Circle Celebrations and Faery Fun

Estimated Reading Time: 6 minutes

Welcome to the Tarot Blog Hop!
An international group of tarotists (check out the master list) are all writing on the same topic and then linking to each other so that the reader can hop from one blog to the next, seeing all the permutations and facets that the topic inspired in different writers. You can leave my blog and hop back to Alison Coals of Alison’s Alembic. Or read ahead here and then hop forward to Tarot by Arwen!
Circle Celebrations and Faery Fun

The Eight of Swords from the Mystic Faerie Tarot by Linda Ravenscroft and Barbara Moore.

I tried several times to write this blog, pulling cards from sophisticated art decks, but got nothing. Just a blank page. At last I hunted down my Mystic Faerie Tarot and then the devious fey energy finally came through.
When I asked these sassy cards what I should focus on for my blog post, I pulled the Eight of Cups, Magician reversed and the Eight of Swords. These clever little fairies were already playing tricks with me: the eights are associated with the planet Mercury through qabalistic correspondence and the Magician card is astrologically associated with the same planet. Mercury, the Roman god known as Hermes to the Greeks, was a trickster, thief and practical joker as well as being associated with writing and communication. I could hear the fairies giggling at their little joke. They were reminding me not to take myself too seriously!
The Eight of  Cups shows a pixie-ish mer-fairy ascending from a lily pond on a dragonfly. The Eight of Swords shows a glum fairy wrapped in thorny tendrils looking dejectedly at the viewer from amid big beautiful pink and blue roses, while rising up behind her stretch the variegated green shoots of what looks to me like horsetail.
I thought of the Botanic Gardens. Once I visited the lily pond in late July and it was almost completely covered with green pads and beautiful flowers. But when I visited it in May of this year, the lily pads were few and far between. In May the roses weren’t blooming yet, although certainly they would be now. Even the dragonflies at the Dragonfly Pond were in hiding last time I was there – a few came out to play but not the dragonfly convention I had seen before. But April’s fragrant lilacs lingered.
I thought of horsetail. Late May or early June is the time to harvest horsetail. I remembered the special place I know, easy to get to yet with a remote feeling. Down in a grassy gulch, under the shade of the cottonwoods, cool and shadowy, walking through the tall reedy male horsetail and the ferny female, carefully snipping a little here, a little there – the rule for wildcrafting is that no one should be able to tell you’ve been there. It’s almost the inverse of flower arranging: rather than looking for an empty spot to fill with just the right bloom, I look for dense areas where a stalk or two will not be missed.
This is all wrong, I think. I’m not on topic at all. I’m supposed to be writing about the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, the height of solar power.
When I was part of a circle that celebrated the seasonal holidays, we used to make a magical and fun liqueur. We would use oranges to represent the solar power and carefully carve off just the orange layer of the peel, no white, place it in a bottle, and fill it with brandy. Our magical mantra was, “I’ve caught the sun, the sun is mine, and now its power cannot decline!” We’d let our potion steep in a cupboard out of the light until the equinox, at which time we’d strain out the orange peel and then add honey to bring a balance of sweetness to our fiery brew. Then we’d let it sit again in darkness until the winter solstice when we would break it out to bring energy to the dark time of the year.
My shade grown horsetail doesn’t fit this paradigm at all, I thought.
I glance down at the table and see the Magician reversed. Inner power, I think. No, that’s too Strength. Hidden power, latent power, power you’re not aware of yet. Or maybe the power of holding your power, waiting, not using it yet.
The Dragonfly Pond, the Lily Pond. Roses now but not then. Horsetail in the past, in the cool. The very moment of the Sun’s highest power, captured, stored, sweetened, shared. Everything has its moment of perfection, its right time, its just now. The same day the sun is at its highest power the horsetail waits ready in its dim bower. The late lilacs still bloomed in May while the roses held their power within. The sun in its power could become corrupt if it didn’t follow its annual cycle of increase and decrease.
The summer solstice is marked by the Sun entering Cancer. In some ways you might think that the Sun would find its height of strength in its fiery domicile of Leo, or perhaps earlier in the spring when it enters its exaltation in Aries. But no, the longest day is in the watery, empathic, intuitive sign of Cancer. In about a week Jupiter will join the Sun in the sign of the crab, adding its optimistic attitude to a grand trine in water: Sun and Jupiter trine to Saturn in Scorpio trine to Neptune in Pisces. If you feel a little dreamy, solitary, inner-oriented on the first day of summer, it might be the influence of this introspective and emotional configuration. The fairies know this – they come out at twilight, they like darkness and confusion, and they seem to evaporate like dew when the sun gets hot. They play in cool shadows and lead you off the direct path into unknown territory. They wander through garden mazes and hardly ever get to the point.
As above, so below. When the sun is at its fullest power, we look for our own similar expression. But today the fairies say, power grows in cool shade just as it does in glaring heat. The god Mercury traveled between the worlds and was as comfortable in Hades as he was on the heights of Mount Olympus. The fairies give you this gift: that what achieves full power is always born of darkness. And your cycle is your own. Is today your day of roses in the sun? Or is it your day to quietly harvest horsetail and not let anyone know you’ve been there? Your time is just now, your place is exactly where you are, and you celebrate your power no matter where on the circle it falls.
Your Next Stop
Hop off my blog and onto “Tarot by Arwen,” or visit the master list of all the blogs.

Tarot Blog Hop Master List

Joy Vernon is a Certified Professional Tarot Reader and Reiki Teacher in Denver, Colorado. Her specialty is the Empyrean Key Transformational Guidance, which combines energetic and esoteric modalities to help her clients break through blocks and align themselves with their higher purpose. For information on upcoming classes or to schedule an appointment, please visit
© 2013 by Joy Vernon. All rights reserved.

Joy Vernon
Joy Vernon

Joy Vernon is widely recognized as an expert tarot teacher and respected community leader. With over twenty-five years’ experience teaching energetic and esoteric modalities, Joy brings expertise and practiced familiarity to her specialty of esoteric tarot, which layers astrological and qabalistic symbolism onto the traditional tarot structure. Under her leadership, the Denver Tarot Meetup grew into one of the largest and most active tarot-specific meetups in the world. Now Joy runs the Greater Seattle Tarot Meetup. Joy works as a tarot reader, astrologer, and teacher in Burien, Washington. To learn more, please visit

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  1. I love the idea of steeping orange peel and adding honey to brandy. Neat, the stuff always tastes like paint stripper to me, so I mostly only use it for adding to stroganoff 🙂

    • Yes, I’m not really much of a brandy drinker either, although it’s tasty with orange and honey! Although I wonder if perhaps I should get your recipe for stroganoff! 🙂 (I’d make it vegetarian of course!)

  2. How interesting – you harvest horse-tail?! Is that the same as mare’s tail in the uk?! We’ve got that weed in the garden and it’s impossible to get rid of. What can it be used for and I’ll see if I can ‘use’ it to death 😀
    Ali x

    • Thanks, Louise! I’m starting to think that maybe I should make it again. 🙂 We can have a BlogHop party at my place in Denver on the winter solstice! 😉

    • I will double check my files and see if I have anything more detailed. It seems to me we peeled several oranges basically until you got bored peeling because it’s a little tedious getting just the orange part. Put that into a quart jar and fill it with brandy, nothing fancy buy not the cheapest either. It only needs to steep about 30 days but we waited till the equinox. I don’t remember how much honey. I can look that up when I’m back home. It’s very easy!

  3. I loved this ramble that, as you say, echoes faery energy beautifully. Playfully darting around in seemingly random swoops, yet ending up just where you needed to be 🙂

  4. Indeed, I am with Joanna: “what achieves full power is always born of darkness.” A very well-woven tale, Joy. Excellent writing. The fey were definitely with you on this one. 🙂

  5. Loved your post, Joy – horsetail, orange brandy, faery and all! I thought the way you moved from one to another reflected the Mercurical aspect of the Magician beautifully.

  6. Ooh I don’t have this Faery deck! That’s two Faery decks at the top of my tarot-to-buy list now.
    I love the way the fae came through for you. Playful and meaningful at the same time. It’s just like them to point out that shadow is just as important as light 🙂

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