Friday, 22 August 2014

Cross my palm with silver -- tarot in the movies

(This is the first in a new series in which I will share with you tarot in the media. They'll be tagged 'Movies', because I'm all creative like that.)

Tarot turns up in TV and movies (and even pop songs) a lot more than you might think. But in most cases, it is not portrayed as particularly helpful. In fact, most movie tarot decks seem to consist of only three cards: Death, Tower and Devil. It's not my aim to give a comprehensive look at tarot in film, but just to mention a few that I've seen. (Links to bigger databases listed at end of entry). 

Doctor Terror's House of Horrors (Amicus Films, 1965)

Five strangers on a train end up sitting near Peter Cushing (Doctor Terror) who whips out his tarot cards and offers to read their futures. Each person's reading, as you can well imagine, is scarier than the last, and funnily enough, the last card drawn for each reading is --- dum dum DUM! -- DEATH. There's a twist at the end of the film about the train and its ultimate destination...but I'll leave that for you to watch. If you dare! Mwa ha ha ha haaaa! At least Doctor Terror has the good taste to use a Tarot de Marseilles. Stars Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Deck Review - Silver Witchcraft Tarot

I received the Silver Witchcraft Tarot last Friday afternoon and have been looking at it all week. Here's a little review. 

Even though the deck is borderless and doesn't have multi-lingual titles, it does scream LoScarabeo from head to toe, so if that puts you off, beware. The artwork is by Franco Rivolli, who seems to be a very prolific craftsman because he has done quite a few tarots. 

In all honesty, after just one week, I cannot say if this is a deck I will end up keeping. I will just provide you with a list of my own pros and cons. 

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

5 Reasons to Read Tarot

Last week in 5 Reasons to Study Tarot I wrote about tarot history, occult symbolism, traditions, spiritual practice and entertainment. I said that 'reading' is just one aspect of tarot. But you know what -- it's a very good aspect!

5 Reasons to Read Tarot

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Death cheated out of the limelight again?

Life asked Death, 'Why do people love me but hate you?'
Death responded, 'Because you 
are a beautiful lie,  and I
 am a painful truth.'

When I bought Silver Witchcraft Tarot (LoScarabeo 2014), I got just the deck, not the book-and-deck set, because 1) it was cheaper, 2) I have very little storage space and 3) I would very seldom consult the book. A few of the cards in the deck are a bit of a puzzle as a result, but the Death card is easily interpreted, if slightly disappointing.

I say disappointing because I don't really like it when tarot decks are squeamish about the Death card. People always say that the Death card means transformation. And we see that here, with the empty shroud, and the larvae and butterfly representing metamorphosis (I like that, I use butterflies myself on this blog you may have noticed), and in the pillar of light which shows the route to heaven or enlightenment that this person took after death.

And that's the key -- transformation takes place AFTER Death. Death itself is not the manifestation of transformation.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Finding Metta in the 9 of Cups

Yesterday I offered you a spread for setting empowering intentions in your thoughts, words and actions for the week. Today's card, 9 of Chalices from Silver Witchcraft Tarot (Barbara Moore and Franco Rivolli, LoScarabeo 2014) continues the theme. 

The 9 of Cups is sometimes called the wish card, and is also associated with deep personal contentment. Let's use the energy of this card to send our intentions into the universe, using a beloved and beautiful mantra that is associated with jivamukti yoga:


This mantra may be translated as: 'May all beings everywhere be happy and free.' 

It appears to be based on the longer, traditional Metta Bhavana ('Lovingkindness Meditation'). Please view this lovely rendition by Imee Ooi. The video provides text in Pali with English translation: 

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Empowerment Spread

This spread is inspired by journal writing prompts and is meant to help you set your intention to be more empowered and aware of your thoughts, words and actions over the coming week. There's a little predictive element thrown in there as well. 

What do you do if you try this spread and the advice seems all to be negative cards? For example, you're told to have 5 of Swords thoughts or 8 of Swords words? And what if the outcome of following the advice turns out to be The Tower? Before you give up and change your question to what shouldn't I do, try very hard to see the good side of the card. You do the same when coming up with a so-called 'reversed meaning' of the Sun. So why not try it with 5 of Swords, which might mean, for example, constructive criticism that hurts (makes you feel defeated) but is for the best in the long run? 

Give this spread a go today and then follow through with it throughout the week. Try keeping track of the results in your tarot journal. 

Saturday, 16 August 2014

5 Reasons to Study Tarot

Tarot for me started as a spiritual quest. I never set out to be a reader; that just happened. In fact, I believe that fortune telling is actually only one small facet of the cards, and probably the most superficial use of them (I know Edward Arthur Waite certainly thought so.) That is not to say tarot readings are superficial -- we all would agree that some readings can be profoundly deep and life-changing. But if reading is only scratching the surface, what else is there to tarot? I love doing readings, but let me tell you why I truly, madly, deeply love tarot and will study it for the rest of my life.