Promise of the Tulip: a Springtime Tarot Spread

Over the weekend we visited Skagit Valley in Washington for the annual Tulip Festival. I hadn’t been since I was a child and my heart was aching to get outside to enjoy springtime in a safe, pandemic-friendly way. That day also happened to be our daughter’s one month mark and we were able to celebrate her in a field of colors. (We also visited the co-op and grabbed some fruit and veggie starters for our garden – but more on that later. )

While enjoying the stunning beauty of the tulips among strangers, I was struck by how little I actually knew about their origin, history, and magickal purposes. I’ve used dried tulip petals in protection charms before – grinding them down with a little pink Himalayan salt makes an effective (though short lived) ward – but beyond that I wasn’t well informed. Our yard has tulips growing throughout in a variety of colors, so knowing their uses and energy became a top priority for me by the time we got home.

Reading up on the tulip, I learned all kinds of curious facts, like they’re originally from Central Asia, associated with martyrdom and protest in Iran, and their petals are edible. What really stayed in my heart, though, was their association with love in the context of their perennial nature. Tulips store their energies in their bulbs, and are happy to reinvent themselves genetically to suit aesthetic tastes and new environments. This flexibility and hardiness is a bit of a contrast to their rigid yet delicate appearance, reminding me of pointe ballet dancers.

About the Spread

I developed this tarot spread to represent the promise of the tulip to return the following year. Their glorious burst of beauty in bloom is indeed short lived, but returns next year with even more to bare. I made this with the mind of how we’re going to sow love in our home. We’re new homeowners, and we’re trying to fix up our place but are struggling with just how to do so; do we make changes that we’ll enjoy for years to come, or do we make changes that future buyers would love if we choose to sell in a year or two? See, we don’t know how long we want to be here – we’re very tempted to move back to Japan or England – and every decision on our cottage feels consequential to any potential exit strategies.

What long-term projects are you pouring your love into? That’s what this spread is here to help with.

  1. The love to be sown
    How can you best sow your love and energy into the project, job, or relationship? What “love language” needs to be spoken?
  2. Influences from the past
    What previous habits, struggles, or lessons are cycling back around? What echo from previous years is influencing the project, job, or relationship before you?
  3. New perspectives to bring
    Time has passed since those previous influences and going forward requires a new perspective. What perspective or mindset do you need to take on? What should your mental mood board look like?
  4. The bloom that awaits
    Just waiting to be divinely loved, this is the reward that awaits you long-term. This is the love you will sow.

This spread settled my fears and hesitations with working on our home, and reminded me to be completely present in the moment. It’s ours now, and we should pour our own aesthetics, needs, and love into it. The next owners can do as they wish when the time comes – whenever that may be.

What about you?

Passion Path Ritual for Sagittarius Season

Winter is beginning to bite at the forests. This morning, I watched as the sun lifted the fog from the valley, and revealed the glitter of the first frost. That was the indication I needed that it was time, right there in the haze of sunrise, to read the Tarot for Sagittarius season. 

Typically I draw and place cards on intuition, and this was no different. It was easy to connect with the Archer. I saw in my mind’s eye a hunter pressed against a birch tree and hidden by ferns, his breath a cloud in the cold air, waiting for the moment to strike. I drew a simple two card spread for the Archer: 9 of Cups and The World. 

The Archer Sagittarius has us cradled in his rough, calloused hands. We are being held in a scared magnetic space between two polarities, and where we fall will determine the work we must do in the season of Capricorn. As we dance between the polarities we can appeal to the deep wisdom and experience of Sagittarius, and have the added benefit of our own wisdom peering back at us. 

What polarities are guiding us? 

Each of us have years of experience of life on Earth. We have danced, cried, hidden, been seen, felt heartbreak and loss, dreamed, and worked. This experiential intelligence, gained from our perseverance, is guiding us each towards something unique and special to our self development. Meanwhile, the other end offers comfort, familiarity, and risks stagnation of our growth. 

Sagittarius has a sense of humor, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the area in which we are being challenged to apply our experiential intelligence and grow is actually the exact same part of our lives where we are, indeed, the most comfortable. Perhaps it’s our relationship with a partner, a steady job, a daily routine, or a lifestyle choice. Maybe it’s how we communicate, make excuses, or self-soothe. Wherever it may be, Sagittarius is asking us to think bigger. 

A ritual for working with Sagittarius Season 2019 

This is my Passion Path ritual; it helps me understand my inner desires and what excites me most about my life and future endeavors. Feel free to adapt as you see fit: you may want to call the quarters, craft sacred space, or cleanse your space. Anointment with oil is recommended, though not necessary. 

You will need: 

  • Paper
  • Pen or pencil
  • Colors, optional
  • A candle, preferably red 
  • Cedar, optional 

Draw 9 cups or chalices on a sheet of paper. In each, write an aspect of your life in which you find the most comfort and happiness. Challenge yourself to consider unhealthy or destructive behaviors that you may be latching on to for escape and ease. 

Then ideate around each cup. How could this area of your life be even more extravagant, rewarding, fulfilling, or exciting? What more do you want to learn? Are there any challenges you would like to tackle? Or is there a characteristic, trait, or habit that you desire to develop?  

Each cup offers you a secret door to a garden of even more abundant and renewed bounties. Visualize what might be found there. 

When you’re ready, light the candle. Appeal to Sagittarius for the Archer’s wisdom; you may want to offer cedar or cedar incense. State any amount of your cups – one, two, maybe all nine – and your vision for enriching each. Close your eyes and listen for the Archer. 

You may want to enlist the help of Goddess in order to see and visualize your path. Some Goddesses who are appropriate for this ritual working include: 

Parvati, Isis, Inanna, Psyche, Cerridwen, Juno, Frigga, Lakshmi, Artemis, Bronwen, and Kali Ma. 

A short word of Jupiterian caution 

Though Sagittarius can bring us to a place where the path to abundance is illuminated, its ruling planet Jupiter has a reputation for promising more than it can deliver. For this reason, any manifestation of the visions acquired with the help of Sagittarius or spellwork to achieve your ends should be put on hold until Capricorn season.