Thursday 31 January 2013

Way of the Horse: Redemption of the Masculine

Way of the Horse, Kohanov
It's funny how I keep drawing cards that are in the landscape orientation, as they are definitely a minority in Way of the Horse, by Linda Kohanov. This card, called 'Merlin's Spirit', is particularly difficult for me to relate to my own experience. It's a rather complicated card. Kohanov's companion book devotes ten pages to it!

Wednesday 30 January 2013

Way of the Horse: Dominance

Way of the Horse, Kohanov
Today's card from Way of the Horse by Linda Kohanov, is called Dominance. It shows a close up of the head and neck of a horse who is struggling against the reins. Veins stand out in his neck and his teeth are showing. His ears are turned back. He looks quite unhappy and stressed.

Tuesday 29 January 2013

Way of the Horse: Out of Body

Way of the Horse, Linda Kohanov
The 'Out of Body' referred to in this card from Way of the Horse by Linda Kohanov comes in two types:
1) the 'freeze' response of the prey, and 2) the 'lost time' of the artist.

Monday 28 January 2013

Way of the Horse: Point of View

Way of the Horse, Kohanov
As prey animals, horses are always on the alert. Today's card from Way of the Horse, by Linda Kohanov, shows two horses who have been grazing suddenly looking around, clearly on the alert and ready to make adjustments to their actions instantaneously.

It certainly doesn't pay for a horse to be in denial about the present moment. What would happen to a horse who kept its head down and thought to itself, 'Oh, it's just my imagination. Oh, I'm probably overreacting. I don't want to make a scene.' It wouldn't last long! Similarly, a horse will react to a stimulus, and can quickly assess the true danger in a situation. If nothing's wrong, they calmly go back into the moment and continue to graze, with no paranoia or racing thoughts,' Oh, what if I was wrong? Oh, what if something is really out there? I knew this was going to happen, I knew today was going to be one of those days!'

Sunday 27 January 2013

Way of the Horse: Black Horse Wisdom

Way of the Horse Oracle by Linda Kohanov
This lovely card from Linda Kohanov's Way of the Horse Oracle depicts a beautiful black horse prancing in slanting grey light, its hooves kicking up a powder of fine grey dust. Look closely and you will see the horse is looking at her shadow on the ground, dancing with it. All blacks, greys, and silvers in this card. A card without colour, with no sense of place. A card of the shadow.

You can't escape it: size really does matter

To my disgust, I still have not received the Lon Milo DuQuette book, Understanding Aleister Crowley's Thoth Tarot, but I did receive my new copy of the standard size Thoth Tarot, in the green box. As soon as I opened the box and spilled the cards into my hands, I knew I was right to have bought the larger version. It truly does not feel like the same deck. I can't explain why, but the larger cards are more vibrant, more inviting, more attractive than the smaller deck in the purple box.

I was surprised by how much bigger the standard size deck is! The entire smaller card, including borders, fits into the image on the larger card, with room to spare. I hope you can see from the scan above how much ricer the colours are in the larger deck. I noticed far more tiny details that completely escaped me in the smaller card, such as the grain in the background of the Hermit card.

I'm pretty certain I won't be using the little Thoth Tarot after this. The bigger deck is just so much better. I am sorely tempted to crop this deck to borderless, but I am going to resist that temptation, because these borders seem important to the deck, and seem to fit it very well. However, if it turns out Thoth becomes a significant reading deck for me, I will most likely get a second standard size Thoth and trim the borders.

Okay, Bonkers. Are you going to gloat? I am becoming slowly enamoured of the attractions of this deck, though I do still find it cold and cerebral. Its edge is nearly gone, as far as my feeling it is sinister. Now I realise it is not sinister, it is detached. Detached can be good.

Saturday 26 January 2013

Way of the Horse: Boundary Dance

I bought Way of the Horse by Linda Kohanov on a whim the other day. I have no idea why. It's not like I've been into horses, not since I was a kid, or even been thinking much about them really, other than looking at a possibility of  retreat to a place called 'Intuitive Horse', and of course then there was that weird thing with the horse meat in the burgers (not an issue for me because 1) I'm vegan and 2) I think there's no real distinction between eating one animal or another -- flesh is flesh. Though I suppose if something is labelled beef you have a right to expect it not to be made of horse. But I digress). Actually it was the week of the horse meat debacle that I discovered this deck, oddly enough. Maybe without all that horse talk, it would not have caught my eye.

Anyway, today's card is called Boundary Dance. It seems obvious what is going on in this card -- two horses are engaged in a ritual of dominance and hierarchy. Boundary setting. However, the book calls it 'a tenuous dance of respect and connection,' which is actually a very healthy and more realistic way of looking at boundary setting. Actually, setting boundaries isn't about determining who gets the upper hand and who has to back down, though it might sometimes look that way.

Friday 25 January 2013

Thoughts on Thoth

It's funny that this card from Thoth Tarot is called 'Science', because the other day I conducted a little experiment with the deck. I handed the deck to my hubby, who knows nothing about tarot other than I am very interested in it and have a lot of decks.

'Look through these cards,' I said, 'And just say words that come to mind.'

Now, hubster is not the most intuitive or emotive person (his review of 'Les Miserables': 'They all should have died in the first half hour, then they could have used the screen to show 'Sky Fall' or 'The Hobbit' again'). He's very matter of fact and practical, so I wasn't expecting poetry or much in the way of emotional reactions. He is amiable, though, so obligingly started looking through the cards and blurting words:

Thursday 24 January 2013

Lancelot du Nunchucks?

I quite like this card from Thoth Tarot. It seems extremely romantic to me, like something you would find in a book of Tennyson.

It's a curiosity of this deck that the Knight is the highest of the courts. We have Knight, Queen, Prince, Princess in Thoth, whereas most tarot decks have King, Queen, Knight, Page. As I haven't yet read a book of any use in explaining the structure or background of Thoth, I have no idea why this is. I'm accustomed to looking upon the knight of a suit as its adolescent manifestation, so it's hard for me to think of a knight as 'kingly', ie, the master of the suit. Nevertheless, the Knight of Disks does embody the mastery of the Disks (or Pentacles, or Coins) suit, Fire of Earth.

This card makes me think of something Rachel Pollack said about the Knight of Pentacles at the UK Tarot Conference in October 2012. She suggested that the Knight of Pentacles is serving as the guardian of a city, watching over and protecting it. He is steadfast and slow because it is his steady faithfulness that keeps the city safe. I see some of that same spirit here. The Knight of Disks here looks intrepid, though weary. He looks as if he's taking a slight breather during his vigil of protection. But even though his helmet is pushed back and his weapons are lowered at his side, his shield radiates his goodness and his vigilance across the land, and the horse noses about in the ripened grain which his watchfulness has protected. The people have him to thank for the abundance and safety they enjoy. But even if they never thank him, he will not shirk his duty. Overseeing his realm is what he does. It's what he lives for.

May I be as unstinting in my sense of purpose, and may I find my own meaning in fulfilling those duties that may go unnoticed. 

Wednesday 23 January 2013

What are those vein thingies?

 The Cups suit in Thoth Tarot bothers me a bit, and I've decided it's those tubey things that connect the cups in most cards. They remind me of veins, or arteries. I find them oddly disturbing. Though I must say, on the whole, I'm getting used to the Lady Frieda Harris' art. In fact, I've ordered the larger size Thoth. Maybe the tubes are used to suck up 'water energy' from the sea that is depicted in most Cups cards.

Apart from the veins, today's card is a very good one, the 6 of Cups. As in all the Cups cards, we have lotus blossoms spraying some sort of liquid or energy or joy juice of some type into a series of goblets, with a backdrop of water or ocean. In this case, the bases of the goblets appear to be some sort of fruit, or possibly even pearls. I've read that there are snakes coiled in each of the cups, but I've squinted at the card for some time and I myself don't see it. I only see what looks to me like the reflection of light. The cups appear to be made of copper, based on the colour.

The RWS version of the 6 of Cups shows two child-like figures, one handing the other a bouquet of flowers in a vase. Some people take the card to mean nostalgia for the past (apparently because the card features children). I think the emphasis might be more on sharing on an emotional level. Giving freely of oneself emotionally.

How can I share from my own emotional wealth today?

  May I make a meaningful connection with someone today, even if I don't myself realize I've done it. 

Tuesday 22 January 2013

There were times I'd take my pen...

...and feel obliged to start again...

Alison at This Game of Thrones put up this spread about time management, so I thought I'd give it a go, with the Thoth Tarot. The first card should be drawn from the courts: 

1  WHO can possibly help me improve my time management?
2  HOW will this character help me improve my time management?
3  WHAT does this character warn me against?

The Princess of Cups, Turtle Girl, turns up again! SHE is the one who can help me improve my time management! She's balancing on a free form tubey thingy, dancing around in her voluminous lavender robe, with a swan on her head, holding a turtle in a shell, with a fish and a lotus flower on either side. Let's just say she doesn't scream 'self control and list making' at me. Instead she is saying to me to go with the flow of my own desires. Whatever is most conducive to the free flow of my inner peace and fulfillment is where my time should go.

Saucy Sun

Today's card from Book of Thoth Tarot is The Sun. The image I've posted here came from the internet; I believe it may be one of the 'greenie' decks some people talk about on Aeclectic Tarot, because the coloration is much greener than the Sun card in my own deck. I thought it would be interesting to look at a 'greenie' image.

Green or not, this card looks rather saucy to me. The Sun looks like... an opening...and the hill, well, it makes me think of a particularly sensitive tiny bit of the female anatomy. It's even wearing a little crown, bless it. (Sorry, can't help it, this just makes me think of these things--maybe it's some sort of tarot Rorschach test.)

Monday 21 January 2013

Joy to the fishes on the deep green sea

The card for today from Book of Thoth Tarot is 2 of Cups. In this card we see a greenish sea against a blue sky. Floating on the sea is a lotus, out of which grows another lotus. Two fish wrap around the stem of the lotus, pouring water from their mouths into the blossom floating on the sea. Out of the top lotus flows water or energy, which bounces off the heads of the fish (I read them referred to as 'heraldic dolphins' somewhere), and into two cups that float on the sea in the foreground. They fill up and run over. On either side of the uppermost lotus are two symbols: Venus on the left and Cancer on the right. Venus is in Cancer. As I know nothing of astrology, I have no idea what significance that has on the meaning of the card. I know Venus has to do with love/emotion. Cancer, I thought, had to do with being stingy (I think of a crab's claws as grasping, like a miser). But there may be some other significance to it. I don't know anything about tarot decanates. I know that the 2 of Cups is about emotional connections, and possibly alliances, and that this card is a very good one to draw. So I'm glad to see today will be a day of love and cooperation and emotional happiness. 
May I seek out opportunities today to give and to receive loving support. 

Sunday 20 January 2013

Deck Review: Way of the Horse by Linda Kohanov

A week or so ago I read about this oracle, Way of the Horse by Linda Kohanov, art by Kim McElroy, on the Aeclectic Tarot forum. On impulse, I bought it. It just arrived on Friday, and I have been playing around with it since. 

Saturday 19 January 2013

Stop being mean to yourself

The 9 of Swords in the RWS deck shows someone waking from a nightmare. Here in the Book of Thoth Tarot, we have nine swords all in a row, graduating in size from shorter swords on the outside to the longer swords in the middle. All swords point downward, all drip blood. Each sword has hunks and nicks taken out of its edges, as if from battle. The orange colour suggests the swords may be rusty, too. Raindrops drip down in perfect alignment above and between the swords. In the background, a crazy, crackly zigzag of lines tumbles toward the bottom of the card, where they seem to be gathering in a heap.

The card is an excellent representation of an unsettled mind, trying to make order of chaos, hurting itself with its own thoughts, using the repetitive thoughts as weapons against itself, until even the very thoughts themselves begin to get worn out from continuous bludgeoning.

This card represents thoughts that won't go away, tapes we play in our heads over and over that torment us. Self-judgement, criticism, worrying continuously about the same things, things that never happen. Or things that did happen in the past that we haven't let go of. The swords and raindrops (or they could be tears) have a pattern, because the thoughts themselves have a pattern; being caught up in them becomes almost like a ritual of self-inflicted pain.

Friday 18 January 2013

Snake charmer

Today's draw from Book of Thoth is The Universe.

Now I have absolutely no idea why this image is of a woman with spirally hair, flying through space wrestling a giant snake. Of course I know the traditional meanings of the World card (or in this deck The Universe). But what the images in this card have to do with them I am not entirely sure.

The card signifies wholeness and contentment, completion, oneness with the All. In an actual reading, no doubt the curious elements would act as a trigger to the intuition, regardless of what Crowley might have meant by them. That's the magic of tarot. When a reader makes a sincere petition to the universe for connection to the client's life and needs, that insight comes in a flash from the most unexpected details of a card. Happens over and over.

I'm going to keep blogging with this deck next week, because there is so much here for me to explore. Some days my musings may be deeper or more detailed than others. When the Lon Milo DuQuette book arrives, I will also be sharing ideas from it.

I hope everyone keeps safe and well during the snow storm this weekend. :)

Thursday 17 January 2013

Dances with Turtles

My draw for today is another Princess from the Book of Thoth -- this time Princess of Cups. I like this Princess better than yesterday's Brunhilda card, though I have to admit that I find both of them a bit odd. In this card I see what looks like a stone statue of a female figure, wearing a rather stiff  lavender garment decorated with diamondish shapes. She seems to be floating on a twisty-tube. She has a swan on her head, and holds toward us a turtle on a clam shell. Some sort of strange fish is on her right, and she holds a lotus blossom in her left hand.

Wednesday 16 January 2013

Horny little thing, int she?

Today's card from Book of Thoth is Princess of Disks. She reminds me of a Wagner opera. She's got braids, horns on her hat, she's got a shield in one hand and a staff in the other. She reminds of Brunhilda, the shield maiden and valkyrie of Norse mythology.

For me the card is all spiky fierceness and I don't see the usual associations of Princess (or Page) of Pentacles with being a curious and gentle student of the earth. Even if she does have a potbelly which 'might' suggest pregnancy. What does fertility have to do with the Princess of Disks, anyway?

I suppose I could read with this card 'intuitively', but I will be glad when the DuQuette book arrives so I can read what in the world Crowley had in mind with these odd images.

For myself, I'm still not well. Last night I could NOT stay awake and fell asleep on the couch at 8.30. I didn't wake up, really until midnight, when I groggily watched the end of a really dreadful Jodie Foster film ('Flight Plan') and then read the lastest issue of SFX magazine until about 1.00. I hope I start to perk up soon. This illness is dragging on forever!

Tuesday 15 January 2013

A rock, an island

Today's card from Book of Thoth is 4 of Disks. Well, as Old Mister says in 'The Color Purple', 'What we need is some stability round here!'

This card is a birds-eye view of a 4-towered keep surrounded by a squared moat. Each of the towers has a symbol, representing earth, water, fire and air. At the top is the symbol of the sun (a circle with a dot in it), at the bottom is a symbol for Capricorn. I have no idea why it's there, but it's on the path leading into the fortress so it must have some special significance.

Last night wasn't fun, so maybe this card today speaks of a more balanced, stable time. It certainly suggests keeping the emotions in control; the only water is in the artificially squared-off moat. The surrounding area is a burnt orange, reminding me of scorched earth--a definite kind of boundary setting that will not allow the peace of the keep to be disturbed. A series of earthen walls increases the security. The inner courtyard is empty, but I'd like to think that inside the towers there is luxury, comfort and safety.

This, to me, is a very comforting image. Protected.

Monday 14 January 2013

Mystery Babylon

This week I'll be drawing from Aleister Crowley's Book of Thoth Tarot. Today's draw is 'Lust', usually known as 'Strength' in most decks.

This card disturbs me, because with my Christian training I recognize the image from this passage from the Book of Revelation in the Bible:

'And I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns,

And the woman was arrayed in scarlet and purple colour, and and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:

And upon her forehead was a name written with a mystery: Babylon the Great, mother of harlots and abominations of the earth.

Saturday 12 January 2013

Bippety Boppety Boo

You see this card and you think, 'Ooh, Faery Godmother!' But then you look again and think, 'Uh oh. Faery Godmother.' Because there's something about her that reminds me of the Evil Queen in Snow White, offering the poisoned apple. Only instead of the apple being poisoned, it's an offer of 'good medicine' -- good for us, but maybe not so tasty going down. At least, that's my response today.

Who is this figure? What is she offering, crossed arms, an apple in one hand, a giant pearl in the other. Why is she so shrouded in robes and wimples, so hidden? That look on her face says to me, 'Do you really want what you think you want? Have you really considered the cost? The consequences? Are you wise? Are you foolish? Do you even know what you are? Would you like to know?' 

Is she offering me wisdom? Grace? Understanding? The companion book suggests that she is, and calls her 'Sairie the Faery' and says she can provide rescue and protection. She can, of course, she's a faery and she can do whatever she wants. Sometimes, though, I think she wants us to rescue ourselves. She wants to give us a little lesson. But we have to choose to take it. And I believe she is subtle in her offerings, and will not offer the exact same thing be careful what you say no to. And be careful what you say yes to. 

May I be slow to say no and careful in saying yes to whatever the Faery Godmother has on offer for me today. 

Wednesday 9 January 2013

Stairway to heaven

Crytal Tarot, Trevisan
I haven't been well the last couple of days, so I haven't posted here, apologies.

Today's card from Crystal Tarot by Elisabetta Trevisan is King of Pentacles.

It strikes me that usually the King of Pentacles is shown surrounded by opulence, as he is meant to represent mastery of the physical and material planes. Usually, there are bowls of grapes, a roaring fire, golden objects, fur rugs, just every sort of luxury item you might associate with material success and security. But in this card, we see none of those things. Instead, the King of Pentacles sits perched, somewhat precariously, on a pile of rocks, at the top of winding staircase. Start with his robe and follow the staircase down with your eyes. You'll see it turns a corner and descends toward an arched doorway, some sort of tunnel bored through those jaggedy mountains behind him. And within that door, you can see the continuation of the staircase.

 Whether the stairs carry on behind him isn't clear. He certainly isn't looking around to find out. He's looking out instead to the left of the card, over the curve in the stairs, which I imagine to be on the very edge of precipice,  his view stunning, across the crazy, spiky mountain tops surrounding him.

Or maybe he looks out over a fertile plain, lord of all before him, behind him and beneath him. Maybe this isn't his throne or his castle, after all. Maybe he's laboured up this secret stair to get a king's eye view of all that is his. I imagine he doesn't come up here often, and when he does, no one knows. This is an ancient and forgotten stair that he discovered as a child, where he made his plans to conquer all, and now he comes here to bask in his success.

Or it could be I've taken too much Sudafed.

Blessings. x

Sunday 6 January 2013

Oh my aching head

This week's deck is Crystal Tarot by Elisabetta Trevisan (LoScarabeo, 2002). My scanner is playing up today so I can't provide an image from my deck. This image comes from Taroteca, and is not the same edition as mine.

I do feel like I've been hung out to dry today. After weeks of watching everyone around me dropping like flies with an evil cold, it seems I at last have caught it. I have two ginormous breakouts on my face (for some reason when I get sick, it gives me at least one big zit. Where's the justice, I ask you?) My left ear and left nostril are so congested I can neither breathe nor hear (though mercifully it hasn't caught up to the right side of my head yet!). And I've got a tickle-in-the-throat-hey-ouch-that-hurts cough. So far not streaming from eyes and nose or rattling in the chest but no doubt that will be the next stage of developments.

I imagine the congested feeling in the head that this guy feels is not dissimilar from a bad cold. Red and gold for feverishness, maybe he looks so 'peaceful' because he's zonked out on cold remedies. And his hands are behind his back to hide the mangled tissue he keeps having to use. Yep, I think that's it. ;)

Why am I always the last person to get the bugs? At least I usually get the mildest form of it to anyone around me. So that is something. Fingers crossed it gets no worse, and today will see me on the mend.

Friday 4 January 2013

Judgement reading

Pamela Colman Smith Centennial Tarot, US Games
Tarot Bonkers and Chloe at Inner Whispers have both recently posted about the Judgement card, which got me thinking...what is the trumpet call in my life? How do I hear it? How will I know it? I turned to Rachel Pollack's Tarot Wisdom and found this Judgement card spread:

1. What is the hidden question of Judgement? - 9 of Cups
2. How can I answer it? - 5 of Pentacles
3. What calls me to rise up/become something new? - 2 of Pentacles
4. What can I become? - Knight of Cups
5. How can my life change? - 9 of Wands
6. What/who will change around me? - Ace of Swords
7. How am I called to answer? - 3 of Cups

To find card 1, I shuffled, looked through the deck for Judgement, and then selected the card that was under (hidden by) Judgement. I laid the Judgement card in the middle and arranged the rest as directed in Pollack's book.

Wednesday 2 January 2013

Wow, there's daylight up here

Gaian Tarot, Joanna Powell Colbert
Today's card is from the Gaian Tarot by Joanna Powell Colbert. It's the Explorer of Air, or Knight of Swords. The figure in the card has climbed up from the forest floor right up to the top of the canopy, and is peering around, checking out the scene. A variety of birds fly and perch all around him.

I certainly have been peering at the forest from above the trees for the last few days, working on my 2012 year in review, and planning some goals for 2013. Lots of thinking, planning and writing! And quite a lot of squinting into the distance, as well, pondering what to write.

May I use this current time of planning and thinking in a balanced way, and lay plans that will not pressure or stress, but nurture and uplift me through 2013.

Affirmation: I can do anything -- I have no limits -- it's a simple matter of taking things one moment at a time.