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The Llewellyn Journal
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January: Winter's Deep Healing

This article was written by Christine Jette
posted under Tarot

Winter is a season of rest, when the quiet beauty of a snowy evening brings time for meditation, ritual, and planning. In winter, we are reminded that everything is born, is creative, dies, and is reborn. If we are open to this understanding of winter, then nature's barren months allow us to begin a process of deep healing, and we return to spring with a renewed creative fire.

Tarot and Our Healing Heritage
Like the phoenix soaring out of the ashes, healing is a sacred act of creating something new from the old. Everything in our lives affects everything else; no one area can be isolated. Proper healing is a movement towards spiritual completion. By understanding how our habits, emotions, and sense of spirit affect our health, we can initiate healing. At any given moment, we are either in a state of wholeness, or are ill and seeking to return to wholeness. Pain, like winter, is a natural part of life that allows us to gain a deeper understanding of ourselves.

Physical illness originates on a spiritual or emotional plane before affecting our bodies. When we become sick, our physical bodies mirror our deeper selves. In this way, illness is the physical language of the psyche. The higher self communicates through symbols and symptoms that represent a deeper meaning, and the tarot provides a key to translating the message by unlocking the unconscious. Tarot card images can direct us toward healing energy.

When you use tarot for healing you are linked to a timeless rite. Early peoples knew that to heal, one needed to align mind and spirit with the earth's cycles. Tarot offers a way to step outside ordinary consciousness and discover an intuitive connection between the healer within and the universal healing force.

The four suits of the tarot symbolically illuminate all aspects of our lives. Pentacles represent the physical body, instincts, and finances. Cups represent emotions, imagination, dreams, and intuition. Swords symbolize our psychological makeup, decision-making processes, conflicts, and pain. Wands symbolize our creativity and healing, and the Major Arcana represent our spiritual development and ability to heal.

Through the tarot, we find the ways in which we are out of balance, and we learn how to restore order and harmony in ourselves. We stop taking our physical symptoms at face value and listen for the inner message. We stimulate the intuitive, creative part of our brains so that we can make inner connections between physical, emotional, and spiritual conditions. The images present an opportunity to begin to understand a higher order of things, and strengthen our awareness of something larger than ourselves.

This is the essence of healing. If we treat only our disease, we win or lose. If we treat our whole self, we always win, regardless of outcome.

The Star of Aquarius
The winter stars shine brightest in January to guide navigators in the dark nights. The star is a symbol of enduring spirit that shines despite the surrounding forces of gloom. The Star of Aquarius spread below represents hope, renewal, and belief in a new and better life. The sign of Aquarius begins in January and is known for its global vision and power to inspire. Your gift from the Star of Aquarius is a healing awareness of yourself—as part of the whole stellar pattern in the winter sky.

Star of Aquarius
The Star of Aquarius spread allows us to examine our healing needs. The first card sets a focus, while cards two through six expand upon it. Ask these questions as you turn each card:
  1. Focus. What causes me the most pain? What is my priority in healing? Where do I begin?
  2. Strengths. What are my strengths? What are my resources, gifts, talents? What do I need to nurture?
  3. Self-understanding. What are my beliefs? How can my current insights start the healing process?
  4. Obstacles. What obstacles to healing do I face? What situations in my past block my growth?
  5. Advice. What concrete, creative action can I take to support my healing?
  6. Overview. How does my healing relate to a larger picture? What does my pain tell me about the story of my life? What will I gain as a result of healing?

From Llewellyn's 2001 Tarot Calendar. For more on Llewellyn's tarot kits and decks, click here.

Christine JetteChristine Jette
Christine Jette (pronounced Jetty) is a registered nurse and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology. She is the Llewellyn author of Tarot Shadow Work, Tarot for the Healing Heart, Tarot for All Seasons and Professional Tarot. Christine lives in the...  Read more


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