Monday 31 December 2012

Preparing for Incredible 2013

I've bought Leonie Dawson's Your Incredible 2013 Workbook and Calendar and thought I'd do a spread about the prospect of making 2013 'My Incredible Year', using Celtic Wisdom Oracle (Watkins, 2011):

Celtic Wisdom Oracle, Watkins 2011
 What should I keep faith with in 2013? - The Queen
What should I leave behind? - The Princess
How do I keep balance? - The Protector
What do I need to learn? - Druid Reversed

What guidance is offered? - Lord of Love, or Autumn Equinox

Sunday 30 December 2012

Making a deck my own

Celtic Wisdom Oracle, Watkins 2011

In my previous post, I gave a review of Celtic Wisdom Oracle (Watkins, 2011) which consists of 40 cards. I've had a look at the system and all the clan cards, and I've decided to use a truncated version I've put together to suit myself. I am ignoring most of Matthews' instructions, card groupings, and any unresonant meanings given in the companion book. My deck consists of 23 cards:

Maiden, Mother, Mistress and Keeper (or Crone) - Goddess/ Earth aspects

Celtic Wisdom Oracle by Caitlin Matthews

Today I'm looking at a deck I picked up at The Works two nights ago, Caitlin Matthews' Celtic Wisdom Oracle (Watkins 2011). She says she wanted to call it 'Celtic Ancestors Oracle', but her publishers did not like it. I think it would have been a more suitable title.

This deck just came out in 2011, and hasn't made much of a ripple anywhere that I've found. There isn't even a review of it or images on the Aeclectic Tarot website, and there have been hardly any threads about it. There are no reviews of it on, only a few on A Google search didn't lead me to anyone blogging about it. The Matthews have produced so many books and decks, in some ways this one strikes me as something a bit churned out, a product. I have no idea if this has to do with constraints placed upon Matthews by her publisher, but the companion book feels a bit like someone somewhere suggested, 'Hey, how about a Celtic themed oracle?' and Matthews responded, 'Oh yeah, I can crank that out in my sleep,' and dashed the companion book off by calling upon her formidable knowledge of lore and tradition. OR, it could be that her publishers said, 'Nope, keep it simple, you only get half a page per card.' Hard to say, feels like possibly a combination of things.

Friday 28 December 2012

How many swords of Damocles is that?

Servants of the Light, Aquarian 1991
I had to laugh when I drew this card from Servants of the Light Tarot, Aquarian Press 1991. I have to go back to work today! Ha. :)

Seriously, this is the card of bad dreams, sleepness nights, troubling thoughts. But as the Servants of the Light companion book says, it's all relative. If you've drawn a card asking about the outcome of your entry into the jam-making competition, chances are you'll come last. It's not likely, though, that you'll be decapitated for it. That made me laugh, I like that.So even though this card gets a bad rap, it's not as bad as it may at first seem.

I tend to see this card as overthinking, blowing problems out of proportion, worrying yourself into a corner (or a sleepless night).

Whatever happens today, I'm not going to let it worry me into a sleepless night. Nothing's as bad as it may at first seem.

May I keep perspective today, whatever may happen. 

Mantra: 'Breathing in, I know I am breathing in. Breathing out, I know I am breathing out. Breathing in, I live in the present moment. Breathing out, I know it is a wonderful moment. Present moment. Wonderful moment.' (This is the first mantra I ever learned. It is by Thich Nhat Hanh and beautiful beyond words. After the first repetition, continue by just saying 'Present moment' on the inhale, and 'Wonderful moment' on the exhale. Obviously it is a silent mantra, said in your head only.)

Flower essence: Mustard (dispels the black cloud overhead)

Thursday 27 December 2012

Jitterbug on a rainbow

Servants of the Light, Aquarian 1991
It's nice to draw this colorful, cheery Sun card from the Servants of the Light Tarot (Aquarian, 1991) on a grey, rainy day like today.

The card is dominated by the sun, which is nice to see, as a few decks don't really feature the sun in their Sun cards (I'm think particularly of Wicca Moon). Here we see the motif of the two young figures, this time a female and a male, clasping hands and dancing on a rainbow disk which is perched, phonograph record-like, on the top of a mountain. They do look like they're doing some sort of jitterbug, and it's funny to imagine big band music in connection with this card.On the side of the mountain, near the sea, there is a town, and above the town, the rainbow disk, then on this disk, our dancing fools, then above it all, the sun, bursting through the clouds in rings and rays.

The Sun card always stands for good things, and today I am embarking on a good thing, which I think will help me very much. The card certainly bodes well for it.

May the Sun shine on me in my endeavors today and for the coming year. 

Mantra: Om ravaye namaha, om suryaya namaha, om savitra namaha (Salutations to the Light of Compelling Radiance, to the Dispeller of Darkness or Ignorance, to the Light of Enlightenment)

Flower essence: Gentian (brings the ability to see that all things are working to the right end, thereby taking away dejection)

Wednesday 26 December 2012

Boxing Day Bump

Servants of the Light Tarot, Aquarian 1991

Bump! Back down to earth we go on Boxing Day. The other day I heard on telly that from a kid's point of view it's the worst day of the year: 364 days until Christmas. Ha ha! When I drew this card today, it reminded me of bumping back down to reality. Bump!

The Servants of the Light Tarot (Aquarian, 1991) draw for today is Two of Spheres, or 2 of Pentacles. The usual RWS image shows a man juggling two giant coins or pentacles. In this image we see an arm holding a set of scales with two of this deck's glowing spheres balanced on each side of the scale. The cup on the left has the symbol for Jupiter , the lower cup on the right has the symbol for Saturn. Saturn is Time, and the laws of the natural world. Jupiter is our particular path through life, the way we pass Time's tests. The companion book says, 'Jupiter stands for Joy, Life and Wealth; Saturn stands for Death, Age and Want. Which will it be?'

I don't know if it's that simple, but I do know my weigh-in this morning was not good! The card suggests a little more balance is due today, but I have a feeling there'll be lots more nibbling of leftovers and Christmas pudding, so balance is going to have to wait.

Happy Boxing Day!

Tuesday 25 December 2012

Joy to the World!

Servants of the Light Tarot, Aquarian 1991
It's Christmas Day!
I've beeeeeeen---
Off wooooorrrk---
Four daaaaaays!
And I 'm not going ba-a-a-a-ack
For three more da-a-a-a-ys
Let heaven and nature sing
Let heaven and nature sing
Let heaven, let heaven and nature sing!

Okay, enough with the rejoicing, let's have a look at the Servants of the Light Tarot's take on the World card.

The Fool has come full circle in this card, and it is traditional in its depiction of a half-male, half-female figure, emerging from a victory laurel wreath. The companion book says the figure is Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu, as well as Lakshmi, Saraswati and Kali, watched over from the corners by the Four Holy Creatures. What a lovely card.

Right, now I'm off to wing an improvised cashew and lentil nut roast because I have failed to plan my Christmas menu. I'm sure it will be lovely and after all -- it's only lunch.

May I feel the balance of the universe today.

Mantra: Om bhur bhuva swaha, tatsavitur varenyam, bhargo devasya dimhahi, dhiyo yonah prachodayat

Flower essence: Clematis, to avoid the fuzzy-headedness of being too much in the upper chakras. :)

Monday 24 December 2012

User of Weapons

Servants of the Light, Aquarian 1991
Another one of the amazing court cards from Servants of the Light Tarot, Aquarian Press 1991. Here is the Knight of Swords, or User of Weapons. You'll notice the sword is flaming, and that's because the Swords suit is elemental fire rather than air. So this is the Knight of Wands to me. It would appear that the User of Weapons is battling to rescue the maiden in white who is chained to the rock (it turns out she's the Keeper of Weapons from the next court card, or Page of Swords, ie Wands). If my constant transposing of suits confuses you, just ignore it. And don't let my swip-swaping to deal with elemental switches put you off this magical deck. It really has something special going for it.

Sunday 23 December 2012

Peace and Plenty

'I still believe that peace and plenty and  happiness can be worked out some way. I am a fool.' ~ Kurt Vonnegut

We see the arm of a jester dropping white spheres into needy little hands in this card from Servants of the Light Tarot, Aquarian Press, 1991. It is the Six of Spheres, or Pentacles. In this deck, the User of Spheres (or Knight of Pentacles) is depicted as a jester, for some reason. He appears in five of the ten cards in the Spheres suit, and three of the court cards. He is called 'another manifestation of the Fool' in the description to the Giver of Spheres. 'He is the Earth Guardian, in many ways akin to Pan. He will walk the earth as its guardian, but alone he cannot do all that he hopes, for he must have the cooperation of humanity,' according to the description of the User of Spheres. It is by the power of the Maiden of Malkuth that he has become Lord of the Earth, it says in the description for Keeper of Spheres. So there's a nice little mystery running through the Spheres suit for one to unravel or meditate upon, should one wish to.

It certainly brings more depth to what appears to be a rather straightforward RWS 6 of Pentacles. I might give something today, I might get something today. Or is it some sort of higher cooperation that will be rewarded today? Could be any or all of these.

May I be open to opportunities to give and receive of earth blessings today. 

Mantra: Om mani padme hum (this mantra helps achieve the 6 practices, from generosity to wisdom)

Flower essence: Chicory (to balance possessiveness, greed, lacking of sympathy; positive aspect is unconditional love)

Saturday 22 December 2012

Helper Bee

Servants of the Light Tarot, Aquarian Press 1991
I was going to do just a one-card draw today, but as soon as I turned over Giver of Staves in the Servants of the Light Tarot (Aquarian Press 1991), I had a strong impression that this reading is about Hubby's mum, and so I turned over the next two cards. The Giver of Staves in Servants of the Light is equivalent to Queen of Swords in regular RWS decks. This is because the elemental attributions of Swords and Wands (Weapons and Staves in this deck) have been switched, and with them, the traditional card means. Queen of Swords traditionally means a widow, so I thought of Hubby's mum. I turned over 5 of Spheres (5 of Pentacles) -- just this morning we learned that she fell yesterday and may have broken her hip (Hubby has dashed off to help out today). I turned over the next card, for outcome, and 10 of Staves is there. MIL is 89 years old, and we all know what a broken hip and that age can mean. It is very troubling.

Book Review: Tarot for Your Future by Sandra Pendle

Sandra Pendle, Rochair Ltd, no date
I found this book at The Works last night for £1.99. I bought it because it features the Morgan Greer Tarot. It was shrink wrapped so I couldn't tell anything much about it until I got home.

It's an odd little thing (though not actually little, at 8.5 x 11.75 inches). The cover is a tri-fold, which has spreads printed on them, and then the actual book is on the left side, so when the whole thing is open, it takes up a lot of space:

 Tarot for Your Future features the author's personal style of creating a reading, which involves four very large card spreads:

Spread 1: Character cross, 14 cards
Spread 2: Relationships, 20 cards
Spread 3: Star of Work & Finance, 17 cards
Spread 4: Events Triangle (the future), 21 cards

These layouts are printed on the two right-side panels of the book, so that you may refer to them continuously whilst using the information contained in the spiral-bound pages to the left.

Friday 21 December 2012

Winter Solstice Spread's the shortest day and the longest night of year, Winter Solstice. My tradition is to honor the darkness for this 24 hour period. We will not switch on the lights during the day, and at night we will use candles. It's a night for rest and reflection in the quiet velvet of the dark.

Winter Solstice, for me, is not a celebration of the birth of the sun. The sun is not yet born. If you want to chase that metaphor, I suppose tonight is its conception, and its long gestation is the time between the day after Winter Solstice and the Vernal Equinox. I celebrate its full fruition on Summer Solstice, not its decline, and make no mention of coming darkness. To do otherwise, to me, would be like mourning the impending death of a 21-year-old on their birthday. Makes no sense. And I don't spend Winter Solstice in anticipation of the light. It's darkness's turn, and I share in its time.

 Here is a spread  for Winter Solstice (inspired by one I found by Bodhran at Aeclectic Tarot).

Thursday 20 December 2012

King of the World

Arthurian Tarot, 1990
Today I finish work at 4.30, then I am off until next Friday! King of the world indeed. :)

Our last card from the Arthurian Tarot, Aquarian Press 1990, is Arthur, The Emperor. I'm not sure why a lot of people dislike the Emperor card. I've always liked him both in concept and in art, for most decks. Unless the deck creator is one of those who don't like him, and have made him into a negative image.

The Emperor is the card of authority, power and paternal figures. He represents the civilizing qualities of mankind -- organized systems of government, social heirarchy, systems of commerce, economies, agriculture and so on. Anything that requires organization, leadership and decision-making. The Emperor is the one in charge of all these systems. Gender roles, family roles, societal roles, work roles -- all these exist because of the organizing factors of the Emperor.

Wednesday 19 December 2012

Devil in the Details

Arthurian Tarot, 1990
My first thought on seeing this card is 'Snow!', but the forecast for the day is rain and around freezing...but still, if it's that cold, it could get slick out there. Today's card is the Arthurian Tarot (Aquarian Press, 1990) Devil card--XV The Green Knight.

I have to say, this Green Knight bears no resemblance to my own idea of the Green Knight from the medieval tale recounted earlier in my blog here. This guy is dressed in leaves, and has bare feet!

Tuesday 18 December 2012

Here's a riddle in the dark for you

Arthurian Tarot, 1990
What do you get when you cross the Cerne Abbas Giant, the Long Man of Wilmington, and Wayland's Smithy? 

You get today's card from Arthurian Tarot (Aquarian, 1990), Stone Three.

What a bizarre image, but as 3 of Coins is the card of craftsmanship, it works on many levels. First, there is the craftsmanship of the little standing stone, a monument to an ancient skill. Then the field to represent agriculture. The roads show signs of civilization. And of course the figure itself is both an example of artistry and handicraft as well as portraying the blacksmith, whose skills were considered sacred and magical. (And you'd have to have special powers to do your smithing both nude and in a rather excited state that would surely distract).

May all I do today be done with care and skill.

Mantra: Om shree vishwakarmaya namo namah (Vishwakarma is the Hindu god of arts, architecture, crafts and creation in general. He is the blacksmith to the devas.)

Flower essence: Larch (for confidence in abilities)

Monday 17 December 2012

You thought that was the 2 of Wands, didn't you?

Arthurian Tarot, 1990
Today's card from Arthurian Tarot (Matthews, Aquarian Press 1990) is a good example of the confusing nature of the minor arcana (or 'Lesser Powers') in this deck. We have a sunset landscape, a standing stone, and two spears propped against it, crossed. Two of Wands, your mind clicks into gear. But no. The title at the bottom of the card says, 'Spear Five'. Five of Wands? You what? So here I was, thinking of alliances, of combined force, of choices, of all those things associated with 2 of Wands. And now I have to back up and think of five little boys play fighting with long sticks (the traditional RWS image). I suppose it depends how deeply entrenched you are in Rider Waite Smith imagery, but even a beginner would likely squint back and forth from the title to the image, searching the background in vain for three more spears.

Sunday 16 December 2012

Not so fiery at 4 AM

Arthurian Tarot, Aquarian Press 1990
[As predicted yesterday when I pulled the Tower card, nothing happened--we weren't even busy at work--unless you count that I let the spinach cook dry and it burnt on the bottom of the pan last night, because I was busy reading out loud from The Hobbit to hubby in preparation for our viewing of the film today. So much for the Tower card. This has happened so many times that it no longer has any sting at all when it turns up in a reading for me.]

Let's talk a bit more about the tarot of the week, Arthurian Tarot by Caitlin and John Matthews, Aquarian Press 1990. As the name implies, the entire tarot has been adapted to the Arthurian legends, so that all the majors have been renamed (even calling them 'Greater Powers' rather than 'Major Arcana'.) Only the Moon and the Sun retain their traditional names. Each major card features a character or object from Arthurian legend, for example, Merlin for Magician, Lady of the Lake for High Priestess, and Gawain for Strength. The creators have had to stretch a bit on some of them, but I think their selections are clever and work well: The Washer at the Ford for Death, The Sleeping Lord (ie, the 'dormant' Arthur) for Judgement, and The White Hart for the Lovers, for example.

Saturday 15 December 2012

Arthurian Tarot by John Matthews

The tarot of the week will be the Arthurian Tarot by Caitlin and John Matthews, first publised by Aquarian Press in 1990. I have the edition in the sliding box (not the plastic 'video case' box pictured). I also have a companion book called Hallowquest: Tarot Magic and the Arthurian Mysteries, Aquarian Press 1990. Recently, a new edition of the Arthurian Tarot has come out, in a green box. I am not sure how many editions this deck has been through. Mine have the black arched borders. I trimmed the white outer bits off. At least one other edition has the arches in white. I would like to have a white-bordered one in addition to the black-bordered one I will be using this week.  Maybe some day I will run into one...

Today's card is XVI The Spiral Tower. Holy crap, what a start! Fortunately for me, the Tower almost never spells disaster. As I've said before, the Tower is usually something quite mundane for me, and don't think I'm not grateful for that. This Tower doesn't speak to me of disaster, anyway. It's more like a channel for receiving great power from the universe. Okay, it does cause the Tower itself to disintegrate, but surely that is a purification rather than a disaster. Once that Tower is razed, there'll be nothing left but the hill (and the new spiraling 'pure' tower reaching up to the heavens), the sky, the fields, the owl (symbol of wisdom), and all those glowing zodiac symbols. I'm not sure why they are there. I know nothing about astrology. Maybe someone can enlighten me with what they think of the symbols. The companion book only says, 'About the tor, the signs of the zodiac glow within the land.' Hm.

Well, we will just have to see what happens today. I predict, not much, personally, but it will probably be rather stressful at work. Busy, maybe.

Friday 14 December 2012


Wheel of Year Tarot, LS 2011
Our final draw of the week from LoScarabeo's 2011 Wheel of the Year Tarot is 6 of Cups. It's a very pretty card. I love the colours, that yellow dress with hot pink trim and a purple shawl, wow! Really vibrant and lovely. The girl is demure in her youthful clothing, her tender little barefeet peeping out from the eyelet lace trim of the dress hem a symbol of her purity and simplicity. In the stream, an image of herself and a man. In happier times? Or is it a hope for the future? Six of Cups is normally associated with 'nostalgia', so it leads me to lean toward the scene being from her past. I don't necessarily think she's no longer involved with this man, though. The card seems too vibrant to be about pain or loss, and in fact, my associations with the number 6 do not really allow for painful feelings. The number 6, for me, is about harmony, strong relationships, reconciliation. So I would say, she's not upset or pining so much as feeling very 'loved up'. And that kind of feeling is often associated with innocence and naivety.

It's nice to be loved up on a Friday. Even if I do have to work on Saturday.

Thursday 13 December 2012

'Stalker' Card Reading

Lisa at Tarotize came up with this spread to help us understand why those certain cards keep popping up for us. She shuffles the deck, then finds the stalker card, and lays it out with the two cards before and after it, plus a card drawn from an oracle deck. (She uses angel cards; I don't have those so I will use my Goddess Oracle). I've decided to try it for my 2012 Year Card, Lovers.

1. Why I have to have this lesson
2. What I will have learned by the end of it

3. Stalker card
4. How I am doing right now
5. Pass or fail?
6. Angelic guidance and comfort
Sulis from The Goddess Oracle, Marashinsky & Janto


6 of Cups - 3 of Cups - LOVERS - 5 of Wands - 9 of Swords

I have to have this lesson in order to experience the fullness of relationships (6 of Cups). By the end of it, I will have learned to enjoy fellowship with others (3 of Cups). Right now, I am not doing well. I am fighting it (5 of Wands). And I am failing in learning this lesson--or to be more gentle in the message--I am overthinking it and struggling (ie, fighting it). The Angelic guidance and comfort comes from Sulis. The companion book to The Goddess Oracle, by Amy Sophia Marashinsky, says that Sulis is 'the depths all people must plumb in their journey to light, health and wholeness.' She urges us to seek support and assistance for our healing, and to give ourselves time. I believe she's saying, that it's okay if the lessons of this year take me longer than a year to work through. :)


Wheel of Year,  LS 2011
Today's card from Wheel of the Year Tarot, LoS 2011, is the 8 of Wands. You can see the wands in the form of the fence. In this image, a man receives a message from a falcon, or some other sporting bird (not sure). The 8 of Wands often can mean communication, a message. It can also mean simply speed, things moving along quickly. But this card takes the focus down to just communication/messages. Anna K Tarot does something similar by depicting a woman leaning over the rail of a balcony to receive a letter from a postman.

I am expecting an important phone call today, which I actually made an appointment for, so it is an apt card to draw. It is not to receive any particular news but rather to set things in motion. So it looks like Wheel of the Year got this one right! :)

Wednesday 12 December 2012

Put them away, love

Wheel of Year, LS 2011
It's the Empress today from LoScarabeo's Wheel of the Year Tarot, 2011. One thing about LoS, they do love piccies of creamy-skinned young things with bare chests. I don't think the Empress has her norks out in any of my other tarot decks...

So what have we here, once you get past the nipple? She's sitting on a stone throne, in the fork of a tree, and is flanked by the sun on one side and an image of the 3 phases of the moon on the end of her sceptre on the other side, a reference to her association with the 3-fold goddess. Her necklace also has a crescent moon on it. Her floral headdress is reminiscent of the crown of stars seen on the RWS Empress. She's sexy, but I bet that stone throne is cold, and there's not much here to make me associate her with maternal instincts or Gaia/Mother Nature, such as you see on many other cards. Not my favourite Empress.

So what's the message for today, then? The Empress always makes me think of empowerment through the feminine--'Don't mess with Mother Nature' type stuff. Maybe I will be called upon to use maternal aspects of self in dealing with people at work, or even the Hubster.

Tuesday 11 December 2012

Androgynous much?

Wheel of Year, LS 2011
Here's the Knight of Cups from the Wheel of the Year Tarot, LS 2011. Flowing blond locks, clear skin, could-go-either-way face, what can only be described as 'well-developed' pects, accompanied by, without being crude about, a tidy little cod piece. ha ha  Though he's rather skinny in the flanks, for a horseman. What is going on here?

Well, who knows, but this Knight of Cups is a jolly and rather fey looking fellow, surrounded by blue skies, butterflies and daffodils. He doesn't seem nearly as murky and moody as some Knights of Cups, but his horse could pass through the shadow any minute now and throw him into the depths of despair.

May I not take myself nor my emotions too seriously today, as the Knight of Cups has a tendency to do. May I not be blown about by each passing wind (or shadow).

Monday 10 December 2012

A Sun Reading

From Rachel Pollack's Tarot Wisdom, a Sun reading:

What is clear in my life?
What is cloudy?
What helps me see clearly?

Page of Wands, 6 of Wands, 6 of Cups -- Wicca Moon Tarot
It's clear I need more creativity, enthusiasm, confidence and courage in my life. (This reading about the Sun in my life at the moment is filled with Wands cards, the fire suit. In Wicca Moon Tarot, it is also the suit of spring, which is interesting, because the Temperance card from Wheel of the Year that I pulled today shows a transition from winter to spring.) But lately the clouds have been covering over any feelings of success or triumph, any feelings of acclaim or recognition for achievements. I've had no feelings of pride or high opinion of myself and I certainly haven't felt like 'strutting my stuff'. What could help me feel better about myself? The 6 of Cups is often associated with nostalgia for the past, so it could be a suggestion to recreate the past...or it may be a warning not to try to recreate the past. Interestingly, the website Learn Tarot, which I highly recommend, adds 'experiencing good will, sharing what you have, feeling blessed, having a noble impulse, doing a kind turn for another' to the 6 of Cups meaning, so there is the idea that I can see more clearly if I stop peering into the figurative mirror at myself so intently and take a look around me at others. This is always advice I need to hear, and more importantly, to take.

That girl with the jugs keeps turning up

Wheel of Year, LS 2011
Oh look, it's the Temperance card again! It's one of my favourite cards, though this one from LoScarabeo's Wheel of the Year Tarot (2011) is a bit of a departure from the traditional RWS image.

Here we have a winged faery, with pale lavender skin and pointy ears, pouring water from one jug to another, which she has carefully balanced on her knees, both of which are firmly on the earth. The water flow is not doing the impossible in this image, but flows down from one jug into another just as it would in the real world. It looks vaguely to me like the card shows a transition from winter to spring. On the left side of the card we have snow, on the right green grass and blossoms. The vessel on the left side of the card seems to have icy bits hanging from it, while the one on the right side has a garland of flowers. So I'm supposing that is what is being represented. It is the Wheel of the Year Tarot, after all.

I scanned this card on Saturday and since then I've actually used a silver metallic pen to write the Roman numeral on and drew an outline around the edges. Maybe I'll post a scan of the new version. (I embellished all the majors with a line around).

A balance between winter and spring, cold and warm, austerity and abundance. But, but, but...I've been so bipolar in my lifestyle lately. Can I do lukewarm? (Particularly when today, after a weekend of abundance, I've been thinking of swinging into a bit of austerity? I'm talking food intake, here, by the way).

Let's take the advice literally and go with this: lots of liquids today. ;)

Sunday 9 December 2012

To follow that star

No matter how hopeless, no matter how far

I don't sleep in on the weekends or days off, and usually I say it's because I just can't sleep more than about 6 hours a night. There's another reason, though, and that's because if I'm anywhere close to consciousness, my mind starts to race until I can't bear it and have to get up. Something haunts me, it's the kind of thing you come to terms with, but that sticks in there. (Most of us have a 'thing' in our lives.) When I have all my faculties, I am able to remind myself I am here in this moment and all is well. But in my vulnerable sleep state, I am at the mercy of the demons of the depths, and they are evil little bastards who will not let me rest. I woke up this morning from doing battle with them in that semi-conscious state between about 4.30 and 6.00 AM, when I'm telling myself no normal person would consider getting up on a Sunday morning, and I should at least try to stay in bed until 7.00. But thoughts and images drove me from under the warm duvet and into the cold morning. Now I'm here with a cup of black coffee and John Matthews' Grail Tarot: A Templar Vision, because a morning like this is no time for bubble-gum fairies.

Saturday 8 December 2012

Year Card 2013--The Chariot

Over at Alison's Game of Thrones blog, she's already getting ready for 2013. The year card for 2013 is the Lovers (2+0+1+3=6), but you can also figure your personal year card by adding your date of birth to 2013. Mine is 27+01+2013=2041=7, The Chariot!

Chariot, Wheel of Year, 2011

'Weird Things in the Foreground Tarot': Wheel of the Year

If I'm going to blog with The Wheel of the Year Tarot (LoScarabeo, 2011) all week -- which I think I will -- I have to get something off my chest first. There are 8 cards in this deck that very nearly spoil it for me. All of them have 'weird things in the foreground'--so let's just have a look at them and see if we can figure out why. The LWB that comes with the deck sheds no light whatsoever.

I bought this deck in October 2012 at the UK Tarot Conference on a whim. I knew I didn't particularly like the artwork, as LoScarabeo art generally doesn't appeal to me. There's a 'saminess' to their decks that grates on me. But I also knew it was colorful as a big bowl of pastel Smarties, and was promoted as being a seasonal tarot with strong RWS associations. So I bought it. From the beginning the borders bothered me, with their multi-lingual titles. Something about the borders made the already cheesy artwork seem even cheesier. For that reason, I haven't had it out of the box much. And then the second reason are those Weird Things in the Foreground cards. Let's take a look:

Friday 7 December 2012

Rise up

Star Tarot, Cathy McClelland
I'm a little surprised at the overt Native American elements in this card from the Star Tarot by Cathy McClelland. There are a few in some of the other cards from the deck, but none so dominating as seen here.  I feel a bit uncomfortable with this sort of 'generic' Native American spirtuality. Upon closer inspection, though, this card actually contains an eclectic mixture of images.

Cathy calls this card 'Resurrection/Awakening of the Self'. 'It is a time when life becomes fresh again and all the burdens or limitations of the past break away, opening one to the beauty of universal love,' she writes, in the Star Tarot companion booklet.

Thursday 6 December 2012

Lightning strikes again

Star Tarot, Cathy McClelland
For a Tower card, I find this one looks rather too static and stylized for my taste. This card comes from the Star Tarot by Cathy McClelland.  At first glance, it looks to me like a cutaway of a nuclear cooling tower, or the neck of a bottle, or just about anything other than a tarot Tower. I think it's the lava flow and the blackness of the Tower that confuse my eye.

Lightning strikes the black tower from above, piercing it all the way through and crackling it down to its very foundations. It won't stand for much longer before it crumbles to dust.  Three figures that look nothing like human beings exit through flaming windows, but instead of plummetting to earth, they appear to be flying away in the form of a rather putrid-coloured smoke. In the background there is water, mountains on the horizon, a setting sun on the right and perhaps a comet falling on the left. At the bottom in the foreground, curiously, a dove holding an olive branch flies across the scene.

Wednesday 5 December 2012

The middle way

Star Tarot, Cathy McClelland
In Tarot Wisdom: Spiritual Teachings and Deeper Meanings, Rachel Pollack goes out of her way to state more than once that the Temperance card is unexciting to her and one of her least favourites. She says it combines her three least favourite cards in one: 1+4=5, The Hierophant, while 4 reminds her of the Emperor.

I, on the other hand, have always loved the Temperance card, and in fact, find the the Temperance is often my favourite major in most decks, and is certainly one of the cards I look at when deciding whether to buy a new deck. I find this Temperance card from Cathy McClelland's self-published Star Tarot one of the most beautiful ones I have seen. Let's take a close look.

Tuesday 4 December 2012

The Lovers

Star Tarot, Cathy McClelland
I suppose it should be no surprise that I drew The Lovers today, after all that talk yesterday about the Devil and the Lovers!

This Lovers card from Cathy McClelland's self-published Star Tarot (majors only) is subtitled in her companion book 'The Sacred Marriage - The Healing Union.' Cathy suggests this card has to do with  'how sensual love can bring one to spiritual awakening, and bring back the sense that the world is alive, renewing, regenerating and fulfilling, and that we are always a part of that.' That's a lovely sentiment, but I do think the card goes deeper than that, which she touches on when she adds, 'Understand your dualities and take the journey on the heavenly road to the ultimate love - union with the Divine.'

This is a very traditional-looking Lovers card, quite beautiful. We have the Angel Raphael blessing the union from above, crowned by Shekinah glory, with the Holy Spirit descending in the form of a dove.

Monday 3 December 2012

Sympathy for the Devil

Star Tarot, Cathy McClelland
I have been drawing The Devil a lot for the last several weeks, and I have been pondering its meaning, both the card itself and what it may signify in my life right now. I actually drew Magician for Monday, but decided to blog about Devil, because of its significance of late. It turned up again yesterday in the Anna K draw, as outcome. It just keeps coming up lately.

In her guidebook to the Star Tarot, Cathy McClelland says that this card in particular was a difficult image for her to paint. 'The Devil wants us to come to terms with with our failings and drawbacks,' she writes. 'When we stop running from our demons, and decide to confront them, we will stop being controlled by denial and our dark side.'

This is a complicated card which depicts many aspects of the dark or shadow side. Working from the bottom of the card upward, we see individuals isolated and trapped. I think it is significant that they are curled in the fetal position, which seems more powerful than the standing figures in the traditional RWS. Also, the chains that bind them acutally create the outline of the Devil himself. The Devil is made up of the chains that bind us. We also see several creatures associated with the Devil--the demon figure itself, a serpent, a goat, a wolf, and corvids. The androgynous dancer in the middle of the card is a combination of the Fool and Pan, being coiled about by the red serpent, which might be the kundalini. Black and white, good and evil, innocence and appetite, all dancing in flame. Which will win, or is it more about finding a balance?

Sunday 2 December 2012

Lunar Eclipse Spread

I may have seen the Lunar Eclipse on 28th November, because every evening as I walk home from work, I'm so busy looking at the sky I'm sometimes in peril of walking into traffic. But I didn't know it was an actual Lunar Eclipse, so in that way, I missed it. But I found this spread on Chloe's Inner Whispers, which originated at Alison's Game of Thrones blog:

1 Shuffle your cards whilst contemplating the thought: 'what energies are being eclipsed in my life?'
2 Complete your shuffle.
3 Turn your deck over so that the images are now facing you.
4 Flick through the cards until you find your World (or equivalent) card.
5 The card BEHIND the World is what you currently hold in shadow.

So I decided to just draw it today, even though I missed doing it the other night. Using the Wicca Moon Tarot, I found:

Wicca Moon Tarot, Shirlee@WiccaMoon
The 8 of Cups peeking out from behind the shadow of the world. Now interestingly enough, it was around the time of the lunar eclipse that a lot of speculation was going on at work about something, and morale was low. It's still low, because since then, the details of that something have been announced.  Even more interestingly, the 8 of Cups itself depicts a sort of lunar eclipse.

Round she goes and where she stops, nobody knows

Star Tarot, Cathy McClelland
Is the Wheel of Fortune turning for me? It's a silly question, because of course the wheel is always turning for us all. Sometimes, though, it seems to be whirling, while at other times it is ceaking along very slowly indeed. When you take an action that could have consequences affecting your daily life and routine, you always feel its motion more distinctly. I think it's apt that I drew this card today, because I have just set one particular wheel in motion by sending an email this morning. (This has to do with the previous AnnaK Tarot reading below).

Will I? What then?

Anna K Tarot, 1st edition
I'm just embarking on a new opportunity, which would be of 6 month duration. I thought I'd ask the tarot about it.

Saturday 1 December 2012

Star Tarot by Cathy McClelland

This week I will be drawing from the absolutely stunning Star Tarot. I saw this deck on Lisa's site and fell in love with it. I have the self-published majors-only deck, but Cathy McClelland is currently working on a full 78 card deck to be published by Schiffer next year. Find out more at her website here: Star Tarot

I can't wait to get started with this deck, so let's have a look at today's card.

Star Tarot, Cathy McClelland
Wow, what a truly auspicious start! And I could use a card of this power and beauty after the day I had yesterday.

In this card, we see the integration of mind, body and spirit. Cathy McClelland's guidebook, included with the deck, contains a detailed explanation of all the symbols in the card. I find that most of them are natural and easy to interpret, to the point that you don't need the guidebook to understand the deck. I find this a plus with tarot decks, and consider it a sign of a deck designer being in touch with the Universal. If something is so esoteric no one else can figure it out, what good is it, really? These cards are chock full of imagery, but it is imagery that resonates in the universal consciousness and is accessible to all.

Friday 30 November 2012

Hey hey hey

Morgan's Tarot, US Games
Our last draw of the week from Morgan's Tarot, US Games 1970. 'What's Happening?'

This phrase reminds me of the TV show I used to watch when I was a kid, called 'What's Happening?' It was a sitcom centred around a group of young African Americans and their silly misadventures. Each of the characters had a catchphrase. The kid called Dwayne always used to say, 'Hey HEY hey!' every time he entered a scene. And now I can't get the theme tune out of my head:

If anyone reading this is American, did you watch that show? :D

Okay, back to the card. What have we here? A circle, a triangle, a square. 'What's happening?' Well. A stable base, then a precarious balance. Helpful as always, the LWB says, 'Who knows what the figures on the card mean? Or this is an innocent question as to why you are allowing this nonsense to occur.'

Actually, that is kind of helpful. Whatever the shapes on the card might mean (and I doubt very seriously it's earth, fire and water), the message is pretty straightforward. Look around and make a wide-awake assessment of your current situation. If there's something there you don't like, what will you do next? Maybe a bubble of yours is about to burst. Maybe a temporary stability is about to topple. Or maybe right now everything is in balance. But until you open your eyes and look at it, how will you know? When you're sleepwalking, all three situations look the same. A circle, a triangle, a square.

Thursday 29 November 2012

The Faerie Tarot: New Deck Exercise

I don't like new deck interview spreads. I find them contrived and silly. But I do like a technique I found on Aeclectic Tarot called 'Balancing the Moment.'  You go through a new deck and identify your most favourite and least favourite cards, and read the shadow meaning for your most favourite, and the upright meaning for your least favourite.

I thought I'd try this technique out on my new Faerie Tarot by Natalie Hertz, US Games 2007. The kit consists of box with slip sleeve in which nestles a tuck box containing the deck and a Little White Book. A fold out spread poster of the ubiquitous Celtic Cross is included. To be quite frank, I'd have been happier with just the tuck box. In my opinion, there is too much packaging in tarot decks. It's a waste of resources, a waste of storage space, and makes the deck more expensive than it might otherwise have been. Does anyone use those spread posters they include in these sets? Or those dreadful organza bags? I don't know.

Om mani padme hum

Morgan's Tarot, US Games
O, thou jewel in the lotus, hail.

Today's card from Morgan's Tarot (US Games 1970, 1983, 2009) features a lotus. The title of the card is 'Right'. But inside the illustration of the card is 'Whatever's'. So the card moves from possibly being a statement of the 'Right' thing, the 'Right' way, to 'Everything is right. Anything is right. Whatever is right.'

Whatever happens, it's the right thing to happen. Whatever we do, it's the right thing to do. It sounds like a load of old cobblers, doesn't it? How can 'whatever' be right? What if something bad happens? Is that right? What if we make a choice that has unpleasant consequences? How then could that choice have been right?

It's right, not because it's good, but because it is real. 'Whatever' is happening in this moment IS what is happening. (Maybe that's why we call it 'right now'.)

This moment, regardless of how we got here or how we feel about the situation, is our reality. If we do not accept it as 'right', we waste the moment by being in denial about it. Any changes we could have made will be lost. The first step to changing a situation, is accepting that it is actually happening. This is a truly tough lesson. Sometimes we think we have accepted something, but we're really in complete inner turmoil, anger, grief, or denial about it. We may look placid and accepting on the outside, but inside we are at war. We don't realise the war is a battle of one, and there will only be one casualty.

The lotus is a symbol of peace. Make peace with right now. Whatever's right.

Wednesday 28 November 2012

Sorry, what were we just talking about?

Morgan's Tarot, US Games
Okay, I have to admit something. I've nearly overrun the bathtub twice in the last 6 months. The first time it was right up to the edge. Second time, it was about 1/3 full, which is 2 or 3 times deeper than I usually run it. *sigh*

I've also developed a new method of cooking. Put the food in a tin, preheat the oven. Wander off. Go back to the kitchen in a half hour to see how it's going and find the food still sitting on the stovetop. Swear and put food in the oven.

Alternate method: put food in oven and go back in an hour to find it blackened and smoking.

Advanced method: Take food out at perfect time and have meal as normal. Return to kitchen at bedtime to check on things and find the oven is still on.

Optional bonus: decide it's a good idea to swap two items from one rack to the other. Take the first item out, put it on stovetop. Use the oven glove to pick up the second item, stand up and try to pick up the first item with your bare hand. Yes I did this last week. I then spent the remainder of the evening sitting with my hand in a bowl of ice water, which prevented it from actually developing a blister. I let go of that pan REALLY quick, but still. What the heck is this all about? At the rate I'm going, I won't be able to take care of myself by the time I'm 55, let alone 85. I've heard that absent-mindedness is a symptom of peri-menopause, so I'm hoping that's all it is. My GP doesn't seem too concerned. But then, he doesn't seem too concerned about much. Still, how excited can you get about a forgetful middle-aged woman when you've got 5,000 people in your practice, and 30 of them are in your waiting room right now.

Tuesday 27 November 2012

A Wisdom Reading: What is happiness?

PCS Commemorative, 2009
What is happiness? 6 of Pentacles

Were you expecting The World? Something really BIG at least. Such a big question. WHAT IS HAPPINESS??  And then what turns up--a mundane pentacles card. A card about charity. Oh, wait. 'And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.' (That was old St Paul, 1 Corinthians 13:13).  The word 'charity' here means love, the sort of love that reaches out rather than turning in. It is conventional wisdom, 'better it is to give than to receive'. We hear it, but do we do it?

Giving--though depicted here as of a very material nature--need not be about money or material wealth. Many things are more precious to us than material things. What about our attention? What about our time? How would it make someone feel if when he stands before us he becomes, in that moment, the most important person to us in the world? And perhaps more significantly, how would it make us feel to treat them that way? The next time someone talks to you, stop what you are doing, turn to face them, look them directly in the eye and think only about what they are saying. Then think beyond what they are saying (because you might not actually like what they are saying), and go to the common humanity between the two of you. Your eye contact becomes your namaste to the universe. Make them the most important person in the world for that moment. I know people who have this skill. I wish to develop it. I admire those people who seem to come by it naturally. I feel that it is one of the true keys to personal happiness, though it does not seem to be our primal, instinctive response. It is, as Abraham Lincoln called it, one of the 'better angels of our nature', and requires conscious development before it becomes a habit.

On reflection, maybe it is our primal, instinctive response. I was just thinking of the way a baby pays attention to someone. Complete honed-in eye contact and full attention. Have you ever locked eye with an infant? There's some serious connecting going on there!

Why rush? There's a bigger picture, you know

Morgan's Tarot, US Games
'Slow down, you move too fast
You've got to make the moment last
Just kickin down the cobblestones
Lookin for fun and feelin groovy

La dadada da da da, feelin groovy

Hello lampost, whatcha knowin?
I've come to watch your flowers growin.
Ain't you got no rhymes for me?
Dootin dootoo, feelin groovy

La dadada da da, feelin groovy

Got no deeds to do, no promises to keep
I'm dappled and drowsy and ready to sleep
Let the morning time drop all its petals on me
Life, I love you

All is groovy'

Monday 26 November 2012

Spinning around

Morgan's Tarot, US Games
What would you do if you found yourself encircled by pigs and fish like the poor guy in this card? I'd say putting my hands on top of my head in confusion and distress would be a natural place to start.

Although the LWB says that this card 'is said to mean inner truth', the figure in the card doesn't seem to be finding inner truth there. He seems to be in some sort of turmoil or quandary. The LWB also offers this cryptic gem: 'Pigs and fishes represent those aspects most difficult to influence in the polychromatic bubble of dualism.'

Okay, so dualism is the idea that, for a particular domain, there are two fundamental kinds or categories of things or principles. If we think about pigs and fishes, it would seem to be a mind-body dualism. The pigs most likely representing the earthly, physical realm of the appetites, and fish, being creatures associated with water, would represent emotions and so on. This seems to me to be reinforced by the one pig having a six-pointed star on its side--one triangle pointing up ('as above'), one triangle pointing down ('so below').

I believe this card is continuing on from yesterday's draw, which referred to the 'war between Atlantis and Mu', which I interpreted similarly as material, earthly concerns in conflict with more spiritual matters. Fortunately, today they seem to be aligning themselves better--they're balanced in number and alternating neatly. Three of each is a good sign, three being such a powerful number.

OR maybe it just means I'm going to be surrounded by confusing bullshit today.

Sunday 25 November 2012

Have you ever been Biff Tannened?

Morgan's Tarot, US Games
Okay, today's 3-card draw from Morgan's Tarot (US Games 1970, 1983, 2009) is nothing short of slap upside the head. It has the usual cheeky attitude seen in all the cards in the Morgan's Tarot oracle deck. I haven't sat for meditation --formal, sitting meditation complete with candles and timer and all my usual rituals-- since 9th November. I haven't been paying much attention to anything, to be honest. I've worked out only three times this month. Yet I've stopped at the shops on the way home from work for chocolate...well, let's just say rather more frequently. 

Saturday 24 November 2012

Peaceful easy feeling

Morgan's Tarot, US Games 2009 (1970)
My first draw of the week from Morgan's Tarot (US Games, 1970, 1983, 2009) is perfectly apt for today. I have to be honest with you, I drew this card, put it back in the deck thinking it might not be that exciting to look at and hoping for one with more detail for you. I sat and looked through the deck for a while and then shuffled again. This time I fanned the cards instead of cutting. And I drew The Valley again. So, it's definitely the card of the day.

Valleys are so attractive to us. They make good settlements because there is usually a river, the ground is fertile, and the surrounding hills provide natural shelter from wind and elements. The tops of the hills provide good lookout points for those tasked with protecting the people settled below. But also, they are a supremely feminine aspect of earth's topography. They are both the cleft between the breasts and that created by the vulva (if that's not too graphic for a Saturday morning). A valley also could be seen as like the cupped hands of the Lord, a place to shelter, a place of safety and security. A place where you feel protected enough to be able to really let down your guard and just relax.

10,000 Words in a Cardboard Box

...or...I am the eggman, they are the eggmen. I am the walrus.
Goo goo g'joob.

Yes, this week we're going back to the psychedelic 60s, as we explore the trippy hippy truths of the Morgan's Tarot by Morgan Robbins, 1970. Actually not a tarot at all but an oracle, the deck consists of 88 black and white line drawings inspired by counterculture philosophy, New Age and certain strains of Tibetan Buddhism. Created by Morgan Robbins, illustrations by Darshan Chorpash. My deck is the 3rd edition, printed in 2009. (I'd love to have one from 1970, obviously. I'm sure it would be curled at the edges, worn soft as silk, and smelling of patchouli!)