Sacred Circle

Journey Into: 8 of Cups

Written by: Emma Sunerton-Burl

Continuing her series, Emma Sunerton-Burl looks into the cards of The Sacred Circle Tarot, by Anna Franklin and Paul Mason, published by Llewellyn:

I look at the card and see a scene in the mountains, something very familiar to me living here in Wales. I am aware at the moment I am preparing for my Mountain Leader assessment and so this is in the forefront of my mind and likely to influence my experiences in this card.

I walk in to the card.

I feel a chill in the air and see the marshy pools in front of me. I know I am going to be needing my compass and map in this terrain at any moment. I feel the fog will descend and leave me without vision of the way forward. I know I have the skills though. I breathe and wait a moment collecting myself from my nervousness of assessment – I remind myself I am in spiritual space and both safe and loved.

I have a sense of aloneness and need of self reliance, this feels oddly comforting. I walk over to one of the pools and find the colours of the surrounding vegetation extremely beautiful – golden yellows, burnt reds and browns with deep rich greens, the pool is very still and reflects the cloud formations in the sky.

“What do you represent?” I ask.

“We are stillness and peacefulness; from this place we make great potential energy. We make peat as the old sinks beneath our surface and decays, so we create from the old something valuable and enriching for future life in this area. We represent this process in you – so you let go of outdated ways of being and of thinking – old activities and ambitions. As you do so you find peace and from there you allow what you have let go of, to stimulate and nourish the new, to grow in your life in the future. Allow yourself peacefulness and rest. All can be abandoned and lost at this moment in order to clear a space for something new to grow. It may include things you have released but as you recapture them you will understand how they fit in your life in a better way.”

“Thank you – that makes a lot of sense to me – I have recently been in a period of illness and this has given me this gift.”

“Yes we can symbolise the gifts from illness. As you take time out and rest, you find who you are in the now and ‘catch up’ with the development you have been consciously doing, in an unconscious way.”

I stand up and look around. I am enjoying being here now and look around me.

I see mountain sides on all sides of me except where I have come from. I decide to walk forward on the right hand side of the pools. The walking is through soft, somewhat wet, ground which feels nurturing and caring to my feet – I spring from one foot to the next, slowly but smoothly.

I start to walk upwards to the right hand hill. At the top I look around me. There is wilderness in all directions and beautiful views. Over to the far right I can see a valley in the distance filled with fog – an inversion – what beauty!

I am struck both with the joy of seeing this sight and feeling very privileged, and also wanting to share the experience with others – yet being alone is part of it – a paradox. I breath in my joy and allow it to move through me, feeding me. I can see when things are upside down even they can be beautiful and have meaning.

I hear: “The higher view is clear even when there is fog in the valley.”

I understand instinctively the message here – that though we may not be able to see where we are going, with a good intention we can see the direction we need to head in and follow that route through fog. If we need to see the big picture we only have to ascend in vibration and look from the place of spiritual height and we can see how our small path fits into the landscape of all the world. We can see how our small path may indeed be leading to another valley, or mountain, or beautiful place to experience the love from Source. I wonder if I am getting carried away in this visualisation now – enraptured by the vision.

I look up and see the cups in the air, held close by ivy.

“What are you about?” I ask the cups.

“We hold the emotions for what was; the feelings of the past that has ended and we are held together by the binding of the universe; it is the sum of your past experiences. These are all here for you to use and feed your present life for you to learn from and create anew your life. Dip into our cups for the gold contained here. This doesn’t mean delve into us so constantly that you never look where you are going – we are a tool not the journey.”

“Your past is allowed to heal and transform – to then be used to feed your journey ahead. You need not be in ‘therapy’ always, therapeutic work is the filling of these cups – once that is done then you have your powerful resource for this life and the next once.”

“Thank you – I understand your gift well – thank you.” I say.

I look to the ivy: “Do you have a message for me?” I ask.

“I am the holding together, the changing, yet also strong, identity that forms in the healed Self. I am, in some senses, the integration that comes to you as you bring all sides of yourself together in one place.”

“Thank you.” I say.

From where I am, I want to explore the mountain ahead of me. It is snow covered and distant yet I feel it will hold something for me.

I realise I can move easily here and run down the hill I am on towards the mountain – I then seen a beaten snow path up the mountain which makes progress easy – I see others have been here before then – I ask of the track:

“What do you have to say to me?”

“I am the creation of all who have come this way before. As you have travelled this way, others too liked the look of this area, so made me. As you follow ways of others the journey can be much easier than carving out a whole new track of your own, and there is no danger in following another’s path for part of your journey. Know though, your heart is guiding you and you may come off this path in the future if your heart dictates another direction.”

“Thank you. Yes I see. So with this card following someone else’s way is OK” I check out.

“Yes, but not indefinitely… allow others to influence you, but do not put your energy into something where there is no reward for you, i.e. when the track goes against your desires, at this point leave the path with no recriminations, but know your joy is your guide and will lead you where you need to be.”

“Yes I understand.” I say.

I walk upwards and eventually come to the top of a high mountain, with a clear view all around. Some lowland areas are still covered in mist but the site is beautiful mysterious; it seems right that not all is revealed.

I turn and decide to descend the mountain in a different way – actually I get out my bivvy bag to use as a sledge on some safer looking slopes. I slide down the virgin snow, aware of my aloneness, yet enjoying the pleasure of being in nature alone here; it is so refreshing. I slide down easily and joyfully and when I reach the end of the slope, and the snow is starting to thin, I stand up and walk to the bottom of the valley. I look over to the pools ahead of me and decide to walk back on the other side of them. I wind my way around and through them, on tufts and pathways, then, nearing my entrance point I sit for a while and look over the landscape.

“What do you have to say to me as a whole?” I ask.

“We are here, the peacefulness of sadness, letting go when it is right to, yet also the rising joy of the new being born in its place. We can be a harsh environment at times and when you can’t see ahead, the loneliness can be frightening – use your experiences and your past to inform you, help you, and to feed you; at times you can use this experience to transform more recent losses into beloved memories; creating the substance to draw from in the future.”

“Thank you I understand.” I say. “So this is a place of contemplation, transformation and peacefulness but also presents challenge to learn from.”

“Yes.” I hear in reply.

“What if you are reversed?”

“Then someone is finding it hard to take the gold of the peace and the serenity that can be found by letting go, they cling tightly, have no compass and may feel like they are going round and round in circles. Panic can set in. They need to go higher, to right this card; to see the overview that is available and give then a sense of direction for when they are back in the mist and the pools of emotions from the past. The fog may still be there but they will have gained a mental map of direction and possibility which will help them through the terrain. Then they can go on to gain the gold of the quest.”

“Thank you.” I say.

I feel this journey has been quite different from others – yet also very strong.


Emma welcomes any comments on this article or the visualisations you do following this method. Email her on

Emma works as an intuitive psychic tarot reader and runs one to one online training courses on reading with the Thoth tarot deck using a unique blend of intuition and psychological techniques. This has now been extended to working intuitively with RWS style decks too. She also mentors other professional and non-professional tarot readers. She offers visualisation MP3 downloads for intuition development, tarot readings F2F, telephone or distance, and healing – see her website for details:

Emma has a Bsc in Psychology and is a trained counsellor, counselling supervisor and trainer. She integrates this experience in her Tarot work, and in her self-written training courses for personal development, Tarot, and Tarot mentoring.

%d bloggers like this: