Springtime marks the return of Persephone from the Underworld (Hades) when the flowers and trees begin to blossom again and her descent marks the beginning of autumn, but how can we relate this to the tarot?
The minor arcana is associated with the four elements and the four seasons and depending on your practice, it may look like the following below:
• Wands – Spring / Summer
• Cups – Summer / Spring
• Pentacles – Autumn / Winter
• Swords – Winter / Autumn
For the purpose of this post, we’ll use this method:
• Wands – Spring
• Cups – Summer
• Pentacles – Autumn
• Swords – Winter
So how does this all connect with Persephone, the Queen of the Underworld?
Her return to the upper world (Earth) is around the Spring Equinox and her descent beginning around the Autumn Equinox.
However, when we observe the Earth as a whole, Persephone is always in a duality state.
As Persephone rises to be renewed in one hemisphere to mark the beginning of spring known by her name of Kore, she also begins her descent in the other hemisphere to mark the beginning of autumn.
The back and forth of birth and death, spring/renewal, autumn/decay happens twice a year that even in the flourishment of springtime, there is still a hint of Persephone as the Queen of the Underworld.
Persephone, Springtime & Tarot
When working to understand ourselves, our renewal and what we are reawakening after the long sleep of winter, we can turn to the Ace of Wands in the tarot.
The most iconic image of the Ace of Wands in many tarot decks that are based on the Rider Waite Smith (RWS) tarot system depict a wand with buds and leaves growing from it and sometimes falling from it.
New life and vitality are being created, rejuvenated as the Earth below begins to thaw and awaken.
We can examine simply by gazing at the Ace of Wands or when we see the Ace of Wands in a tarot reading during the springtime and ask:
• What is being reawakened?
• What is giving me new life from deep within the depths of my unconsciousness?
• What seeds have I planted that are ready to grow now?
These questions can be elaborated and carried through as if a string of thought all the way in the remainder of the Wands suit.
Find and name what is being reawakened, stirred and sprouted from your unconsciousness and watch it grow and mature through the rest of the Wands – from the 2 of Wands until the 10 of Wands when you are then overwhelmed by what has been created.
That’s when the Cups (Summer) happens, the Ace of Cups, to remind you that what you have created is a blessing and that even though you may feel overwhelmed by your creation, your cup is over flowing with love and abundance.
Carry this love and abundance of what started as a seed in the springtime from the Ace of Wands, the seed that Persephone had given you from the depths within, and it flourishes and grows.
Persephone starts as Kore in the springtime, flourishes to her bounty, and then in the Autumn returns to the Underworld and depths as a cycle of life.
Persephone, Autumn & Tarot
When autumn soon arrives again after enjoying what we have created, gave birth to and flourished, we realise our mortality, our finality, the physicality of it all, that all eventually returns back to the earth from whence it came.
When examining the Ace of Pentacles, it becomes as if a token to enter the depths below into Hades.
Charon, the ferryman, must be paid to cross the River Styx, the Ace of Pentacles coin grants this favour to begin the journey across.
As you go further in the suits of the Pentacles, down into Hades and the world where Persephone rules as Queen, you may ask when you see Pentacles cards in your readings in the autumn:
• What do I hope to reap?
• What must I leave behind?
• What will my legacy be?
These questions can be elaborated and carried through as if a string of thought all the way in the remainder of the Pentacles suit.
Find and name what has been manifested, created and matured from the springtime and summer, and observe what will be laid to rest so to give nutrients to what will be recreated in the next springtime.
After this, comes the Swords (Winter) and everything from previously in the year comes to rest and the work is done silently and quietly under the surface.
Reflection on the past, processing thoughts and ideas, coming to terms, even travel in the Underworld until finally reaching the end of the suit of Swords when you can finally release and surrender to all that was and be ready to be renewed again in the springtime.
Seasonal Tarot Journey with Persephone
Working with the minor arcana and Persephone can be done through meditation, ritual or journaling to explore the seasons and your own development through the seasons.
Start with the minor arcana suit that corresponds with the season that you’re in now where you live and begin the journey from the beginning of the suit and ask yourself questions along the way how you feel you’re progressing.
Continue the journey until you reach the next equinox or solstice, then begin the journey again with the next suit corresponding to the season.
To add more spirituality to the process, you can work with Persephone to follow her journey along with the seasons.
blessed daughter of great Zeus,
sole offspring of Demeter,
come and accept this gracious sacrifice.”
– excerpt from Hymn to Persephone (The Orphic Hymns by Apostolos N. Anthanassakis and Benjamin M. Wolkow, The John Hopkins University Press ©2013)
Stacey B. is a psychic tarot reader, Usui Reiki Master (Distance Healing Specialist), Animal & Pets Reiki practitioner, crystal healer, chakra energy healer and eclectic witch focusing on dark goddess spirituality and features Rocky & Rosie, a.k.a. the Tarot Pugs which can be found at tarotpugs.com.