Friday 25 April 2014

Fingers crossed

I'm really glad it's Friday, but I feel like crap. I'm tired and feel unwell. I look like warmed over death, too. Such dark circles under the eyes.

There's a meeting today that will help define the functions of my role in my new job. I hope that it is a productive meeting and that I get an outcome that I can live with for the next 10 months. I'm very happy that my head of service is attending the meeting; he will go to bat for the role (not necessarily for me personally, but for the role.)

I am hoping that the 'wishes fulfilled' today will be a good outcome from the meeting and for me to feel better. I'm really tired of feeling ill and anxious.

This 9 of Cups is the traditional RWS image, with a brown patina and the 'distressed' borders of Deck of the Bastard to make it look old. To be honest I'm not sure how successful the deck is in looking old. It looks like a new deck trying to look old, but that's okay. The creator has included the title of the card on the side, and key words on the top and bottom. Interestingly, she has put upright and reversed meanings. I think her choices of key words are succinct and insightful, and, much to my liking, they rarely stray from modern tradition.

So...what can I do today to increase my happiness and positively impact my future? Sigh. I can stop focusing on things that do not satisfy, or ways in which I am unhappy, and focus instead on my blessings. That is so easy to say and so hard to do sometimes, particularly when you are feeling physically ill and emotionally out of kilter.

Wheel of fortune

Draw for Thursday 24 April
Yesterday I had a 1:1 with my manager and reviewed my work. I felt a bit happier today, but then at about 8 pm I started to get pain in my tooth and that brought on all sorts of troubling thoughts and shaky feelings, so I took some medication and went to bed at 9.30. I woke and 1.30, and then woke up again every thirty minutes or so for the rest of the night. This is precisely what I did on Wednesday night as well, only without the added toothache.

I hope Thursday was a turning point and that things will be looking up from here.

This morning I feel shaky and nauseated and am just having a protein shake for breakfast because the thought of chewing alarms me. The tooth doesn't hurt much at the moment and I don't want it to.

Wednesday 23 April 2014

Stop dancing on my brain

Working from home today. Going to doctor. I am not going to be enslaved or tricked by that old Devil, the mind. I will not remain in bondage. I will seek help. I will find my way out.

I've been trapped in my thoughts lately. Stress has manifested itself in unusual ways for me. Fixations, repetitive thoughts, panic attacks. At the moment while its acute, I hope for a prescription for something to calm me, and in the long run, for the support of counselling. Reality is so much nicer than delusion and it's time to get back to it.

Tuesday 22 April 2014


Today it's back to work for me having been off since 11 April. It hasn't been a terribly pleasant break, unfortunately.

I need to have a  meeting with my manager first thing this morning to come up with a work plan for me, or an agreement at least, of a pattern of working from home, or permission to work from home as and when, because I am going to need to be freely available to attend various medical appointments to treat a variety of problems I've been experiencing lately.

The 3 of Coins, or Pentacles, shows a craftsman consulting with what appears to me to be a monk and possibly a wealthy patron or perhaps the designer of the building. I am taking this to mean that there will be cooperation and supervision of my work through this time. I'm dealing with anxiety right now and the reaction of my work place to my request to work from home more frequently is part of that anxiety. Twice a week for a time would be useful right now.

Saturday 19 April 2014

Charity begins at home

Deck of the Bastard 
Deck of the Bastard is the creation of Tarot by Seven and is a combination of the RWS minors and majors from several very old decks, given a brown patina with faux-grubby borders and your choice of back. It is my favourite cardstock, a sort of linen type of paper that feels very durable and shuffles like a dream. To be honest, I find the whole deck a little too brown for me, but I appreciate the effort and the idea behind it.

Today's card was 6 of Coins, and I interpreted it as how I'm feeling right now (at the mercy of people with more power or authority than me, at the mercy of circumstance with my physical body) and to remember that even if I feel pretty bad, I'm better off than a lot of people, probably most.

What also happened was that my lovely husband went to the shops for me because even though I got myself ready when we started out the door, I felt chills and slightly dizzy and really couldn't face the crowds at Sainsbury's on a Saturday bank holiday weekend. So he went and bought me several cans of soup. Then later, he brought me a blanket on the couch and made his own dinner. That was so nice of him to help me and look after me. It doesn't sound like much but it meant a lot to me. (I did thank him).

Week ahead - Deck of the Bastard

Rough night with dental discomfort/pain and nausea. Let's look at the cards for the next week and try a little predictive reading, then look at them again on each day:

Row 1: Sat Sun Mon
Row 2: Tue Wed Thu
Row 3: Fri
Today - 6 of Pentacles
This is a time when I must assess how much of my neediness in the material plane is down to perception. I feel quite on my knees to/at the mercy of events with regard to my physical body at the moment. I do feel at the mercy of those who seem to have more power over this aspect of my life at the moment; in this case, the dentists. I also feel that I am begging for mercy from a higher source for a good outcome.

It would probably not be a bad idea to get some perspective on events. There are many people in the world much far worse off than me with my dental pain/discomfort but the resources to eventually take care of the problem, even if I have to experience some pain for a few days or weeks, and even if the procedure is not the most pleasant in the world. No matter what happens, the worst case scenario for me is a tooth extraction. My life is not on the line. I'm not looking at chemo or open heart surgery. 

So this card is both an assessment of my current feelings and a call to remember I'm not the only one having troubles and in fact am better off than most.

Sun - Empress
It's hard not read every card in light of my most pressing problems. The Empress here suggests a day in which I should nurture myself in every way possible, mother myself. I should focus on the ways in which I do feel healthy. I should avoid talking about my problems. The Empress is a doer, not a talker. 

Mon - Justice
It's Easter Bank Holiday. It hardly seems fair to me that my dental woes have invariably fallen across weekends when the dentist is closed. Then, it hardly seems fair that the dentist is closed on weekends. A practice open on Saturday would do a booming trade. I can only hope that whatever discomfort I've been in for the last few days has seen a reduction.

In any case, the Justice card doesn't seem a harbinger of doom. Depending on how you number your cards, Justice is my year card. (The numbers of your date of birth added together and reduced is your year card. Mine is 8, which in some decks is Strength, in others Justice. I lay claim to both because my age is 47, 4+7=11, which seemed a coincidence too handy to ignore). 

It could be that Monday will be a day when I must deal dispassionately with the fact that life is impartial in dealing out woes. Or a day when I make connections between events and see the cause and effect. I might reach a solution or decision of some kind. 

Tue - 3 of Pentacles
It's back to work after being off since 11 April, but I must say, it hasn't been an especially fun holiday. There will be so many tasks to catch up on. I am not looking forward to it. I think I will probably be consulting with my manager a lot (if she's in). Team work is called for. 

Wed - The Devil
I think I know what this might point to. I originally booked off half a day's annual leave for this day (hubby asked me to). Should I go ahead and take it? Or should I stay at work for the day? The Devil is about feeling helpless, in bondage, thinking negatively, believing the worst, choosing to remain in ignorance, or any number of bleak concepts. It could be a day that I am tempted to call in sick altogether. But perhaps this could just point to a very busy day at work in which I feel like a slave! 

Thu - Wheel of Fortune
Does the worm begin to turn? Something is going to change on Thursday, anyway. I do hope it's for the better.

Fri - 9 of Cups
This looks hopeful....particularly following on from Devil, to Wheel, to 9 of Cups, as if a low point is reached on the Wednesday but looking better by the Friday. It is generally interpreted as achieving what you desire. I know what I desire as an outcome -- a settled down mouth, no pain, and able to eat without worrying about it. 

I'm going to do each entry for the next week in the evening to see how things actually panned out.

Friday 18 April 2014

The tongue is ever turning to the aching tooth

Every tooth in a man's head is more valuable than a diamond. ~Miguel de Cervantes

How could a more perfect card be drawn for today? The Greenwood Tarot offers me 5 of Stones (or Pentacles). 'There will be trials and there will be challenges,' writes Mark Ryan in the Wildwood Tarot companion book, 'Life is a contact sport and there will be bruises. The desire and willpower to survive and recover from setbacks is vital and necessary. Maintaining a resilient mind and retaining a sense of humour are most important to our health, along with the knowledge that the sun will rise on another day filled with opportunities.'

Now that I'm getting used to Chesca Potter's style, I can see that our point of view in this image is from inside a cave, behind the child figure. The child sits at the mouth of the cave, which is outlined in yellow. A fire is between the child and the mouth of the cave - a very sensible plan, as it will serve as a deterrent to any animals entering the cave! And outside, in the black night, a violent storm of lightning is taking place. The child, dressed in colours that mimic both the cave and the lightning, shelters on his own, waiting it out. I like that the child is clothed in these motifs -- This, too, is part of me, and I am part of it, it seems to say. The bad and scary things are not separate from me, but also part of me. They are not the enemy but part of the life experience. Even danger is a brother.

My lightning storm may seem trivial to some -- it's my recent dental woes. Yesterday I ended up having what was, for me, a somewhat traumatic dental filling. Most of the tooth is gone and it was a very large filling, but the dentist did advise against a crown at this point, as that would increase the risk of loss of root vitality by up to 15%. So she did a huge filling that required 4 separate shots of Novocaine and took over half an hour. She discovered decay on the adjacent tooth when she had removed the old material and now I have to go back on 28 April to have that tooth filled as well. This morning of course there is a lot of sensitivity. I'm hoping very much that I don't develop what she described as a 'horrible, throbbing pain' in that tooth, which would indicate a root canal is needed. I read about root canal. Basically, it kills the tooth entirely, the roots are cleaned out and filled, and so you are left with a dead tooth there. They crown it over and that's that. The main reason I don't want one is the thought of her drilling out all this material she put in makes me feel like running screaming for the hide in a cave, I guess.

After 8 weeks of trouble with this tooth, I've trained myself to automatically send food to the other side to be chewed on the right. I don't dare chew on the left for fear of breaking this gigantic filling. That's not something I was advised, it's just my instinct. It's sensitive today. I may confine myself to soup. It's quite sensitive to air, hot and cold.

Dental procedures -- surely a young person's game. When I think of the things they did to me when I was a kid with braces, oh my gosh. How did I stand it? Used to hurt so bad I would actually run a fever.

Anyway. I retreated into my cave last night by having a few drinks and going to bed at 9.30. I wish I could stay in bed all day today, too.

Thursday 17 April 2014

Prick up your ears

Greenwood Tarot
Today's card image from Greenwood Tarot comes from the Uffington White Horse. I've been there. It's a pretty amazing site. On the ground, you can't really see anything much. You can walk to a nearby hill and see the image, but the best pictures are of course from the sky.

Nobody knows what the figure means, or even quite what it is -- a horse? a dragon? -- but it appears to be from the Iron Age or possibly the earlier Bronze Age, and is associated with the nearby hill fort site. The shape of the figure seems to have changed over time, and there is uncertainty as to what it originally looked like.

Image taken in 1929 by RAF:

Image taken in 2013:

View from the ground:

Some say it's a horse, a tribute to the Celtic goddess Epona. Some say King Alfred had it cut to commemorate his victories. Some say George slew the dragon on nearby Dragon Hill and it has to do with that. The fact is, nobody know what the heck it is, how old it is, or what it meant.

What we see on the Greenwood Tarot card is the 'head' of the horse, apparently snorting golden plumes of the 'breath of life'.

The card is the Ace of Arrows, or Ace of Swords -- a card of clear thinking. It is decisive ability, cutting through confusion or illusion, making a radical decision, seeing through deception, etc. The card focuses on the eye of White Horse of Uffington, and the arrow aligns with its upright ears. The horse has come alive with alertness and snorts in response to what it sees or understands.

It's an interesting card, but hard to apply to today, which as far as I know will be an easygoing day off. I do have a dentist appointment at 9.10 this morning, and will HOPEFULLY get this tooth fixed for good and ever.

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Captain Caveman

In Greenwood Tarot, the Shaman is the equivalent of the traditional Magician card. He holds symbols of the four elements: a roebuck skull rattle for air, a stone knife for earth, a smudge stick for fire and a hollow antler cup for water.

'The Sorcerer' is one name for this cryptic painting found in the Trois Frères in France by Henri Breuil. Photocredit: Encyclopaedia Britannica(View Larger)The robe is decorated with famous cave art from Grotte de Trois Freres, in Ariege, France. The depictions here are based on the sketches of Henri Breuil, and to my eyes (and many others) great liberties have been taken! The figure with the antlers for example -- doesn't seem to have near the detail of Breuil's sketch, and it is disputed whether there are any antlers there at all, and it appears to be sitting rather than leaning forward dancing. For some reason, Breuil's drawing has become far more famous than the original cave painting. I can't even find a photograph online of the bison playing the bow. I did find a sketch of the entire panel of scratchings/engravings on the wall of the cave, and you can see him near the centre (he's small, and facing the left of the drawing):

wall engravings

We love to think we know what these images meant to the people who created them, but that is impossible. 'Ultimately,' writes Ronald Hutton in Pagan Britain, 'the significance of most of the images in the caves must elude us. Randall White has pointed out that research among living tribes who have carried on a hunting and gathering lifestyle in the Arctic, such as the Aivilik of the Inuit people, has proved that accurate interpretation of their painted and carved representations depends upon comprehensive understanding of their belief system and environment. In the case of the European Paleolithic, we can reconstruct the latter, but not the former; and there has been no hunter-gatherer people in modern times that has possessed a culture exactly like those of Old Stone Age Europe. The consistency with which similar images, locations and activities were reproduced there over twenty millenia argues for a very strong framework of beliefs, but one completely lost to us.'

Much of what neopagans say about prehistoric art and beliefs comes from early archeologists whose work has now been seriously called into question or entirely discredited. However, the truth has never been seen as an obstacle by neopagans -- it's the meaning 'we' give these things that counts to them, and so we see here appropriated symbols from cave art, given meaning on a tarot card, though the wording is speculative. At the very least, the symbols on the Shaman's cloak attempt to connect to him an ancient spirituality that is earth-based and animistic.

 Scratch beneath the surface of the Shaman and you get traditional Magician meanings:

He is the bridge between the natural world and the spirit world.
He is a man of action - he envisions an outcome and then takes step to make it happen.
He has all the tools he needs to fully engage with life.
He is vigorous, creative, focused, centered.

I am going to the dentist today to have this overhanging filling removed and replaced. I hope the new dentist I see will be able to work some magic and place a filling that fades from my awareness, as all good dental work should.

Tuesday 15 April 2014

Kundalini from behind the veil

Wow! This is one the more hallucinatory cards from Greenwood Tarot (Ryan and Potter 1996). It seems to me the deck is split into two, perhaps three, distinct styles: the colourful, soft focus style, and the fragmented trance style. This is one of the trance cards! (There are a few in the deck that I would call a 'warm fuzzy, soft cuddly' style, such as the stoat, the horse and the mama and baby bear cards...) I love both styles, but I am particularly fascinated by these fragmented ones. It's like Chesca Potter has painted energy, the aspect unseen. When I look at these cards, I feel like this is the true 'reality' of what's going on around us, the vibrations and energy and movement of all these atoms, all this energy -- all these 'strings' of string theory. :)

The companion book says of 3 of Wands: 'Nourishment from a spiritual source that gives inner security and joy. Goals and desires reached, making life rich with emotional security and a sense of completion.' And Chesca Potter has also written: 'A figure has stepped through the gateway of the two of Wands, arms open to receive the blessing of fulfilment. They stand in the healing radiance of the afterglow created after a loving polaric interchange. This is represented by the caduceus of intertwined serpents on their cloak (see Adder). This energised peace does not require another person, it can be achieved after an act of Creativity or Joy.'

The caduceus is also seen in two other cards in Greenwood Tarot: Adder, which Potter refers to, is the King of Wands, and also in my favourite card of the deck, Balance (aka Temperance).  The King of Wands shows two adders entwined beside a flaming wand. (It so happens that this card is done in the 'warm fuzzy' style I mentioned earlier). The Balance card is my favourite card in this deck. I would love to have a big framed poster of this image hanging on my living room wall. Temperance tends to be my favourite card in most decks, and this is probably my favourite Temperance card. It manages to combine elements from traditional tarot imagery (a robed human shape, water, an indication of two vessels, irises) with alchemical imagery (red and white entwining) along with hints of chakra balancing (the lotus-like suns), auras and an overall hallucinatory, shamanic feel. It is a remarkable card (and is a prime example of the 'colourful, soft focus' style I noted earlier). 

Three of Wands is the 'Lord of Virtue'. It's a word that has come to have many shades of meaning, but its root is the Latin 'virtus', meaning 'of man' or 'manly' -- strong, courageous, valorous, excellent, etc. When we view this card and contemplate it, it's like a snapshot of where 'virtue' comes from. I wrote about the 3 of Wands recently and said that the figure in the card is 'simply feeling the energy of her life and the physicality of knowing she is on the track that is right for her. It's almost like she is pulling energy up from the earth,' and today's card is like a snapshot of what that looks like from the point of view of the energy, instead of the point of view of the person experiencing the feeling. It's like a visual representation of the feeling of drawing energy into oneself from the universe and up from the earth, with the kundalini rising. Remarkable card. 

It says to me more than anything else today that I need to do some focused energy work. I think some meditation and perhaps even a nice long kundalini yoga session is in order for the day!

Monday 14 April 2014

Full Moon Reading

Today is the full moon. Let's see what I need to release and embrace:

The Greenwood Tarot (Ryan and Potter, 1996) is telling me to release my need to be in firm control of everything and to embrace feeling frustrated and out of control.


The Ace of Stones (Ace of Pentacles) is a standing stone on a stark white background, decorated with prehistoric 'cup and ring' markings. No one knows what these markings signified to the people who made them, but they are found widely throughout the prehistoric world. For that matter, we don't know why they stood stones on their ends, or configured them in circles. But in any case, we have on Ace of Stones a standing stone, marked with cups and rings, an ancient monument. Chesca Potter says: 'Mythically the foundation stone means the first dry land on which life could begin. Also the first created form, matter, the mother stone, the firm ground from which one can begin one’s journey and measure the eight directions, the birthing ground, the navel stone. The Labyrinth is the place where your journey begins; the first steps; the cup and ring marks represent the source, your emergence into this world. The mare’s hoof mark, considered vulvic in shape means the source of life-the first steps on dry land; following the original horse herds led to your food source. A new stability enters your life.' Which, to be honest is what I thought it meant. Stability in life. Well, this draw is telling me to let go of this need for stability and instead to embrace Frustration.

The 5 of Arrows (or Swords) shows an archer shooting at a flying goat or ram. I can see how this could be frustrating! 'A double edged card depending on whether you are the hunter or the hunted. The card can be a warning -- either take flight or stand firm and face the situation. Ungrounded aims and fears,' writes Chesca Potter. I believe the card is telling me to get used to the feeling of being ungrounded, of things not going right, of things being unstable. 

It reminds me of this poster:

Ugh. This is hard for me. I love control. Even if it is an illusion. (Those are usually our favourite things.)

Flying reindeer

More cups. We're off from work all week in honour of our big anniversary so this looks like a loved up thing...

Yep...Chesca Potter's comments bear this out: 'Drawing this card denotes companionship, deep friendship. A sharing of profound understanding, a mutual love of knowledge from the past. Possible creation of a home together, a sense of home-coming and enduring friendship.'  


The two reindeer stand nose to nose in front of a tent made from wooly mammoth fur, tusks and bones. Wisps of homey smoke rise from the tent. You may wonder why there are fly agaric mushrooms featured in the card. Check out this clip from BBC Weird Nature:

That's pretty freaky! So maybe that happy home with the smoke coming out the top could also be a sweat lodge with a shaman inside having a vision of some type. Maybe that little bowl is his reindeer urine receptacle. LOL How silly. But I wouldn't be surprised at all, as the Greenwood Tarot is considered to be a shamanic deck. Let me just go check the book...

All it says is: 'The picture shows male and female reindeer as both have antlers. Male reindeer rut in autumn and the antlers are a potent symbol of sexual power. The fly agaric is also found at this time and the reindeer appear to eat this highly toxic  red fungi and seem to get 'drunk'. Some shaman drank the purified urine of the reindeer for its hallucinatory properties once the toxins had been removed.' Hmmm.  A little clicking around on the internet led me to some musings by a contemporary shaman who uses the Greenwood deck, Mi-shell of Aeclectic Tarot.

Mi-shell suggests that you should ask yourself this when you draw this card: What do you envision for the forthcoming future of your family -- your wishes, dreams, 'pipe dreams' and what should go to project status toward realization, how would you go about it and what help could the reindeer guardians offer?

At this 10th anniversary of our marriage, it's a good time for such stock take. And also a good time to appreciate all the positive aspects of the King of Cups, the master of emotions and relationships, the 'Lord of the Waves and Waters.'

Sunday 13 April 2014

I remember you

Air of Water
'Prince of the Chariot of the Waves'

Chesca Potter wrote of this card: 'This card denotes someone whose life serves a greater purpose, someone with perseverance, determination, self-sacrificing and wise. Could have a tendency to martyrdom-to give away too much of one self.'

Today is my 10th wedding anniversary.

What do I see in this card? It looks like a sunrise (or sunset) over a burial mound on which trees are growing, and flowing out of the entrance is water, pouring down a stepped spillway toward a golden bowl that floats on a pool of blue. A colourful salmon leaps from the water in the foreground, beside some cattails.

This is nothing like the Wildwood Knight of Vessels, which features an eel swimming and which I find not remotely appealing. Some of the landscape from the Greenwood is used in the Wildwood 6 of Cups; the leaping salmon before cascading water is in the Wildwood Queen of Vessels.

I prefer Potter's otherworldly coloration. There's a surreal quality to the light in this Knight of Cups card. There is something about Potter's colour palette in this deck that seems to lend itself easily to trance. There's a flashing colour quality to it.

(In Irish mythology, there's a story of a salmon that ate hazelnuts from trees surrounded the well of wisdom, and that the person who ate the flesh of this fish would become wise. Some other stuff happens. Click the link.)

Anyway, I like this card very much. Like many cards in the Greenwood, there is something somehow mournful about it. The salmon has always struck me as a good symbol for self-sacrifice. I asked hubby what a salmon represents to him, and he said, 'Endurance. It's doing something that's hard, but it wins. It's doing what it's supposed to do. Just because it dies doesn't mean it loses. It's doing what it's supposed to do. It's following the natural order of things.' I didn't tell him anything about this card or how I think it might have anything to do with our anniversary.

Being married for ten years hasn't exactly felt like swimming upstream (not the whole time anyway :) ). but it is true that a marriage requires some 'sacrifice' or compromise, a bit of effort. There's a quality of sadness, too, there, lurking in the background. We push onward through this life together joyfully, and when it's not joyful, we hold each other up, but somewhere inside we are always aware of the ultimate destination. We know that end will come, and we push on toward it anyway, because it's the only direction we're allowed to go in. The most romantic thing people can say to each other is that we want to grow old together. It is romantic, and it's wonderful, but it's also sad, of course. We know when we finally get there, one of us is going to go first and leave the other behind. We know our days together in this life are numbered. Our time is brief. Twenty years, thirty years, forty years. What is that? It's a twinkling of an eye. This is why people cry at weddings, and at anniversaries, and when they decide to get married. There's so much of life, and so little at the same time. You don't cry  because you're sad, but because there's so much beauty and fragility to the whole thing. It overwhelms.

 An anniversary is a both a celebration and a reflection. Time goes by so fast.

Nat King Cole is my favourite, and every year hubby and I have a little slow dance to this on our anniversary. It's our song:

Saturday 12 April 2014

Greenwood Tarot - Knight of Arrows

Greenwood Tarot, Ryan and Potter, 1996
I'm so happy to say I have now got a copy of the Greenwood Tarot by Mark Ryan and Chesca Potter, Thorsons 1996. I don't really know why the deck has reached cult, almost mythic, status. But I can't deny the images are powerful, much more so to me than the deck's offshoot, Wildwood Tarot (Ryan, Matthews and Worthington, 2011). I will draw from Greenwood this week.

The card seen today is Knight of Arrows, or Knight of Swords, represented by the Hawk. Each court card in Greenwood Tarot is represented by an animal instead of a human being. I would say that the companion book is of little use to interpreting the cards, particularly courts and minors. Clearly we are meant to find our own meaning in these images. The book merely says, ''Quick, graceful and master of the element of air, the hawk is a symbol of vision and power. The ability to fly and nest at high altitude and see prey and hunt from a great height brings a special reverence to this majestic and fearless and creature.' Actually, that bit of information is enough to set you off on all sorts of free association.

It is a beautiful image of the bird in flight against a spangle of sun, with the shape of an arrow and some accompanying spirals to remind us of the air aspect of the suit of arrows.
Wildwood Tarot

The Knight of Swords is air of air, 'Lord of the Winds and Breezes'. The hawk is such an apt choice for this Golden Dawn title. The hawk, like all birds of prey, has the enviable ability to spread its wings and ride the air, hovering and wheeling for long periods with barely a flap of its wings. It soars and wheels with great agility and speed. Certainly to our eyes, anchored to the surface of the earth as we are, it looks fearless! We also admire the hawk's amazing visual acuity, ability to spot tiny objects from long distances. The hawk's perspective on things is brought out more sharply in the Wildwood Tarot, while its freewheeling flight in the sun is emphasized in Greenwood. I like both images (I am a fan of Worthington's style, though some have commented and I tend to agree, that the art in Wildwood is a bit more 'cartoony' or 'comic bookish' than some of his other work.) Still, we can see the hawk's intense focus in Potter's Greenwood card, and I think overall, it speaks to me more of air and flight than does the Wildwood, which hints only at potential flight. As I meditate upon the Greenwood Knight of Arrows, I begin to visualise for myself the landscape below the hawk, and its wheeling, turning angles as the hawk soars over it.

The Knight of Arrows today, then, tells me to take the long perspective on things. Today is a day to view things both dispassionately and intensely --  from a distance, but with keen attention to detail. More than that, the image reminds me to spread my wings and enjoy the feel of the sun.

Friday 11 April 2014

Took your love for granted, how was I to know

Spiral Tarot, Kay Steventon 1997
Hooray! It's the first day of my week off. I am so excited that I don't have to go back to work until 22 April. Yes!

The 4 of Cups is called 'Lord of Luxury'. Ohhh, yeah.

I really have no idea why this card has come to be interpreted as 'boredom'. An interesting perspective on it is this: four is a number of stability. If the emotions/relationships are stable, there is no risk. Where this is no risk, there is no excitement, might interpret it as boredom. But it is really a case of taking things for granted. In this card, we see the danger of becoming complacent, accustomed to the stability of our relationships, and forgetting to appreciate the great gift on offer to us -- the love of another. It is represented by the beautiful golden cup held aloft on a wisp of air beside the woman. If she ignores it too long, well. It could drop onto the ground. Or just fade away.

The card reminds me that there is a lot of love on offer around me, and it's best that I pay attention to it and love it back. Life is too short to be 'bored' of the gifts all around us. This will certainly increase my happiness today and positively impact my future. :)

Thursday 10 April 2014

Getting your energetic bearings

This is one of my favourite cards from Spiral Tarot by Kay Steventon. I love this lady's dress, and the climbing vines on the three wands. It's a lovely card.

Golden Dawn call this card 'Lord of Virtue'. It represents our trueness to our own inner needs and aspirations. The 3s are all associated to Binah on the Tree of Life, the sephiroth of Understanding. In 3 of Cups, we have an understanding of happiness, in 3 of Swords, a first realization of our separate identities can bring a sense of loss or sorrow (it's about the thought life and how it can lead to pain--it's not just about a plain old broken heart or hurt feelings!), in 3 of Pentacles, an understanding of material works and craftsmanship. In 3 of Wands, we come to an understanding of our personal drives and energy, our motivations and needs.

The 'virtue' in this card that we are 'lord' of is being true to self, to our will and our own dominion.

So the lady is looking out on the lovely sunset (or sunrise) shining across the water and contemplating her goals in life, but more than that, she is simply feeling the energy of her life and the physicality of knowing she is on the track that is right for her. It's almost like she is pulling energy up from the earth, symbolised by the tangle of vines under her feet growing up the wands in a spiral.

Today I may be called upon to be true to myself. Or I may need to step back from the tasks of the day and check my personal moral compass, see that my activities are in alignment with my true self. And if they're not, I need to redirect myself. It's something we all need to do, periodically. Probably more often than we think.

Wednesday 9 April 2014

Nice kitty

Spiral Tarot (US Games 1997)
Oh, how I love the majors in the Spiral Tarot. And this is my year card  for 2014 -- Strength.

There's so much going on in this card. We have the usual maiden and lion, but also red roses and white roses, symbol of Fire, Leo, Hebrew letter Tet (serpent), and the Tree of Life. You don't have to use those correspondences, but it's handy to have them printed right on the card, and lovely that they are incorporated in such a beautiful way.

'Ishtar subdues her lion nature,' reads the LWB. 'She loves her animal side, but does not want her instincts to gain dominance over her connection to the divine.'

Now that's interesting. Let's take a closer look at this Ishtar.

Ishtar was the Mesopotamian goddess of war and sexual love. She is more or less the same goddess as Astarte and Inanna, though there is some debate about this. For the most part, Ishtar seems to have been associated with the planet Venus, protectoress of prostitutes and  patroness of ale houses. So what she has to do with the Strength card I'm not sure, unless it has to do with some New Age or neopagan meaning attached later to her. I'm not really comfortable with Strength being compared to Ishtar -- I'd need to know where that came from. ... Wait, wait, wait. I think I may have thought of something. Aleister Crowley's Strength card is called Lust and features a woman who is 'more than a little drunk, and more than a little mad; and the lion is also aflame with lust. This signifies that the type of energy described is of the primitive, creative order; it is completely indifferent to criticism of reason.' ~ Book of Thoth.

Now, Crowley had some serious issues with Bible imagery, and his Lust card is clearly the Whore of Babylon, but I can see connections to the goddess Ishtar, if she is the protectoress of whores, patroness of ale houses, and goddess of sex.

This may seem to be a far cry from our contemporary interpretation of Strength being the 'taming of the beast through the mildness of the maiden', but when you think about it, the RWS image is just a tamer version of the same concept Lady Frieda Harris depicts in Thoth.

Angel Paths Tarot suggests that this is a card of 'spontaneity and enthusiasm', and is about enjoying the whole life process. I can see hints of that balance in the Spiral Tarot card, with the red and white roses representing both lust and purity. The Hebrew letter, Tet, serpent, makes me think a bit of temptation or pleasures of the flesh, and the wreathed maiden in the pink dress seems to represent innocence and freshness (something you don't see much of in the Thoth version, though Crowley would argue that lust itself is pure and unsullied. Which might sound like a refreshing point of view until you found out the sort of things he actually did -- not unsullied, I can tell you. But I digress.)

Well, despite all these ruminations, I really do hope it's just a plain old Wednesday today. I don't really want to be taming or 'experiencing' any beasts today.

Tuesday 8 April 2014

Princess of Wands

This is my least favourite card in the lovely Spiral Tarot by Kay Steventon. Why did she have to put Pete's dragon on the card? Oh well, as I've said many times, there's always at least one clunker in every deck. According to the LWB, the baby dragon and the girl look on in wonder as the wand sprouts a new leaf.

Other than the dragon, it's a pretty card. I like the girl's sunflower dress and the leaves on what looks rather like a river of fire. All in all, it's a good card. (Shame about the dragon, though. I'd have liked it better if there were perhaps a curly little salamander by her bare foot.)

'The character of the Princess [of Wands] is extremely individual,' writes Aleister Crowley. 'She is brilliant and daring. She creates her own beauty by her essential vigour and energy. The force of her character imposes the impression of beauty upon the beholder. In anger or love, she is sudden, violent, and implacable. She consumes all that comes into her sphere. She is ambitious, aspiring, full of enthusiasm which is often irrational. She never forgets an injury, and the only quality of patience found in her is the patience with which she lies in ambush to avenge.'

LOL. Good old Uncle Al. Always looking on the bright side.

The Princesses in Spiral Tarot are not nearly as conniving and mature as Crowley's descriptions. They are all little girls, and I feel they represent a pure, immature, fresh manifestation of the energy that springs to life in the aces.

So there.

She reminds me to look for new growth and activity in my life, however small.

Monday 7 April 2014

A long line of love

I love this 10 of Pentacles! It's so pretty! At the bottom of the card, we see the blooming roses and the living family, and then as you go upward, you see the previous generations, their costumes changing, their 'roses' growing paler and more abstract, flowing back into the cosmos. The spiral in the lower left corner represents, to me, the spiral nature of the passage of time. This 10 of Pentacles more than any I've seen represents its concepts of legacy so well.

Back and back we go, into the past, and while we all have looked at the world so very differently,  ultimately the same basic concerns were there - food, shelter, procreation, staying alive as long as we can. Staying together. We don't have to look backward to be aware of all that has happened before us, we can feel it.

As the song goes, we come from a long line of love.

Sunday 6 April 2014

Pearl of great price

Spiral Tarot (US Games 1997)
I'm glad I checked the LWB, else I woudn't have realised this girl in Princess of Cups in Spiral Tarot is meant to be a mermaid. 'The pearl in her cup symbolises the seed of imagination and creativity and as the dawning of psychic ability,' it says. I guess since she IS a fish, she doesn't need a fish popping out of the cup, as it does in RWS Page of Cups, which this card is roughly equivalent to.

The card certainly plays up the water element, and the artistic temperament, with the water symbol, the mermaid, the seaweed clothing and the dolphins leaping in the background.

I suppose today will be a dreamy kind of day. That's all right, I like those. :)

I enjoyed reading Uncle Al's interpretation of yesterday's card so much, let's do it again today:

The Princess of Cups represents the earthy part of water; in particular, the faculty of crystallization. She represents the power of water to give substance to ideas, to support life, and to form the basis of chemical combination. 

The character of the Princess of Cups is infinitely gracious. All sweetness, all voluptuousness, gentleness, kindness, and tenderness are in her character. She lives in a world of Romance, in the perpetual dream of rapture. On a superficial examination she might be thought selfish and indolent, but this is quite a false impression; silently and effortlessly, she goes on about her work. ~ Aleister Crowley, Book of Thoth

Actually, I quite like that interpretation. It makes sense. I can see it in this card. I'm going with it! Of course, he does have this to say: 'Rarely, at the best, are they of individual importance. As helpmeets, they are unsurpassed.' WHAT! Doesn't that tell you so much about Crowley's personality, though. 'She's a mousy type, of no real importance or significance in her own right, but she's a dandy little helper-outer. Takes orders well.'


I would hope that if I manage to be the Princess of Cups to anyone today, they will value it more than the king of narcissistic personality disorder himself, Mr AC.

Saturday 5 April 2014

I want a duvet like this

Spiral Tarot (US Games 1997)
Yes, I'm using my newly-arrived replacement copy of the Spiral Tarot. You may recall I bought this last July and in a fit of spontaneity, cut the borders off. I instantly hated it. At last I've bought a new one. The weird borders offend my sensibilities, but the images themselves are so appealing to me, I had to have the deck. This is a deck that NEEDS to be republished - a larger size, plain inoffensive white borders, no extra colours or embellishments, and a pliable, matte cardstock. In my dreams. As it is, I will have to live with a rather small, highly laminated US Games edition with very ill-advised purple and white marbled borders and inexplicably chosen red and white inner border with strange white on red cartouche card title. (Was the designer colour blind? Or maybe just plain blind?)

Never mind, look PAAAAST the ugly outer bits to the glory within.

(There could be a huge lesson there, now that I've just typed that sentence and stared at it for a few seconds.)

I love this image for 4 of Swords - a lady relaxing in her chaise longe, all wrapped up in a big duvet decorated with huge poppies. The afternoon sun slants in through the windows. The candle she's been staring at, possibly meditating, possibly in a sort of trance state, has just finally burned out, and sends up its little last hurrah of smoke. She'll feel so rested when she wakes up after this power nap.

Four of Swords is 'Lord of Truce' in Golden Dawn tradition. It is a respite, a time of rest and recovery. I thought I'd get out Aleister Crowley's Book of Thoth and see what he has to say about it this morning. That was a silly idea. As usual, what he says makes no sense to me. He was probably high anyway. I thought I'd quote it for your amusement:

The number four, Chesed, is here manifested in the realm of the Intellect. Chesed refers to Jupiter who rules in Libra in this decanate. The sum of these symbols is therefore without opposition; hence the card proclaims the idea of authority in the intellectual world. It is the establishment of dogma, and law concerning it. It represents a refuge from mental chaos, chosen in an arbitrary manner. It argues for convention. 

Minds too indolent or too cowardly to think out their own problems hail joyfully this policy of appeasement. As always, the four is the term; as in this case there is no justification for repose, its disturbance by the five holds no promise of advance; its static shams go pell-mell into the melting pot; the issue is mere mess, usually signalized by fetid stench. But it has to be done!

....Riiiiight. Thanks for that, Uncle Al. So much clearer.

Let's turn to others who express themselves better. Okay, the 4 of Swords is Jupiter in Libra. Here are some of the qualities of Jupiter in Libra:

Life for Jupiter in Libra is pretty easy! It is often popular, attractive, and taken care of. Can be lazy, reaping the benefits of the hard work of others. Jupiter in Libra tends to have a lot of lucky breaks. It tends to have it so easy, though, that it can't tolerate stress very well at all. It wants everything to be as light and easy as possible. It likes harmony and balance, and tends to detach from reality and go into a fantasy of these things if stuff gets too 'real'. It doesn't like stress and will naturally try to deflect it. Anytime Jupiter in Libra has the chance to see that life is about facing and balancing the wonderful and the terrible, they will be very fortunate. ~ As Above So Below

I like that description, and I think it sits will with the 4 of Swords card. The contemporary interpretation of this card is usually 'rest' or taking a break, taking it easy from thinking or stressing about things. A reprieve. I can see how that fits in with Jupiter in Libra.