Tuesday 29 September 2015

Hey, that's no bird! 4 of Cups in Tarot of the Hidden Realm

Let's look at the elements at work in this 4 of Cups card from Tarot of the Hidden Realm by Barbara Moore and Julia Jeffrey (Llewellyn 2013).

At first glance, I see a faerie in a tree, with birds. But on second glance, those aren't birds, they're seals! Then it becomes clear it's not the wind lifting her hair but the water. And those aren't tree branches, they are seaweed. It turns out what we are seeing is a selkie, sinking back into the deep.

The selkie (or silkie) comes from Scottish and Irish lore of the seals. The legend is that some seals will come ashore and shed their skins and take the form of beautiful human males or females. I don't know much about the male version; I think they mostly came ashore to comfort wives whose husbands were at sea. The females would come ashore and fall in love with a man, and if he could get her seal skin and keep it hidden, she would stay with him forever, though she would often sit and gaze longingly out to sea. If she ever did find the skin, she would be unable to resist putting it on and returning to her seal form. Sadly, once back at sea, she would then feel longing for the land. So she was both happy and sad in both places. Always longing for one or the other, no matter where she was.

This strikes me as a poignant representation of the 4 of Cups, which we often hear interpreted as 'boredom', when in fact it might better be described as dissatisfaction or unrest arising from longing. (Though we may not often know what we're even longing for.)

The element of suit of Cups is Water, which corresponds to feelings, intuitions, relationships. The elemental affinity of the number 4 is Fire, which corresponds to passion, drive, vitality. Thus the 4 of Cups is Fire of Water. Boredom can't really be seen as 'fiery', but emotion can be. Not the emotion of anger, but of longing. And the element of Fire is an element of taking action, which the selkie does by leaving the sea and by returning to it. Why does she do this? The passion is what drives her to it. The love is what keeps her in place for so long in both places. 'Dissatisfaction with what you have and wishing for something you don't have,' is how Barbara Moore describes it, in the companion book to Tarot of the Hidden Realm. 'Humans pulling this card are not doomed to the selkie's torment.' (That's a relief!) 'This card asks you to open your eyes to what is before you and recognize the happiness that is right under your nose.'

Which is all well and good and very fine advice. It's the moments before we 'open our eyes' that the card depicts with such accuracy (even in the RWS version - though the 'open your eyes' aspect is more overtly shown by the hand offering the cup) -- not boredom, but deep unrest arising from dissatisfaction. Fire of Water.

Monday 21 September 2015

Do you wanna get this done or just show off?

Tarot of the Hidden Realm (Moore and Jeffery 2013)

It's the 5 of Wands but these faerie kids are not hitting each other with sticks. They're climbing a tree. So where's the conflict?

True, the faerie-lings aren't hitting each other, but they aren't helping each other, either. They are all trying to climb the same tree, but each is doing it by himself, oblivious to the others (well, the one guy seems to be smirking at the kid who looks like he wishes he'd never climbed this far and wonders how he can get back down, but other than that, most of the others are just climbing upward.)

If these five worked together, they could no doubt quickly come up with a cooperative way to get them all to the top of the tree easily, safely and systematically. But they're not working together, they're just bashing away at the task individually. See?

Wands are the element Fire, representing motivation, individualism, conscious pursuit of personal development -- all good things. The number here is Five, representing uncertainty, adversity, activity, movement, crisis, shifts. So Five of Wands is going to represent action in crisis, personal growth in adversity or uncertainty. I think we associated Five of Wands with 'conflict' because the RWS card shows five boys hitting each other with sticks, whereas perhaps the essence that was meant to be depicted was actually something more subtle.  

Secrets of the Waite-Smith Tarot asserts, 'This is a card of going through the motions of activity but not actually getting anythign done. The characters are young and full of show, but all is not as it seems. Waite says it is "mimic warfare" and "imitation". In a reading, it would say to not be impressed by what appears to be happening; it could merely be for show' (Katz, 248).  Okay, so are the kids here mostly showing off for each other, and really don't have any grand desire to climb a tree? Probably. It's likely to be one of these double-dog dares (and I bet the mean-looking kid hanging from a branch near the bottom started it -- he probably won't go far before dropping out of the tree, laughing at them all and running off home!)

I guess this card could be telling me to be careful today to look out for false conflicts, petty squabbles that could just be idle posturing. Also, find ways to work together to achieve a goal -- if it turns out to be a goal you even want to achieve, and not something you may have been goaded into.

Sunday 20 September 2015

Now that's what I call abundance - Queen of Pentacles

Tarot of the Hidden Realm by Barbara Moore and Julia Jeffrey (Llewellyn 2013)

Holy boobies, Batman! It's the Queen of Mammaries, I mean Queen of Pentacles!

I don't mean to be immature, but when I drew this card this faerie nearly gave me a black eye. Holy smoke. Her tits are actually bigger than her head. I'm kinda speechless.

Anyway, on to the card (though I must admit I'm having trouble focusing on anything else but those ginormous norks -- I know, I'm a child! I should get over myself.)

(For some reason I just imagined the voice of Billy Crystal in 'Princess Bride' intoning: 'Do you vant ta talk ah-BUN-dance? Do you vant ta talk NOUR-wish-ment? Look no FUR-dah! It's all right there at EYE LEVEL, oy is it EV-ah.')

So yeah. It's the Queen of Pentacles today, another card that seems to be celebrating the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. :) But she's also a seductress, even the description in the companion book kinda makes you need to raise a window:

'She reaches up and touches a flower on a tree. As the drop of dew caught on a petal falls to her skin, tracing a tiny rivulet down her arm, the flower transforms into a ripe apple. She takes your measure, and even though she seems to find you wanting, she holds out the fruit she has just plucked from the tree.'

(That's giving me the vapours, Mammy. Fetch me my vinaigrette*!)

Seriously, though, I like the take on this card. This Queen of Pentacles is described as understanding all inner workings of the physical. 'The physical world, solid and lush and sensual, is just energy moving very slowly. Knowing that, she can work with the raw elements of the world, co-creating and manifesting according to her will.' This makes her much more powerful than the usual Queen of Pentacles. Then again, she IS a faerie.

Now let's look at those elemental attributions. As Queen of Pentacles, she is Water of Earth. That helps explain how she can see the liquid in the solid, ie, sensing that the physical world is 'just energy moving very slowly'. That makes me think of lava. It also explains why I always think of the Queen of Pentacles as moving slightly in slow motion. Slow, deliberate movements, intense awareness of matter and physicality, combined with perception of the fact that it's all actually mostly space.

I don't know what all this means for me today, but I'm hoping it has something to do with carrot cake. :D

*For those who thought I meant salad dressing.


Saturday 19 September 2015

That autumn feeling - 9 of Pentacles - Tarot of the Hidden Realm

Tarot of the Hidden Realm, 2013
Tarot of the Hidden Realm by Barbara Moore and Julia Jeffrey, Llewellyn 2013

I have a new tarot deck for the autumn season, and I'm very eager to get started looking at it! Today is the first draw from Tarot of the Hidden Realm (Moore & Jeffrey 2013). I've got 9 of Pentacles!

Here we see a lovely faerie lady standing amongst rosehips and brambles,  holding a robin on one hand and a blackberry in the other hand.To me, she seems like the perfect embodiment of the bounty and satisfaction of the harvest season. She isn't standing in a fine, cultivated garden in fancy clothes holding a costly bird of prey, as in the traditional RWS. She is closer to the true treasures of the earth, as they come naturally, without intervention on our part.

Rosehips, brambles and robins are all very commonly seen growing wild in the UK, in what is known as the 'hedgerows' (pretty much the only 'wild' places left on this crowded island, to be honest). As such they are often overlooked and undervalued by those who are not consciously tuning in to earth's bounty.

As Star Child Herbs points in in the link above, rosehips are a bit of 'doormat plant', but they are packed with goodness, and really are little treasures. From a magical point of view, the rosehip belongs to Jupiter and is associated with health, wealth, prosperity, fertility, and prevention of nightmares.

Bramble is featured in the Druid Plant Oracle (Carr-Gomm and Worthington, 2007), and the companion book describes bramble as 'the perfect symbol for tenacity and rootedness...holding your ground and protecting all that you hold dear' (21-22).

The above link about the robin proclaims it a 'year round bird whose presence is cheering and comforting.' The website universeofsymbolism.com has this to say about the robin: '[The] special totem energy for the robin is abundance...a gentle reminder to us that one does not need money to enjoy the abundant beauty Mother Nature has bestowed upon us.'

So despite the fact that the Tarot of the Hidden Realm companion book says that the figure in the card has donned her finest gown and jewels and is standing in her private garden preparing for the year's harvest revels, I see it differently. (I'm sure the faeries do, too--what is 'bounteous' and 'personal property' to us must surely mean different things to them!)

I'm certainly starting to get that 'autumn' feeling. It's that time of year!

Tuesday 15 September 2015

Bearded mystic -- 4 of Swords in Fountain Tarot

We have another curious take on an RWS image in today's draw from Fountain Tarot (2014). I can't quite make out what's happening in this image. At first glance, I see a yogi of some sort wearing a very large turban, sitting in half lotus position, and it seems as if he might have his hand behind his head with his elbows out, but if that's what he's doing, he's got some really long arms. Or rather, his right arm is super long and his left arm would be quite small and in comparison. So when I peer at it longer, he doesn't seem to have his arms up at all, but rather in his lap in a more traditional pose, with perhaps a meditation blanket tucked over his arms and around him. That would make the elbow-like shapes seem more like shrouded figures looming behind him peering over his shoulders. So actually, I'm not sure what the hell is going on in this image! Maybe it's not shrouded figures, but just artsy shading and reflections or a shadow on the wall or some such. The swords are the typical ghostly transparent ones we have seen before in this deck, and they must be made of light, because that lense flare effect is happening here, shooting rays upward and outward. Perched atop the sword in the foreground is a little black bird. It doesn't look much like a crow to me; if it is, it's a tiny one.

Traditionally, the 4 of Swords brings to mind the need for a rest, a break, a hiatus, and some readers look upon it as the need for mediation and instrospection, a retreat. For me, this interpretation comes out stronger with the Fountain Tarot image than it does in the RWS image, which depicts the tomb of a knight in a cathedral. A tomb represents a pretty darn long break! But I can see how lingering around such a monument could be considered respite from the bustle outdoors of the big city surrounding the cathedral -- it's the space itself that's comtemplative, not the knight.

In this image, the bearded mystic looks off to his right, toward the floor. Maybe he's going through the traditional motions just prior to a session of sitting meditation, where you shift back and forth from one butt cheek to the other, lift your back up straight by imagining your head is a helium balloon and your spine is a string lifted up by the balloon (or some such business). Then if you're like me, you start straight and sloooowly slump forward and things go blurry and several minutes later you realize you're not meditating but humming the theme tune to 'Game of Thrones' in your head and thinking about what to make for dinner, so you get up because your feet have gone to sleep anyway.

Today the entire service I work for is convening in one room for a staff development day, which we are not allowed to call a conference, and which the big wigs have dubbed 'Creating Customer Connections.' So I am thinking a lot of vague staring off into space will be done before the day is through.

A happy Tuesday to all!

Monday 14 September 2015

Blades of Glory? Ten of Cups - Fountain Tarot

Fountain Tarot, 2014 
I have to wonder if the creator(s) of this deck are fans of figure skating. Here's another card that not only makes me think of couples figure skating, but even has a structure reminiscent of the winners' podium. It's the Ten of Cups, and a most unusual interpretation of the image it is, too.

The traditional RWS image features a married couple, arm in arm, revelling as they survey their modest but happy holdings in life - a bit of land, a snug cottage, a couple of kids frolicking, and a rainbow over all. That I can imagine myself doing. The image in this card - not so much. Not only can I not imagine myself doing it, I can't imagine myself ever dreaming of doing it, enjoying doing it, or actually needing to do it -- but with the RWS image, yes I can. So in that sense, the image does not work for me. It is not aspirational or comforting - it makes me feel that Ten of Cups satisfaction is not for the masses or the little guy, but perhaps only for those who strive to reach a level of mastery and skill that only a few could ever aspire to. Plus it's something that only a few would ever even actually want to do. Kinda weird, really.

It makes me think of images of like this: 

Or this: 

Or this: 

Or even this: 

But not this: 

And so I really don't think it's successful as a 10 of Cups card. I just don't see contentment, satiety and bliss in an acrobatic pose. Call me crazy. 

Sunday 13 September 2015

Juicy and she knows it - Queen of Coins - Fountain Tarot

Fountain Tarot (2014) 
It's the Queen of Coins (or Pentacles) today from the Fountain Tarot (2014). Once again, the depiction of a court card brings out aspects that are not so apparent in traditional RWS imagery.

For myself, I tend to think of Queen of Coins as a sort of mini-Empress. In the RWS image, her Earth Mother qualities are right out there -- she sits on a throne amidst flora and fauna, looking sweet and demure, and not particularly sensual, materialistic, or concerned with things like fashion and appearances. However, the Queen of Pentacles (or Coins) can in fact be very concerned about these things, and that aspect of her turns up here quite strongly.

On this card we see a beautiful woman wearing a flamboyant dark gown -- to me it looks like bottle green velvet. She stands in a self-conscious but undeniably alluring pose, one knee crooked, hip stuck out, one hand on hip, the other lightly making contact with her decolletage. Her surroundings are natural, but they are anything but wild. There is a pair of topiary trees -- a trained tree like this to me is the very symbol of man's dominion over the natural. The tree in the background fades into a shower of gold, and of course at her feet is a giant gold coin. This Queen of Coins certainly enjoys the finer things in life. She enjoys her flesh, she enjoys the outdoors (in her highly cultivated garden), she enjoys sensuous fabrics and having her hair and nails done and sipping fine wine and standing around looking gorgeous.

In my mind I know these qualities are 100% true of the Queen of Pentacles, but without particular context and surrounding cards, they simply are not the first thing to come to mind when reading this card. And that's a shame, because they really are strong qualities present in the Queen of Pentacles. They may manifest in various ways in 'real life', but concerns about money, physicality, the experience of the senses, and so on are her realm, for sure.

I like this luscious Queen of Coins. She is juicy and she knows it.

She would write this poem:

Saturday 12 September 2015

Journaling with the Five of Swords - Fountain Tarot

Fountain Tarot, 2014
Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.
                                 ~Proverbs 16:18 KJV

That's the first thing that came to mind when I drew this card today from Fountain Tarot (2014). It's the Five of Swords. 

This is an unusual interpretation of the RWS image. Instead of a victor smirking in the foreground holding his five swords as the vanquished slink off in defeat, here we have obscure 'shapes' in the background and this weird, lanky guy who looks like he's had some sort of nervous breakdown after spending a sleepless week working out string theory. And do those shoes have velcro? I think they do! So, buddy, you got nothing to feel smug about! 

Now, what does the companion book have to say about this unpleasant-looking dude balancing on handles of translucent ice blades? 

'Two glum figures stand in the background while the victor balances tenuously on his spoils,' it reads. 'Victories get polluted when your personal integrity is compromised. Nobody wins in this situation, and the backlash can be horrible.' 

What I want to know is, how did he get up there in the first place? And why did those two blobs in the back give up their swords to such a weedy-looking character? 

On a more serious note, I find an interesting take on this card in Benebell Wen's 'Holistic Tarot', and I think it is particularly applicable to the Fountain Tarot version of this card:

'Deep down this is a seeker who feels he or she was born with unfair disadvantages, that others are more privileged. There is a subconscious, unacknowledged resentment because of that. This is not a card about entitlement. Rather, it is a card about being resentful for not having what others have, and thus doing everything in one's power to get what others have. The Seeker thinks he has won, but the storm is just coming' (pages 190-191). 

If we look at the card again, we can see how the main figure of the card has alienated himself from the so-called 'defeated', and the spoils of his 'victory' are almost 'not there' -- it's like they're imaginary. His victory is something that clearly he thought was virtually impossible -- like balancing on the points of swords. Now he's reveling in it.

'The Five of Swords shows a cunning character who profits off others or misappropriates. [It] also gives a sense that the Seeker is using a proverbial sledgehammer to crack a nut, using more force than is required, and in that disproportion will suffer undesirable consequences,' continues Wen (page 191). 

There certainly seems to be only one outcome for the figure in this card. He cannot stay balanced on those swords forever, or even for more than a split second. When he comes down in a crash, he will have five sharp, two-edged blades above, below and all around him. Bad deal! 

We can use this card as the trigger for some deep self-exploration:

In what ways do I feel that I have unfair disadvantages? 

What do I perceive in others as privilege, and how do I harbor resentment for that? How does that resentment manifest in my attitude? In my thoughts? In my responses? 

What are my motivations for my current goals? Am I working toward something because I perceive it as something I need in order to keep up with the Joneses? Do I even really want this thing? 

In what way am I 'using a sledgehammer to crack a nut'? What could be the consequences if I continue in this vein? 

Friday 11 September 2015

Wait - Do I hear Ravel's 'Bolero'? Two of Cups in Fountain Tarot

Fountain Tarot, 2014
This card from Fountain Tarot reminds me of the Sirian Starseed Tarot. The thing is, I'm not sure I like it.

It's the Two of Cups, and we see here two robed figures standing in formation and making gestures toward the night sky, rather like synchronized swimmers. Two cups float above them. The bottom of the card has an oval shape, for no reason that becomes immediately apparent.

'The Two of Cups is crystal clear,' crows the companion book. 'It represents a deep, powerful connection between two energies.'

Does it?

'The recognition of synergy is unmistakable. When two spirits of this magnitude unite, the universe feels personal, and there is no telling what magic might be created.'

You think?

I don't really see a connection here. I see moving together in sync, sure, and reaching toward something higher than the two of them, but for me the Two of Cups never really meant that. These two seem more overwhelmed by what they perceive 'out there' than they do with each other, and that's not Two of Cups for me.

Maybe they're going for the 'two hearts beat as one' thing. As I contemplate the card, for some reason I just keep picturing synchronized sports -- swimming, pairs figure skating, that sort of thing. So maybe they're Torville and Dean, but Torville and Dean spent a lot of their famous routine locking eyes, that's part of its appeal. Meh.

At the very least, this card shows me moving in harmony with others (or at least one other) and that's a pretty good draw for the day. :) 

Thursday 10 September 2015

Must be court week - Knight of Coins - Fountain Tarot

Fountain Tarot, 2014 
You gotta love a tarot card that incorporates lense flare. Well, you don't have to, but I do. (JJ Abrams would probably get excited by it, too. If you don't get that, don't worry about it, it's a movie geek reference.)

I'm accustomed to seeing the Knight of Pentacles with his big sturdy horse and heavy armour, and that helps promote the image of him as slow and plodding. But he's not just those things, and this card helps bring out other qualities. The Knight of Pentacles is Air of Earth. He contemplates the physical realm. We can get a strong feel for that aspect in this card from the Fountain Tarot (2014).

Stargate glyph
Here we see the Knight of Pentacles wearing green robes. It appears to me that he stands in the arched doorway of an atrium. Outside, there is more greenery, and a mountain or pyramid. If it is a pyramid, then the circle of the sun is directly above it. It is from this sun that the fantastic rays beam down upon our knight. This reminds me of the glyph from the movie 'Stargate'. In the movie, this glyph represents 'point of origin' and symbolises earth. That works for me. If it's a more ancient symbol, I don't know about it. As far as I know, this particular glyph is from a film. So we have the Knight of Pentacles, dressed in green, surrounded by green plants and trees, contemplating a symbol of the earth element, and basking in the light from the source of life, under the Stargate glyph symbolising the planet earth. That's pretty cool, and certainly moves us away from the plodding, rather 'thick' and slow image associated with the RWS card. This knight takes his time, but it's because he's thoughtful and meditative (Air).

I like him.

Wednesday 9 September 2015

The King of Cups - Fountain Tarot

Fountain Tarot, 2014
My card of the day is the King of Cups from the Fountain Tarot by Jonathan Saiz, Jason Gruhl and Andi Todaro.

This card depicts a man in a business suit, ankle across knee, a cup balanced on his knee. His hands are folded across his lap, and he smiles and looks to his left, as though another person were there with whom he is enjoying a conversation. He seems very personable. His bald head and glasses give him an elder, fatherly air. He seems to be a very powerful man, but one who is approachable. He is giving his full attention to the person he's speaking to; he is one whose 'open door policy' is genuine. His fine suit and casual posture, show us that he is confident, self-assured, diplomatic, and emotionally available. His demeanor is welcoming, but his body posture shows that he also knows how to engage in psychological self defense -- the crossed legs, the folded hands. He's open, but he's the one who is in control of the conversation. He's more of an empathetic listener than a sharer, just as he should be in his capacity as a professional man.

Traditionally, the King of Cups is seen as the father figure of the court cards. He is a loving and gentle male presence in the lives of his children and family.

Surprisingly, in its reversed position, the King of Cups can be reactive and veangeful, rather than, as one might expect, being depressed or self-condemning. This is explained by using a traditional way of determining the reversed meaning of  court cards, which is to look at their opposite elemental dignities -- The King of Cups is Fire of Water the opposite of Fire is Water. The opposite of Water is Fire. So that would be Water of Fire, or Queen of Wands, and she can be an absolute terror when crossed!

The companion book to Fountain Tarot doesn't give us any guidance on the geometric shapes that occur throughout the deck. I can't help but think there's some significance to the shapes. Here we have a circle on a triangle. The triangle inside a circle is a symbol that is more familiar to me, being used on US currency, a Masonic symbol, a symbol of creation, a symbol referenced in kabbalah, and in decorations in Catholic cathedrals (usually with an eye in the triangle). But what about a circle inside a triangle? In this card, the circle is slightly bigger than the triangle, but still. What is it? It is known as Solomon's Circle, or Solomon's Seal, which some occultists claim was on King Solomon's signet ring and contributed to magical powers.

Without going into it too much, you may notice that the inner circle spells out 'Mi-cha-el', or archangel Michael, and the lines represent Primeumaton, Anaphaxeton, and Tetragrammaton (AHYH, ADNI, YHVH). If you know the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram, these will be familiar. If you don't and are curious, seek and ye shall find. (In other words, google it.)

But an even more salient meaning for the King of Cups, to me, is this one:

This is the Al-Anon symbol. King of Cups, for many readers, is associated with alcohol and substance abuse. The circle-within-the-triangle symbol represents Al-Anon, the support group for those affected by another person's alcoholism. It is the reverse image of the AA symbol: 

In both logos, the three arms of the triangle represent unity, recovery and service. The circle represents serenity, perfection and the source of unlimited potential. 

The stable shape of the triangle envelopes the symbol of potential and serenity in the Al-Anon symbol -- stability, fortitude, those are the things that foster an environment that will allow perfect peace to grow. Whereas the peace and serenity bring the stability for the substance abusers. It's a great representation of the interlocking needs of all involved. 

The King of Cups in Fountain Tarot sits upon a throne made of these symbols -- stability, unity, support, service, peace, recovery, serenity. What a great guy. Great dad. Great friend. Great boss. He knows how you feel. He can help. 

Monday 7 September 2015

Lenormand points to health reading again

Today's daily Lenormand reading is a Line of Five from Black Hand Lenormand by Nichelle Barnes (2015). (This deck can be ordered from www.luckyshell.com, or if you are a TABI member, there may be a few left there from a group order at: TABI Black Hand Lenormand .)

This morning I've drawn Star + Mountain + Tower + Cross + Coffin. That's two red cards and three blacks: 6 of Hearts + 8 of Clubs + 6 of Spades + 6 of Clubs + 9 of Hearts. So now it's become apparent that I have drawn three 6s. For reasons that are not made entirely clear, Caitlin Matthews claims in her book 'The Complete Lenormand Handbook' that three sixes = joy. So it is possible that however dire this reading may first appear, with Mountain, Cross and Coffin, it will probably not be negative outcome.

Black Hand Lenormand, Nichelle Barnes 2015 
As it happens I have a hospital appointment today, and when we look at the health meanings given in Andy Borovenshengra's book, Lenormand Thirty-Six Cards, the reading falls into place:

Star = skin
Mountain = hardening of
Tower= institution
Cross = test
Death = sickness

I actually am going to the hospital today to have a mole or marking on my skin examined. I have been referred by my GP. The mark is flat and irregularly shaped and has become thicker and raised in the last few months. Hardening of the skin. I am going to the hospital. If they don't like what they see, I will be sent for further tests.

Based on these cards, I believe the marking will be biopsied. But as I have drawn three 6s here, I think it will be found to be nothing to worry about. The doctor told me he was 99% sure it was just an annoying thing, but he wanted to be safe and send me for tests.

Wish me luck!

Edited at 6 pm: 

Well, I'm the possessor of a seborrhoeic keratosis. Also known as a senile wart, though they are not warts. Basically, it's a very common skin lesion  that appears in some people as part of the aging process and has no known cause. My spot started when I was around 39 years old. They start out as small patches of itchy skin, then go pale brown, then over time they get a little darker and they can look like melanoma. But they're not. So that's what I've got, end of. (Cross + Coffin = end of trouble).

Warning, do not google it. My spot is a small, innocent little brown patch and looks nothing like the awful afflictions that pop up in google image. Spare yourself and your appetite.

But that's a relief!

Saturday 5 September 2015

Revealing the Black Hand Lenormand

Black Hand Lenormand, Nichelle Barnes 2015

Look what arrived in the post yesterday! The Black hand Lenormand by Nichelle Barnes (2015).  I was a little puzzled when the parcel arrived. It seemed to contain a...memory stick? I had forgotten ordering it, so when I opened it and this tiny deck slid out, boy was I shocked! I thought it was going to be poker sized, but turns out it's a mini deck -- and it is so CUTE! In the photo above, I've put a 50p coin for scale. Here are some other cards to help:

50p, Black Hand, ASS Lenormand, Postmark, and French Cartomancy

The set comes with a Black Hand card which has brief card meanings on the back, a tuck box, the Lenormand cards, and also includes the 2s-5s for each suit, and two Joker cards, to complete the set to a full playing card deck.

 You can see that when laid out, the card images are quite easy to distinguish:

The only cards that might be troublesome because they look somewhat alike are:

Mountain, Paths, Garden and Clouds. They look similar at first glance, but until you get used to them, the playing card is quite dominant in this set and you'll know at once that Queen of Diamonds is Paths, not Mountains. 8 of Clubs looks like clouds because it has clouds, but it's got a Mountain in the middle and 8 of Clubs is Mountain. The Paths may look at first like rivers, but there are no rivers in Lenormand. 8 of Spades is not Clouds, those are trees with a fountain in the middle. Won't take long to get used to those.

You may also notice that the Lenormand enumeration is quite small and incorporated near the emblem. It is less important than playing card. This is useful, because the Lenormand number is never used in the card interpretation, but the playing card association is, by some readers.

The court cards are distinguished by having the face imposed over the emblem for the Kings and Queens, and under the emblem for the Jacks. The Man and Woman are close-up faces framed in ovals:

This is a really cute set and I love that I can lay out an entire grand tableau and have it fit on my little folding table with room to spare. Nice deck!

Friday 4 September 2015

Review of Vintage Wisdom Oracle

Vintage Wisdom Oracle, US Games

My review of Vintage Wisdom Oracle appears on the TABI (Tarot Association of the British Isles) blog:

Tuesday 1 September 2015

Garden + Fox + Paths

French Cartomancy, LoScarabeo
Posted at 7:51 AM: 

Garden + Fox + Paths
Public trickster double-deals.
Troublesome public leads to decision.
A choice caused by a tricky social situation.
Tricksy division in public persona. 
Social behaviour requires clever choice. 
Peer pressure leads to quandary. 
Social manipulation -- divide and conquer?

8 of Spades + 9 of Clubs + Queen of Diamonds
Moderate black + Black black + Moderate red = a tendency for trouble
Spades positive + Clubs negative + Diamonds positive = It will be subtle, not terrible

I will check back tonight to report on what happened to fulfill these cards.

Edited at 6:53 AM next morning. This is what happened yesterday: 
Can't go into a lot of detail, but the distinct division at work was subtle but perceptible. My decision was whether to expend energy to bridge that gap or just get on with things and let it roll off. I went the roll off strategy. Some of this stuff is just childishness.