Thursday, 2 July 2015

Go for it -- Seven of Wands

The Llewellyn Tarot by Anna-Marie Ferguson (Llewellyn 1995)

I drew the Queen of Cups again today, so I decided draw a different card for the blog, and got Seven of Wands. I like that this guy is standing at the top of waterfall against a blazing orange sky -- it makes me think of seeking relief from the heat! Hopefully today will be cooler.

My personal key phrase for this card is 'proving oneself.' I've been working on a job application, and that always entails a feeling of doing that.

The companion says, 'Portends a good time to hazard a gamble. Though the odds may seem against you, there are advantages to your position.' That to me seems like encouragement to submit my application for the post and just go for it. The competition for the post may seem fierce, but I may have things to offer that perhaps some others don't. The reversed meaning is listed as, 'Danger in doing nothing. A warning to take action of any sort.' And again, that suggests to me that if I don't apply for this post, I will regret it when I find out who did get it, and think to myself, 'Hey, I could do as good a job as they can!'

So I guess today will be the day I send in my application.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Cool me off, lady

The Llewellyn Tarot by Anna-Marie Ferguson (Llewellyn 1995)

It's the Queen of Cups today. I tell you I wish I were sitting in a chair in the midst of the wash and spray of the sea! It's too hot here -- we hates it, we hates it, we hates it forever! Today it is meant to get up to 30 C (that's 86 F). Now, I know where I come from, this is the temperature in late March, but I don't live where I come from anymore and furthermore virtually no one has air conditioning (including my workplace) and it is too hot! I hope this heat wave passes quickly. Me no likey, not at all.

Anyway, today's watery Queen of Cups reminds me to exercise some compassion and empathy today -- and that includes for myself. Tempers could fray in this heat, especially mine. Yesterday for example, I had a bad moment when I learned that a course I've gone on is incomplete, that I not only have one more paper to write for it, but I also have several papers that need revision. My first instinct was to just say, 'Screw this' and tell them to fail me. After all, earning this certificate will have no effect whatsoever on my pay or my position. When I signed up for this course, my colleagues all said, 'That sounds like a lot of work for nothing,' and guess what. It's turned out to be a lot of work for nothing. I can say it's for personal growth, but right now it just feels like a big bloody inconvenience and burden, a whip I made for my own back. So, I could do with some cool, watery thoughts from the Queen of Cups to help me explore my emotions and get them under control so I can make a rational decision about what to do. I wrote to the company and asked if I could have an extension until the end of November, and they are okay with that. So maybe after the rush + short staff of summer is over, when the weather is back to normal, I will feel more like dealing with doing something I hate -- facing the fact that I have not performed 'perfectly' and work has been sent back to me with RED MARKS to do over. (I hate not getting things right the first time.)

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Earth of Earth - Princess of Disks

Thoth Tarot
Today I've drawn the Princess of Disks from Aleister Crowley's Thoth Tarot. It's one of my favourite cards from this deck, and apparently I am not alone. In his book Understanding Aleister Crowley's Thoth Tarot, Lon Milo DuQuette writes, 'To be embarrassingly honest, I am most profoundly (and most hopelessly) in love with her. Enlargements of this card adorn the living room walls of many of my colleagues, and it is one of the most frequently reproduced cards of the deck.' DuQuette calls her the ultimate princess -- being earth of earth, she represents the 'highest high and the lowest  low (and everything in between) of all the suits. The 'Malkuth of Malkuths', the 'potential of all possible possibilities, and the key to perpetuating the life of the universe.'

This is just one of the curiosities of the Thoth Tarot, that a low-ranked court card from the minor arcana can be the ultimate of the universe.

She wears a rather Wagnerian head dress with her hair in long braids, and a massive fur cloak that winds from her shoulders and twists into the foreground like an out of control bit of costuming from the Stark section of the 'Game of Thrones' wardrobe barn. She holds a staff or spear in one hand and a disk or shield in the other, which makes her seem even more Wagnerian. For someone who is 'earth of earth', she is decidedly unearthly, apparently floating there amidst trees whose roots hang in mid-air. Whatever she is looking down at is a source of brilliant light, for both she and the trees are lit from below --or is she the source of the light? We can see golden light emanating from the diamond tip of her staff, beaming down into whatever abyss she is peering into.

Let's listen to Paul Hughs-Barlow's thoughts on the Princess of Disks:

Change, change, change -- the cards are always about change. To be honest, I don't know that anything is going to change today. I am going to work today -- yes on a Sunday -- BOO HISS! -- and I have no plans to change anything today or do anything of the apparent magnitude implied by this card!

So we'll just look at it from the point of a view of a lowly tarot card reader. Perhaps this card encourages me to connect deeply with the physical and mundane aspects of life today, earthly life. It is not a day to float disconnected and unaware of my breath as I breathe it, my life as I live it. Today is a day to notice the tactile and the beautiful, the senses and the physical reality of my life and the comforts of home. I'll only be at work for four hours. The rest of the day is mine.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

I thought I'd do a general reading with the CC

Pearls of Wisdom, 2nd Edition (Roxi Sims) 

1. What covers me - 4 of Wands
2. What crosses me - The Star
3. What crowns me - Temperance
4. What lies beneath me - Ace of Cups 
5. What lies behind me - 7 of Cups 
6. What lies before me - High Priestess
7. Me - 2 of Pentacles 
8. My house - 10 of Cups 
9. My hopes and fears - 5 of Pentacles
10. What will come - Knight of Pentacles 

This is the Pearls of Wisdom Tarot, a favourite of mine. I'd like to refer to the book throughout for this reading. My current situation is the 4 of Wands crossed by the Star. 'Making plans which suggest a change in direction. Your actions are in harmony with the Universe,' the guidebook says of 4 of Wands. This is crossed by The Star, 'a card of great love, holding the impersonal forces of the Universe in balance.' This suggests that what I'm doing now is for my greatest good. I'm doing okay. And the things I'm thinking of doing are also okay, and will move me in the right direction for me. 

I am crowned by Temperance, I am 'blessed to be in harmony with the Universe' and 'taste of the Divine leading [me] to greater discoveries about [my]self.' And my foundation is the Ace of Cups, 'a clearing and/or cleaning is taking place.' We see the figure baptising herself in the water -- washed clean of the old emotional junk and ready for new feelings and experiences. 

Behind me is confusion -- 7 of Cups, a card which denotes distraction and indecision.  'It is possible that these dreams are a result of your saboteur, the part of yourself which judges you bad or guilty.' So behind me is confused thoughts based on my saboteur. In some ways, at least. :) 

Before me lies some work plumbing the depths of myself, the High Priestess. I have some soul-searching to do. 

I am a fountain, you are my water, 
I flow from you to you.
I am an eye, you are my light, 
I look from you to you. 
You are neither my right nor my left, 
You are my foot, you are my arm as well.
I am a traveller; you are my road. 
I go from you to you. 
                            --Zeynap Hatun (quoted in Pearls of Wisdom LWB)

Meanwhile I am the 2 of Pentacles, seeking balance. 

My house is in good order, where there is 'happiness and harmony' and 'more than enough love'. Things have seemed very good of late. Not perfect but good. 

Of course, my hopes and fears are of avoiding lack, 5 of Pentacles. Especially in the face of attempts at change, I have fear of lack and loss. 

Finally, the outcome of Knight of Pentacles suggests slow and steady is the only way to proceed, methodical, patient and organized. I like that advice anyway. 

Friday, 26 June 2015

Page of Cups

The Lovers' Tarot (Connections 2005)
Today's card from my new deck, The Lovers' Tarot by Jane Lyle, is Page of Cups. The image makes very clear reference to the RWS Page of Cups: The figure is facing to the left side of the card, red and blue clothing, standing on the edge of water, and most curiously, there is a fish emerging from the cup. The creator of the Rider Waite Smith deck,  Arthur Edward Waite, provides only this explanation in his Pictorial Key to the Tarot: 'A fair, pleasing, somewhat effeminate page, of studious and intent aspect, contemplates a fish rising from a cup to look at him. It is the picture of the mind taking form' [italics mine]. Now, that's interesting. Many contemporary tarot readers, if they mention the fish at all, talk about the Page of Cups' imagination and sense of wonder being symbolised by the fish emerging from the cup. That may be quite valid. But Waite's explanation, brief as it may be, seems perhaps to go a bit further. 'The picture of the mind taking form' is a very big picture indeed! It is the awakening of consciousness, emotional intelligence, and self-awareness, is it not? The fish is a fitting symbol for these things...a creature that is foreign to us, able to breathe where our bodies would drown, living in a place that we cannot see (beyond the most fleeting glimpses) but can only imagine, hidden from us and our experience, creatures that go with unseen flows, that can travel great distances at great speeds. As most of the earth's surface is covered by water, fish may symbolise greater freedom than we land-crawlers enjoy -- more territory to explore, and moving through it with greater ease and in deeper harmony than we can in our own dry environments. They are light and buoyant and quick, where we are weighed down by gravity, heavy and slow.Yes, the fish is a good symbol of the unseen, the depths, freedom, vastness, unfettered movement...the inner mind, the heart, the subconscious, the emotions. So the fish emerging from the cup represents our first awareness of this rich inner world, the first consideration that we might have depths unplumbed within ourselves, waiting to be explored.

In what way are you awakening to an unsuspected hidden depth? How has its emergence surprised you? What do you think you will do with this new awareness?

The Lovers' Tarot by Jane Lyle - Review

The Lovers' Tarot by Jane Lyle (Connections, 2005)
Apparently The Lovers' Tarot by Jane Lyle has been through many editions, the first one coming out in 1992 as a majors only deck. I bought the 78-card version because I watched a video of Four Queens unboxing hers and when upon investigation I discovered that the pip cards are very plain, I ordered it. I quite like pips-only decks. There's something that feels very fortune-tellerish about laying out a bunch of plain cards and doing a reading with them; I feel it shows some knowledge, and appears less like you're 'just looking at the pictures and making stuff up.' I have both kinds of decks, of course, but I think it's good to use pips-only decks, too.

This deck is called The Lovers' Tarot and it is specifically intended to be used for love and relationship readings. The 64-page guidebook accordingly confines its interpretations to that context, which makes for an interesting read. Though the book is very brief, it is packed with useful information, making it a valuable and convenient resource for quick reference. Each major card gets one page of text that includes ruling planet, element, and a keyword, a 2 or 3 paragraph explanation of the card, and two key phrases called 'essence'. I feel the book really comes into its own with the minors and courts. Instead of organising them by suit, Ace - Ten, as most (but not all) guidebooks do, this book is organised by number. For each number, all four cards are featured across two facing pages, with one-half a page each. The upright meaning is called 'The Gift' and the reversed meaning is called 'The Challenge'. Each card is given a keyword for both upright and reversed:

The Lovers' Tarot by Jane Lyle (Connections 2005)

About the art -- it's a kind of photo collage which some call awkward and clunky, but I think it's meant to be like that. The illustrator, Oliver Burston, is a professional commercial artist so I have no doubt he has the skill to create something realistic and lifelike. I just don't think that was the object here. I like that the art looks like pieces cut from the work of great masters and pasted down. I like the flatness and odd proportions. It's why I like the Tarot Illuminati as well. See what you think:

Majors from The Lovers' Tarot (Connections 2005)

Courts from The Lover's Tarot (Connections 2005)

The only down side I see to this deck is the suit of Wands. There is no movement there, and for the Fire suit, I would like to see the arrangement less static. I'll show you what I mean. The wands are used to create almost like a wall or fence as the numbers get higher. This disappoints me. I would like to have seen, for example, all of them aligned for 8 of Wands, and a bit more confusion in 5 of Wands and 10 of Wands. I know it's a pips-only deck, but there's just something about the way the wands form a kind of garden fence that doesn't seem very Wandsy to me. I would also have preferred a red or orange background colour, to reflect the Fire element. That's the only negative thing I have to say about this deck, though.

I find this an attractive deck with a useful little guidebook, and it comes with a lovely sturdy box, all for a very reasonable price. I am quite pleased with it, and feel it's a keeper.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Can you untell what you've told?

The Dreamer Princess is the Princess of Swords. It's important to make a distinction between tarot Princesses and tarot Pages. They aren't exactly the same thing. An RWS Page of Swords is characterised as a studious young person who enjoys playing devil's advocate and challenging those in authority to debate, someone who is always questioning why. Armed with this knowledge, the verse assigned to Dreamer Princess may puzzle:

Her leaves are whispers on the wind
She will tell them how and why you sinned
She gleans her knowledge from the earth
And dreams of what its gift is worth...
                                                 - Emily Carding

That doesn't exactly sit well with our contemporary RWS vision of the Page of Swords as earnest and questioning student, but look what Crowley says about the Thoth Princess of Swords:

'The Princess of Swords represents the earthy part of Air, the fixation of the volatile. She partakes of the characteristics of Minerva and Artemis, and there is some suggestion of the Valkyrie. She represents to some extent the anger of the Gods...The character of the Princess [of Swords] is stern and revengeful. Her logic is destructive. She is firm and aggressive, with great practical wisdom and subtlety in material things. She shows great cleverness and dexterity in the management of practical affairs, especially where they are of a controversial nature. She is very adroit in the settlement of controversies.'

You look at the figure in the card differently now, don't you? She's got a lot of power, this one. She's no student. She's in control of what she unleashes -- but is she in control of the consequences? Can she really control where those leaves go, or does she just think she can? She might just be a little too big for her britches.

'If ill-dignified,' continues Crowley, 'all these qualities are dispersed; she becomes incoherent, and all her gifts tend to combine to form a species of low cunning whose object is unworthy of the means.'

We've all got the gift of telling, but should we always unleash all we know? Should we say everything we think? Can we control those leaves once we set them loose on the wind?

The Buddha's teaching about right speech has been rendered by some unknown person into this memorable verse:

If it is not truthful and not helpful, don't say it.
If it is truthful but not helpful, don't say it. 
If it is not truthful but helpful, don't say it. 
If it is truthful and helpful -- wait for the right time. 

That's worth thinking about.