Saturday 30 November 2013

Uneasy lies the head

This week is the beautiful Golden Tarot by Kat Black (US Games, 2003). I do love this deck. It is extremely well done, made up of a collage of images from medieval and Renaissance paintings. The story is that Kat Black was fashioning a deck for herself, and decided it was worth trying to get it published. It is unashamedly RWS. I saw this deck online when I was relatively new to tarot and my only tarot decks were Osho Zen and Universal Waite Smith. That a tarot could be this beautiful was a revelation to me! I thought it was so creative and delightful, and I still find it gorgeous to look at.

Today's card is the Five of Cups. It's funny I should draw this today, because I don't feel like this within myself today. This is a card of focusing only on the negative without considering the positive. I actually feel more lively today than I did yesterday, and more hopeful. Perhaps the card shows some residual feelings from yesterday's despondent mood. Or maybe I take the role of the comforter today.

Whatever happens, I finish work today at 4.00 and when I get home I'm doing a workout!

Friday 29 November 2013


Our last draw from Grail Tarot gives us another court card, the Lady of Lances, or Queen of Wands. This is Mary after the crucifixion of Jesus, and the meaning given bears little resemblance to the traditional Queen of Wands:

'Sympathy, support, refusal to condemn, restoration, companionship. The Lady of Lances offers support to the Seeker at all times on their journey. When things seem too heavy to bear, she walks beside them, offering her gentle wisdom and loving kindness to restore their spirits. She suggests alternative ways to overcome fear and doubt.'

That sounds more like the Queen of Cups to me, or at a push perhaps the Queen of Pentacles.

Anyway, the only message I received yesterday was that my new timetable is still not ready and that I will probably be on a four-week rotation rather than a two-week one like everyone else. Doesn't seem like it would be rocket science to timetable me in half a week in one work base and half a week in the other, but looks like it is.

I certainly hope nothing happens today that would cause me to need the comfort of the Lady of Lances. It's Friday and I can't be asked to deal with any trouble.

Thursday 28 November 2013

Did you hear something?

Grail Tarot, 2007
I'm glad I've drawn a court card today to show you. The courts in the Grail Tarot are: Lady (all depictions of Mary), Master (all Grand Masters from the Knights Templar), Preceptor (a teacher or mentor on an initiatory path) and  Brother (neophyte). These of course are equivalent to Queen, King, Knight and Page.

The companion book of the Grail Tarot gives a very traditional Page of Wands meaning: a message.  'An extraordinary emissary comes, strengthening and encouraging the Seeker to access their inner resources.' I wonder what sort of message I will receive today.

The image shows the Brother of Lances standing guard or keeping watch in the Templar Commanderie. Over his head, an angel hovers. He is looking upward, as if he senses something. It would appear that the messenger in this card is not the Brother of Lances himself, but the angel, a traditional bringer of messages in the Bible. (In fact, the word 'angel' itself comes from the Greek 'angelos,' which means envoy or messenger, and comes from the verb 'angello' which means to announce something or bring news. 'Angel' is the word used to translate the original Hebrew 'malek elohim' (messenger of God) or 'malek YHWH' (messenger of the Lord).

So perhaps the message I get today will be a little loftier than a simple email. You never know!

Wednesday 27 November 2013

Spiritual Sat Nav

Grail Tarot, 2007
Oh, I am very happy to see this card today, the 10 of Cups (or 10 of Vessels, as it's called here) from The Grail Tarot by John Matthews. This card depicts the Seeker as Grand Master of the Order and Guardian of the Grail, having fulfilled his life's mission of achieving the Grail and then gone on to teach others about its mysteries. He has come full circle and thus the card represents wholeness, perfection, contentment. The Grail Tarot companion book says, 'We have come home after a long journey. Esteem and honours await us. We feel a sense of deep contentment and security in the knowledge of a job well done. The Seeker stands at last before the Grail.'

How can I draw a card that shows the beginning of a turning point one day (Seven of Swords) and then a card that shows the end of a journey the next, with nothing in between? Sometimes the same level of contentment associated with finishing something comes just from knowing you've turned in the right direction.

The Guardian of the Grail here is not finished with his journey. If he were, he would be dead, and even then it could be argued by some that his journey would still not be finished. But being on the path you're on now, and knowing why you're on it, can be a sort of homecoming. It can be type of finish line, in some ways. Like when you're lost, then you recognize a landmark and suddenly all the landscape that had been whirling around you while you trotted along on a treadmill in the middle stops spinning and sinks back to the ground, settling in place. You find yourself moving forward again with confidence. That's the kind of homecoming I'm thinking of with this card.

Yesterday I took a big black marker pen and wrote huge numbers in my diaries (2013 and my new 2014 one), starting at 100 on 26th Nov. I numbered each day 100, 99, 98, 97, 96, in huge writing. The point is to remind myself that time passes whether I'm on the right track or not, so it's to my advantage to stay on the right track. It's a countdown. I look forward to seeing where I will be by the time I get to Day 1. The big, bold numbers, taking up most of the page and seeping through to the other side of the page, cannot be ignored. I like clear signposts for the journey. The Guardian of the Grail is providing those to his listeners. He's also providing them to himself.

Knowing where you are and what you are working toward, that's a 10 of Cups feeling.

Tuesday 26 November 2013

Band of brothers

Grail Tarot, 2007
Here is the Seven of Swords from The Grail Tarot by John Matthews. In this image, the Seeker-Knight has just escaped from a captor and meets some fellow Templars on the road. He is relieved at the prospect of being in a band of brother; being a lone warrior hasn't worked out to well for him! But of course, there is also a bit of fear there, too. After all, back in the Three of Swords, he had been brutally thrashed by a fellow Templar, so he can't be completely certain that these men can be trusted. Even if they turn out to be genuine Templars, that is no guarantee they won't do him a serious mischief!

I posted about Seven of Swords not long ago. It seems this card is stalking me a tiny bit. Am I being called to act with Seven of Swords energy, or am I being warned of it? Or both?

I have to admit this particular image, and the episode in the story that it represents, does not remind me much of any of the traditional Seven of Swords meanings. The Grail Tarot companion book says, 'Those who have faith in their own abilities, who trust their companions on the quest, will find their strength growing or returning. What seemed an impossible dream may suddenly become real and viable. Help comes from old friends and the long, weary road suddenly seems less frightening.' Hey, did you catch that phrase? Impossible dream? Didn't I just write about that yesterday?

Okay, I see how this applies to today. There is something I was thinking of starting today, which would involve starting over yet again, on a very long road where the daily rewards are few but the ultimate goal is fulfilling on many levels. This card encourages me to turn my back on past failures or mishaps and take up with familiar methods that worked in the past, and carry on with them, facing future challenges with these 'old friends'. It could also even mean enlisting the help of actual old friends.  And I realise as well that if I am to be successful, I will need to use Seven of Swords energy in all its aspects -- studying and preparing, being wary of pitfalls, being wily myself in the way I deal with the world. Yes, yes. I can see this.

Monday 25 November 2013

A heavenly cause

Grail Tarot, 2007
Well, after yesterday's post, isn't it appropriate that today's draw from The Grail Tarot: A Templar Vision (John Matthews, 2007) is Perceval, major arcanum 17, Star.

In this card, the Seeker stands beside the ethereal Perceval, who is mounted on a horse and holding aloft the Grail. The Seeker holds out his hands tentatively to receive it, while in the background the Shekinah looks on. In the golden sky, a single tiny star glows faintly.

I can't help myself, there's something about this card, and the whole Grail Tarot, that makes me hum 'The Impossible Dream', from the musical Man of La Mancha, to myself while working with it. Look at Perceval's face in this card. He does not look particularly triumphant. He looks like he is practically outside his body. He looks surreal. He looks shell-shocked. (He has a similar shell-shocked look in the Haindl Tarot, where he is depicted as the Prince of Cups). This has cost him everything, which he gave willingly. Having failed to ask the Grail questions on his first visit to the castle of the Wounded King, Perceval has traveled  far and had many strange experiences, ending up at the Grail castle again, and this time achieving the Grail, accompanied by Galahad and Bors. But, not unlike Frodo, it occurs to me, Perceval is so changed by his experiences that he is no longer suited for this world. This happens to all three of them. (Bors though, perhaps because he was always better grounded, being the only married man amongst the Grail knights, does eventually return to earthly matters and to Camelot.) I don't know what the word is for this feeling I associate with the deck. It's a sort of wistfulness. Yearning. Hope where there is no hope. Oh, let's just listen to Peter O'Toole sing it and get it out of my system (I like Peter O'Toole's version. I like the fragility of his delivery):

The Star is a card of hope, and faith, a luminescence distinct from the hazy mysteries of the moon and the fierce brightness of the sun. It is untainted by arrogance, disappointment, or doubt. It is a card of clarity inspiration, salvation and enlightenment. On the other hand, the Star could also be aspirations and standards so high that no one could ever live up to them. However, in true Star fashion, their being impossible is no reason at all to stop believing in and seeking them.

The thing is, I don't think Don Quixote ever actually believed he would achieve his quest. He seems almost certain that he will die trying, the point being to never give up. Perceval has the look of a man who also thought he would die trying, and now that the quest is achieved, nothing seems real. (Not that anything had seemed real for a very, very long time, in the strange world of the Grail quest.)

I myself am not on any particular quest today, unless you count going to the audiology department to pick up more batteries for my hearing aids as a 'heavenly cause'. (Though it may be argued that visiting an NHS hospital is not unlike 'marching into hell', but that may be a bit of an overstatement).

What does the Star card make you think of? And what does this particular card image bring to your mind?

Sunday 24 November 2013

Share a Spread Sunday: Perceval's Questions

Perceval and the Grail Procession
Sometimes it feels like our journey through life is too brutal to be borne. We feel like the pain is too much for us. We want answers. We want someone to solve the mystery. Or at the very least, we want a way to make it hurt less. This spread was born out of those feelings.

In Chretien de Troyes' Perceval: Story of the Grail, Perceval fails to attain the Grail when he refrains from asking questions about it. (Chretien never finished this poem, and so the mystery has fired the imaginations of generations.) Perceval, a simple youth raised away from the world of men, has undertaken to find a mysterious object called 'the graal', and finds himself invited into the very odd castle of the Fisher King, where in the hall, a strange procession marches past him: a young man carrying a bleeding lance, two boys carrying a candelabra, and a beautiful girl carrying a highly decorated 'graal', a flat serving dish. Having been upbraided by other knights for asking too many questions, Perceval keeps silent about these strange sights. The next morning, he is told by a 'loathely lady' that if he had only asked the right questions, the Fisher King would have been healed. He should have asked why the lance bleeds, and whom the grail serves. Chretien's poem ends here, unfinished. 

Saturday 23 November 2013

Grail Tarot: A Templar Vision

This week we will examine a deck that might annoy purists -- tarot purists in this case (coincidentally, Chloe at Inner Whispers is looking at an unconventional Lenormand). It's the Grail Tarot: A Templar Vision by John Matthews. Combining Grail and Knights Templar legend, it requires commitment to learn to use. I suppose you could read it based solely on pictures straight out of the box, but then you would miss the point of the deck entirely, and that would be a shame, as quite a bit of thought has gone into it, and using the complete system properly gives considerable insight into Grail lore, Templar history, and a light introduction to the tenets of the Gnostic heresies. (I have read some people say that this deck is a 'very Christian' deck. This could only be said by someone who knows nothing about orthodox Christianity, because the Grail legend and the Gnostic thought behind it are rejected by the orthodox church as complete heresies -- ie, not Christian. So take heart, those of you who say you find 'Christian things' distasteful -- you won't find much Christianity in the Grail Tarot. Lots of Bible imagery, but that in no way makes something Christian. Just look at Mr Crowley's work, if you need examples.)

Friday 22 November 2013

Dude, what's going on with your behind?

Today's the last day for the CBD Tarot, and I've drawn The Sun. Just looking at the details on this card. I've never been much of a fan of TdM art, anyway, but the Sun card always puzzles me. Why the twins? I've read so many ideas about why there are two figures on the card. And look at the art. They both have skin that looks like it's made of folded sheets of something flat, like origami figures, and the one on the left looks like he has a tail. Both are wearing blue loin cloths that don't actually cover their bits, which aren't there. The brickwork on that wall doesn't match up at all. Then between their little legs, the blue from the ground goes up between the knees of the left figure, notching into the wall, and the wall between the right figure's knees is flesh-colour. They both wear odd red collars and their faces look like they've pulled all-nighters at the local dive. There are strange multi-coloured drop shapes in the sky. The best thing about the card is the sun itself. I like that he has so many rays, and that he takes up so much space on the card.

Now, I know many TdM readers do something called 'colour pooling' and that the colours have significance. I know that the droplet thingies are sometimes seen as looking like Hebrew alphabet markings. I know that the twins are variously Castor and Pollux, Romulus and Remus, or the Children of Pleasure from the 5th House of the zodiac. But I still don't think this is a very pretty card. Except for the Sun, I like him. :)

Oh well, anyway. Drawing the Sun today gives me hope that it will be a pleasant day for me -- and that will be a nice change from yesterday. I hope these hives go away. I broke out in hives yesterday morning, and they are still here with a vengeance.

Have a great Friday!

Thursday 21 November 2013

I see...trouble on the way

If you draw the 10 of Swords, is your first thought, 'Oh no!'?  Mine is. So when I drew it this morning from CBD Tarot, I quickly turned over the next card to find out more. 5 of Coins? You must be joking. Next, please -- Magician. interesting day ahead. There will be an exhausting and complex situation, probably conflict, caused by a disruption. There will be something discovered today which throws a spanner in the works. Someone is going to have to do some 'magic' to fix it. Hopefully, if it's me who has to do it, there will be others on hand to help out.

I like the way the Magician is looking toward the two troublemaker cards, and pointing the wand in their direction, too, in the attitude of a spear chucker! Zap! Take that! He seems to say. And his expression shows no fear whatever, but rather, more like amusement. From this I take courage that the 10 of Swords and 5 of Coins may be a tempest in a teapot or petty complaint from someone, that I will have to sort out for them. It will be a big deal to them and they will try to make it a big deal to me, but really it's nothing. This I can handle.

ETA: Well, the work day is done and things played out pretty much as predicted -- instead of it being a member of staff, though, it was a customer! I had an absolutely vile customer complaint via phone, which also pivoted around the number 5 (can't go into details of course), and though I managed the situation well, it did shake me up enough that after the call I went upstairs and to my surprise very briefly burst into tears. So there it was.

Wednesday 20 November 2013

Taking charge and damn good at it, too

Hey, how about that! I shuffled thoroughly this morning and still drew the next card in the CBD Tarot, 10 of Cups. Those of us with RWS habits will immediate start to picture rainbows and the domestic bliss of the nuclear family. But, nope. the CBD Tarot LWB surprises with this: 'Leadership. A person with special qualities receives appreciation and high status. Assuming responsibility for others. Maintaining a superior position.'

First off, I can see this idea reflected in the arrangement of cups on the cards. There is one gigantic cup at the top, and nine little cups all in obedient lines beneath. The cup is sideways, both to make sure it covers all the rows, and also sort of, I think, to signify a notion of service to those being led. The best leaders both lead and serve. They take care of their charges. If it comes to that, I suppose the best leaders (like in the military) are willing to lay down their life for their charges. On a more mundane level, it could represent being willing to take the fall, ie, take the blame or the ultimate responsibility for the outcome of the team's project. That's a very good leader.

The Golden Dawn title for 10 of Cups is 'Lord of Perfected Success.' You can see a comparison of the meanings of the 10 of Cups card at Super Tarot  (I think it is so awesome of Paul Hughes-Barlow to assemble this website for us. It must have taken ages!).

Yesterday, I found out I'm to be the 'apprentice specialist' for the division. Well, it would have been nice to be told months ago--they started on the 4th of November and no one mentioned this to me! But I am taking the situation in hand because I rule. Ha ha. So I think that's what this card may point to.

Tuesday 19 November 2013

Happy happy joy joy

CBD Tarot, 2010
I'm very pleased to see 9 of Cups from CBD Tarot today, as I'm off to the workplace that I don't much enjoy, and the LWB says, 'a group or organization working harmoniously with everyone finding the proper place.' Yay! This bodes well for a smooth-running work day.

Nine of Cups is known as 'Lord of Material Happiness' in the Golden Dawn tradition. The RWS interpretation is usually something along the lines of fulfilled wishes, happiness, a feeling of well-being, a satisfactory conclusion or outcome.

However, there is a sense with the number nine that as an ending is being reached, the tipping point to a new cycle is also coming close. So in some readings, depending on surrounding cards, the interpretation may be more along the lines of a coming end to a happy period, rather than predicting a happy period.

Monday 18 November 2013

Do or do not: Seven of Swords

CBD Tarot, Ben-Dov 2010
Are you kidding me? Seven of Swords again! Today's draw from the CBD Tarot gives me the same card I drew on Saturday. The LWB says the card means 'Concentrating on a clear goal and doing what it takes to reach it.' This not my favourite activity any day of the week. I'm much better at procrastination and excuse-making! Doh. Is this card going to become a stalker?

Just what does the Seven of Swords mean? One fantastic thing about pips-only decks is that they make you consider many ways of interpreting card meaning.

Eteilla's key word for 7 of Swords is 'esperance' -- it means expectancy, hope, or conviction.

The Golden Dawn meaning is the more familiar to most tarotists -- taking risks, being partly successful/partly unsuccessful, deceit, betrayal, theft, or just being cunning. We see some of these ideas in the Rider Waite Smith image.

Some people have a seemingly different take on the 7 of Swords and see studying and learning, such as in the Druidcraft Tarot or the Gaian Tarot.

Numerologically, seven signifies challenges or tests, using skills and courage, mastery, projection, putting forth an effort, getting things done, a push; proving oneself, taking chances, perhaps even confrontations. Maybe uncertainty, mystery, or misgivings. It is a number of reflection and assessment.

In the guidebook to the Pathfinders Tarot, David Fontana suggests that 7 is most frequently occurring in connection with profundities -- 7 heavens, 7 pillars of wisdom, 7 chakras, 7 days in a week, 7 ruling planets, 7 notes on the tonic scale, 7 cardinal virtues, 7 deadly sins, 7 wonders of the world, etc. He says 7 is concerned with the imagination, dreams, and openness to the hidden realities behind appearances.

If a 7 is a challenge and the suit of swords is thought, then Seven of Swords could be 'challenging thoughts'. Perhaps this is why the Golden Dawn named this card 'Lord of Unstable Effort'. Things could go either way. The card, then, calls for a thorough examination of both the situation and one's motives for taking various actions. Of course, pondering this could lead to Pamela Coleman Smith's Rider Waite figure tiptoeing away with the apparently stolen swords (what was his motive? did it seem right in his eyes?) OR the scholar at his desk in Druidcraft (perhaps he's making a list of pros and cons, or writing a treatise from both points of view). Either way, we see an artist's conception of examining motives.

Maybe the Seven of Swords could represent a crisis point -- a point at which we must decide whether we are going to do something, or just leave it. Time to make up your mind. Press on, or turn back. I can think of several areas in my life where I could apply this. The thing is, the tarot can only point in a direction. It's up to you to do or not do -- and in that way, maybe every reading is like a Seven of Swords.

Sunday 17 November 2013

WINNER of the Vampire Tarot!!

Congratulations to


Winner of the Vampire Tarot
by Robert Place!

I wrote all your names on slips of paper and had my husband stir his hand around in the bowl and draw one. So congratulations to Louise!

Thank you to everyone else who liked my Facebook page and kindly left comments. I hope you continue to visit me here--and you never know when there'll be another give away. :)

Have a blessed full moon. 

Share a spread Sunday: The Anxiety Roundabout

I created this spread back when I was taking driving lessons. I cannot overstate the level of driving anxiety that I developed while taking driving lessons. One of my biggest fears was roundabouts -- a foreign concept and a terror. It became a metaphor for me of anxiety itself. And so this spread was born. The card positions are based on the steps my driving teacher taught me (she taught me to pass my test the first time, but she also created a lifelong fear of driving, bless her):

This is a page straight of my spread notebook :)

Card One goes in the centre and is the hub or source of the anxiety. If you are unsure why you are anxious, you could draw a card for this one to see what tarot reveals about the source of your anxiety. If you are aware of the source, you might choose to pre-select a card that represents the anxiety as you understand it. 

For the remaining cards, shuffle and draw as usual and lay out in the above arrangement. If you want to draw a circle on a sheet of paper, or create one out of a piece of string, a string of beads or some small crystals, that would be helpful in visualizing the layout.

1. Recognizing the roundabout - This is the hub of the anxiety.
2. Approaching the roundabout - These are factors creating the anxiety.
3. Hesitation (a thing you're not supposed to do at the roundabout!) - Your fears; the thing that keeps you paralyzed.
4. Moving off - The 'truth': the 'reality' of the situation (as opposed to your fears or illusions about it)
5. MSM ('Mirror-signal-manouevre--the scariest part of the roundabout, where you have to get yourself into the position to leave the roundabout) - The ACTION that will take you from fear to acceptance of reality
6. Leaving the roundabout - How you can overcome the fear for good

If you try this spread out, please let me know how it worked for you! :) 

If you would like a reading from me using the Anxiety Roundabout Spread, please click on the Order a Reading tab at the top of this page, select the appropriate number of cards in the drop-down menu, and write 'Anxiety Roundabout' along with your subject in the topic line. I will have your reading to you within 48 hours. 

Here's some feedback I got for my most recent reading: 

'A big thank you to Carla Tate who did a Lenormand reading for me and I can say that I was absolutely blown away by it. It really resonates with me, which means that it's 100% spot on (my opinion). I'm a psychic but can never read for myself and it's rare I find a person able to read for me. Carla's read brought a lot of things in line and perspective. Thanks!' 

Saturday 16 November 2013

The Devil made me avoid it (?)

This week's featured tarot is the beautiful CBD Tarot DeMarseille, by Dr Yoav Ben-Dov, a 'faithful reproduction of the traditional Tarot cards based on the standard deck printed by Nicholas Conver, 1760, restored and adapted by Yoav Ben-Dov, 2010.' I bought it from Ben-Dov's website: I've decided to do 3-card draws at least some of the days, because the pips-only TdM can be a bit hard to relate to in single-card draws (though I actually quite like doing single-card draws with it).

The Devil - 7 of Swords - Queen of Coins
CBD Tarot (2010)
Today's draw: There will be a struggle between temptation and the physical or material plane. This could be anything from a temptation to overeat to a strong impulse to buy something I don't really need. Well, I face this kind of temptation every day! However, I can't say that I do much  resisting against them. The 7 of Swords shows great determination in achieving a goal, so the message for the day must be that I should stand firm when these temptations present themselves. I think it's most likely pointing to skipping my yoga practice. The Devil doesn't like discipline. I will take this as a warning that some sort of strong impulse to misbehave is coming my way today.

Friday 15 November 2013

Giveaway - The Vampire Tarot

Uh oh!! Our final draw from the Robert Place Vampire Tarot is The Tower (cue crashing music from 'Young Frankenstein').

The companion book by Robert Place references the scene from the novel Dracula which for me is one of the creepiest in the book: the scene where Jonathan Harker looks out the window of his high tower in the castle and sees Dracula crawling headfirst down the castle wall like a lizard. It is the moment when Harker has the rude realization that Dracula is not a human being, and his beliefs about reality completely shattered. It is one heck of a Tower moment in young Harker's life.

I have ended up with an extra Vampire Tarot deck. It is the deck only, no box or companion book, but it is a complete deck. If you would like to be entered into a draw to receive this Vampire Tarot deck, please like my Facebook page at and come back here leaving a comment saying you've done so. If you have already liked my page, THANK YOU. Could you share my page or perhaps your favourite post so far on your own timeline, and come back here and comment that you've done so?

I will draw at random during the full moon on Sunday 17th November.

Good luck!

Thursday 14 November 2013

Splash a little holy water on your jaded soul

Today's card from the Vampire Tarot by Robert Place is the Knight of Cups, or Knight of Holy Water, in this instance. The figure on the card is Joseph Sheridan LeFanu, an Irish author and writer of the novel Carmilla, published in 1872. It was this book that inspired Bram Stoker to write about the supernatural. Carmilla is considered the most important vampire story after Dracula. (An interesting side note about Carmilla...people tend to think lesbian vampires are a product of the shlocky early 70s horror flicks, but Carmilla, one of the earliest literary vampires, is a lesbian, so this notion has a long lineage.)

According to Robert Place's brief notes in the companion book, Le Fanu's style 'introduces psychological insights that were innovative at the time,' and so the card is said to represent someone who has insight into the unconscious and people's hidden motives. In other words, a sensitive type.It must have been pretty tough to come up with a character from Dracula or vampire legend that would fill the bill of Knight of Cups. I guess this link, tenuous though it may be, will serve.

I myself will always associate Knight of Cups with a particular character from the film American Beauty, the boy called Ricky, who spends his time mooning about on the sidelines of life, filming plastic shopping bags floating about on the breeze, and proclaiming life to be so beautiful that sometimes he feels like he 'can't take it'. I've provided a link many times to the clip in question, but I find it so perfect for the Knight of Cups that I can't resist showing it again:

Maybe I've drawn this card today to remind me to try not to be such a cynical butt hole. ha ha ha ha Seriously, though. Sometimes maybe seeing fathomless beauty in a bit of trash blowing around might make a nice change. (And with the level of litter picking our council provides, may as well try to get something positive out of all those blowy crisp packets, eh?)

Wednesday 13 November 2013

An apple a day: listening to the Hierophant

This is Van Helsing in his study, his books littering the desk top, contemplating the golden crucifix with which he not only defends himself and the others from the vampire Lucy, but also fends off Count Dracula himself. In Robert Place's Vampire Tarot, he represents the Hierophant.

The Hierophant is a much-maligned fellow. So many people dislike the card because of its associations with the Pope, organized religion, and authority in general. I must admit I don't understand this at all. I feel no rebellion toward either organized religion or authority, though I subscribe to no organized religion and often mistrust the information provided by so-called authorities. I still don't mind the Hierophant card when it comes up in a reading.

In a reading, the Hierophant may point toward social conventions or institutions, such as marriage, the teacher-student relationship, or doctor-patient relationship. It may point toward people who have more knowledge than ourselves in particular areas, people such as surgeons, lawyers, philosophers, mathematicians, computer programmers, and yes, even theologians and clergy. The Hierophant might even be interpreted to mean conventional wisdom, which we find in all sorts of sayings, like 'An apple a day keeps the doctor away,' or 'A stitch in time saves nine,' lessons learned by experience and passed on through tradition.  Van Helsing of course would be the Hierophant in the Vampire Tarot, and the novel Dracula, because he is the expert of vampire lore and has the most knowledge about vampirism. All the characters in the novel turn to his expertise and authority, and he does not abuse their trust. He represents the best of the Hierophant.

Today I take advice from tradition and take a break from my newly adopted daily ashtanga yoga practice. The tradition is to practice 6 days a week. So it's time for a break. I wonder what other areas of my life today will see me turning to tradition or authority, or taking advice from a source that probably knows more or 'better' than I do about a subject.

Tuesday 12 November 2013

Step away from my hoard. Grr. Arr.

The 4 of Garlic Flowers (also known as 4 of Coins or Pentacles) greets us today from Robert Place's Vampire Tarot. This card obviously carries the usual RWS meaning of protecting one's material possessions, or being protective of one's position in life. It is a place of fear, a place of not wanting to lose what you have, even if it means placing limitations on the possibility of future growth.

It is from this hoard of Count Dracula's that he funds his move to England, where, yes, he does meet the beautiful Mina, but also meets his death. So maybe in that instance, protecting the hoard instead of spending it would have been a better idea. The 4 of Coins is not always a negative card. Sometimes it really is a good idea to sit and protect what you've got, where you are. Self-preservation has its advantages -- like keeping oneself preserved! It's striking the proper balance of self-preservation while still allowing room for new experiences and growth that's the challenge.

It's Tuesday and I'm off to the not-so-preferred work place, so basic survival seems to be the order of the day, for sure.

Monday 11 November 2013

Lusty Ligeia

Looks like I got my wish for a court card to show you from the Vampire Tarot by Robert Place (St Martins Press 2009). This is the Knave of Stakes, or Page of Swords, and the character is Ligeia, from the Edgar Allan Poe story. 'Ligeia' was always one of my favourite Poe stories. It was first published in 1838, and is really quite sick! Poe was a bit obsessed with the notion of a beautiful young woman dying and awakening in the tomb, having been buried alive, or in some way rising from the dead. You can read the whole story here, and I do highly recommend it. But if you just want the low-down,  Shmoop is a wonderfully funny tutorial site which has provided this summary. Basically, the narrator of the story was once in a relationship with the beautiful and mysterious Ligeia; she dies, he marries again (opposite in every way to Ligeia), the new one dies, and he is sitting at her deathbed high on opium when she rises in her shroud and the body has been transformed into Ligeia! (Cue spooky music).

For some reason, Place's companion book calls 'Ligeia' a poem, but it most assuredly is a short story, and one which I taught back in the olden days, when I was a teacher of American literature.

 In the short story, Ligeia is portrayed as a statuesque beauty, with glowing black eyes, wild black hair, pale skin, brilliant teeth, a very sharp intelligence and willful spirit. Her dying words are of overpowering death. Apparently, she finds a way - by reanimating the dead body of her lover's blonde-haired, blue-eyed wife. In the Knave of Stakes card, we see Ligeia moving toward us, unwinding Rowena's burial shroud as she advances. Her skin is so pale it is lavendar, her eyes rimmed in red, her lips and her sharp pointy fingernails are brilliant red. Her face looks a bit dewy and sweet compared to my image of the lusty Ligeia. Place says, 'This card represents someone who is beautiful, passionate, and possessing a strong will.'

Now, I like to compare court cards to fictional characters, and I usually associate Page of Swords with Lisa Simpson. Thinking about it, I suppose Ligeia does have some things in common with Lisa. They both are very bright. They both think outside the box. They both latch very passionately on to their causes, are tenacious in that respect. Just Lisa doesn't tend to come back from the dead to reanimate another woman's body, but then she's only 8.

I wonder in what capacity I will need to call upon my inner Ligeia. Will I need to play devil's advocate? Will I need to find the most expedient means to my own ends, even if they go against the norm, or even what the average person would consider within the realm of possibility? I hope not. It's Monday, for goodness' sake. I'm not ready for that kind of aggro.

(By the way, if you don't know how to pronounce the name, it is 'Lye - JEE - ah.')

Sunday 10 November 2013

Share a Spread Sunday: 'What Should I Do Next?'

I don't know where this spread came from but it's a nice one. I may have made it up myself, because I tend to write an attribution when I copy a spread from somewhere. If you recognize it, let me know! The layout is in the shape of an arrow pointing upward. It's designed to help you find your way--what you should do next.


1. A snapshot of where you are now
2. Your feelings about your future
3. The direction you need to go in
4. Obstacles you might encounter
5. Who you should accept advice from
6. Who you should not accept advice from
7-9. A general assessment of what you should do

Not my best snapshot, but here's a summary of a reading using the mini Rider. 

The person in this spread feels pretty in control of his life at the moment (Emperor) and wants to hang on to that (4 of Coins). Perhaps, though, this person ought to focus less on control and material things, and more on happiness with life and its simple pleasures, particularly of family life (10 of Cups). Of course, he may be faced with temptations of various sorts -- in this case, I'd be inclined to think it's the temptation to work, to keep putting his priorities in a skewed place (Devil). He should take advice from his more impetuous side, his more fun-loving friends (King of Wands), and take less notice of the expectations of external forces, society, work colleagues, etc (World). In general, he should combat his need to be logical about his approach to life, and go more with his feelings (5 of Wands - King of Swords - Queen of Cups). 

If you would like a 'What Should I Do Next' reading, please click on the 'Order a Reading' button above and select the 7-9 card option. Just put 'What should I do next?' in the topic line and you will receive your reading within 48 hours. Hope to hear from you! 

Saturday 9 November 2013

Fangs for the memories

A few weeks ago I finally decided to order Robert Place's Vampire Tarot. It was just a serendipitous thing. I quite like vampires in general, though I find most vampire tarots too gothy and adolescent. But I'd been reading Stephen King's Salem's Lot (his second, and in my opinion, scariest book), and happened upon LeFanu's post. The deck arrived in its well-known stuck-together-in-a-brick state, and I dutifully peeled all the cards apart and snipped the corners off as I went. Then to my shock I discovered three cards were missing! St Martin's Press has no customer service at all. So I emailed Robert Place asking him for advice -- and he posted me the three missing cards himself! What a star!
So now my Vampire Tarot set is complete, and I think I'd like to take a look at it this week.

Friday 8 November 2013

Sweet talker

Rory's Story Cubes

When I look at this draw, I instantly think of the aphorism, 'You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar.' Healthy speech is magnetic. Firmly grounded speech is attractive.

On the other hand, it could be a warning. Remain firm in resisting the magnetic pull of your speech into a certain direction. In other words, stand firm and don't be drawn in to conversations you don't want to have.

I'm pretty sure I know what this is referring to in my own life. There's a little storm in a teapot being brewed by someone who seems to go through life looking for reasons to be pissed off, and her attention has turned toward me recently. I've received two angry messages from her; she's looking to pick a fight...but I am too old and too life-experienced to play in these sorts of petty mud holes, so she can just get mad by herself, stay mad by herself, and argue with herself, because I am not participating!

For me, when someone is working themselves into a tizzy about something, it's almost like I visualize them with a ring of energy about themselves, that shuts their mess in and forms a barrier that contains them. Let them whirl around in their little tempest to their heart's content. I'm staying out here where it's calm and dry.

Thursday 7 November 2013

Lightbulb moment

Rory's Story Cubes
What do you associate with an image of a lightbulb?

A bright idea. Energy. Needing to turn the lights on because it's getting darker each day. Thinking things over. A young person (aka 'bright spark') plays a role in my day. Learning something new. Creating something. Inventing something. Discovering something. Making a mental connection.

I wonder what connection I will make today.

Wednesday 6 November 2013

Over the rainbow

Okay, wow. The central upward-pointing arrow reminds me of my aspirations. Achieving (or at least moving toward) my aspirations requires compassionate speech and taking a close, careful look in the 'dark corners' of things. Again I am seeing the message to look deeply and speak softly. The Magnifying glass, flashlight, and arrow are all at the same angle -- it seems to reinforce the message. And if we read left to right, it says that looking closely at the dark, hidden side of things leads upward toward either a reconciliation of sorts, or achievement of a goal. The speech bubble is actually empty. So maybe words won't need to be spoken, or maybe the 'enlightenment' provided by the torch will render me speechless.

What the heck is going to happen today!!

Tuesday 5 November 2013

Mouth wide shut

The eye in the middle with the smiley face on the end make me think of watching and not talking. Vigilance without words is the way to achieve fairness, or find balance, in the current situation. Again Mr Turtle has turned up, reminding me that patience is required. And to keep smiling. (Or at least grinning.)

This draw makes a lot of sense for me personally today, even though I don't want to go into any details.

There are no rules with Story Cubes. This is a fun thing about using unusual items as divination tools. The symbols take on personal meaning to you, and you don't have to answer to any Belgian school, French school, or whatever school, or explain who you started in the middle or on the right or wherever. You just roll the dice and read them any way you like.

In this roll, I held all the dice in one hand and dropped three, lined them up and then dropped two more onto the spread cloth and lined them up with the first three. Then I just looked at it and the first items that caught my attention as being linked to one another, I linked. And read from there.

Monday 4 November 2013

Turn back or turtle on

This morning I decided to try throwing all the Rory's Story Cubes out at once, and use a kind of near/far technique with a significator to stand for myself. I didn't have a topic in mind as a question, but I have been thinking about a particular thing a lot in the last 24 hours. My jewelry box was handy so I used a pendant of the Sun card for the significator. I threw the cubes across the spread cloth, then just turned the images in their place so they'd be right side up to make it easier to look at them. The cubes nearest me are Turtle, Bridge, Tower, Comedy/Tragedy Masks. Then continuing on that line but further away, Shooting Star. Far below me, Alien Face and Padlock. Very far above me, House and Happy Face with Eyebrows.

Throw of Rory's Story Cubes with Significator
The first thing that comes to mind with this throw is my recent experience with NaNoWriMo, because that is what I've been thinking about a lot for the last day or so. I often find myself setting a goal without really examining my motives for setting it--which I suppose makes it little more than an idle whim, really. NaNoWriMo was a whim, one I took up because a friend of mine does it every year and I admire that. Reading the line that runs closest to me, I see 'Steady patience is the bridge to overcome blockages to creative expression.'  Underneath, perhaps the underlying cause of my anxiety is that fiction writing is alien to me, and thus locked from me. And above me, though far away, happiness in the familiar and comfortable (which for me is reading other people's fiction and writing a blog). The message of the reading tells me that I could write fiction, with steady determination and endurance. It also reminds me of why I find it difficult and would so quickly give up.

Sunday 3 November 2013

Share a Spread Sunday: Breaking Barriers

This is a fun and powerful spread.  The layout reveals two walls or layers that bar the way between you and your goal. The top triangle creates the 'wedge' that will bash through the barriers to get to the desired result. Here is the original version (shared by Four Leaf Clover, Aeclectic Tarot, 7 Feb 2004):


I have modified the spread a bit. Start by selecting your significator, or choose a card to represent where you are now. Then select a card to represent the goal you wish to achieve. These go at the top and bottom of the spread. Put them down leaving a wide space between. Then the barrier walls can be either three or four cards long (or longer, I suppose, if you desire). Shuffle and lay out from bottom to top.

Sig card
Goal card

Cards 1-3 represent internal barriers, things inside yourself that are blocking you.
Cards 4-6 represent external barriers, things outside yourself that are blocking you.
Cards 7-9 represent actions you must take in order to break through the barriers.
Optional card 10 shows the reward of breaking through -which could be yet another challenge to be faced. 

You could lay them out face down and discuss each line before turning cards over in the next line. Or you could lay them out face up and examine the entire spread before you start talking. It just depends on your reading style.

(By the way, Day 2 of NaNoWriMo--This is not for me. I leave fiction writing to the fiction writers. I will stick to blogging, which I have done daily for way longer than 30 days anyway!)

If you would like me to do a 'Breaking Barriers' reading for you, just click on 'Order a Tarot Reading' above and select the '7 or more cards' option. Write 'Breaking Barriers' in the Topic line, and send me a separate email with details of the situation you would like me to read about. I would be so pleased to read for you using this spread!

Saturday 2 November 2013

Throwing bones

Rory's Story Cubes
This week I'm going to be looking at Rory's Story Cubes. It isn't a divination tool at all, but a children's game meant to inspire kids to engage in storytelling. I saw someone online somewhere talk about picking up a set in an airport and thinking it would make a good divination tool. I agreed on first sight! Curious, I straightaway ordered two sets from Amazon. I can see there are many ways to use these, but today I tried this method. I put all the story cubes in both hands and shook them up. Then without looking, I dropped one cube out onto the spread and made a sentence or part of a sentence about each cube as it turn up. I had no question in mind, so I guess that is why I got a snapshot of my thoughts at that moment.

This is my reading for today (read left to right):

Top row: I am unsure about what direction using these cubes will take (dice and arrow), but I feel there is magic in them (magic wand) and the world (earth) seems already to have discovered this.
Bottom row: I will use them in online communications (star and letter), and my comfort level (house) with them will flower (flower) as I learn with them (L plate).

One sentence reading:
The world knows there is magic in these cubes, as I've read online, and I will learn to feel right at home with them through trial and error.

This could be fun. :) It's also a nice time to be using Story Cubes, because this year I've decided for the first time to try NaNoWriMo, even though I have no idea for characters, plot, or style. I'm just going to sit down and whatever comes out, comes out. I am not going to pressurize myself about the 1667 words per day goal, as my mind balks at this, and when I sat down to the blank sheet today, my first impulse was to say, oh forget it, I can't do it. Instead, I have modified the goal to something that feels more achievable for me: Just write something every day for 30 days.

Day 1 NaNoWriMo - 542 words. 35 min.

Friday 1 November 2013


Wicca Moon Tarot
Does the tarot mock me today? I've drawn Three of Wands, which is one of the cards I've just discovered is MISSING from my new Robert Place Vampire Tarot deck.

I can't tell you how excited and chuffed I was yesterday, to receive the Vampire Tarot, on Halloween no less! The box is beautiful. The book is amazing. The deck is a fantastic creation...but...I carefully peeled the deck apart, having read elsewhere online that the deck arrives in a solid brick of cards and must be peeled apart. Then while watching TV I set to work rounding the corners. I rounded them all and happily began reading the book. I thought I was watching for all the cards while I peeled them apart, but to be honest at no point did I actually count them to see if there were 78.

This morning I began my usual new deck ritual of laying the cards out on the floor in groups of majors, aces, twos, threes, fours, etc. And I discovered that the deck is MISSING 3 of Stakes, 7 of Garlic Flowers and Knave of Knives! I've looked in the box under the plastic insert. I've looked all through the book. I've looked all around the living room. I've looked in the scanner even though I didn't scan any of them yesterday. I have picked at the cards to see if they might still be stuck together, but I rounded the corners and would surely have noticed it then. I think the simple sad truth of the matter is that I have finally got an imperfect deck. I've always been very lucky and never received a deck missing cards.

I have emailed the seller at Amazon and hope they are willing to help. To be honest, I'm miffed because I'm afraid even if they do send me another one, it will be missing cards as well. But perhaps that is unlikely to happen. And also--I'm going to have to round all those corners again! I suppose there's no chance they will send just the three cards. The deck is published by St Martins Press and they have no customer service contact. Their FAQs say if you get a damaged item, return it to place of purchase. Pfft.

So, the card looks happy and blue and full of butterflies, but I am miffed!!!