9 of Cups from the Herbal Tarot - Happiness is a choice!

When I woke up full of cold this morning, I didn't expect to pull the 9 of Cups (Jupiter in Pisces) as my card of the day. The 9 of Cups is often referred to as 'the wish card' and its main interpretation is happiness and satisfaction.

But what I realised that I have reached the stage in my personal and spiritual development where I'm free to choose happiness in spite of what going on around me... or even inside my body. I'm no longer a victim to external or internal circumstances.

What could be more liberating than the realisation that you are always free to choose happiness? What could be more empowering than realising that you, yes YOU are the sum of all things wished for.

I think I'm beginning to see the reversal of this card, not so much as discontentment, or a wish being postponed/unfulfilled, but as the inability to choose happiness here and now. All that is needed is a shift in perspective...

Questions to ask when this card shows up: Could I be happy right now? What's stopping me from being happy right now? Could I choose to be happy anyway?

The associated herb is Squawine (Mitchella Repens), aka Partridgevine.

Medicinally, it's traditionally used to prepare the uterus for childbirth during the last few weeks of pregnancy. This herb should not be used during the first two trimesters as it could induce miscarriage. Squawvine has a few other known benefits as well (check the links below).

Spiritually, taken as a flower essence or worn as a talisman, Squawvine is said to inspire greater acceptance of life's abundance. It inspires self-confidence and a greater connection with Mother Earth. Some use Squawvine to protect newborn baby from the evil eye.



The High Priestess from the Herbal Tarot

"Only when you surrender... driven by your thirst... may you enter my inner sanctum. Only when you are ready to kneel before me and offer up all that you are... will you be my priestess. I called you before the dawn of time, my beloved daughter. You strayed for aeons, yet I willingly accept you back into my loving embrace and wipe away your tears."

These were the words that came to me last night... spoken softly and lovingly by the Divine Mother, and this morning I pull the High Priestess as my card of the day. I have nothing further to add on a personal level.

Traditionally, the High Priestess is connected to our intuition and the Divinine Feminine. The astrological correspondence is the Moon, which connects the High Priestess card with the female menstrual cycle. Physiologically, the High Priestess is connected to the right brain and the female reproductive organs.

When the High Priestess shows up in a spread, we are called upon to pay extra attention to synchronicities and repetitive patterns in our lives. We are also called upon to make sure that our decisions are based on the truth of our heart rather than our mind, or what we feel we 'should' do.

There is a sense of mystery about the High Priestess. She sits in the gateway between the five-sensory reality and a multisensory multiverse. Many fear what is beyond the veil because it's unknown. The reality is that it's not unknown... simply forgotten.

The Goddess and her Priestesses have returned to help us remember. The High Priestess helps us remember by nudging us to stay connected through daily meditation and contemplation. She asks us to exercise our intuition muscle in all decisions, big and small, that we make throughout the day.

It's no wonder that many tarot readers identify with this card.

Like any card, the High Priestess has a shadow. She can become ungrounded, manipulative and insincere. She can also be overly secretive due to mistrust. Physiologically, imbalanced High Priestess energies can be expressed as PMT, frigidity, infertility, bipolar disorders and in children, suppressed High Priestess energies can be expressed in the form of night terrors.

The herb associated with the High Priestess is Peony (Paeonia Albiflora), is commonly used in Chinese Medicine on its own or together with other female herbs to balance female hormones. Other possible benefits include improved memory, normalisation of the blood pressure and improved liver function. It's also used to treat varicose veins.

"The root of this common flower is used to regulate the blood. It relaxes the blood vessels, reduces platelet sticking, nourishes the blood, and promotes circulation to the skin and extremities. The root of both wild and cultivated peonies are used. The wild peony yields "red peony" (chihshao) a fibrous root that is especially used for stimulating blood circulation. The cultivated peony yields "white peony" (baishao) a dense root that nourishes the blood. Peony is often combined with tang-kuei, licorice, or other herbs mentioned here to enhance or control their effects. The dosage range is from 0.5-15 grams per day. Peony rarely causes any adverse reactions." (from An Introduction to Chinese Herbs)

Spiritually, carrying a piece of peony root is said to help you stay relaxed and centred in your true self. It's especially helpful to women, as it enables us to accept the cycles and phases that we go through. Men can benefit from carrying a piece of peony root as well, as it helps them be in touch with their feminine side.

Meditating with a peony or a picture of the flower can help you connect with your inner priestess. A pink peony will help you stay heart-centred. White peony helps you focus on purity. Red peony will give you strength and courage.

Check out these resources for further information about peony root:




The Devil from the Herbal Tarot

The Devil as my card of the day tells me to be aware of my shadow, i.e. all those things we normally don't like to recognise in ourselves but prefer to project onto others. It's also advising me to be aware of any self-limiting thoughts, distractions, fears, negativity and excuses, as well as possible addictions.

Questions to contemplate when the Devil card shows up are: What sidetracks me from living my life's purpose? How do I get myself out of alignment? Where do I lack discipline? Am I too hard on myself? Could I do with more playtime? Who am I having a hard time with and what about that person do I really really hate? (Clue: this trait will be one that I suppress in myself.)

The Devil is portrayed as Pan in the Herbal Tarot. Pan represents our wild, untamed nature and isn't necessarily evil but most definitely chaotic, playful, shamelessly sexual and amoral. The word panic stems from Pan.

Lobelia Inflata (aka Indian tobacco and puke weed), the herb associated with the Devil/Pan is another emeticum (vomit inducing herb), just like Blue Flag, yesterday's herb. Lobelia is best known for its ability to control asthma and prevent muscle spasms. It's used both internally and externally. There is also some evidence that lobelia could be used as a nicotine substitute.

Lobelia is an annual (sometimes biennial) native to North America. The whole plant is harvested and dried in late spring.

Spiritually, Lobelia helps us let go of self-imposed limitations. It releases blocked chi and allows us to move and dance freely. We are the Dancers of Life, like the figure shown dancing in the World/Universe card. Saturn, ruler of Capricorn (the Devil card) is associated with the World/Universe card.

The fact that this is the second card/herb combo on the trot that speaks of the need for purging and self-control brings things into focus quite nicely for me. Of course, with the Devil, the emphasis is more on the need to beware of temptation... Hmmmm....

Check these great resources out for more information on the uses, preparation and dosage of Lobelia:




The Page of Pentacles from the Herbal Tarot

People and emotions seems to be the theme so far since I started working with the Herbal Tarot. This is the fourth court card I've pulled in quite a short space of time. This is a card I'm very fond of. The Page of Pentacles is depicted pregnant in the Thoth deck (there she is known as the Princess of Disks) to show that she is capable of physical manifestation of ideas. Of course, that would also be a card to indicate pregnancy in a reading.

Elementally, the Page of Pentacles is Earth of Earth, which means she is at the very bottom of the Kabbalistic Tree of Life... The human experience does not translate into a more physically manifest symbol that the Page of Pentacles. So why is there such a sense of movement and creative excitement with this card? Shouldn't Earth of Earth feel more fixed, more stuck...? I mean, it's not like the Pages are masters of their element. No, they're not masters but what they lack in experience, they more than make up for by their ability to be in childlike wonder about the beauty of creation, and that alone gives them the kind of playful flexibility necessary to learn and try new things.

I see this card as often signifying a young, creative ambitious and hard-working person if well dignified in a reading. This could be a straight A student, or a young musician who spends hours a day practicing her instrument, or perhaps a disciplined young novelist who relentlessly types out a minimum of 2000 words per day.

I think I know why she's showing up for me right now. She wants to remind me to keep plugging away at it. Only then will I reap the rewards of my efforts. I've always been full of great ideas, but quite honestly a bit rubbish at manifesting them. It's as if they look so nice and sparkly in my daydreams that I don't want to risk disappointment by bringing them into the real world.

I finally have the oomph and the willpower to forge ahead on my path. It feels a bit like I've awakened from a long sleep, and realised that I'm going to be late if I don't get a move on. I'm also 'pregnant' with a couple of great ideas, as well as willing to work in a disciplined manner.

Apparently Blue Flag (Iris Versicolor) has the ability to make me stay creative and unstuck. This only happens to be one of my favourite flowers. For as long as I can remember I've always answered 'iris' when people have asked me about my favourite flower. There's more synchronicity than that at play here though. I don't draw very often but last night my daughter and I spent some time drawing together in the evening, and I ended up drawing a stylised iris.

Iris is also said to dimish thoughts of inadequacy. It reveals how priceless you and your gifts are, and keeps you in the flow of inspiration. The scent of iris is soothing and is used in aromatherapy treatments.

Blue Flag is a wetlands perennial native to North America.

Medically Blue Flag is a blood purifier. It detoxifies the liver, promotes the flow of bile, and functions both as a diuretic and a laxative. This herb is known to have sideffects for some people as it can irritate the intestines and cause skin eruptions. Large doses causes vomiting.

A decoction can be made by adding 1 teaspoon full of dried herb to one cup of boiling water. Simmer for 10-15 minutes and take 3 cups daily.

Click on the links below for further information about Blue Flag:




8 of Cups from the Herbal Tarot

The Herbal Tarot deck is pretty much based on the imagery of the Waite Smith Tarot deck. However, some cards have imagery that digress from Pamela Coleman Smith's interpretations - the 8 of Cups is one of those cards. Rather than portraying a man leaving 8 Cups behind and walking towards a mountain (indicating that he will be taking higher ground with regards to his issues), the image here shows a ship sailing away from the 8 Cups.

Over the ship we see a waning moon, indicating the end of a phase or cycle. Oddly, the author of the companion book states that this card is under the influence of the waxing moon, "signifying growth and expansion." Yes, I agree that with the changes that come with moving on there will be growth - eventually... but I would definitely put the emphasis on an expansion of the energy of the mind, will and emotions to instigate change, and this energy needs to be grounded into reality before changes can begin to manifest in a productive way.

Change brings chaos, and the dust needs to settle for the positive results to become visible. I guess that's another reason why I like the mountain imagery better - we can get a better overview of the process when we take higher ground and use the eyes of our Higher Self. This is one of the cards in the Tarot deck that for me falls into the category of 'The Dark Night of the Soul.'

The basic intrepretation is still the same. A situation has outlived its usefulness; there is stagnancy and the need to move one. While Waite Smith based decks stress the importance of moving on and taking higher ground, the Thoth deck's 8 of Cups, titled 'Indolence' stresses the stagnancy, laziness and stuckness of the card energies which correspond to Saturn in Pisces astrologically.

Personally, I prefer the Waite Smith focus on the solution rather than the problem. Especially when the imagery shows a man walking towards a mountain, as mountains represent spiritual and emotional transcendence, which is where we all want to be. Still, sailing away from it all could also bring things into perspective. After all, it's a changed attitude caused caused by a higher altitude of the mind and the emotions we are after... and this can certainly be achieved at sea level.

Yet again, the card of the day couldn't be more apt for where I'm at. I've made some massive changes in my life recently, including (but not limited to) changing my name, becoming a vegetarian, connecting with the devic realm and fully allowing myself to be embraced by the Dark Mother.

The herb associated with the 8 of Cups is Gravel Root (Lat. Eupatorium Purpureum). Gravel Root is native to eastern North America, where it was used by the American Indians to treat urinary tract problems. Both the leaves and the roots can be used medicinally.

Spiritually/Magickally, there seems to be contradicting opinions on the uses of Gravel Root. The authors of the Herbal Tarot companion book says that it helps 'loosen up solidified emotions and feelings,' while the root is used magickally to procure a new job, or to get a raise or other work-related benefits. I guess you'll just have to get some and see how it works for you!

Gravel Root can be used to treat overactive bladder syndrome, as it lessens the frequency of urination while increasing the volume the bladder can hold.

Water retention is another problem that can be treated with Gravel Root, as is prostate inflammation. Gravel Root is also beneficial for people suffering from arthritis, and is often found combined with other herbs in the treatment of kidney stones.

A decoction can be made using one tablespoon of dried Gravel root per cup of water. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer for 10-20 minutes. Drink three cups per day.

Further resources can be found here:


Sowing New Seeds - Ace of Pentacles - Happy Ostara!

When I pulled the Ace of Pentacles as my card of the day, I thought 'How apt!' I'm going to be spending most of the day today preparing for Ostara (the spring equinox), cleaning (out with the old!), meditating on what I intend to plant, visualising my harvest, writing ritual poetry for the Great Mother who now returns in her maiden form, as well as gathering the bits and bobs I need for tomorrow's sunrise celebration.

Whole grains are associated with the Ace of Pentacles in the Herbal Tarot. Grains can be planted, used as offerings and are also our main source of sustenance. Whole grain foods bring us into balance and keep our blood sugar levels in check so that we don't get unhealthy cravings. The key to success is to stay focused and not get sidetracked by harmful desires and cravings.

The Ace of Pentacles is the gift of holistic manifestation, bringing our desires and creations into alignment with Source.

Blessed Ostara for tomorrow everyone! (and Blessed Mabon to all my friends down under!)



The Moon from the Herbal Tarot

I know, I know - it's a bit late to be blogging about the card of the day... the day is nearly over... But I didn't get around to pulling my card of the day until this afternoon, and then I didn't have time to sit and reflect about it until just now, so please forgive my tardiness.

Today's card is The Moon, a Tarot trump card, hence indicating forces beyond my control being active in my life now... and boy isn't that just how it feels at the moment! I had a major spiritual breakthrough this morning when I realised that the Crone aspect of the Goddess is calling me. When she calls, you obey!

It's for my own good of course, but it's not an easy transition to make, and it's very apt that I pulled a card that is often associated with the Dark Night of the Soul. So much learning still to integrate, so much to still let go of... and absolutely no idea what awaits on the other side - other than complete surrender.

Sure, I can still make plans for the future, but every time I do, I hear Her cackle. I look myself in the mirror and She appears... There is no escape. I don't belong to me any more - I am her willing slave, and I await Her orders in the darkness...

The associated herb is Lemon Balm (Lat. Melissa Officinialis), a herb of spiritual and physical evolution. In alchemy, a preparation of lemon balm is used in the plant-based philosopher's stone.

Lemon balm gives us clarity and lifts the spirit when our consciousness is under the influence lunar energies, and helps children (who are ruled by lunar energies in their early years) to stay grounded and harmonious.

When you rub the leaves from this plant between your fingers, they give off a characterstic lemony scent that bees seem to love. Beekeepers know about this and many of them rub the hives with lemon balm leaves.

Medicinally, Lemon Balm can function as a substitute for St John's Wort for those who can't take this herb due to interactions with other medicines. It's also used to treat cold sores and genital herpes.

The leaves can be used for infusions and make a lovely tea, even for those who are not in need of the medicinal aspects. It's an excellent tea to make if you feel a cold or flu coming on.

Here are some online resources for those of you who would like to know more about Lemon Balm:

http://www.theepicentre.com/Spices/lemonbalm.html (culinary uses included!)

Living Tarot

The Tarot Healing blog has been mentioned on Ferol Humphrey's Living Tarot fan page. Check it out! Living Tarot is a wonderful Facebook community for those of us who live and breathe the Tarot.


6 of Cups from the Herbal Tarot

The 6 of Cups often appears as the 'soul mate' card in a reading, indicating past lives together for lovers who have only just met. Or, if your beliefs don't include reincarnation, that inexplicable sense of familiarity that you have with some romantic partners. Of course, the reading could be about a friend or a family member as well, but as most of the readings I do for other people are about romantic love, this is what the card has come to represent to me.

Traditionally, this card signifies sentimentality, nostalgia, holding onto the past or even regret. The reversal can be interpreted as leaving past attachments behind and moving forward - perhaps from a dysfunctional relationship or an emotionally manipulative partner. The authors of the companion book put the emphasis more on relating playfully in romantic relationships. The shadow aspect would be toying with someone's emotions.

I relate to the energies of this card on so many levels, I scarce know where to begin... and perhaps I don't need to - especially since the main emphasis for me now lies on drawing a line under past attachments and moving firmly forward in the direction of my life's purpose.

As I examine my emotions about leaving so much behind, I realise that even though I'm proud of having had the strength to move on, I also feel the sting of regret... of never being able to find out what might have been. I also fear not having anyone in my life. To most of us, a dysfunctional relationship is better than no relationship at all. For the first time in my life, I'm willingly testing my muscles as a self-reliant woman... and it's a bit scary to be frank.

Does this mean that I don't need love and more? I'm not going to lie to myself and say I don't need love. We all need love... but for now it just has to come from me, my friends and my children... as well as my spirit guides, angels and devas of nature. I choose to feel loved, guided and protected - even without a man in my life. I choose to feel beautiful, and I choose to radiate this beauty from the inside out. I choose to touch people lovingly because I am love. And most importantly, I choose to stay awake.

Going back to sleep would mean that my needs would be allowed to run the show again. I can't afford that. Although I'm here to follow my bliss, I'm not here to satisfy my own desires. Following my bliss leads to the Path of Service; Following my needs leads to the Path of Hell.

The associated herb, or rather fruit, is watermelon (Lat. Citrullus Vulgaris) and its seeds. Watermelon seeds can be used as a charm to help its bearer become more playful in her relationships. I have also found fertility spells online that use watermelon seeds.

Medicinally watermelon seeds are used for all types of urinary problems, including kidney inflammation. Preparation: Steep a tablespoon full of melonseeds in a cup of water for about 15-20 minutes. Recommended dosage: 3 cups daily.

Watermelon has a cooling and rehydrating effect. Studies have also shown watermelon is high in the amino acid Citrulline which relaxes the blood vessels and stimulates the blood flow, much in the same way Viagra does.


The Knight of Cups from the Herbal Tarot

The fourth card in the Herbal Tarot series turns out to be yet another court card. This tells me that I'm going through a lot in terms of personal development at the moment, and also that other people have an impact in the direction my life is taking. This particular court card happens to be my personal favourite, and he brings a massive lesson about my relationship needs.

The Knight of Cups is always on a quest for love. He wants deep intimacy - the kind that makes words seem insufficient, unless they are used poetically to capture the numinous quality of a deep soul bond. The quintessential Knight of Cups may suffer from bouts of moodiness and jealousy as he easily gets pulled under by his emotions.

His challenge is to learn to observe his emotions and also to express his needs clearly without emotionally manipulating the other person. He is driven by a deep desire to merge with the beloved, and somewhere along this quest he will learn to see himself as the Beloved... as the Holy Grail that he has been questing for all his life.

In a state of fear, this Knight easily imagines things to be a lot worse than they are. He is extremely imaginative and this can be used to his advantage through creative expression in the fine arts. Like all the Knights, he must watch out for a tendency to jump to conclusions. He needs to learn that things aren't always as they seem.

The Knight of Cups is anxious about people 'getting' him. He learned early on that not everyone is capable of the sort of emotional depth he is. He uses his intuition to gauge other peoples' depth. With maturity comes the realisation what a gift this is, and also that he can teach others connect more deeply with their emotions by speaking his truth.

The Knight of Cups is often said to be in love with love... and I, well I'm in love with him... or the idea of him. When he has matured past his moodiness and the need for emotional manipulation, he is the perfect lover - always able to make his partner feel seen, heard and deeply, oh so deeply loved.

The associated herb, Sarsaparilla (Lat. Smilax Officinialis) has the ability to give its bearer clarity about her emotions. It's also said to help the person express her feelings more clearly. It can be worn in a pouch as a charm. Smelling this herb is said to bring instant clarity.

Just looking at this delicate plant, I get a sense of peace and purity. It's as if it attaches itself like a parchute of angelic light to help me from drowning in the depths of my (sometimes murky) emotions.

Medicinally, Sarsaparilla is primarily a blood and liver purifier, and is also used to treat various venerial diseases as well as skin conditions.

Root beer contains Sarsaparilla, and there is also a soft drink named after the plant.

There are two very dissimilar plants that both bear the name Sarsaparilla. Those interested in using the herb medicinally need to take care to use the American variety, as the Indian variety is from a completely different family of plants and lacks the active components.

Here are some online resources for those of you interested in learning more about the many varied uses of Sarsaparilla:




The 2 of Pentacles from the Herbal Tarot

It seems as if this deck is very keen on working with me on a deeply personal level. The first couple of cards I pulled for the blog were court cards that spoke to my emotional nature and to where I'm at as a 40 year old woman and mother, trying my best to nurture myself and those around me who need nurturing.

The third card in the series, the 2 of Pentacles, is apt on a couple of different levels: The woman in the picture is busy learning to go with the flow, allowing for change and synchronicity. To keep herself connected with Source through it all, she is wearing an Ankh around her neck. Last week, in Glastonbury, I had a bronze Ankh hand made for this very purpose. Everything in my life is changing quickly now that I've dedicated myself 100% to my path of service. I love wearing my Ankh as a reminder to stay centred in Spirit through it all...

Many of the changes mean letting go of patterns of behaviour, thought and speech that are no longer useful. Some relationships are also falling away. I'm learning to express more of my authentic Self, and to not be so afraid of letting my light shine. I'm doing away with every single excuse that I've clung to for so long, so I wouldn't have to risk making a fool of myself. The trouble is, it's when we try to be something that we're not that we end up with egg on our faces.

Yes, we may stumble and fall when we first learn to be authentic about being spirits having a physical experience. Yes, people may laugh at our presumptiousness when we claim certain gifts. Yes, it may be difficult making a living doing what we're meant to be doing... but we won't know until we try. And not matter how many difficult tests we have to pass on the way, we are always guided and kept safe when we are on our true path.

You may recognise the herb associated with today's card. Yellow Dock (Rumex Crispus) is a common weed, and very few people are aware of its fantastic curative properties. Its primary use is as laxative. It's also used as an all-around tonic, to treat anemia and to detoxify the liver. Yellow Dock is used both internally and externally (poultices and baths) for various skin conditions.

Spiritually/magickally, Yellow Dock can be used as a charm to bring strength and fortitude in times of change. It helps clear out the old and make room for the new. It allows its bearer to go with the flow.

Here are some good online resources for Yellow Dock:



The Queen of Pentacles from the Herbal Tarot

Right, so I'm back from a wonderful retreat in Glastonbury and ready to crack on with the Herbal Tarot. Our next card is another court card, the sensual and nurturing Queen of Pentacles - ruling the last decan of Sagittarius and the first two of Capricorn. Back in September last year, I wrote about a friend of mine who is the quintessential Queen of Pentacles, so I won't repeat myself too much here.

Relating this card to my own life and where I'm at, I think I pulled this card because I've just come back from the first holiday ever that I spent focusing on nurturing myself and also connecting a lot with the devic energies (nature spirits) in and around Glastonbury. I'm very keen on keeping on nurturing myself, so that I'll have the energy to be the best mother, friend, healer and reader that I can be.

The affirmation in the companion book seems spot on for me at the moment: "I feel the joy of being on the earth. I am nurtured and I nurture others with my bliss." Wow... So there is a reason to follow your bliss, peeps - that is how we truly nurture others!

The corresponding herb is Marshallow, and its root is said to replace harsh emotions such as grief and fear with softness, love and compassion.

Medicinally, Marshmallow is anti inflammatory; it treats cystitis, soothes mucus membranes, heals ulcerated digestive tracts, and cleanses and strengthens the kidneys and the lungs. Marshmallow poultices can be used externally to heal infections and ulcers. Marshmallow is said to have mild antibacterial, anti-allergy and immune-boosting properties.

It's mainly the root that is used for remedies but the leaves are also used for teas and tinctures. It's also the root that was used to make marshmallow sweets before it turned into a purely chemical production. Makes me wonder if the original marshmallow sweets were also medicinal...

Marshmallow is found in temperate zones worldwide. The leafy parts are harvested in the summer and the roots in the autumn. The latin name for Marshmallow is Althaea officinalis and the plant is also known as Moorish Mallow, Cheeses, White Maoow, Althea, Mortification Root, Sweet Weed, Wymote, Mallards, Schloss, Schloss Tea, Malvavisco, Kitmi, Bismalva.

Caution: The mucilage in Marshmallow may delay absorption of other drugs.

Here are a few resources on Marshmallow:



I hope you enjoy reading about this versatile herb as much as I enjoyed researching it! I think it's a good fit with the energies in the Queen of Pentacles card, but all of you herbologists out there, please feel free to make suggestions of other herbs that may also be a good (or better!) fit for the Queen of Pentacles.


The Page of Cups from the Herbal Tarot

The Page of Cups is a sensitive dreamer. I think of a child with large dreamy eyes when this card comes up... The kind of child I used to be... often lost in daydreams, loving solitude in nature and often preferring the company of books... but secretly yearning for love. This child often spends time outside her body and can be a bit accident-prone due to being ungrounded. She finds it difficult to remember where she put things. She cries when she hears beautiful music... It takes her to a world that's not as harsh as the 'real world.' She appreciates poetry and may even write poems herself.

According to the The Spirit of Herbs companion book, Damiana is the recommended herbal remedy for the Page of Cups. Spiritually it is said to alleviate self-consciousness. Physiologically it's a mild aphrodisiac. It mainly affects the kidney and the adrenal glands - the seat of sexual power. Damiana helps against both male impotence and female frigidity, and it can also help with cloudy urine.

I also searched the Internet for Damiana (Lat. turnera diffusa) and came across THIS website which claims that Damiana is used for treating mild depression. I also came across ANOTHER website that says that Damiana can regulate the female hormonal balance with long term use. Hence it is used for problems related to menopause.

Damiana is native to Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean. Dried Damiana leaves can be bought online for those are unable to harvest this herb.

Check THIS website out for aphrodisiac recipes containing Damiana!


New Deck Interview with the Herbal Tarot

I've been floundering a bit lately, not quite knowing what to do next on the blog.... and maybe I needed a break too. The Tarot for the Healing Heart series sent me on quite a journey - all good, but very intense. The other day a friend gave me Herbal Tarot Deck and book set, and it seems the perfect choice for in-depth study here on the Tarot Healing blog. Quite synchronistically, I've recently started connecting more with the devic realm, much inspired by William Bloom and his amazing book Working with Angels, Fairies and Nature Spirits, so I look forward to deepening my connection with plant fairies through working with this deck, as well as finding new ways of helping my clients... but let's see what the deck itself has to say about this collaboration!

I've decided to use FireRaven's New Deck Interview Spread. This is the layout :

****** 5 ****** 6 ******
********** 4 **********
****** 3 ****** 2 ******
********** 1 **********

1. Tell me about yourself. What is your most important characteristic?
2. What are your strengths as a deck?
3. What are your limits as a deck?
4. What do you bring to the table -- what are you here to teach me?
5. How can I best learn from and collaborate with you?
6. What is the potential outcome of our working relationship?

Before I laid the cards out, I smudged the deck with some sage - it felt like the right and honourable way to cleanse a herbal deck. I then charged the deck and asked for assistance and blessings from the devic realm, as well as from the spirit of wisdom.

I don't know about you, but I feel that every deck has its own spirit as well, so I asked the spirit of the Herbal Tarot for help and guidance as well. There are many stories of people picking up energetically dense decks such as the Thoth Tarot and feeling repelled by the deck. Why would this phenomenon occur if it weren't for the spirit of the deck nudging the novice to have a more reverent and studious approach before reading with it?

1. Most important characteristic - 10 of Wands: The Bible passage "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" sprang to mind for some reason. Taking responsibility for one's own creations and allowing others do the same. Breakthrough. Doing everything possible to reach one's goals. The herbal remedy associated with this card, the inner bark of Prickly Ash, both stimulates and detoxifies. Stimulating in the sense of helping people become more passionate about their life and creations, and detoxifying in the sense of helping people see the things, thoughts, relationships, or issues they need to free themselves of would be fab - I honestly couldn't ask for more!

2. Strengths - Queen of Swords: She helps others see themselves in a more balanced and objective way. The associated herb, Lady's Slipper, promotes a healthy nervous system, brings clarity and helps one stay calm and grounded. Carrying Lady's Slipper as a charm brings peace and joy. Peace and joy as strengths isn't too shabby.

3. Limitations - Knight of Swords: This is my birthday court card, so I know him quite well. He has a tendency to go hunting for information in quite an unfocused way (i.e. not aligned with Higher Will) and be too much in the head. This in turn makes him lack compassion. I can see the dangers of going into 'information overwhelm' in trying to tie all the tarot archetypes in with the herbal info. *Note to self: Keep the focus firmly on the client and his or her needs. Work from the heart space. All it takes is to shift gears to the Queen/Heart space.

4. What are you here to teach me? - 3 of Pentacles: I was kind of hoping this card would show up here. To me, this signifies working together with the spirits of the plant kingdom. The man in the picture is the Master Gardener. On his pocket is found the Greek letter Theta, signifying harmony between mind, body and spirit. Meditation with the associated herb (or a picture of it), Gentian, will bring insight into what skills are needed to succeed in any given situation. The third eye will be stimulated. Gentian also aids digestion (it's a bitter herb) and detoxifies the liver.

5. How can I best work with you? - 7 of Swords: Further research will be necessary. There are many hidden benefits that can only be unlocked through further study. I need to be honest about how limited my knowledge of herbs is - I'm a complete novice! Carrying the associated herb, Wood Betony, protects its bearer against deception. Taken as a herbal remedy, Wood Betony relieves anxiety. Take a chill pill, Lisa!

6. The potential outcome - 6 of Wands: I want to learn the secrets of the Herbal Tarot so that I'll be better able to help my clients, but working in-depth with this deck is mainly a personal quest to conquer some of my ignorance... and it looks like it'll be successful! I'm especially pleased that we find a number 6 card in this position, as it indicates not only victory but the possibility of becoming more heart-centred. All 6's are related to the 6th Sphere on the Tree of Life, Tipheret (Beauty), which physiologically corresponds to the heart and energetically to the heart chakra. Astrologically, the 6 of Wands corresponds to Leo energies (Jupiter in Leo). Leo rules the heart and the circulatory system, as well as the spine. The associated herb is Hawthorn - a wellknown heart remedy. Used as a charm it helps us stay centred in love.

I feel no need to use reversals with this deck. The book gives no interpretations for reversals, so they're clearly intended to be read upright.

There is a noticeable absence of Majors and Cups in this spread. But then I remembered to turn the deck over and the Shadow Card is the lovely 9 of Cups (Squawvine), a.k.a. 'the wish card' - The underlying motivation for working with this deck is definitly to do something that i find emotionally satisfying.

I will use this deck for daily meditations over the next few weeks or months, and look forward to the bit of extra research I'll be doing about the herbs in each of the cards. Hope you'll enjoy journeying with me!


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