Shama – Soul-bird – What does your innermost soul-bird sing to you?9th Wind Song (Nine of Swords)

“I’m caged and want to break free!” Well, that’s very literal: a bird sits in a small cage hanging from a tree that grows on the edge of a cliff. In fact, the bird does seem to have a way out of the cage, so all it needs is to gather up the courage to leave the cage and fly free even if the landscape immediately surrounding it looks rather bleak and uninviting. But there is a golden glow in the sky that promises better times and places are ahead. This is all very true: I desperately want to break out of some aspects of my current life – and really the only thing holding me back is my own fear. Time to get over that, I think!

4. Yod – Universe – Gift of the universe – What resource or strength do you have that is far more than you thought? 6th Wave Song (Six of Cups)

Water is flowing through a water mill. I’m not sure the mechanics of the watermill in this drawing are right, but it does seem to work just fine nevertheless. To me, this is about life’s cycles and about a force that keeps me going even if it all seems a bit impossible. It’s also about using resources and gaining energy without wasting anything. Actually, I have to correct myself here after learning about the differences between watermills, water wheels, and norias. What is depicted here is in fact a noria, which is used to scoop up water and transport it up into an aqueduct, usually for irrigation purposes. (Norias also make a fascinating and very unexpected sound that you can listen to on the Wikipedia page.)

So, back to the tarot card at hand (by the way, does anyone else get distracted by their research in the middle of a reading done for themselves?). Water is transported upwards to feed plants that feed animals and humans. The theme of cycles apparently remains. If I read water as representing emotions, it seems I’m able to “lift up” my emotions to feed my sou (and my surroundings?) in a way that I apparently underestimate. It’s true that I’m an optimist at heart, even though I occasionally visit very dark spots. But life goes on, and things get lighter again.

5. K – Kadosh – What is sacred to you? Sun

Well, this is another pretty literal card. The sun is indeed sacred to me, much more so than the moon (which I still enjoy as an “idea” but don’t feel as drawn to emotionally or spiritually). The absence and presence of sunlight affect me greatly, and I love basking in the sunshine, motionless like a snake. The sun for me represents a major source of life and energy, and speaks to me as the huge ball of fire it is. Maybe I need to explore sun deities and sun cults some more? Maybe I need to find a way that makes sense to me to celebrate the sun wheel of the year?

6. K- Kadosh – How can you participate in making the whole world sacred?Flame Innocence (Page of Wands)

A child sits on her bed at night, cuddling a teddy bear. A candle burns on a nearby table, and the full moon hangs low and orange in the sky outside, illuminating the house’s garden and the land beyond. Well, the moon is illuminated by the sun, right? Maybe that’s how I can learn to embrace it as well… But mostly this card speaks about becoming childlike and curious, knowing how/where to find comfort so I can face the wide openness of the world beyond my home. Bringing in a light to mirror the two big lights in the sky, which leads me to the idea of “as above, so below; as below, so above; as within, so without; as without, so within.” Rituals don’t have to be big and elaborate, what counts most is awareness. And, finally, this may occasionally be a bit scary, so take it one step at a time. Makes sense.

7. A – Aleph – The Sound of Silence – What do I hear in it? Or: How can I listen for it?Beyond Judgment (Judgment)

Two open hands, the sea, an achor, a flying seagull, an egg-shaped, red-rimmed opening. I take this to mean I need a place to put my anchor to use as a basis from where to fly free (this reminds me of shamanic journeys where the physical body remains anchored in everyday reality while the soul flies out into non-ordinary reality). The hands are about both receiving and letting go. At any rate, this is a moment of change. From the companion book:

The egg which contains the bird and anchor reminds us we are continually involved in a process of rebirth, breaking out of old and secure patterns when we have outgrown the limits of our previous ways of thinking, perceiving and valuing. […] We may need known boundaries and a time of emotional incubation before surging forward into new domains. Periods of reflection and assimilation are necessary safeguards in the process of transformation. […] We are able to see pain and beauty, loss and blessings, intermingle and interweave. We sense patterns we may not be able to name.

To me this ties in with the first card of the spread. Silence is necessary to digest, to incubate, to reflect upon what happened. By making room for it and anchoring myself in regular periods of silence, I will ultimately be able to see/hear the patterns of my life that (hopefully) lead me to fulfill my purpose in this existence — and maybe even teach me just what that purpose is.

8. H – Hay – The Sound of Being Present – How can I be more present in my life, to my family, partner, children, etc.7th Wave Song (Seven of Cups)

A person sits at the bank of a river and fishes. In a net above them hang a bowl of fruit, a shell containing an island with a palm tree, and a trunk full of treasures. To me, this is about someone not quite present with their current situation. This person is dreaming themselves away into a fantasy of a (mostly materially) good life instead of enjoying what they have. I’m taking this in several ways. First, there is the need for regular solitude again which affords a place to clarify my idea of what makes a good life after all (and how to achieve it once I return to company). Then there’s the idea of not focusing on what could be but on what actually is (namely, a beautiful sunrise) and enjoying that for what it is. Part of me agrees with that notion, but another part of me says we need dreams and fantasies so we don’t get stuck in accepting something not ideal just because we never dared to imagine anything else. Which may in fact just be the other side of the same coin. I believe the secret lies in combining them into what may well end up being the serenity prayer:

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

9. Shammash – The flame that ignites all the other candles.2nd Flame Song (Two of Wands)

Two people are on a hill watching the night sky. One of them looks at it just like that, the other uses a telescope, the shape of whose legs remind me of the sign for Awen (inspiration). I take this to mean that both looking at the big picture and zooming in to look at the details are valuable and necessary to truly understand something. Around the scene there are representations of the zodiac, with the telescope pointing to the one for Sagittarius (my own rising sign). To me, this is about a constant drive to explore ever more of what life has to offer, mostly looking outside of oneself for inspiration and food for thought rather than within oneself. In fact, that endless curiosity and desire to explore is indeed something I perceive to be one of my very crucial personality traits which does inform and impact every area of my life. The same goes for my ability to accept seeming contradictions (illustrated by the juxtaposition of astrology and astronomy here) and to always look for way that allow for both-and instead of either-or.

Since the shammash candle literally means “serving candle” I also take this to mean that these abilities are not meant as an end of themselves but as something meant to be used to serve a greater purpose.

Interesting spread, and interesting reading! I mostly like how the deck often uses traditional RWS meanings but illustrates them in an entirely new way. The round cards do make for uncomfortable shuffling, though. And they require a surprising amount of space to lay out!


3 responses »

  1. What a wonderful spread to start off the new year, with lots of “meat” to think about in it. This is such a beautiful deck, and I will always regret not getting a copy of it while I had the chance! The images give you such a diving board to jump off into the meanings.

  2. @ bodhiseed: It’s true, this deck is pretty easy to read both intuitively and with an RWS background. I much enjoy the mostly non-traditional illustrations!

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