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Saturday, 17 November 2012

Book of Shadows Vol 1, All Week

For the next 7 days, I will be drawing from the new LoScarabeo deck by Barbara Moore, Book of Shadows Vol. 1: As Above. I bought this as a deck-only, before I realized it was available as a box set with companion book. The book covers the two decks that the set will comprise: 'As Above (Vol. 1)' and 'So Below (Vol. 2)'. I've seen images of the 'So Below' deck, and I'm not sure I want it, anyway, so it works out that I didn't buy the set.

Another reason it's good that I didn't end up with the set is that I'm forced to do my own thinking about each of these cards. 'Each card is a portal that enables us to enter vast realms of knowledge and experience through meditation and study,' writes deck creator Barbara Moore, in the Little White Book. To me, this means I am meant to find my own way through this deck, just as a practitioner of Wicca or other pagan traditions would create their own 'Book of Shadows'. I have been looking through this deck quite a bit lately, but I haven't yet tried to use it for actual readings. So this week will be a good experiment.

Book of Shadows, Vo1 1
Barbara Moore 2012
Today's card is XVII Imbolc, or The Star. We see a female figure at winter sunrise, in a snowy setting. In the background there appear to be standing stones and some sort of large animal. To me it reminds me of a polar bear, but it is probably a ewe, this card being 'Imbolc'.  The red-haired maiden is crowned with 7 lit candles, robed in a white fur robe. (Too bad it isn't 8, which would better reflect the RWS version of the card). She has a fiery cauldron to her right out of which she dips liquid. She pours liquid from another vessel into a pool with her left hand. Her left foot is in the pool, her right knee on land. (This is the opposite to the hands and knees in the RWS Star card). Peeping out from behind her robe is the ubiquitous fluffy bunny that is included in virtually every card of this deck, whereas in the RWS card there is a bird in a tree.  Curiously, there does not appear to be a star in the sky in this 'Star' card.

Imbolc is one of eight pagan festivals (referred to as 'Wheel of the Year').  In Gerald Gardner's original Book of Shadows, Imbolc was referred to as 'February Eve,' as it traditionally falls on 1st or 2nd February, depending on your tradition. It is one of four so-called 'Celtic' festivals, rather than a solar festival (those being Vernal Equinox, Summer Solstice, Autumnal Equinox and Winter Solstice). Rather than being determined by the position of the earth in relation to the sun, the Celtic festivals have to do with the agricultural year in the Northern Hemisphere. Imbolc (pronounced 'IM-mulk', though some pagans say it 'Im-BOLK', which I find grating), supposedly derives from 'Ewe's milk' and is meant to signal the beginning of the first signs of life, or at least the promise of the first signs of life, after a long cold winter. So that's why I'm guessing the animal in the background is a ewe.

Like the Star in traditional tarot, this card is represents Hope, in this case, the hope of a return to fertility and plenty. I don't know anything about astrology or astronomy, but I've read that the Star card is associated with both Venus and Sirius, which both 'disappear' and 'reappear' in the sky. The Star card is also linked to Persephone, who went into the Underworld for a time, to return later, though she has to go back every year. So the card has several correspondences to the concept of a dark time and a return of the light.

It seems apt for me, as I made a plan yesterday to being a 'return' of sorts today--a return to a routine of exercise and better eating. I am starting over like it was 2003 all over again, with a beginner-style rotation of Monday-Wednesday-Friday. And actually, my trigger for wanting to lose a bit of weight is linked to Imbolc--every year we go to the Marsden Imbolc Fire Festival, and if I don't lose some weight, I will not be able to wear my waterproof trousers! Rather than buy bigger ones, I thought it would be a great milemarker to be able to wear what I wore last year--tights, thermals, jeans and the waterproofs on top. (Trust me, it was not too much!). Right now, just pulling them over my big butt is a challenge. So--there you go! How's that for bringing the loftiness of the Star card into the real world!


  1. Definitely bringing the loftiness of the Star into the everyday. Still, that guiding light to help you through every day from here to Imbolc (now trying to say it IM-Mulc in my head) is quite a big project! Lofty, even ;)

    As for me, exercise is not the issue. So, today I'm trying a "daylight" fast. I had breakfast at 6.30, and am intending not to eat anything til dinnertime. My Dear One has been fasting one day a week for several months, not changing anything else, and is looking extremely "cut". Wish me luck, too!

  2. Your comment about being glad not to have the book really stuck with me. Maybe I'll hide the book and give this deck another whirl.

  3. Rubbish deck -- sold it nearly as soon as I got it.