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  • Writer's pictureMaegan Clearwood

20 – judgment

Updated: May 5, 2021

20 – judgment

purpose, awakening, clarity, evaluation

Starhawk theory ancestor ritual

tools: a candle; a tarot deck (or this link)

a note for those new to tarot: you do not need to know anything about tarot to read tarot. knowing the traditional meaning of the cards is helpful, but unnecessary. the most important message you can glean from a card is the one that resonates the most deeply and immediately. if you'd like a little practice before diving into this ritual, i recommend exploring the intuitive tarot exercise in the high priestess card. also useful is the tarot-reading example at the bottom of this page; you can find another tarot example with the lovers card.

part 1: invocation of the element of fire


The fire remains

See it burn in the center of the circle

where it has burned for a thousand years

A living flame in a dying landscape

a beacon surrounded by fences, walls, concrete, and barbed wire

Watch the flame

Hold out your human hands

Feel the fragile warmth

Breathe deep

-- Starhawk, from Truth or Dare: Encounters with Power, Authority, and Mystery

light your candle. take a few deep breaths and concentrate on the flames. consider your relationship with fire. when do you interact with it? how do you feel towards it? what message is it trying to tell you now? what does it allow you to feel, see, and reach?

call forth the energy of fire to illuminate your way in this ritual.

part 2: a prepositional tarot ritual for using power-to

1. sift through your tarot deck to find your signifier, the card that stands for You. it may be your birth card (link here), a court card that corresponds with your astrological element and age, or any card that you resonate with at this moment in time. place this card in the center of your surface.

2. as you shuffle your tarot deck, think about power. when do you feel powerful? when do you feel powerless? how does power move within and throughout your everyday life?

3. pull a card for power-from-within (see high priestess card). this is the stuff of personal magicks: the innate spiritual gifts that are always inside of you, waiting to be expressed. what is your poetry? your erotic self-connection? what is your well of creativity, generative energy, pleasure? place the card underneath the signifier (literally beneath it).

4: pull a card for power-over (see emperor card). this is the stuff of authority and unequal value. in a world of oppressive power forces, where are you situated? you may want to pull two cards: one for how you hold power-over others, and one for how power is held over you. place the card in vertical configuration with the signifier card, depending on its meaning to you.

5. pull a card for power-with (see empress card). this is the stuff of synergy and connection. how do you (or can you) manifest power-with others? what is the expression of your highest self in the context of community?

place the card beside your signifier card, linearly and equally.

6. pull a card for power-to. this is the stuff of imagination, hope, and action; it is not a direction from, but a direction towards. now that you know where your powers emerge and how they manifest, what are you using them for? what world are you conjuring? what do you care about, what are you creating, what do you desire? in a world based on power-over, what are you attempting to rebuild? the other power cards should be pushing you somewhere, so let them move you with hope, imagination, and intent. place this card in whatever position feels the most dynamic to you, because remember: utopia is not a fixed end-point. it is unreachable but worth reaching towards.

an example

card 1: high priestess

tonight, coming out of Coven space, i feel wise.

card 2: the star

my well of creativity comes from a desire to invoke better, healthier, more adaptable worlds

card 3: four of pentacles

power is wielded over me through shame: certain truths are not meant to be shared; our fullest selves are inappropriate, inconvenient, messy, selfish; bury what feels good, even if it hinders your growth

*i wield this power over myself and others as well, so imagine this card in both the above and below positions*

card 4: the hermit

i guide others with my unique insights. my lived experiences and wisdoms are lanterns that burn brightly alongside the lanterns of my collaborators.

card 5: ace of cups

i use my power to conjure new ways of feeling, doing, thinking, and being.

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