Community Reading

This Beltane, I attended a queer retreat at Groundswell Institute with over one hundred sweet souls. The gathering was transformative on multiple levels and I returned to San Francisco renewed and inspired. As a gesture of gratitude for this empowering experience, I offer this Tarot reading dedicated to the ongoing narrative of the community at large. The reading took place on the New Moon of May 6, 2016, utilizing The Wild Unknown Tarot (Many thanks to Hawk Lightfeather for the suggestion). 

Everyone reads the Celtic Cross spread a little bit differently, and not everyone agrees about the order in which to read it. I’ve presented my notes about the context and meaning of each card, and the overall story I perceived. I invite you to use my notes as a starting point for your own investigation and leave your own perspectives and insights in the comments. It is my desire for this reading to foster discussion about the direction of Groundswell-based queer community.

Community Reading Sketch

The Questions is, “What is the burgeoning narrative for Groundwell queer community as things stand now, especially in light of the recent Beltane gathering?”

Card One: The focus of our energies. How we see ourselves. What is already manifested. Inner Self. The Star is about inspiration and peace, presenting a calm inner knowing and bright shiny exterior. I literally jumped in my chair when I drew this card as I could feel the card’s exuberance. As a community, we shine together, our inner beings radiating joy and creativity. Many of us are receiving recognition for the light we bring to the world. Renewal is afoot.

Card Two: That which crosses us. Contrast. Energies creating an opportunity for growth and change, development and manifestation. Death brings natural change. We are in the process of letting go of outdated forms and ways of being. We are getting down to the bare bones scaffolding of our projects, relationships, and goals. We are releasing whatever does not serve us. From the ashes comes rebirth. Having Death cross the Star tells us that from the end of our cycles, we rededicate ourselves to our dreams. This is powerful intention arising from a deep primal need to connect and merge with more than just ourselves. We transform the energy of old experiences into another form. We shine bright individually, and in community we create vast constellations to illuminate the darkness.

Card Three: Our foundation. Our roots. How we ground and express our energy. Our balance and/or motivating force. The Four of Pentacles indicates a strong emphasis on establishing order and structure, and a deep understanding of the power of centering one’s self in order to be supportive for the members of our community. I would call this being selfish in a positive way, making sure you are in alignment before you show up for others. When I pulled this card, I saw a vision of redwood trees growing close together, their shallow root systems intermingling far and wide in a lattice of strength and support. With this card, we own our power. We are internally validated.

Card Four: What we have already experienced. What is passing away. What has already been accomplished. The Son of Pentacles, also known traditionally as a Knight or Prince, is a guardian of the material world. He is strongly identified with security and stability, and dedicates himself to teaching his accomplishments to others. He emphasizes staying grounded. I saw this card as representing the overall values of Groundswell and the community it fosters. In this incarnation, we are all committed to practical manifestation of the energies we raise.

Card Five: Higher Self. Ideals. Goals. The key to developing the concepts outlined in the first two cards at the crossroads. The Seven of Cups represents our ability to differentiate between idle fantasy and applied creative imagination. This card challenges us to bring the ideas into being. Staying in touch with what inspires us is key here. Looking back at the Star, we remember we already possess the goals and dreams. The Death card challenges us to release that which is no longer working, and the Seven of Cups encourages us to allow our newly altered consciousness to provide us with the vision. Then our work is to stand back and watch it take shape. This card can also refer to a period of trial and error in order to manifest our dreams. This is correct as the manner in which these dreams will manifest will be different from our past methods (the Death card insists this be so).

Card Six: Near Future. What you are putting out into the world. The next step, or your ability to take action. The Four of Wands speaks of a return to the world after a wonderful experience. A homecoming. I see it as a graduation of sorts in which we feel gratitude for “leveling up.” We are are home wherever we are. There is no “muggle” and magical world division, only in our perception. This card challenges us to see transformative power at all times, coming from within ourselves and each other. This card speaks of our determination to be in sacred communion with one another once more.

Card Seven: Outer self. Persona or mask. How you see yourself. Creative possibilities. The Daughter of Swords, also known as Page or Princess, is a catalyst for intellectual change. The mind is her playground, new ideas are her toys. As a community we are poised to break in new concepts, we are taking risks with new communications. We are telling our stories. We seek justice, we seek truth, and we wish to engage with the heart of the matter, no matter the subject. We are at times cutting with our wordplay, and sometimes we say things that are rash, that are hurtful, but we are resilient and we summon the winds of change to soothe our perceived slights and cool our egos. We are becoming more mindful of the power of our thoughts and words.

Card Eight: The environment. That which surrounds. Influences or projections around you. The Nine of Wands represents independence. It is the culmination of our previous experiences. This card is often interpreted as being defensive or inflexible, feeling exhausted after a long struggle. I see it in this environmental context as strength and persistence in the face of adversity. Challenge becomes a thing to anticipate, obstacles are blessings in disguise. This is contrast reminding us of what we want, and how to utilize our past experience as wisdom to continue acting on our own. In short, we are all leaders in our respective worlds. We toe the line. We set a standard. We are dedicated to our cause.

Card Nine: How to integrate the polarities within your experience. What you are learning. Expectations. The Seven of Swords speaks to the importance of individuality within the specter of conformity. This card represents a spirit quest; sometimes we have to “steal” away to collect the knowledge and ideas of others. Sometimes we need time to research and prepare, to gather resources for your plans. Then it’s time to take what we have learned in sacred space and apply it to our everyday life. We are awakening to who we really are. It is imperative that we risk trusting people with our authentic Self.

Card Ten: Culmination. Resolution. The outcome. What you will gain from this experience. Judgment is a wake up call. We are outgrowing our old ways of being and the paradigm continues to shift. The change has actually already occurred, and we are catching up to it. We are on a path of self-acceptance and that includes taking personal responsibility for how we’ve chosen to react to past outcomes. We are releasing the inner critic and we are forgiving ourselves for our harsh perspectives. We can no longer deny that we are worthy of the dreams we want to manifest. We are finding new ways to integrate mind, body and spirit. We are reborn, transformed, renewed. This is our future.

Final thoughts: I appreciate having all of the elements (wands, cups, swords, pentacles) show up for this reading. I believe that means we are leaving no aspect of our power (energy, emotion, intellect, body) unexplored. Having the Daughter and Son appear speaks to our gender fluid selves as well as highlighting the overall goal of creating sacred space for new ideas to form in accordance with our dreams. The three Major Arcana cards (Star, Death, Judgment) tell this story: By aligning ourselves to our individual goals, and releasing the old, outworn ways of being (foremost the idea that we are alone), we awaken to our power, renewed and cleansed in our collective consciousness. There are no limits! So mote it be!

Many thanks to Groundswell for creating a beautiful container for magickal manifestation and to everyone who participates in their co-creation. I’m honored to be in your midst.

Bright Blessings to you all!

~Storm Arcana (415) 260-2903 /

Storm Arcana is a multiple award-winning Tarot reader, artist and writer based in San Francisco. He provides individual readings by appointment in person or over the phone. Readings for couples and special events, classes, and gift certificates are also available.