Wednesday 31 July 2013

Let love rule

Wild Unknown Tarot, 2012
I love birds, particularly blackbirds and corvids of all types, so this card really appeals to me. It's the Judgement card from Wild Unknown Tarot (2012).

The image on the card today speaks to me of release. For true freedom to occur, there must be release, release of judgement, release of negative thoughts, release of resentment, envy, spite and hate. There is an inner light that we can allow to shine, represented by the glowing white bird at the top of the card, which can illuminate those dark corners, break them up, free them to fly away, so that they themselves can be dissolved into that light.

Let this happen first for ourselves. Let the light shine in ourselves, releasing our self-judgement, our negative tapes, our self-resentment, comparing ourselves to others, our self-spite, our self-hate. We can break it up, shake it loose, set it free.

The Judgement card is about heeding a higher call, a call to leaving behind a dead existence and exchanging it for a new one. We can make a commitment to doing that, every day.

Tuesday 30 July 2013

Glimpse the truth

Wild Unknown Tarot, 2013
I can only think this morning of George Harrison when I see this card. I love George Harrison. He's my favourite Beatle. I think he's totally underrated.

This card, Ace of Wands in Wild Unknown Tarot (2012) makes me think of epiphany, and epiphany makes me think of this song by George Harrison:


We were talking
about the space between us all
And the people
who hide themselves behind a wall
of illusion
Never glimpse the truth
Then it's far too late
when they pass away.

We were talking
about the love we all could share
when we find it
to try our best to hold it there
With our love, with our love
we could save the world
If they only knew.

Monday 29 July 2013

Listening to moonlight

Wild Unknown Tarot, 2013
This is the Son (or Knight) of Pentacles from the Wild Unknown Tarot (2012). The Pentacle courts are all deer in this deck. I suppose it is a good choice. Deer have to be very in tune with their surroundings, as they have no real defenses--no fangs, no claws, no stinky spray like a skunk or pointy quills like a hedgehog. All they've got is their acute senses and very fleet feet.

The Son of Pentacles here does look like he's listening very closely, listening to the quiet hum of existence -- the sound of the wind in the leaves, the twigs snapping beneath his hooves, the breath going in and out of his nostrils, the very beat of his heart.

Does he hear the stars? Does he feel the light of the moon? Maybe he does. Who's to say? We won't hear or see a thing, but he will suddenly jerk his head up, alert and wide-eyed, turning to bound off into the safety of the trees while we're left standing dumbly, until the snake or the bear or the mountain lion lunge into our awareness, too close, too late.

We could all use a bit of the gifts of the Son of Pentacles. What do you need to tune into today?

Sunday 28 July 2013

Shadow of the moon

Wild Unknown Tarot, 2013
The Two of Swords from Wild Unknown Tarot features a total eclipse of the sun. I believe this points to an aspect of the Two of Swords that is sometimes overlooked: an equilibrium or a stalemate, a reprieve, that cannot last.

Quite often, particularly with RWS decks, we tend to see Two of Swords as fooling oneself or blindfolding oneself to the truth, or refusing to take sides on an issue or to take a stand. We can even see the card as a truce of sorts, in decks like Osho Zen and some others. But many times we forget to think about how even if things are in a holding pattern right now, this situation absolutely cannot continue. The tipping point will be reached.

The Wild Unknown Tarot points out just how soon that is likely to happen. A total eclipse of the sun, is total, that's for sure. But it doesn't last long. An actual solar eclipse can last anywhere from a few seconds to around 7 minutes. That's it. Even in comparison to the short human lifespan, that's pretty darn quick. From the point of view of eternity, well, it's nothing at all.

The card reminds us that things are always changing--always, always. Things cannot stay the same forever. The question is, are you going to stand by and let them change and then just react to what happens, or are you going to be an active participant in the process? The blindfold has to come off at some point -- you can't hide in the shadow of the moon forever.

Saturday 27 July 2013

Opening the heart chakra with the Wild Unknown Tarot

Wild Unknown Tarot, 2012
The deck for this week is The Wild Unknown Tarot by Kim Krans (Wild Unknown, 2012). It is a curious deck, made of line drawings with minimal colouring. There are no people in the deck, and only a few man-made objects. It's mostly animals, a few plants and a few bugs. The deck does not depict nature in all its lush abundance--it's quite an austere deck, really. It's almost like it shows a shadow side of the natural world, the stark nobility that lies beneath the green and gold glow of the life force in nature.

Today's card is 9 of Cups, a card that traditionally signifies great self-satisfaction. I like the way the cups here are arranged in big semi-circle, leaving the centre of the card open. The crescent moon sits at the top of the card; to me it signifies spirituality and the continuous cycles of life. The empty space in the middle of the card suggests an openness in the heart, open and empty and ready to receive connection between self and other. It reminds me of the motion of the arms arcing down toward the floor as you descend to forward bend in yoga sun salutations, and also the upward motion at the end of the sequence. The move, and this card, seems to represent the clearing and cleansing around the heart chakra that clears the way for connection and experience of the all. Yoga is, after all, about connection between the self and universe.

Today's yoga practice for me was a series of sun salutations done to the words of the Lovingkindness Meditation:

May I be well. May I be safe. May I be peaceful and at ease. May I be happy.
May ___ be well. May s/he be safe. May s/he be peaceful and at ease. May s/he be happy. (an admired teacher)
May ___ be well. May s/he be safe. May s/he be peaceful and at ease. May s/he be happy. (a loved one)
May ___be well. May s/he be safe. May s/he be peaceful and at ease. May s/he be happy. (a neutral person)
May ___be well. May s/he be safe. May s/he be peaceful and at ease. May s/he be happy. (a challenging person)
May all beings be well. May they be safe. May the be peaceful and at ease. May they be happy.

The 9 of Cups to me today shows that big cleansing openness to wellness, safety, peace, ease and happiness that is there for the taking, if we just breath in and pull it into ourselves.

Friday 26 July 2013

Coming up roses

Our last card from this week's Sacred Rose Tarot is 10 of Cups. What a nice card to draw on a Friday, particularly when I could use some cheering up, as I have to work tomorrow, and even after nine years of working weekends, it still depresses me.

The roses featured on the card are also on the backs of the card, and are the 'sacred roses' that the title of the deck refers to:

Red rose = sacrifice
White rose = purity
Blue rose = 'the impossible'
Gold rose = absolute achievement

The background of this card is part of the 'cosmic rose', which represents time and space.

The LWB says, 'This is a card of emotional completion and integration, and the subsequent gifts. Spiritual treasures and peace of mind are present. An emotional growth cycle is complete. A good life is in store.'

That's pretty generic! I like how this card leaves out any notions of what constitutes 'a good life'. The RWS 10 of Cups features the 'wife and two kids' under the rainbow, and that's not everyone's definition of perfect happiness by any means. Sacred Rose leaves it up to us to decide what would bring us 'peace of mind'.

Overall, I read this as the 'Tra la la, everything's great' card. Nothing to worry about, no problems on the horizon. It isn't necessarily a happily ever after card, though I'm not really one of those who will read a 10 as being on the tipping edge of the beginning of a new cycle. I think that's just being a bit fatalistic, even for me, and lord knows I do tend to see the dark side of things! Nah, this card, particularly as a daily draw, means I can breath easy today. No problemo.

Thursday 25 July 2013

Seems a little early for all this fire

Sacred Rose Tarot
This is one freaky Knight of Wands. He looks like he's emerged from the bowels of Hades! He's certainly nothing if not fiery, in fact both he and his horse seem to be made of flame, and the scene they are thundering toward us from is also alight with red, and even appears to be smoking. The knight and his horse are upon us, about to go charging past. The horse has a star on his forehead, in the shape of the symbol of fire. The knight leans toward us, holding out the wand, not poised to strike or to throw it, but with hand open, like passing a baton in a relay race. Why, it's just like a scene out of that dreadful Kevin Costner film, The Postman.

Why is the Knight of Wands passing the baton on to us? Well, just guess. The LWB says, 'There is the need to act quickly, without warning. Alertness and creative thinking are essential.' In other words, we are expected to take this 'wand of creativity' and run with it, just like in a relay race. In fact, we become the Knight of Wands ourselves, charging onward into our lives, active, alert, unpredictable, even impetuous. Sometimes such things are called for.

Now, in a daily draw what could this mean? Perhaps it is the suggestion that I be open to doing something a little different today. Whatever pops into my head to do. The Knight of Wands wouldn't hesitate and neither should I. Right now, I'm more interested in curling up with a cup of coffee than charging off doing fiery things. But the day is young.

Wednesday 24 July 2013

Look who's stalking

It just occurred to me that the Full Moon reading I did recently about Queen of Wands was much like the STALKER READING from Lisa at Tarotize. So I thought it would be good to look at the spread again, but using her card positions this time:

1. Why I have to have this lesson  - Hierophant
2. What I will have learned by the end of it - The Star
3. Stalker card - Queen of Wands, not shown
4. How I am doing right now - King of Swords
5. Pass or fail? - Sun

1. It looks to me like I need to have this lesson to help me get over some of the remnants from my rather strict religious training, my ideas about humility and about female power. When you have been brought up to idealize the humble (usually suffering) servant, and to believe that women should be up at dawn with her sleeves rolled up toiling to bake for the family, bargaining for the best deal for her family, deferring to her husband in all things and keeping her mouth shut -- well, the Queen of Wands is a hard pill to swallow.

2. By the end of this lesson, I will have learned more about how to value what is present within me, how to bring those qualities to the fore, ALL my good and powerful qualities, and not just those that suit my preconceived notions about who or what I should be. The Star points to becoming the True You, the Sat Nam. Now, I'm not saying I'm going to reach self-actualization after a few weeks' contemplation of the Queen of Wands...but it couldn't hurt.

3. 'The offending card' Lisa calls it (which makes me chuckle)

4. Right now, as Chiriku suggested in the comments to my original Full Moon reading, I am approaching the issue in a rather cerebral, swordsy way. But at least it's the King of Swords and not the Knight of Swords! The King of Swords shows that I am approaching the issue of dealing with my Queen of Wands prejudices in as objective a way as I can, avoiding (as much as I can) the leaps to judgement or condemnation that I am accustomed to. The King of Swords represents my attempts to analyze the Queen of Wands' qualities, both positive and negative, and to find these behaviours and energies in myself, to recognize and acknowledge her within myself. The King suggests that I am doing well at this and mastering some of my old prejudices.

5. The Sun does suggest that I am passing this test! The Sun actually seems a good twin to the Queen of Wands card -- like the Queen of Wands, the Sun represents freedom, liberation, openness, action, health, wellness, enthusiasm, attainment, positive thinking, and success.

I can't believe I didn't notice in the previous reading that I have Stars and Sun -- bringing up light from the depths, and basking in it from the height. These cards balance and counterpoint each other, in a way not unlike the balance and counterpoint of Hierophant and King of Swords. Both of those cards hint at severity, authority, hierarchy and thought, though the Hierophant suggests a more dogmatic version, whereas the King of Swords is more analytical and free of prejudice.

Taking a cue from Sharon at Songs from the Wishing Tree, I will end my reading with a list of things to explore:

  • Consider ways my prejudices against Queen of Wands are a result of my childhood religious training (or at least my perception of those teachings)
  • Identify feelings and behaviours in myself that spring from Queen of Wands energy, acknowledging her contributions to my happiness and fulfilment
  • Contemplate the differences in perception of the Queen of Wands as seen through the eyes of the Hierophant and the King of Swords. 

Tuesday 23 July 2013

'Good times! These! are! the! good! times!'

Interesting Three of Cups here from the Sacred Rose Tarot (Gargiulo-Sherman, US Games 1982). Usually there are three women carousing. Here we just have one woman on her own with the three cups. The LWB says it speaks of 'good luck, healing and celebration'. The meaning is pretty much the same, though the traditional RWS 3 of Cups is often interpreted as being social or celebrating with friends.

I wonder what I'll have to celebrate today. I'm in a training session today to help improve my interview skills -- not to interview others, but to improve my performance when I go to interviews for a new job myself. This is provided by my employer. Nice of them to help out.

I am so ready for a change. Any kind of change. I've lived in the same flat for years, done the same job for years. Whenever I visit some place nice, like we did this weekend for a mini-break, I always wonder what it would be like to live there, to have a nice house, to not have to worry about how to afford to retirement. I'm not talking a retirement that involves lots of travel and leisure, I'm talking being able to stop work while still having basic food and shelter. Oh well, the Three of Cups here doesn't really speak to any of that, unless to tell me to celebrate where I am now, which is all well and good, until I get to where I'll be then. Then there might not be so much to celebrate. But who knows. Maybe today's workshop will help lead to something to celebrate.

Monday 22 July 2013

Queen of Wands - Full Moon Reading

I had a reading at New Moon which suggested I need to make peace with my Queen of Wands qualities. I was able to recognize a few ways in which I embody Queen of Wands energy, but mentioned in that entry that it would be useful to do a reading to bring up further information. For Full Moon, I have shuffled the Sacred Rose Tarot deck and sought out the Queen of Wands (not pictured), then taken out the two cards that were to the left of the Queen of Wands (Hierophant and Star) and the two that were to the right (King of Swords and Sun). This is a further message about the Queen of Wands in me.

Sacred Rose Tarot

These are some really lovely cards from the Sacred Rose Tarot deck. I quite like all of them, and looking across the row of four, I am struck by the repeating pattern of the horizontal line of the pentagram behind the Hierophant, which is echoed behind the female figure in Star, and in the shape of the collar of the King of Swords. The pentacle even makes a subtle appearance in the Sun, the upright point in the form two spikey flower leaves and the horizontal line of the brick wall forming the top of it. It makes me wonder, how is the pentacle a manifestation of Queen of Wands energy for me? And I guess it could have something to do with me making peace with the pentacle itself as a symbol. It really used to trouble me, and I have no idea why, except for misconceptions about these things that I picked up growing up in the very conservative Bible belt of the United States. I learned about the pentacle, bought a couple of pendants, and it has come to be one of my favourite symbols. Wearing that jewelry was my first overt acknowledgement of my esoteric interests, and it suddenly occurs to me that buying and wearing it was a Queen of Wands thing to do.

To be honest, I see this whole reading pointing as well to my becoming a tarot reader. As a reader, I am seen as a guide in some ways, like the Hierophant, and my counsel is sought on matters of an esoteric, hidden nature (Star), to bring about self-realization or enlightened understanding of self (Star). My readings are written with the greatest clarity that I can muster (King of Swords) in order to help my clients find their inner joy (Sun). I cannot tell you how important it is to me to be able to provide this service for people; I take my role as a tarot reader very seriously and do my best to help my clients. I very deeply wish to help people through tarot.  And yet -- would I ever have had the first client, without the energy of the Queen of Wands? To help people, you have to reach out to them. You have to draw attention to yourself in order to offer services. Who else made me even think to put myself forward in that way? Would I ever have started a website? Would I have posted to it regularly? Would I have done any of these things, without the Queen of Wands?

And so I am reminded that one of the most fulfilling and meaningful aspects of my life is most likely down to the Queen of Wands within me. I should value her more. Definitely! And I should look for her in my heart and mind, and listen to her more, not shout her down, telling her she is too showy and self-aggrandizing. She may be bold, confident, assertive, energetic, and self-confident, but that doesn't mean she is automatically attention-seeking, superficial, vain, or self-absorbed. She CAN be, but it's not fair to think those are her default settings. Those are her shadow side, not the whole story at all.

The next time I have a thought or feeling that I might instantly reject--like thinking good things about my reflection in the mirror, or talking to people I hardly know, or yes even promoting my tarot business more--as attention-seeking or self-aggrandizing, may I recognize it as the positive aspects of the Queen of Wands, trying to do her best for me.

You know what, I'm feeling a lot more friendly toward the old girl these days. Who would have thought it?

Sunday 21 July 2013

The struggle with negative forces

Sacred Rose Tarot 
I can't believe I've drawn 5 of Wands again! What is going on with this card! I just drew it the other day, and thought it had to do with work difficulties. Now I'm not so sure it has to do with forces outside myself. I'm thinking it might be internal things -- in particular I think for me personally it could be referring to my difficulties lately disciplining my eating habits. The card shows a central figure hanging on for dear life to the five wands, which are arranged in a configuration not unlike a cross. This figure is being pulled down by a second person, and from beneath, two hands (both right hands, suggesting there are two more people there) grasp and pull down on both the wand structure and the central figure. There's a far more serious-looking battle going on in this card than in most other RWS 5 of Wands cards.

The second figure and two other hands are said in the Little White Book to represent 'negative forces' that the central figure is doing battle with. This could be all sorts of things, anything, really, that exerts a negative force in life.

I don't think the central figure is going to actually fall, though. He looks there to stay. I don't know why I think so, I just do. He won't be defeated, though he might get pretty darn tired before all is said and done.

Saturday 20 July 2013

You know what familiarity supposedly breeds?

Sacred Rose Tarot, 1982
This week's tarot is Sacred Rose Tarot (US Games 1982) by Johanna Sherman. It's a deck that began life in 1977, when it was commissioned by Stuart Kaplan, owner of US Games. By 1982, it was finished and the deck was published. It certainly has a 70s feel to it, if you ask me. One of its distinguishing features is the empty (white) eye sockets of the human figures in the cards. There aren't any in today's card, unfortunately.

Most RWS 4 of Cups cards show someone looking decidedly bored or distracted, and the Little White Book that came with this deck agrees with that interpretation: 'This card is the foundation of emotions, the inconsistent nature of which is symbolized by the moon and waterfall. There could be boredom, ennui, lack of appreciation of gifts, and the familiarity that breeds contempt.'

My first reaction is that it's an awfully sparkly and attractive card to mean boredom. But on the other hand, even a room full of gold and diamonds might become boring after a while -- the familiarity that breeds contempt.

I will take this card as a warning against allowing such a thing to happen, as today we are off for a weekend holiday, and I certainly don't want to be bored during it! And I certainly don't want to take hubby for granted--he's a sparkly golden aspect of my life that I should never fail to appreciate.

Friday 19 July 2013


After a long, hot and in many ways troublesome week, I see myself getting up from it all and moving AWAY from the source of irritation --which is perfectly appropriate, as we're going away for the weekend and what a welcome break it will be.

Today's card is Ten of Swords from the Anna K Tarot (Llewellyn, 2013), which depicts an austere, snowy scene of 10 swords standing (and lying) in a pool of blood. Walking away from the swords toward the horizon is a man with a wounded, bloody back, leaving bloody footprints in his wake. The swords must have been in his back, and yet he's survived the ordeal and is walking away, toward the horizon, which for me is always a symbol of hope.

This is one of my favourite cards in the Anna K Tarot deck. It shows what the traditional 10 of Swords only implies -- that the worst has been endured, and from here on out, the only way is up.

As usual in a daily draw, the interpretation is less melodramatic! I haven't been stabbed to the ground by life this week, but I have had some irritations, so it's nice to see the 'worst' is behind me.

Thursday 18 July 2013


The Five of Rods in Anna K Tarot shows the spirit of friendly competition: two blokes arm wrestling in a pub. Their friends and family gather around to enjoy the spectacle. Of course, in a testosterone-fueled contest like this, things can get out of hand, tempers can flare, things can go wildly wrong. But for the most part, the competition depicted in this card is of the controlled, good-natured variety. Or at the very least, the not-ultimately-harmful variety.

Often interpreted as petty or meaningless squabbles, the Five of Rods (aka Wands, Staves or even occasionally Clubs) can turn up to indicate challenge, competition, game or sport, having a debate, feeling at cross purposes or disagreeing with someone, quibbling, sniping, arguing. Usually these things are of a trivial nature, though they can be annoying.

I'm pretty sure I know what this card is about; I was hoping to see the back of the annoyances at work, but it looks like more will continue today. Well, Mercury is in retrograde still, so I shouldn't be surprised communication is not going so well. I will just have to keep in mind that the source of my irritation is merely a trifle, of no real significance or consequence. Just let it roll of.

Wednesday 17 July 2013

Just over the horizon

Today's card from the Anna K Tarot (Llewellyn 2013) is the Death card. He is an appealing chap, with his slinky black garment draped around his hips, abs looking all chiseled, his black hair scraggling down over his shoulders in an Aragorn/Daniel Day-Lewis in 'Last of the Mohicans'/Daryl from 'Walking Dead' kind of way. Big ebony wings gleaming behind him, his scythe resting on the ground, he beckons for us with his free hand. The path leads straight to the horizon, no turning to either side, certainly no turning back. You feel compelled to take his hand and continue on the path with him. He is a welcoming and gentle Death.

I'm not one of those readers who will tell you that Death never means a death. Because literal death is an inevitable part of our life experience, there's no reason to believe that it wouldn't be represented in tarot. However, there would have to be significant reasons indicated in surrounding cards before I would see literal death in the Death card. And I would be sure to emphasize that my seeing a literal death is not a prediction but an intuitive flash, not something definite. This because I don't believe that tarot foretells specific events, but rather, gives shadows of overall patterns, which are (mostly) conditional upon one's actions and upon one's beliefs about the situation.

 For the most part, though, Death is the step that leads to transformation. Now here's another area where I differ with some readers. Death itself is not transformation. Transformation is what happens AFTER the Death card. The Death card represents the end of something, which has to occur before the transformation into something new can happen. Death is change, endings, and it's hardly ever comfortable or easy. People say there's no such thing as a dignified death, and of course in many ways that's true. Physical death is undignified. Humiliating things happen to our bodies; we have no power over our bodies anymore. At any other time, this would be an embarrassment. So yeah, physical death is undignified, in that sense. It is uncomfortable. It is scary. Similarly, big changes to our lives can make us feel awkward, sometimes not in complete control, sometimes embarrassed or humiliated or just simply scared. But then when we get through that stage, the changes start to manifest, and the ordeal was worth it. That's the experience that is suggested by this appealing and welcoming Death. He will help you on this path to transformation, which is just over the horizon.

Tuesday 16 July 2013

We are the champions

I do feel a bit like a champion this morning. I've just completed my fourth morning yoga practice in a row. I won't bore you with the details other than it was a 27 minute practice and when I finished it I felt like a switch in my brain had been flipped on. I still feel tired (I've not been sleeping well lately) but I feel mentally more alert.

Today's card, Six of Rods, from the Anna K Tarot (Llewellyn 2103) shows the feeling of triumph. The man standing on the podium with flowers at his feet does look to me like an athlete, in his loincloth with the laurel wreath on his head. Maybe he's just defeated someone in a wrestling match, or perhaps he's just completed a marathon. Whatever his achievement, he's worked hard for it, feels great about it, and the crowd around him is equally thrilled and chuffed for him.

What is it in your life that makes you say, 'Yaaaaaaaay!!!!' Look for it today. :)

Monday 15 July 2013

Warrior Three on a stick?

Today's card is the Ace of Rods, an appropriate card, since I'm late posting this this morning as a result of doing yoga at 6 AM! My resolution is to do at least 15 minutes of yoga every morning. This morning I did about 20 minutes of a kind of flowing yoga called 'yang yoga' by its creator, Simon Low. I enjoyed doing it, and I'm sure as soon as I have memorized his sequence (one complete side takes about 4 minutes), then I can do it on my own without the DVD and then two sequences per side will take roughly 16 minutes (depending on how fast my breaths are, as they tend to be one move per breath).

Today is the Ace of Rods in other ways as well; I have a plan to take some action recommended to me by a friend, where my job path is concerned.

Warrior Three
Reading the card 'intuitively' (ie, based on the picture), I also see a suggestion that today will be balancing act between keeping myself on an even keel and enduring the heat (which is suggested by the very yellow sky). At least there is a breeze in the picture. I wonder if I should take the suggestion to wear a skirt.

Whatever happens, I'm certainly not in any danger of falling off that little rod I'm crossing. That girl looks solid and confident. In fact, I can see her stepping out into Warrior Two, my favourite pose. Or maybe she's about to defy all her fears and lift her back leg and lean forward into Warrior Three! (Also a good pose, actually, but probably not on a stick, at least for me!)

Sunday 14 July 2013

What we need here is a little privacy!

Anna K Tarot, Llewellyn
Lovely card for today, the Two of Cups, a card of friends and companions. It can indicate a romantic attachment, but it can also be any type of friendly relationship, and sometimes even a business partnership.

I like this image, but I've never been entirely sure what Anna K was getting at with the curtains being held up by the two figures here. They are standing in an alcove on a balcony, overlooking a rose garden, apparently. They look into each other's eyes, toasting over goblets of wine. I assume they are drawing the curtains closed so they can enjoy a bit of kanoodling without an audience. Sometimes, though, it makes me think about the way that new lovers don't see the flaws in each other yet, and the way they are on their best behaviour, presenting to and seeing in each other an idealized version of themselves. But that's a bit cynical for a sunny Sunday morning, so let's go with version A, the kanoodling interpretation. :)

Hubby is venturing out to see a movie today (Pacific Rim - I have zero interest in it so he is going on his own) and I am meeting a friend for coffee. So perhaps the curtain is the 'spaces in our togetherness' (to quote from Kalil Gibran) and the Two of Cups card itself refers to this meeting with a friend I haven't seen since Christmas, even though we live in the same town! (I know, that is scandalous isn't it!)

(By the way, I have reconfirmed something - the best way to get a deck buggered up is to hand it to a client to shuffle. Amazes me what people can manage to do to a deck in a few seconds. I was taken aback by what someone did to my deck the other day. I'm going to back to my preferred method of only letting them cut, from now on! My Justice card is mutilated on one side. Boo!!)

Saturday 13 July 2013

Choose how you react

Anna K Tarot, Llewellyn 2013
This week I will feature the delightful mass market version of one of my all-time favourite tarot decks, the Anna K Tarot, by Anna Klaffinger. I have the 1st edition self-published deck, which I've used until the edges are worn as soft as cotton wool and the dark borders are faded. I love it. I had the 2nd edition, but found the cardstock too thick for my liking, so sold it. This new mass-market version is the best version I've seen so far. The cards are bigger, the stock is supple and flexible, the colors are more saturated and benefit from better contrast (some of the other versions of the Anna K were quite dark). I really, really love this deck.

Today's card is Five of Cups. When I was shuffling, this card snapped out, fluttered half way across the room, floated to the floor like the feather in Forrest Gump, and landed face up. How can you ignore something like that?

About as easily as the guy in the image on this card is ignoring the blue sky, golden sun, blossoming trees and three full cups behind him, while he sits huddled in the rain of the storm cloud over head and mourns for the two broken cups at his feet. Well, this card isn't about me ignoring the bright side. This card is about me seeing the light. Things that seemed so awful for the longest have started to seem not so terrible lately. I can turn my back on the dismal way of seeing things, I can turn my face toward the light. The funny thing about it is, I'm viewing the same thing, but just seeing it differently. I'm seeing it as if it doesn't really matter, and when something doesn't really matter, suddenly it's okay to be happy even though the thing is happening. It's only when it does 'matter' that you have to mourn and grieve and tear out your hair and beat your breast and all that other Old Testament type stuff.

When I say it doesn't really matter, I mean it in the best possible sense of 'not mattering'. Not a nihilistic sense, but an accepting sense. I can't think of a better way of putting it than Krishnamurti did when he asked his pupils if they wanted to know his secret. Of course they couldn't believe their luck and were all ears:

'This is my secret,' Krishnamurti told them: 'I don't mind what happens.'

So two cups are broken. So what? Mourning doesn't make them whole again. Regret or shame doesn't undo what's been done. Turn your back on it. There's light there to warm yourself in. Stop wasting your time, go sunbathe and sip something nice and cold from those three shiny cups!

Friday 12 July 2013

Deck Review: Beginner's Tarot

Beginner's Tarot by Kathleen McCormack (Quantum 2001, 2013)

I picked this up yesterday at The Works, a sort of balance to the three new tops I bought for work. I paid £4.99 for it, which may or may not have been too much. It's a pleasant enough little kit. 

What's Included
The deck comes in an attractive box that opens like a book. The companion book, full colour and printed on slick paper, fits nicely on top of a decorative custom compartment for holding the cards. All elements fit well, though the top of the box does like to pop open. This would not be a problem if the box were stored on the book shelf between other items. The cards are secure in the box and will not slide around when the box is standing on its end, unlike many tarot packs. The deck consists of 78 cards, in a Marseilles style and soft pastel colours. 

It's about balance!

My patience for this deck has worn quite thin, so it's a good thing this is the last day of Titania's Star Tarot. We have Two of Pentacles here, a card which normally represents (to me at least) achieving a balance in life. To Titania, all 2s are about work, and she says they mean as follows: 2 of Wands - business including scientific and rational thought, 2 of Swords - burn-out and fatigue, 2 of Cups - enjoyment of work, 2 of Pentacles - 'hard work that brings out its just rewards.' Well, I give up. What's the bird all about, then? Why is it yellow? I don't know and Titania's not telling. So I will just have to go with my own interpretation of the card today, since Titania's interpretations don't make any sort of sense to me at all, and say that today will be a day when balance can be achieved. Conditions are right for achieving equilibrium, and that's a good thing; I have been trying to get some aspects of my life to come into balance today. Today may be a day when I do a bit better. :)

Thursday 11 July 2013

Chain breaker

Titania's Star Tarot, 2003
Wands can easily be mistaken for swords in the Titania's Star Tarot; one has to remember that the swords are curved scimitars. It's just one of several of the frustrations of using this deck. Another is trying to make sense of the colours chosen. Are they random? Or do they have some sort of significance to the deck creator? There certainly doesn't appear to be any Golden Dawn connection between the 9 of Wands and the colour purple. I'm also curious about the three-linked chain at the top of the card. So, I turn again to the companion book for hints.

Again, Hardie gives us a tidbit about 9s in general -- they 'relate to the most optimistic side of Aquarius' and that the number 9 is 'concerned with wishes'. Okay.

'The Nine of Wands shows a friendship that is true, wise, solid and perhaps also profitable. It might be a best friend, but also an indication of someone who is lucky in friendships generally. The key meaning is understanding.'

And that's the entire entry for 9 of Wands. I can't say that this deck and its companion book would be the ideal starter set for a tarot beginner. This interpretation of the 9 of Wands sounds very little like the traditional  Golden Dawn interpretations:

Golden Dawn - 'the Lord of Strength' - Okay, I can see how the chain could be a reference to strength
Rider Waite Smith - Strength in opposition; ability to meet an onslaught boldly
Thoth - 'Change is stability'; 'Balance is made difficult by not going fast enough. So also, one cannot draw a straight line if one's hand shakes.' (That's from Crowley's companion book, Book of Thoth)

All traditional interpretations aside, I tend to interpret this card as a wariness based on past experience, and a readiness to meet whatever life throws at you. So my view is closest to RWS. (It usually turns out to be!) Now, that's not very much like 'a friendship that is wise, solid and perhaps also profitable.' To me, Wands are about action, not friendship. I would be more likely to see Cups as referring to friendship. However, Hardie seems to see the number 9 itself as being associated with friendship, because her 9 cards have to do with friends (in fact her companion books says it is 'best friend to the world'):

9 of Wands - True friendship
9 of Swords - Frustration with friends
9 of Coins - Spending money on friends
9 of Cups - NOT about friends, but 'fulfillment of a wish'

So her interpretations are the opposite of how I would see them - only the cups card would default to a possible 'relationship' meaning.

If I were to draw this card, given my conception of the 9 of Wands, I would see the chain as being whatever obstacle, impediment or opposition that is faced or expected, and the configuration of the wands into three triangles look to me like three wedges or battering rams that would come up against it. If the first triangle breaks on the chains, there's a second and third to follow through. The army is in formation, ready for battle, should the need arise.

I don't think I will be coming up against any opposition today, unless it's my daily battle with food choices! I'm off to pick up my new prescription varifocals, so wish me luck that I don't walk into a streetlight pole or fall down any stairs on the way home! :)

Wednesday 10 July 2013

Status Quo

Titania's Star Tarot, 2003
The 4 of Wands is the card for today from Titania's Star Tarot (Quadrille 2003).  All interpretations given in the companion book have an old-fashioned fortuneteller feel to them. Four of Wands, for example, says only: 'The Four of Wands is concerned with money coming through a legacy or legal endowment. Usually this card indicates that the client will be the recipient of a will. The inner interpretation is self-government.' Titiania Hardie also writes that all tarot fours are the sign of Scorpio and indicate matters of luck with money, legacies and sensuality.

At least that explains why the four wands are depicted on a scroll, a reference to legal documents. Personally I have never read anyone say that the Four of Wands is about a legacy, not that I put much stock in simplified 'fortune teller' reading of tarot cards. (For me, that's more the realm of Lenormand or simple playing card decks). I can see, possibly, how the scroll might remind me of the title deed to property, especially a house or other dwelling, since I usually see Four of Wands to indicate firm foundations of any type, and often see it in reference to a settled domestic situation.

I don't really know anything about Scorpio (the 8th House, Hardie helpfully adds), but Aleister Crowley says in Book of Thoth that the 4 of Wands is 'Venus in Aries,' and that the energy of the Wands suit 'is now built up into a solid system: Order, Law and Government.' So that is another reason why the card might be depicted with a scroll, as we associate law with documents written upon scrolls. It would seem, based on this evidence, that Titania's Star Tarot might be more Thothy than RWS.  I haven't looked at it enough to make that connection for sure.

As I doubt I will inherit a windfall today, I will take this card to mean that today is a day to 'go by the books', to follow established traditions, to avoid making waves of any kind or take any action that might disturb the status quo. Not that I'd intended to! It also suggests that today there won't be any kind of shake up, but that it will be a day of stability and balance. That's good news. :)

Tuesday 9 July 2013

Revealing unacknowledged personal qualities

This reading came up after a long, rambling conversation with a friend about my 'direction in life'. The job I have been in for years is not satisfying to me, but I have no idea what direction I should go in, how to identify my 'true vocation' or where my potential lies. I do know that I have been in a kind of stasis for a very long time, and while in many, many ways stasis is a secure and comfortable place to be, it does leave one feeling wistful, like something is missing, and I know that can suddenly spiral into a deep dissatisfaction, which in turn can become hopelessness and even despair. Something needs to change, but what? How?

Having talked at length, my friend and I agreed on the following three questions, then I shuffled, cut and drew:

What qualities, talents or attributes do I possess that I do not fully appreciate? Queen of Wands
What would help me appreciate these qualities more? The Fool
What would give me the impetus to make changes? 6 of Coins

Monday 8 July 2013

Magic Monday

Titania's Star Tarot, 2003
Girded about with a snake, his third eye glowing gold, the Magician in Titania's Star Tarot stands behind a table ranged with the symbols of the suits: sword, coin, rod, and cup. His right hand holds a wand topped with an infinity symbol (lemniscate), and his left hand points to the ground. Pretty traditional, in many ways.

'In readings, the Magus tells us we have a strong will. He encourages us to create and realise envisioned is better at the present to do the wrong thing than to do nothing, so ACT with will and determination.' ~ Titania Hardie, Titania's Star Tarot Companion Book

The card has the symbol for the planet Mercury and so could be associated with swiftness, boldness, action and will power.

I have just returned from a few days away, during which I saw some lovely things and enjoyed lengthy conversations, and even a couple of tarot readings, all of which have given me lots to think about, and even more encouragement to 'act with will and determination' in ways that are unfamiliar to me and out of my ordinary habits.

My main objective for today is to get through it without wilting entirely! Some people love a heat wave; me, not so much. I prefer a cool breeze, even it means a grey sky. There's a lovely cool breeze blowing through the window right now (6.15 AM), but we'll see how it feels at 5.30 PM when I get home to a flat that's had its windows shut all day!

Sunday 7 July 2013

A study in raspberry

Titania's Star Tarot, 2003
The scan looks darker than the card in real life, the 9 of Swords from the curious Titania's Star Tarot (Quadrille 2003): a field of pale lavender, a 10-pointed star in a darker shade, with 9 lurid magenta scimitars ranged in three triangles over all. Weird.

Titania says in her book that 9 is 'the most optimistic side of Aquarius' and that it is the number that is always concerned with wishes. She then goes on to say that the 9 of Swords 'points to frustration with friends, and a tendency to be let down by them' and that its key word is doubt.

I wonder why there is a 10-pointed star instead of 9-pointed star. I wonder why it's pink. I wonder how a person could ever get Titania's interpretation from this card. If you didn't know, how would you know? When I see decks like this one, I always wish I could sit down with the deck creator and just ask them to go through with me their thinking behind it, and reveal to me the little secret, private meanings that the symbols have for them, because I am convinced that everything that goes into a deck means something special to its creator, particularly in a deck like this one.I don't know why, but this deck just shouts at me, 'Created by a witch who knows exactly what she is doing, whether you do or not.'

If I were doing a reading with this deck for someone, I'd call upon my own knowledge of the 9 of Swords and suggest that they may be feeling stressed or worried, perhaps with troubled sleep. Depending on the cards around it, though, it could be saying not to expect the worst when there's no evidence of trouble--and in that case, it could represent a pessimistic state of mind that needs addressing.

Saturday 6 July 2013

Bull's eye

This week, let's explore the strange world of Titania's Star Tarot (Quadrille, 2003). It is a bizarre and, at times, unattractive deck. Its companion book has tiny print, and features enormous and unusual layouts. The smallest layout has nine cards, and is recommended for yes/no questions! I have a feeling that the way of reading and using cards presented in this book is a more old school tradition than today's 'life coaching' tarot reading style. It is certainly firmly couched in astrology, though apparently does not use the traditional astrological associations of Golden Dawn. There's nothing wrong with being old school--in fact, I find it fascinating. When I first got this deck (which was kindly given to me), I took a brief look at the book and decided it was all too much like Greek to me. But one day, I think I might take a closer look at it. In fact, I intend to do a bit of that this week.

Titania's Star Tarot, 2003
Like most of the cards in this deck, the 4 of Cups is seen as a positive card. Titania Hardie's companion book states that fours fall under Scorpio and represent 'fruitfulness borne of practicality and a sensible approach.' This is okay for 4 of Wands, the firm foundations card; 4 of Swords, the card of taking a break from thinking; and even 4 of Pentacles, the card of holding on to what you've got. But in the Four of Cups in the RWS and most Golden Dawn decks, Four of Cups is said to represent boredom, ennui and dissatisfaction. Titania Hardie bucks that trend:

'The Four of Cups indicates, always, an increase in family, and usually a good loving relationship with a healthy physical life. Only if reversed and surrounded by difficult cards, the 'increase' might be ill-timed in the relationship. The key is increase.'

This succinct card description (none of the pip cards are any longer, to be fair) doesn't tell us much. I look at it and see a green target with four goblets superimposed on it. They are arranged in a solid, 4-suqare shape. If I were going to read this intuitively (which Titania does not seem to advocate), I might be inclined to say it has something to do with focusing one's attention on the true relational foundations of life. The concentric circles almost become a tunnel when you stare at them, and the four cups get sucked into the whirling vortex. Not sure why, but I envision these swirling cups going straight into the heart chakra. Is that too fanciful?

Friday 5 July 2013

Keep on truckin

How appropriate to draw The Chariot on this, the last day of our week with Tarot Illuminati (Dunne & Huggens, LoScarabeo 2013).  I am travelling today for a weekend away with a friend. Sometimes our daily draws can be interpreted on a very mundane level indeed.  (I recall once a reading I did in preparation for a job interview, asking for advice, and I drew the Ace of Cups. I thought it meant I needed to try to be open. Nope. On the day, my mouth was so dry I actually slurred my speech. It was awful. Only afterward did I remember the card and realize I was probably being urged to stay hydrated and take a bottle of water!! Tarot can have a mean sense of humour. Happens a lot.)

I am thoroughly enamoured of Tarot Illuminati. It is a fascinating deck to look at, has an entertaining (if at times overwrought) companion book, and a lovely, sturdy magnetized box that closes with a satisfying clunk. There's a lot to be said for sturdy packaging in the tarot world. Do consider getting yourself a copy.

Tomorrow brings us a completely different deck, and quite an odd little duck it is...

Thursday 4 July 2013

Mind the gap

'You were born together,
and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when the white wings
of death scatter your days.
Aye, you shall be together even in the
silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another, but make not a bond of love.
Let it rather be a moving sea between
the shores of your souls.
Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous,
but let each of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone
though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together, yet not too near together.
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress
grow not in each other's shadow.'

~ The Prophet, Kahlil Gibran

Wednesday 3 July 2013

Burnin' down the house

I've drawn the Tower today from Tarot Illuminati (Dunne and Huggens, LoScarabeo 2013). Jumpin jiminy, I wonder what the heck is on the horizon today, then. Kim Huggens' book is pretty dang dramatic:

'All knowledge up until now is false; the more you cling to it, the harder it will be to let go and move on. It is time for illumination, and since you have made it so hard for revelation to come to you, you must now face the lightning strike. It will destroy everything you have surrounded yourself with to get to you, and when it does, you shall fall. You will be liberated from that Tower, and as you fall you shall be able once again to see the stars that you have missed for so long.'

Hey, way to sell it, Kim! When you put it like that, how can I say no? Tch.

I have problems with the Tower card and its usual dramatic interpretations. In all honesty, most people only have a few true Tower moments in their lives. The rest of the time, there's usually just bumps, blips, niggles, and inconveniences, to varying degrees of annoyance. I doubt very seriously that a Wednesday is going to bring me a shattering transformational experience, particularly as in many interpretations, the Tower is seen as one being the victim of something outside one's control. Of course something absolutely dreadful could happen to a loved one today, and that's the worst possible thing I can think of to happen, but the likelihood of that is quite low.

Personally, I think in a daily draw the Tower is usually an annoyance. And in many cases, it can be a change in paradigm, or even just in habits, and often changes that you instigate yourself. You start tearing down your own 'tower' of established thought grooves or behaviours. That's what I'm hoping to do today. I have a few modest goals for today to try to change some habits and behaviours. So we'll see if I'm able to burn down that house, or at least get my Zippo to light.

ETA: My Tower moment came when I received a postcard saying Customs wants £17.95 for a parcel I'd ordered from the US. And £8 was 'handling charges'. WHAT!! PO'ed. Ha ha. Tower moment? Well.

Tuesday 2 July 2013


The Tarot Illuminati (Dunne and Huggens, LoScarabeo 2013) offers us 2 of Swords today. The first thing I think when I see this card this morning is 'No'. This woman is saying No to everything. No, I will not see, No, I will not feel, No I refuse to even hear. No, no, no to all of it. She turns her back to the sea, like someone who backs themselves into a corner for protection. Then she raises her swords over her heart and allows the roar of the sea to deafen her while the blindfold shuts out everything else.

I wonder what she thinks she's accomplishing. She is not accomplishing anything. She's not protecting anything, except whatever illusions and self-deceptions she's concocted in her own mind. Still, she would clearly rather be in there than out here, where life is real and has to be dealt with.

Of course, she can't maintain this stasis forever. A storm could blow up and wash her away, marauders could rob her or carry her off, or at the very least she's going to get tired, pass out and fall out of her chair. She could drown. How stupid she's being. How ridiculous to think she can protect herself by withdrawing in this way.

Are you withdrawing from something that you know you're going to have to face at some point? When will you take your blindfold off and drop your swords? Will you wait until the waves wash you out to sea and just drown? Or will you get up and confront what needs confronting?

Monday 1 July 2013

A surprise from the deep

It's the Princess of Cups today from the Tarot Illuminati (Dunne & Huggens, LoScarabeo 2013). Clearly modelled on the RWS Page of Cups, the image includes the curious sight of a fish emerging from the cup, which the human figure understandably seems to be quite amazed by. There's an interesting bit about fish in the Cups suit at Tarot Teachings. In particular, I like the ideas that fish represent emotion/intuition because they 'move and react according to intuitive instinct', and 'abide by the flow, move with the current, accepting the yawning void in which they live.'

The Cups suit in the Tarot Illuminati features faery-like folk with silver hair and pale skin, as opposed to the other courts(Wands - Persia, Swords - Elizabethan England, Pentacles - Asia). I think this is probably because the Cups suit concerns itself with the intuition and that part of the self that is more fanciful and nebulous.

Overall I'd say the card is suggesting to me that I be sensitive to things today, both to my own emotions and those of others. I need to pay particular attention to the ebb flow of my own inner world. Perhaps some new insight will pop up, like a fish emerging from a cup.