People visited groves and springs at the sacred times and made the Turas, circling these holy places and wells. A sort of concentric prayer, spiraling inwards.
Nuala Ahern, Irish Member of the EU, quoted in Caitlín Matthews’ The Celtic Spirit: Daily Meditations for the Turning Year
For this week of great transitional power, still buzzing with the intensity of the Brigid and Imbolc celebrations, amplified by Monday’s New Aquarius Moon, which in turn heralds the Lunar New Year of the Earth Pig, I half expected a weighty Major Arcana to guide us.
But I learned long ago to release expectations as I pull my card of the week, and allow my Guardians, Guides, and Allies to choose what is apt and fitting for these times. Thus, we welcome the Eight of Wands, which certainly does not disappoint!
It is interesting that the Eights have been frequent visitors of late.
We were challenged by the Eight of Swords in late December, and then the Eight of Pentacles came to call, just week before last. You may recall that its appearance led to a discussion of both the cosmic lemniscate as well as the “higher octave” Eight (if you astrologers will pardon me!), which is the Major Arcana Eight – Strength.
All of the Eights of the Tarot deal with matters to do with our abilities, innovation, self-directed action, and forging ahead.
And the Wands suit is concerned with making things happen — with passion, fire, magic, change, action, growth, and energy.
So, this Eight is a powerful but simple image – the only card in the R-W-S deck that has no human reference. In fact, there are no figures, animals, or celestial bodies of any sort.
We see a hill with a faraway building, green, rolling fields, and a river. The focus is on the eight staves, lined up neatly parallel to one another, soaring through a bright blue sky.
All are in perfect alignment and balance. The fiery Wands are approaching the Earth, flying through the wide-open element of Air.
This is a vigorous portrayal of pure energy unleashing. This liberated Fire is finding its goal.
Traveling the Turas
The guidance that came to me today, during this confluence of power, magic, and deep shift, is reflected well in this simply depicted card.
The sublime writings of Caitlín Matthews have long inspired me and thanks to her many books, the word that was whispered as I gazed upon this week’s card was “turas.”
In The Celtic Spirit, she writes, “The word turas (TU’ras), which means ‘journey,’ ‘pilgrimage,’ and ‘time,’ refers especially to the circular, spiraling prayer and meditation form used by people in the Celtic countries as they walked sunwise around a sacred site.
“Making the turas, or circling around a sacred site, well, tree, or stone, is still a living part of Celtic spirituality today.”
The turas can also be understood as a pattern or as an intentional, devotional walking of a round – always walked deosil (sunwise or clockwise).
(I realize, of course, that there is nothing in Pixie Smith’s art in the Eight of Wands that suggests the staves are making a circular track. But I am, as usual, simply reporting what I have been told to share.)
For the pilgrim, a turas is a sacred journey not only in the physical sense, but it is also a path of spiritual discovery. It may involve a repeated prayer, song, or mantra-like invocation.
Now, at this powerful turning point of the seasons, from the dark to the light (and the fading of the light in the lands below the equator), what holy journey do you need to make? What sacred visitation to a grove, a body of water, a beloved tree, or stone of power is calling?
Listen well, for our card indicates that this is a moment of profound change. Success is likely, but still up in the air.
As you circle clockwise in your walking meditation, you are aligning with the pattern of our beloved Earth’s turning. You are inviting physical healing and harmony with the seasons, the rising and falling of the stars, Sun, and Moon.
And your steps, made with song and prayers, aid the re-enchanting of the Earth, so necessary in the many places that have become wounded and polluted by thoughtless human activities.
This New Aquarius Moon offers an unusually auspicious magical opportunity for a new beginning. It’s a great time for setting new goals. Now that we have blessed our seeds of intention and made our vows of dedication and initiation at Imbolc, the Eight of Wands brilliantly launches us into the season of up and doing.
And Annie Heese tells us that the Aquarius influence means that “friendship, brotherhood, group activities, social pursuits, group projects, trying something new, humanitarian efforts, or joining a group will be a strong focus on a personal level. New beginnings regarding all of these matters are possible now.”
How perfect that the Eight of Wands is here to help us get organized for such activities! It also encourages us to set our standards high.
This week, you may be in the midst of a situation that requires (or is the result of) rapid information being distributed. This can certainly lead to having too much on your plate.
Knowing and naming your true desires is the key to fulfilling them. If you look carefully at this seemingly simple card, you’ll realize that prior to this flight, someone took great care in the timing and the aim, and then made sure that each component would fly towards the target in such a way as to allow the other Wands to move unimpeded.
Simplifying and streamlining will do wonders for your energy.
As the sweet Earth stirs, and the promise of Spring rustles in the winds of change, this card encourages us to plan and prepare for what we wish to manifest.
Commit to your most cherished objectives, and embark with your best efforts. Trust that, as Winter fades, there is magic in the air.
May your turas bring you inspiration and blessings.