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Roguescopes with Sarah Maria Griffin: 25 July

This week, our resident tarot queen Sarah Maria Griffin looked into her crystal ball, and her crystal ball said ‘fuck this, mate’…

This week, as the month summer and we move into Leo season, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it is to express passion without losing our cool. As the sun moves into Leo, we’re encouraged to lean into the facets of ourselves that shine: that take charge, that blaze, that not only find it easy to be in the limelight but take pleasure there, too. There’s a lot to be learned
from the charisma of the Leo, truly.


However, as an air sign myself – and, if you’ll excuse me, a total introvert – the heat and ferocity of fire signs like Leo goes very much against the grain of my nature. I’m kind of good at remaining at the edges of situations, I’m not generally comfortable expressing my desires or articulating what I’m feeling at the drop of a hat (real typical Aquarius nonsense, to be honest).

So, in a very secular and quite literal way, I’m unpacking the traits we are told by the zodiac that Leo can command, and wondering what I can learn from them. Leo season calls upon us to be passionate, to be selfish, to hold that spotlight and let it illuminate not only us, but others around us too. As I move into this week’s readings, I’d like all the signs to keep some of that ferocious, marshal energy with us: even, and especially those of us who live with our heads in the clouds. While this Irish, locked-down July isn’t bringing us much sun, how can we be the light we need in the room?


The Knight of Swords

This week’s card is one about momentum and haste: the Knight of Swords is charging into battle, barely holding onto their horse with one hand. There are two ways (well, there are many ways) to interpret this card: one encourages our movement, asks us to hurry, to allow zeitgeist or passion or raw enthusiasm to propel us to the next stage in our journey – reminding us to stay pointed and focused along the way. The other is a warning: rash decision making and running heart before head can be risky. Is there time to assess what is in front of you before you dash into battle? How can you gain perspective, as well as maintaining your drive?


The Fool

The Fool is the very first card in the tarot, the beginning of every story: a person packs their bags and walks off into the unknown. I love this card: it speaks clearly to beginnings, to blindly voyaging into the next realm of life, to the start of a new cycle. It is a major arcana card, too, so it asks us to listen to it, and speaks more to pivotal moments in life’s journey, rather than the everyday. What new cycles are beginning for you at this time, Taurus? Is there anything you have left behind while you were packing your bags? I often think, when I look at this card, of the tiny dog calling on the Fool as they leave. Who is calling at your heels? Are there any matters you have left unattended? The voyage ahead is calling you, but is there anything you have to do before you split?


The Four of Wands

This card is a humble one, but it is absolutely gorgeous – one of the most tender, if not in the deck, then definitely in the busy suite of Wands. It shows a harmonious scene: it calls upon us to ground ourselves in the home we consider, to pull together with our family, or chosen ones. Importantly, this card is also about celebration, too. Is there any way in which you can take a
second to celebrate, Gemini? It’s been a real long year. Where are your laurels? Can you find space to acknowledge them? To, despite it all, take stock of what you have built and allow yourself to hold your head a little higher?


8 of Pentacles

A card that has come up again and again this summer, Cancer, this card speaks to us of burnout. Of hard work, and feeling as though there is no reward. Our craftsperson sits at their desk, hammering out their discs, their finished work towering high but their unfinished work still ahead. I try not to focus too hard on the significance of the numbers in the tarot but when eights
come up I am always compelled to assure the querant that a cycle is very nearly complete. The work might be draining now, it might be at the hardest it is going to be: but the end is in sight. At any given moment, especially in the hellscape of 2020, I think every single one of us needs someone to squeeze our hand and tell us to keep going. Consider this that hand-squeeze. Be
resilient, sweet Cancer. Keep going.


10 of Cups

There was never a more celebratory card for a Leo to draw during their season in the sun, but here we are, dear lion. The Ten of Cups is a rare card that signifies bounty, emotional abundance, love, security and completion. It asks us to take stock of the love we have achieved: to dance under it, to embrace it. I know this can be a challenge, especially at this juncture of history – to throw up our hands in abandon. But it’s your birthday season. This card asks you to really throw down for it: to look at this new year as culmination of all you have achieved. It reminds you that you are loved. Who can you call in to this party? With whom will you share these cups? They are overflowing, Leo, so drink up.


8 of Swords

This card is one of the more gothic in the deck, if I’m honest with you, Virgo. A woman is held captive, blindfolded and bound, surrounded by swords. On first glance, it’s not great, really. But all of the tarot is about perspective, and cards like this is where perspective and detail really serve us. The figure that is bound is not injured. The swords around her are upright, not in
motion, not causing her any pain. Her binds are loose. She can remove her blindfold, and move on. In what ways are we are willingly blind to what is going on around us? To what are we closing our eyes? This is a card, unfortunately, that speaks of self-victimisation, of irrational fear. Sometimes it is easier for us to stay still than to begin to move. What is holding us back?


The Emperor

A big card this week, Libra. The Emperor signifies a very specific kind of power: leadership, patriarchy, control. This is a card about systems and structures of power: who holds that power in the world around you? What kind of power do you, yourself wield – and in what ways do you use that power for growth, for holistic change, for good? Though all of the tarot has a certain
neutrality to it, this card always makes me want to push back against the systems which fix us in place. Where there is fixed power or gatekeepers, there is also the potential for rebellion. In what ways can you ensure you have power over your own journey, and aren’t being stifled by rules?



This card has come up in this weekly reading for me before: a powerful, serene card in which a figure softly tames a beast using internal strength, as opposed to the brutal kind. I think this year has positioned many of us in a role where we are taming unruly forces, some of which are dangerous to us and to those around us. How can you find strength within serenity, Sagittarius? How can you hold your nerve and place your hands around the jaws of the beast? From what well do you draw peace – and how can you transmute that peace into a kind of action? We need this kind of radical healing more than ever, now. Hold steady, even if that seems impossible. Emily Dickinson reminds us, if your nerve denies you – go above your nerve.


2 of Swords

A crossroads, Scorpio, is never a pleasing spot to find yourself at. The figure in this picture is another blindfolded woman (a motif in the suite of Swords, and apparently in this week’s readings, too) balancing two equal weapons, unable to choose, or move on. It speaks to us of stasis, of being caught at the foot of the unknown and frozen by the weight of option. So little in
life is as clean as two paths, really, Scorpio. Similarly to the Eight of Swords, the blindfold in the tarot is often a choice of the querant. What are you closing your eyes to? Allow yourself to see the whole picture ahead. You are only in the dark if you refuse to shine a light on reality. Once all the details come together – even if they are overwhelming – you will be able to select the path that best serves you.


6 of Cups

This card is about alleviating ourselves of adult responsibilities and the seriousness that can come with growing up, and inviting some playfulness and joy back into our lives. This isn’t the simplest task for many of us: the burdens of adult life can by far outweigh the freedoms. But nostalgia and play can be so restorative: in our adulthood we have the permission to give
ourselves the things that perhaps we did not have access to in our childhood. A concept I prefer to the often-touted self-care, is self-parenting. How can we award ourselves what it is we always wanted, what we needed, what we were denied? How can we become what our young selves wanted to be when we grew up? How can we give ourselves that gift?


5 of Wands

As an Aquarian, I sighed low when I saw that this card was ours this week, fellow water-bearer. This is a card from the very middle of the battle, from the thick of it, from a point of chaos. It speaks of discord and conflict. How, when it feels as though there is so much opposition, can we find common ground with those we are competing with? How can we allow space for
disagreement without allowing it to curdle into tension? These are challenging times, and in order to survive them, we have to become our own ally. If it feels as though there is nobody on our side, how can we take our own side? It’s only when we learn to be our own first guardian that we can gain the strength to strategise, mediate, and navigate through conflict without being
harmed. Step back, Aquarius. Re-evaluate, and go back in when you are ready.


Page of Pentacles

This card is such a blessing, dear Pisces. All the Pages in the deck represent beginnings: a first step, a manifestation. In many ways this card arrives as an invitation, a little push to pursue something that you hold close to you or feel passionate about. I know there are many of us who are ‘looking for a sign’, and as the gal with the cards, if you have been looking for a push to
chase a calling – especially one in the material realm (a business, a new skill) let this be your push. You don’t need to tell anyone that a horoscope encouraged you, or anything, but let me encourage you. The Page doesn’t have to be an expert to be enthusiastic: they are a beginner, and they are happy to begin. So go, Pisces. Begin.

Main photo from Unsplash