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Tarotscopes by Sarah Maria Griffin: 9 August

This week, our resident tarot queen Sarah Maria Griffin gets us ready for Virgo season. As the ferocious Leo season comes to an end, it’s time for some control…

August is upon us, and Leo season is about to turn to Virgo season, where the ferocious leading, marshal sign meets a more ordered, controlled moment in the cosmos. I drew a card for myself when I was pulling the twelve for you this week, reader, and what emerged was the Ten of Wands. This card depicts a person carrying ten long, unwieldy wands, doubled over from the weight of them. I think, though this is deeply simplistic, how often reading the tarot is just looking at a picture and thinking, “same”. How to divine a card is to infer yourself, your own experiences, into an old picture that has been looked upon for wisdom millions upon millions of times, innumerable times, and somehow still finding something unique and true for you. 


I can name each of the ten wands I am carrying, reader, and equally I am certain you are carrying too many wands, too. How rarely in 2020 is there any ease, how all of us have our arms full to spilling. In pulling the Ten of Wands for myself, I reflect it back to you, too, whatever your sign. I want to know what would happen if we dropped the wands. If we let them fall at our feet. If we stood up straight, unburdened. 

I want to know what that would feel like: to not be carrying so many things. I’m an Aquarius to a fault, so I know all about peacing out, ghosting, disappearing, dropping everything – for better or worse. But I want to find a healthy way to place these wands down. To move forward without the weight. Perhaps we can start with placing one, first, then another, until we are freed.

Right. Let’s look at some other cards, shall we?


Knight of Cups

This card is one that many readers will intuit as a good old fashioned Knight in Shining Armour – a figure who rides into the picture bringing emotion, promise, creation. However, this card also speaks to haste: perhaps acting before thinking, or following an impulse that might lead you somewhere you don’t want to be. This card invites us, or warns us, to think ahead a little at  this time, even if following the new and thrilling might seem tempting. The armour may be shining, but is it hollow? 


The Devil

This is one of those cards that when I draw for people, similarly to Death, they recoil. I mean, fair: it is a pretty intense image. The devil sits above two figures, chained to a chest at his feet. Largely this is a card about carnal desire, about temptation, about secrecy and control – but I’m not going to focus here on the demon, or on the bodies: rather, I’m going to look at the chain. What is it that keeps you tied down?  Is here something in your life at this time that is tethering you? Only in seeing the chain, seeing the lock, can we begin to unpick it.


The Hanged Man

I think about this card all the time, and feel that it is a perfect, too-accurate snapshot of what 2020 is for so many of us. This is a card about stasis, about being trapped, about having your decisions taken away from you. However, the part of the picture I think is most important to see, is the halo around the figure’s head. There is serenity in stasis, even if all we want to do is struggle until we are in motion again. How can we turn times of perceived powerlessness into times of meditation, of perspective? What can we learn in the pause?


The Nine of Pentacles

This is a card of independence and self-sustenance. The figure we see is in a lush garden: this card also speaks to fertility and abundance. It asks – or insists, that we reward ourselves for our hard work, that we take stock of what we have achieved: times of plenty come and go so it is vital to look around, to enjoy what we have achieved when the time comes. How can you mark the day? How can you take a piece of this goodness and use the glow again, later?


Ace of Wands

All of the Aces are, for me, a way of the deck offering the querent an affirmative sign. A yes, a signal to go ahead, a green light. Because wands are the suite of work and creativity, this card is an encouragement to follow a new idea you have: it may even signal the support of people around you on your new path, project or endeavor. If you were wondering whether or not to progress with something new, consider this the nudge you were looking for. 



The third Major Arcana card of today’s spread, Temperance speaks to the middle-of-the-road, an avoidance of extremes, a balance. The Major Arcana normally indicates important moments on life’s journey, so this may jar a little with the idea of temperance: but I would like you to consider the importance of that calm, Virgo. It is vital that you focus on staying composed, staying calm, not – literally – losing your temper, at this time. How can you move towards this? How can you prioritise calm?


Four of Wands

This card has come up a couple of times in this series: the home card. The four of wands is a humble image of a simple homestead, an archway made of four simple wands and a simple, celebratory wreath. It asks us to consider what home is to us: how we create harmony and safety there. Be it the literal house we live in, or a protective space within ourselves, how can we make sure our home is a place where we can grow, not a place where we feel drained, or swallowed up? 


Four of Cups

I love this card, Sagittarius, because it is such a scolding. A cup is being offered to a figure under a tree, who is resoundingly ignoring it, sulking. This visual story can be interpreted two ways: is there someone who you are trying to help, who is ignoring or refusing you? How can you convince them to accept your support? Alternatively, it could be you who is refusing to look at the love you are being handed – it is so important to resist apathy, to make sure you are seeing what is in front of you. You need to find strength and look around you at this time.


Ace of Pentacles 

This is a card that forecasts material support: an investment, an offer. I mean, it literally depicts a giant hand bringing a golden coin down from the sky. Though it is auspicious, like all of the tarot, it guarantees nothing: there may be support around you, but you have to follow through on it. Do not take any sudden blessings for granted: make sure you take what you are offered with gratitude, and make it your own.



Again and again this card emerges from the deck, and I can’t help but think that it is something to do with this strange year. How we have to remain calm with the beast that 2020 has become, how brute force will never see us through – how our serenity is our truest power during this time. Because this is a Major Arcana card, Capricorn, it asks us to listen exceptionally hard: how can you hold steady when the beast draws near? How can you use your inner strength to tame the forces that seek to tear you down?


King of Swords 

The only King in this set of cards, the King of Swords rules with his head, not his heart. He invites us at this time to put our emotions firmly to the side, cutting through to the core of things – he governs with truth. He can often represent a figure who will offer us clear, concise advice at this time, too. Who can we turn to to affirm our ability to see with absolute clarity? How can we place emotion to the side at this time and trust our rationale, our perception?


Wheel of Fortune

Whenever this card comes up for me, Pisces, I almost feel that it is as though the deck is being playful with me. It is the place in the story of the Major Arcana where chaos is embraced: where the tarot takes a step back from its interpretive or predictive powers and says, “Well, whatever’s going to happen is going to happen!” Which isn’t a sentiment that people come to a zodiac column for, I know. This card assures us, though, that things are reaching a turning point – that the universe is moving in the ways it needs to. The only answer I can give you at this time is that you are going to have to trust that what comes next is out of your hands: now is a time to throw your hands back and let the great wheel spin. How can you gain the courage to cede control? To let what will be, be?