Sunday, 26 June 2016

Knight of Cups - he's not such a drip after all

Jean Dodal Tarot, JC Flornoy 2009
Knight of Cups: Development of Love

A feeling, emotion, relationship or aspect of spirituality is growing.

The knight holds a very large cup aloft, balanced on his outstretched palm. The cup shows lots of red, denoting passions and emotions. The knight's mantle is also red, in the garment worn over his torso, nearest his heart.

The cup is gold, the knight has golden locks cascading over the hat or shield on his back, his horse is trimmed in gold, and the vegetation underfoot is gold.

If that shape on his back is his shield, then he is certainly showing willingness to be vulnerable, by wearing his protection on his back and holding out his treasure so precariously.

In his left hand, he clutches the reins of the horse, which are tied off in a knot. The effect is rather phallic, though. Make of it what you will.

The knight -- and his horse! -- cut their eyes toward something in a rather coy and flirtatious manner, chin down and looking out of the corner of their eyes. Very flirty indeed. One expects a flutter of eyelashes any minute. The knight has very wide eyes in his face, and a pleasant expression. The chin-down posture and hunching-forward shoulders give him an 'aw-shucks' bashful feel. It's the 'Here, I picked you some flowers, Mommy,' posture he's got there. It just asks for the 'Aww, thank you, sweety,' response.

I have often seen the Knight of Cups as a mewling little drip. But he's kinda cute here. He can't help how he feels. :)

What love is developing in you today? Are you hesitant to express it? How might you offer your love to the world today, however bashfully and possibly at the risk of making yourself vulnerable? Are you willing to do that today?

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Ace of Cups - Home of Love

Jean Noblet Tarot, JC Flornoy 2014 
We are accustomed to associating the suit of Cups with emotions and relationships, which is a figurative leap based on the role real cups play in our lives.

The cup is the vessel we use to hold water or wine. Without liquid, we would die within a week, as opposed to going without food, which will kill after about 45-60 days. (According to sources found online). The vessel that delivers liquid, then, becomes symbolic of life-giving properties.

The cup represents the essence of nourishment -- physical, spiritual, emotional, and nowadays we would add psychological.

The cup represents fulfilment in all those areas, and the people and circumstances that deliver that fulfilment to us.

It's not the cup so much as what's in the cup. An empty cup is useless. The emblems of the other suits are tools in and of themselves. You can cut things with a sword, hit things with a stick, and buy things with a coin, but you can't do anything with a cup, if there's nothing to put in it. It can only fulfil its role if it has something to contain. Though I suppose you could rightly say, you can't cut if there's nothing to cut, hit if there's nothing to hit, or buy if there's nothing to buy. However, there's one other point about the cups suit. With the other emblems, you use them as a tool to act upon something outside yourself, but with the cup, you use it as a tool to deliver something inTO yourself. It is thus instantly more intimate. And that's another reason to associate it with internal things, like love, emotion, spirituality and psychology.

Havdala receptacle 
The Ace of Cups in the Tarot de Marseille, though, doesn't look much like a cup. It certainly doesn't resemble the cups found in the pip cards. What is that thing?

Containers of holy relics
It's something called a 'reliquary', or a container of holy relics, in the Catholic tradition. Similar looking vessels are also used to contain spices in the Jewish Havdala ceremony to mark the end of the Sabbath. Here the cup is elevated to its most spiritual level of meaning.

We can see, then, how other emblems are mostly concerned with conflicting with others, while the cup is concerned with communing with others, both in the earthly and the heavenly realms. The cup is nourishment to the body, nourishment to relationships, and nourishment to the spirit as we use it to connect to others and to our gods.

Like reliquaries and havdala receptacles, the Ace of Cups has an architectural quality. It looks like a building! It resembles a castle with turrets. On a mundane level, the Ace of Cups can represent a house, for this reason. It can also be seen as a connection between the earthly and the divine, just as the receptacles serve as earthly homes for divine objects in the Catholic and Jewish traditions.

The question that springs to mind in response to this card as a daily draw is this: How is your home a source of comfort and love to you? How can you make your home a more loving place?

Friday, 24 June 2016

A personal reading using TdM

Jean Dodal Tarot, JC Flornoy 2009
How should we proceed with the house buy given the outcome of the EU Referendum? 

The images of the cards:

A lad on a horse changes direction from the left of the card to the right. As he turns to the right, all his energy is focused in the new direction. His gaze, his horse's head and his outstretched arm holding the wand all strive toward the right of the card.

In the middle of the card, 3 crossed batons.

On the right side of the spread, a man is seated easily on the edge of a chair. His legs crossed at the knee, hand resting on his belt, and elbow leaning on the arm of the chair all denote confidence and self-assurance. He holds up a sceptre and at his side is a shield.

The story of the cards:

After a hesitation, energy reasserts itself in the direction of the future. Plans are proceeding after briefly heading in a backward direction. Now all the energy is focused to proceeding with plans. (Batons are 'work, callings and plans'). The Knight of Wands (progression of plans) moves toward 3 of Batons -- 3 is the number of growth, 3 of Batons is growth of plans. So the original energy is focused toward growth of the plans. And finally, the Emperor faces 3 of Batons and focuses all his energy in that direction as well. He maintains the status quo, keeps a stiff upper lip, and is a man of action - as long as the action is to keep things as they are, firmly under his control. He's very much an 'I've started so I'll finish' type. His easy confidence suggests that the plans are the right thing to do.

In other words, you may have hesitated for a moment, but all your energies should be poured into maintaining that original plan and carrying on with it.

How will the mortgage perform over its full life? 

The images of the cards:

A huge angel blows a trumpet down toward the ground and three figures seem to be emerging from boxes. On the next card, there are a lot of coins, and the final card shows four interlocked batons.

The story of the cards:

The image in Judgement is the Biblical 'judgement day', when the dead rise in response to a heavenly call. It is an image associated with rebirth and renewal. In the next card, nine is 'a lot', so 9 of Coins could be seen as 'a lot of money' (and this card has come up in other house readings)-- a mortgage is a big thing. That's twice 9 of Coins has represented a mortgage loan in my TdM draws.  In the next card, four batons interlock. Four 'does not change'. 4 of Batons is ofen seen as a stability card or home and hearth card.

In other words, over the course of its life, the amount will be continuously remortgaged, but it will be stable.

That's that, then.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

5 of Swords in Tarot de Marseille

CBD Tarot, Ben-Dov
An RWS reader sees the 5 of Swords and says, 'Defeat. Loss. Betrayal.' I even used to call it the 'nanner nanner boo boo' card, because the victors look so smug and the defeated look so... defeated. But what's in the Tarot de Marseille image?

Look at the card. Think literally to start with. What do swords do? They cut. We use them to defend and to attack. Sometimes they are ceremonial, where they are used to display power and authority. For any sword card, we would do well to remember what a sword literally is and what it represents. Defend, attack, power, authority. Cut, stab, slice, penetrate.

Think about the colours. Forget 'colour symbolism' and be literal. Red is heat, blood. Pale blue is cold and icy. Yellow is the colour of the sun and of gold.

In this image we see four curved scimitars which might be viewed as a ceremonial array, or it might be a defensive formation, or an offensive 'trap'. (Anyone see 'Game of Thrones' recently?!)  In the centre is a red sword with a gold cross guard, blue grip, red pommel and white peen block, or 'pommel button' (these four parts combine to form the 'hilt'). The blade of this sword is red and it is shorter and wider than any other sword in the suit. It appears to be a substantial weapon, created not for aesthetics but for use. (As opposed to some of the longer, slender blades seen in the swords suit.)

In all of the odd sword cards, we see a single red-bladed sword involved in some way with the pale blue cross-hatching at the top of the card. However, in every other card, we see the sword's blade below, its tip above, but only red diamond shapes in the blue area.  (such as the one seen below the sword). It is only in the 5 of Swords that the actual red blade itself is clearly depicted penetrating the blue at the top of the card. And here is where we get the key word for 5 of Swords: 'Breakthrough'.

Five of Swords is the only card that shows a red blade with a red pommel. All of the swords have red blades with pale blue grips, showing the swords consist of strong feelings wielded with detachment -- sans merci? But this is the only one with a red pommel. The pommel of a sword is not there for decoration. It is essential to the construction of the sword. Its purpose is to fasten the blade into the hilt, act as a counterbalance to the weight of the blade, and support the hand. This one is red, and is somewhat larger than other pommels in the sword suit. This blade of passions or strongly held beliefs or determination or bloody-mindedness, or whatever you wish to read into the colour red, is anchored in more of the same. Wielded with a detachment that suggests lack of mercy. And unlike other sword cards, the 5 of Swords clearly shows the main blade penetrating blockages created by the other swords in the card.

The interpretation given in The Open Reading by Yoav Ben-Dov:

'An initiative to push forward and go beyond present limitations. Perseverance in a tight situation brings success. Going your own way regardless of disturbance by others. Imposing your will on adversaries who are weaker.'

We've put an offer on that second house that turned up in a recent reading. Perhaps today will be the 'breakthrough'. We're still waiting to hear from the vendor with a response to our offer.

What breakthroughs are you hoping to make today?

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

A look at Force (Strength)

Jean Noblet Tarot by JC Flornoy
What's the most effective thing I can do to make today a successful day? 

Subdue the beast and keep my gaze to the future.

What else is here? Her hat reminds me of the tail of a beaver. The beaver is industrious and persistent. Beavers build dams. We have the saying, 'beavering away' when we mean to work on something, to exert oneself, to continue with the work at hand until the goal is reached. There's an answer in that. Don't quit before you're through.

The top of her head reminds me of the teeth in the beast's mouth. She has more teeth in her crown than he has in his mouth. She has the fiercer determination. She can overcome him. Another answer -- remember I have the upper hand. I have more tools at my disposal, I have more options.

Eva Green as Vanessa
Her face reminds me of Vanessa Ives (from 'Penny Dreadful') when she is beset by something. The beauty with the intense expression. The figure in the Noblet Tarot does not have the demure expression often seen on the face of Strength in some tarot decks. This struggle is not serene. It can't be pleasant to have your hands plunged into the mouth of a beast -- it's slick, smelly, the teeth are sharp and it's no doubt struggling against you and trying to bite. Still, the task does not require her to look down into the mouth of the beast, and it's probably best if she doesn't. Instead she keeps her eyes focused on the progress she wishes to make. 'When you look into the abyss, the abyss looks into you,' as the saying goes. The beast is already looking up directly at the figure. If she were to lock eyes with it, what might happen? No, best to keep eyes forward. Answer three: don't make it personal. It isn't.

There's a job to be done, I'm in a good position to do it, and I should keep my emotions out of it and just get on with it.

What job do you have to do today? How do you need to keep your eyes forward? Have you identified the teeth in your crown? How can you wrangle the beast today?  In what ways do you need to draw back from the situation and keep it impersonal?

Monday, 20 June 2016

Update on recent readings...

On Saturday I did a 'dumb reading' about the negotiations for a house we were trying to buy:

CBD Tarot by Yoav Ben-Dov

I interpreted this reading thus: A woman offers a coin to a situation that involves a lot of money. A youth rides past the offered coin toward an older man holding a cup. A collaboration ensues, and an agreement is reached that is mutually beneficial. It didn't turn out 'quite' that way...

A friend told me that the Ace of Cups in this type of reading almost always means a 'house' -- which makes sense if you look at the shape -- and the 2 following it could be read literally to make 'a second house'.

The negotiation happened today. The woman made the offer. The vendor did walk right past it. We are very grateful for that, because we had no intention of offering any more for that house than we did; we went and looked at a house this afternoon that just came on the market today and we liked it so much we are going to make an offer on it first thing tomorrow morning. So -- we loved a second house.

What actually happened was this: our negotiator put an offer to the estate agent. The estate agent phoned me and I said exactly the same thing. The vendor didn't like the offer (even though it was for what the house appraises for) and rejected it.

The King of Cups may be us, older and wiser, following the counsel of our hearts (by accepting the rejecting without counter offer), turning our heads toward a 'harbinger of good news about a second house' (6 of Wands + Ace of Cups + 2 of Coins), because after we got the news they weren't interested in our offer, we saw the house listed and phoned to make an appointment to see it. We just saw it this afternoon and liked it enough that we are going to put an offer in on it tomorrow morning.

It did turn out to be a second house. Now who knows if we end up buying the house, but the negotiations turned out just as depicted in the cards.

I have learned a new lesson -- look at the picture in the card, be literal The Ace of Cups does look like a house. And remember to keep the reading focused on self. Someone in this reading had to be me. Turns out I was the King of Cups -- the one in the middle, of course!

Valuable reading experience gained. I won't forget it.

Success in 6 of Coins

Today we are going to meet with the person who will be negotiating with the estate agent for our house this week. We want to go over all the details with her and make sure she knows what our bottom line is when it comes to negotiating. We only have one deal breaker, and if the vendors are at all sensible, they will see that it is perfectly fair to expect them to carry out that work or reduce the asking price to cover that work, because with it not done, the house is not valued by the surveyor at the asking price.

The card of the day is hopeful in that respect. We have the 6 of Coins. It is a card that looks exactly the same upright or inverted. It has perfect symmetry and balance. Yoav Ben-Dov says in The Open Reading that it denotes 'plenty of resources and possibilities.' The interpretation sounds so hopeful I just have to quote it:

'Optimism, a positive outlook, especially in material and practical issues. A good balance between stability and flexibility. Advancement of a project without encountering a real challenge. Expansion in different directions without losing focus. Success.'

That makes me feel really positive about the meeting and the work this person is going to do for us.

After the meeting, we intend to do some domestic chores -- for one, we're going to take some items that are hard to dry without a tumble dryer or a back garden and wash and dry them at the laundrette. I haven't been in a laundrette in 20 years. That should be interesting.

Beyond that I don't know what we're doing. We booked this week off as we do every year at this time, but this year we decided we'd best not spend any money on a holiday so we're just hanging around. Plus I've got some stuff I've got to get done for the IRS this week. Joy.

Have a great day!