Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Deck Review - Wizards Tarot

I have waited years for the Wizards Tarot by Corrine Kenner and John Blumen, and I was breathless with anticipation when I got the shipping notice for it.  This was easily my most anticipated deck in a year full of great ones.  You can explore the Wizards Tarot more fully here on the website.

This deck is computer generated images, CGI, and done in the traditional style of 22 Major Arcana with 56 Minor Arcana divided into four suits, which are Wands for fire, Cups for water, Swords for Air, Pentacles for earth, nothing surprising there.  The backdrop is a school for magical arts, a wizarding school, if you will, and the tagline for the deck is "Welcome to Mandrake Academy, where you are the student and tarot is the teacher."  The Major Arcana are stunning and original, truly adding a new flavor to the archetypes of tarot.  Chiron, the ever suffering centaur from Greek mythology, strikes me as a particularly brilliant choice for taking the place of the more traditional Hierophant in this deck.  Many Waite Smith derived decks have a harsh and cold looking man of God to represent him, but I feel much more comfortable approaching Chiron for the wisdom of the cosmos than a stuffy ol’ bishop.  Another amazing choice is Odin as The Hanged Man,  surrounded by runes and ravens.  These images make me want to delve deep into the myths that surround them, and the book is very obliging, giving a great start to any student.  Traditionally “difficult” cards, like Death, here renamed Transfiguration, the Devil, The Dark Lord here, and the Tower, are all rendered powerfully, but without scary images.  They are not needed to make the point.

The Minor Arcana are heavily Waite Smith based, which is great for those new to tarot, as so many decks today are based on that deck.  Generally, I urge my students to go to the source, and learn on a Waite Smith deck, but some people really do not get on with the art, and since tarot is all about images, enjoying the art is key to learning.  The art of the Minors varies, from as stunning as the Majors, to at times being slightly stiff and awkward.  I feel this is common is CGI decks, and in readings has not proved problematic.  The court cards are represented by elemental beings - fiery, salamander/humanoid beings for Wands, merfolk for the watery Cups, fae for airy Swords, and gnomes for the earthy suit of Pentacles.  I take personal issue with my significator card, the Queen of Pentacles, not being as traditionally beautiful as I would like to see myself, but that is personal preference only, and I am growing fond of her other charms.  I find the court cards to be very expressive, which is helpful when trying to read these cards that generally represent people or facets of personality; just what they are expressing does not always jive with what I thought I knew about them, and that is okay.  It’s good to stretch and grow and see things from new perspectives.

The book is one of the best I have ever read on tarot, and being that I have read hundreds, I think that is high praise.  I prefer my students refrain from reading any books as they learn to read tarot, but the given meanings are concise and to the point.  The real gem of this companion book, in my opinion, are the extra tidbits of information, mythos and magic, rune lore and astrology, that accompany each Major Arcana.  The Minors are written about with affirmations, as well, and the spreads in this book are amazing.  I want to try them all, all at once!  The book is written in clear language, is well researched, and is one I would purchase on its’ own were it not a companion book.  It’s that good!

My readings with the deck have been accurate and flowing.  The previously mentioned awkwardness of some of the Minors did not seem as evident when laying cards down side by side as it did when assessing the cards individually.  I would read for anyone with this deck, although there is no denying The Moon is sensual and lovely, and the Queen of Cups is a mermaid in traditional mermaid garb, which is to say nothing but shimmery scales, so those who are opposed to the suggestion of the female breast might take issue with those cards.  Personally, I would prefer my children to see pictures of nudity, of which there is none overt in this deck, than pictures of violence.  Many of the professors of this school are beautiful, and I do not take issue with that.  If I had the power to make myself look however I chose, I would appear physically beautiful as well.

There has been a lot of online chatter about this deck, and people seem to either really love or hate the possible correlation to the world of Harry Potter.  I would just like to say that while using this deck, there is a feel of the Harry Potter world, but I think describing that world as a wizarding school world would be more apt.  J.K. Rowling was  not the first writer to take on the idea of a school for learning magic, nor will she be the last.  It wasn’t a unique idea for her, nor for the creators of this deck, but their take on it is what makes it special, in both cases.

Physically, the deck and book comes packaged in a flimsy box that fell apart before I even opened it.  The glue seems to be bad, and Amazon shipped it poorly packaged, so the box was smashed as well.  This disappointed me, as a collector, but I also have a copy that came from Tarot Garden, in perfect condition.  The inner box is basically useless, being extremely flimsy and far too large for the cards.  I hope Llewellyn will get with the program soon and at least give us decent packaging for its’ decks.  They can look to Lo Scarabeo, who they distribute for in the US, for good ideas of snug fitting boxes and box sets with cunning spaces for the deck, or even better, Schiffer, with their sturdy boxes.  The cards are backed and bordered with cobalt blue and gold scrollwork, and I think  you would be able to tell if they are reversed or not, if that matters to you.  The titles are unobtrusive, and the Majors are left unnumbered for those who like to order them in a particular way.  The cardstock is satiny, not heavily laminated, and shuffles beautifully.  The cards are what I would term a “typical” tarot size, about 4.5” x 2.75”, and they fit nicely in my average sized hand.

I think this deck would be good for beginners to tarot who enjoy the world of Harry Potter, and I feel like people who enjoy CGI of all reading levels would like this deck, for the most part.  More experienced readers who want to add more astrology, runes, myth, and magic lore to their readings will benefit greatly from the companion book, no matter what deck they may use.  What keeps this deck from being 5 stars, for me, is that I would have preferred interpretations of the Minor Arcana to have headed in a new direction in tarot, being based on but not exact replicas of the decks that have come before, and I feel the Majors demonstrated that the creators were fully capable of doing that.  Overall, I find this to be an enjoyable, easy to read deck that will grace my shelves forever, and I, as ever, I find Corrine Kenner’s writing to be succinct, knowledgeable, and relevant.  Thank you!

The Wizards Tarot by Corrine Kenner and John Blumen is published by Llewellyn Books, and has a dedicated website, as well as being available wherever books are sold, including Amazon.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Monday Majors- Theme for the Week: The Moon

Interestingly, to me at least, I have not drawn The Moon for blogging in all this time, which is not to say that I have not drawn The Moon at all.  The Moon and me, we have a great relationship.  I ask questions, and she teases me with shadows of thoughts and whispers that almost make sense, and then I have to chase them down the fairy trail, eager for more, silvery tendrils caressing my face.

I love The Moon.  I think she is beautiful, and I love to bask in her light.  I am not sure the artist of this card loved her as much as I do, though.  The tattered wings of the angel don't seem to be good for much, just a painful reminder of what was, and is no more.  The colors of the card are discordant to me, jarring even.  The wolf on the right and the dog on the left are scruffy, mangy, not seeming to care for themselves as such noble animals usually do.  The valley of shadow the angel is about to pass through seems to be made up of wayward spirits and lost souls.  No help comes from the distant towers, which look on, cold and unfeeling.

I may have some dark places to walk through this week, not inherently evil, but dark nonetheless.  I will have to lean on my own intuition, and I will have to walk through, because my wings are useless, for the moment.  I am filled with fear, but I know the Lord of Light can restore all that has been lost, if only I am brave and true enough to follow where He leads.  The Moon appears to teach us to trust in our deepest knowing, to cause us to stretch and grow, to strengthen our vision in the weaker light of the reflected sun.  I kneel, and I pray, and I remember, "To thine own self be true." and "I will never leave you nor forsake you."

Update: March 28, 2011- The Moon has chosen to manifest itself in my life in interesting ways this week.  I have had several incidents of deeply claircognizant experiences, which my logical mind wants to talk me out of.  Sometimes, I just know things, and there is a feeling of calm over my entire body when that is happening, and what I pay attention to in order to learn to trust.  Sometimes it happens when I am reading for people, but it often just comes unbidden, and I am learning to trust that feeling, because when I follow it in my own life, I always do better, and when I follow it in reading for others, those readings are better.  I'm not gonna lie, though, it's scary as hell...

This card is from the Templar Tarot by Allen Chester, available here.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Stroke of Luck Reading - St. Patty's Day 2011

Top o' the morning to you, and kiss me I'm Irish... Not really, I am Mohegan Indian and Scottish, got my last name from a German ex husband, about to be married to an Irish boy, so close enough, right?

Today I am using Eowyn's Stroke of Luck Spread, with the gorgeous Deirdre of the Sorrows tarot deck, which is not sorrowful at all.  The first card is your next stroke of luck, the second how it will come about.  I drew a third one to add some information to the King of Swords.

My next stroke of luck will be the Nine of Cups, the Wish Card!  How cool is that?  It's validation that exactly what I wish for is exactly what is good for me, and what is going to make me happy.  It has long been my theory that God puts the desires on our hearts that reflect His deepest plan for us, and I am all too happy to try to oblige.

So, what would make me most happy?  I am with the love of my life, every single day, and my kids are all happy, healthy, working on getting wise.  I have a home I love, bright and airy, and a family that makes me glad to be alive.  I have a man that's home every night, a best friend that loves me and unequivocally has my back.  Those are the main things I have ever wanted.

My deepest desire that is so far unfulfilled is to write.  No, I take that back.  I already write.  It is to write and be published.  It's to create beauty, to create emotion, to touch and change the world in ways both tangible and not.

It will come about through the King of Swords and the Ace of Cups- the phrase that comes to mind to describe these cards together is infinite mercy.  The King of Swords is powerful and just, and the Ace of Cups is overflowing with love and deep emotion.

The Ace of Cups strikes me as a very good card to temper the colder, more logical side of the King of Swords.  It makes a person seem well balanced, seeking the truth, but not placing it above love and kindness.

These cards are from the Deirdre of the Sorrows tarot self published by Deirdre O'Donoghue.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Daily Draw - Four of Swords, The Empress, The Devil

I gotta be frank with y'all, The Obstacle card, Four of Swords, doesn't really look like all that much of an obstacle to me.  You have Hecate lying there with her man, looking pretty peaceful, if not overly passionate (and no, that's not the problem *grin*).

I think this card refers to the general lack of motivation I feel today.  It's overcast, and springtime in the Rockies means it's either bitter cold or searing hot, none of that gentle spring rain most of you seem to enjoy.  Today it's cold, and I would very much like to curl up in bed with someone else's book and read the day away.  I would very much like to take that break.  But this would not be a good day for that.  I have a project I am working on, and duties call.

It's very easy for me to get confused about productive downtime and just plain procrastination, because for a writer, daydreaming IS part of the work, sometimes, and to write well, and to read tarot well, I need quiet times of contemplation and connecting to Source.  The difficulty comes when I do not differentiate well, when I am dishonest with myself and I let my meditation time turn into nap time, or watching trashy reality tv time.  I have to be aware of that today.

The Way Through the Obstacle, The Empress.  Just as I suspected - it's time for me to let creativity flow, not time to rest.

The Empress is associated with Venus, goddess of love and beauty, fertile and nubile.  Today is a good day for me to focus on the birthing process of the creative project I am working on.  I am reluctant to turn to my writing this morning because what I wrote yesterday made me cry, big fat wet tears, not pretty sedate ones, but the kind that wrack your body and leave you snuffling and weak, headachey and thoroughly wrung out.  I don't want to do that again today, but birth IS painful.  Worth it, but painful.

This Empress is advising me to armor myself in beautiful things, beautiful thoughts, and to go ahead and get on with it.  If it warms up enough I will take my writing outside and sit in the grass, feel the sun upon my face, smell the breeze as it wafts against my skin.

The Devil as The Outcome makes me chuckle.  This is a great example of how "difficult" cards aren't always, and how every single card has a range of meaning, light and dark, and why having specific intentions about the position of each card in a reading works for me.  If I was just doing a free form reading, no positions, I could very easily fall into the trap of thinking this card holds doom and gloom for me, that no matter what I do today I am not going to be able to escape the shadow of the Devil.

But, since this card is the Outcome of following the good advice, I can be assured that I can look for its' light meaning.  The advice card, The Empress, and The Devil, are both sensual cards, excessive cards, of pleasure and enjoyment.  Once I have completed my tasks for the day, I can join my honey for dinner and a glass of wine, and maybe we can cut loose a little, and really enjoy the fruits of our labors.  A couple hours of Devil energy is good for the soul.  It's when we let our desires rule us, instead of ruling them, we get into trouble.

As an alternate, somewhat evil reading, these cards made me think of a relationship going down the tubes, and getting pregnant accidentally-on-purpose, resulting in a whole host of other problems, not really addressing the main one.  This is not the case for me, but I like to illustrate how cards can be read differently at different times.  The Man and I are solid, and our baby is nine years old.  If we had the resources we would probably have five more kids, but our hands are quite full with what we have, thank you, and while I am completely crazy about my children I am also looking forward to the far off day when I am free to travel and make love and live my life on my own schedule alone.  And He feels that even more strongly than I do, haha!

Update:  I was able to maintain concentration through the time I needed to, and make some progress on important projects.  Then we went to dinner, where all of our senses were thoroughly indulged - crisp white wine, creamy tomato caprese, ravioli filled with cheese, fried potatoes, tiramisu.  It was a good reward for a good day's work.

These cards are from The Kingdom Within Tarot by Juno Lucina and Shannon Thornfeather for Schiffer Books.

WTF Tarot - Why Am I So Grouchy?

Welcome to a new section in my blogging, WTF Tarot.  Many, many times I shuffle thinking exactly that, and I get good answers!

So, WTF, tarot!  Why am I so grouchy tonight?  Nine of Cups... Seriously?  I am in such a foul mood because I pretty much have everything I ever wanted?  What kind of ungrateful brat am I?  The Man is in the kitchen, doing dishes, an act I would normally find unbearably sexy, but it is just annoying me now.  I should be doing the dishes.  I am the one that works at home now, and it's my kids that dirtied the dishes, and I hate that he feels like he should do them even though he worked all day.

But... I worked all day too.  That is actually my biggest hurdle I am finding, separating work from relaxing time.  And I don't want to do the dishes tonight.  I would rather do them with the bright morning sunshine streaming in the window, listening to the radio, planning the evening's meal.  Right now I just want to read, and lay in bed with a bowl of popcorn and a soda and something mindless to distract.

Second biggest hurdle - Here I am, safe and warm and loved, I am so loved right now, just me as I am, warts and ridiculous number of tarot decks and moodiness and full Taurean-ness and all, and this is probably the first time in my entire life that has been the case.  Even my mama didn't love me unconditionally.  I am pursuing my life's dreams, writing, tarot, and I have my family all together every single night, and those are the only things in life I have ever really wanted.  And I spend sooooo damn much time worrying about losing it.

So what can I do about that?  Temperance- I get this stupid, stinky ol' card when I am not doing a good job of actively managing the details of my life.  I get this card when my anxiety is flaring and I know moving my body and eating right and meditating and yoga-ing out would help and I know that but sometimes it just seems like so much work to go through just to function as a normal human being.  I get this card because that angel is not going to do my work for me.  He has his own.  I have to actually do it myself, and in the practical application of good ideas is where I fall apart.  Inspiration I have in spades.  Or maybe Wands.  But I struggle with the details.

I guess I gotta go to bed now.  The yoga isn't going to stretch itself come 5am.  Any possibility that angel over there is mixing me a Cosmo?

These cards, on whom my foul mood should not be blamed, are from the Morgan Greer Tarot by Bill F. Greer and David Morgan for U.S. Games.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tea Leaf Tuesday - March 15, 2011

My intention is to draw seven Tea Leaf Fortune Cards every Tuesday to gain insight into what the week ahead may have in store for me.  Who knows how this will turn out, because I do not use cards for divination all that often; more like cheap therapy.

I will probably take whoever is leaving my life pretty hard, which is just like me, because once people are in my life, I like to keep 'em, but it is actually for the best, as I will  move forward spiritually through it and the problem will not be long lasting.

The "Broom" refers to the fact that this is spring cleaning week in my new-to-me-house.  Thanks, Tea Leaf Fortune Cards!  I knew that, though!

I'll be back next Tuesday to look this spread over and make comments on its' accuracy.

Update, March 22, 2011: My major challenge to overcome and sorrow over a loss manifested in the taxes not quite going the way I thought they were going to, but that is okay.  Something is better than nothing, fo' sho!  The person leaving my life is a social worker, who while sweet, compassionate, and doing a great job at what she does, I feel is unnecessary, and she has exited our family scene, forever, I hope, and I do wish her well!  It's good to have these kinds of services for people who need them, but I don't think that applies to my family.  Still, I am grateful that they came, even if I am resentful of the false claim that brought them.  The temporary problems speak of that, and the money situation, as well as a tiny misunderstanding type spat between The Man and I, but they were swept away quickly, like always with us.  My spiritual development is coming from committing to a course in study of The Inner Temple Of Witchcraft: Magick, Meditation, and Psychic Development by Christopher Penczak, which if nothing else I believe will strengthen my reading abilities for tarot, and enhance my creative flow for writing.  I am also honored to be a student in my friend Joy's class, Intuitive Astrology, which seems to be the only way I can learn the stuff, and I would like to so that I can enhance my tarot reading as well.  Spring cleaning goes on, and on, and on...

I am most pleased with the Tea Leaf Reading for this week, and I think as I learn to speak the language of these cards I will get better at interpreting them in advance.  Stay tuned!

These cards are the Tea Leaf Fortune Cards by Rae Hepburn and Shawna Alexander.

Daily Draw - Two of Swords, Six of Pentacles, Four of Cups

Again, with The Obstacle - The Way Through the Obstacle - The Outcome spread for today.

The Obstacle: The Two of Swords is generally a card I feel good about and enjoy, it usually feels peaceful to me, and this one is labeled with the keyword "Harmony", which should be comforting, but this card in this deck, in this reading, makes me decidedly uncomfortable.  The jester character in the forefront seems like he is about to wreak some serious havoc on the peace the couple in the background seem to have come to.  The castle makes me feel like this has to do with our home, as in our home is our castle.  The Man and I are peaceful together, and are generally in complete agreement on how to run our life together.  This shady character peeking out from his blindfold, though, is an interloper.  I have the impression he is about to rip his blindfold off, turn to the couple, sword in each hand, and launch an attack.

This card is the Moon in Libra, which I can see as being difficult because the Moon is not always what it seems, and Libra energy prefers everything be on the up and up, bright Sun shining, no secrets, no intrigue.

The Way Through The Obstacle: I often associate the Six of Pentacles with charity, and sharing of resources, but the resources in this card are not necessarily material.  They aren't coins trickling from careless fingers to needy ones.  What I see here is pure, uncensored love, and "Prosperity" that does not always have to do with what we have and what we can buy.  This is a rendition of generosity that has more to do with our spiritual gifts than or material ones.

As an advice card, I take this to mean that the problem I may face today should be met with compassion, and creativity.  I can see the answer being something I can do, write, or perform a reading on, or perhaps the empathy I can share will be helpful and remedy the situation somewhat.  I think those things might be part of the answer because they are what I see as my gifts, what I have to share with the world.  Metaphorically speaking, possibly I am meant to snatch that creepy ol' jester up and love on him as much as either one of us can stand.  *smile*

Outcome: Four of Cups.  In this card, the female figure looks resigned.  She is neither thrilled, nor gutted by the result, which is sometimes the best we can ask for in a difficult situation.  It's just okay, and sometimes that has to be just okay.

So my summary of this reading is to be aware of some outside force disrupting the harmony of my home or partnerships today, and to meet that force from a place of love, to apply my unique talents to situation, resulting in an outcome that is improved, and certainly livable, for the moment at least.

Update:  It turns out that the Interloper up there had nothing to do with any person outside of my house, but had to do with me, my foul mood in the late afternoon and evening, and my flaring anxiety that likes to eff with my head.  Anxiety is all about thoughts, unjust ones, usually untrue ones, as it were, and sneaky to boot.  I shoulda seen that coming!  I did not do a good job of caring for myself and turning my own thoughts around, but The Man was exceedingly careful of me and tried very hard to share his good feelings with me, and in a strange juxtaposition my NicNoodle decided to use some oracle cards to give me a reading, which was amazingly accurate as well as unbearably sweet!  She proclaimed reading the cards made her feel close to me, and calmer herself, which is often the case, and mirrors the image of the Madonna and child as advice, though not the way I would have expected.  I was the one being cared for.  My daughter is so deeply empathic, and a Scorpio to boot, that she does not always know how to deal with these emotions that come from outside herself.  I ended the evening feeling better, content, if not well satisfied, and resolved to sleep well, curled up against the love of my life, and to wake this morning better able to cope with the world at large.  So far, so good!

These cards are from The Kingdom Within Tarot by Juno Lucina and Shannon Thornfeather for Schiffer Books.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Daily Draw - The Devil, Six of Swords, Justice

This week I am using the Kingdom Within Tarot by Juno Lucina and Shannon Thornfeather, published by Schiffer Books, and I will review it at the end of the week.  I am using a spread found in the back of the book, slightly modified, called the Triangle Spread, with the positions The Problem, The Way Through the Problem, and The Outcome, but I don't like the way it looks as a triangle so I made it linear.  This is how we do.

The Problem: The Devil (dun-dun-DA!)- haha what am I supposed to say about this card?  I have a loose relationship with the Devil card as a whole, because, frankly, I don't think it is THAT bad.  Of course, according to Jim Carroll, "The devil's greatest accomplishment is convincing the world he does not exist."  so maybe I have fallen prey to that trap, although for me, it is not so much that I do not believe in the devil, or manifest evil, but that I do not believe he/she/it has any power over me, so what care I where the devil may go?

This card carries a strong sentiment of judgment to it, not the card Judgment, associated with rebirth or awakening to a new life, but the ugly feeling of criticism and blame.  Look how Saturn, the ruling planet of Capricorn, associated with The Devil, looms above the angel, becoming a halo and symbolic of her highest thoughts, while she points down at all the things she finds distasteful, and which are distasteful, but it is important to remember that people are their souls, not their actions.  Mother Theresa said, "If you judge people, you have no time to love them." and I want to be aware of that critical feeling in myself, towards others, and towards myself, so that I can choose to change that feeling, and approach others, my family, my friends, people I don't even know, from a place of love, as well as meeting myself in that place of love and compassion.

The Way Through the Problem: Six of Swords- (small side tangent- Folks, this deck is weird.  I like it, I don't use weird as a derogatory term, but weird it is.)  I am not even sure if I was to deliberately pick a card as a response to what to do about the problem of the Devil I could have chosen a more appropriate one. The owl and the dead dude ( according to the book, Mictlantecutl, Lord of Death, however; he shall remain "the dead dude" in my mind) have turned their backs on the bright but harsh angel of the Devil card, and they are sailing away to a better place.  The ghostly mermaid behind them is releasing a specter, and the water purifies all as they rush forward to meet a better destiny.  This happens when we consciously choose to turn our backs on the things and people we know are no good for us, and when we make the decision and take the action to radically alter our behaviors.

For me, I have to remember that my thoughts, which are associated with the tarot suit of Swords,  are not just random and uncontrollable, but that I can change them.  I can stop the bad ones right in their tracks and I can make them like me instead, like Pink advises in her song, "You're so mean, when you talk about yourself, you were wrong- Change the voices in your head, make them like you instead. "  This is actually a simple thing to do, but like many simple things, it seems too easy to actual work, but it certainly can't hurt anything so I am gonna give it a whirl.

The occupants of the boat travel forth to their destiantion, which as it turns out, is the Outcome: Justice.  I like this image, with its' balance of light and dark, sun and moon, neither one whole or complete without the other, and this is a particularly interesting card to come away from The Devil and come to, because they are essentially polar opposites.  The Devil is a card about wrong motivations and bondage (not the good kind *wink*), and Justice is a card about karma and doing the right thing.  Both cards have an element of "just reward" to them, the Devil embodying the natural consequence when we go against what we know to be right, and Justice holding the bright promise of symmetry, the natural consequence of living right.  I like the promise dark has made to bright, and vice versa, the innocence and trust exemplified, which is a lovely idea, that we can all trust in the world again.  I think that is what Heaven will be like, no fear, no anxiety, just joy.

Venus crowns this card as the ruler of Libra, associated with Justice, and in a mimicry of The Devil, demonstrates that love is highest aim.  "We understand that justice is what love looks like in public." ~Cornel West

This reading was meant to be a daily draw, but the appearance of the two Major Arcana cards signify to me a reading that bears so more contemplation, as the cards are quite deep and evocative.

Update:  So, folks, guess what I did today.  Can you guess?  Well, if your answer was "not take my own advice", ding, ding, ding, you win!  There I was, in the hot and steamy shower, grooving to a favorite song, moving my body all fast and furious (yes, I dance in the shower.  It's private and you wash the sweat away, win-win) when something jiggled in a way I didn't like.  I was instantly filled with loathing, hate for this one body I am ever going to get, that is strong and curvy and that my man loves and shows me he loves in every way, this body that hauls me around and that I can twist and flex so fantastically thanks to my yoga practice, the body that likes to dance salsa and snowboard, that bore and nursed my children.  I actually told myself how fat and ugly it was, and that is when my Devil moment manifested for me, only moments after posting this.  Luckily, before I got too far down the trail of tears, I remembered to rein it in and talk only nicely to myself.  Then I danced for a few more songs, in the shower.  Naked.  And just enough jiggly to be cute.

These cards are from The Kingdom Within Tarot by Juno Lucina and Shannon Thornfeather for Schiffer Books.

Monday Majors - Theme for the Week: The Magician

Throughout the time I have been blogging about tarot, I have only drawn The Magician on its' own one other time, and oddly enough, out of the 600+ decks I own, it came from the same one I have been drawn to today, the Templar Tarot.  This rendition of the Magician is still about faith to me, which makes sense as this deck is, for me, deeply spiritual.  I feel good when I use this deck, because it does not ask me to choose between my Christian faith and my belief that the Bible holds some truths, but some are written elsewhere.

The Magician is a card, that at its' root, is about magic.  When we see the Magician, we can ask ourselves, "What does magic mean to me?"  My answer is that it is the conscious act of bringing the Divine into our everyday lives is what makes magic to me.  In this rendition of the card, circumstances are less than ideal.  The spectators are a woebegone lot, yet even the one whose hands have been cut off stretches her stumps forth in praise, in awe, and that is a conscious decision we can make, regardless of our circumstances.  We can choose to honor the Divine, we can choose to dance, if that is our gift, we can choose to worship, we can choose to continue on, whether it's through tears or laughter, or that heady inexplicable mixture of the two, the point is, love is a choice we can make, day by day, minute by minute.

Here is the lotus flower again, to reiterate the point that beauty springs forth from unexpected places, and to remind me that a little guck is a small price to pay for it.

As a theme for the week, The Magician is showing me how to not just invite the presence of sacredness into my life, but how to revel in it, how to let it lift me up and cause my feet to dance, unafraid, in joy and communion.  I am reminded that God meets us where we are, and the only thing we are asked is to be the best selves we can be.

Update, March 21, 2011:  One of the things about the Magician in this deck I did not pay real close attention to is the troubadour aspect to it, the fact that this Magician is a storyteller.  I am a storyteller, too.  Why didn't I see this correlation?  She dances and sings to tell her story, because she has to, and that is why I write, too, because I have to.  Characters spring, fully formed, in my head sometimes, and they demand to be brought to life.  They want their words to be heard, their existence to have meaning.  I write to share the great and sometimes terrible beauty of this world, I write because it's unbearable to me to keep it all locked inside my own mind, and I write because it is the only way to get to peace for me, sometimes.

This card related deeply to my work this week, as I picked up the Magician's tools and began to dig in deeper to my spiritual path, to my own story.  I began a course in Intuitive Astrology, which is the way the stars tell a story, and I feel myself becoming more immersed in the work of being a writer.  I am terrified of that serpent below her feet, and for the moment I am just counting on dancing so deftly it won't have the chance to strike out at me, but soon I will know how to soothe the snake so the thought never even enters its' mind.

This achingly lovely deck is the Templar Tarot by Allen Chester, available here, and an amazing supplemental book of the same name available from

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Comfort Me Tarot - Ace of Cups

I don't feel bad or anything, at least not emotionally.  I'm sick as a dog, though I have seen a light at the end of the tunnel, and for once in the past four days I don't feel like going into it, so that is improvement.  I have picked the Morgan Greer tarot deck for my readings this week, and not least among my reasons is that mine is the ultra shiny printed in Italy version which is sure to repel snot and sundry fluids currently exiting my body as forcefully and as ugly-ey as possible.  Also, this is a deck that sticks very close to Waite Smith symbolism, so it is not overly taxing to my heavy, heavy head which is barely up to holding itself upright at the moment, let alone taking on the mysteries of the universe.  But instead of talking about me, let's talk about this beautiful card.

I think this is one of the most gorgeous blue shades I have ever seen, and it sets the pinks and greens of the lotus flower off to great effect.  I am currently taking a tarot class from the lovely and talented Joy Vernon and I am thoroughly enjoying it for what I learn from the other students as much as anything else.  One of them was discussing a card in which a lotus flower figured prominently, and she pointed out that lotus flowers grow out of the yuckiest, nastiest mud, fighting their way to the surface in a burst of glory.  It is also a symbol of purity, and to me it is such an amazing think to see that no matter where we come from, when we continuously reach for the light, we become ever more what we are meant to be.

As the eye rises in the card, we meet the snow white dove, another symbol of purity, love and peace.  This card is literally overflowing with those sentiments, and my own personal key phrase for this card is something like, "The fount from which all good things flow."  Particularly amusing to me is the tendency of the Waite Smith decks to feature a giant hand prominently in the Aces, presumably the hand of God extended with a gift we have but to reach out and grab.  The message here seems to be that love and grace are here for the taking, only we have to reach out, risk looking foolish, even, maybe, that we would be so bold as to imagine those gifts are for us, that God or Spirit or Goddess or Source or the Universe or Whatever is so willing to offer these things up, but that we have to take that step to reach out.

This is the card you get when you fall in love all over again every day, with Him, with Her, and even better, with yourself.  It is a card that promises that all that you give comes back to you, over and over, better than before, and brings more love, more power, more joy, more right, with it, every single time.

Henry David Thoreau so eloquently put it like this, "There is no remedy for love but to love more."  Loving more lets us float gracefully on those cerulean waters, cradled in the petals of the lotus, shaded by the wings of the dove, which is New Age-y sounding bs, unless, what if it isn't?  What if it really IS that simple (a word which is not the same as easy)?  What if I just try to live, for just this moment, as if it is?

Oh yeah, one more thing - I am getting married, the sooner, the better, we are agreed on that.  Over and over, again and again, I get this card in reference to Him, the burgeoning of new love, the raw energy of limitless emotion, the very beginning of what can never end.

This card is from the Morgan Greer tarot, by Bill S. Greer and Lloyd Morgan for U.S. Games.