Friday, July 6, 2012

Daily Draw - The Moon, Knight of Pentacles, Eight of Swords

Dark Fairytale Tarot- Moon, Knight of Pentacles, Eight of Swords

Today is my sisters' birthday.  Happy birthday, Sister!  I'd call her and tell her but we have been estranged for years and I am not inclined to try to fix that.  I love my sister, but one thing life has taught me is that some people are better off being loved from afar.  I know she thinks I don't, and I actually understand that quite well.  As I wrote myself only yesterday, there is no such thing as love, at least not to anyone outside of your own soul.  There are only proofs of love, and I have not given her many of those.

My sister is The Moon, dark and unknowable, at least to me.  I want to trust her, so much, but I believe I can't.  I have been blessed with sisters in law who are beautiful in every way, and I'd like to become even closer to them, but neither of them ever whispered to me in the dark under sweltering covers, or played wizards and potions with me.  They don't understand, nor should anyone, the shared horror and beauty of our childhood, and the two are so entwined we don't even know where one ends and the other began.  My sister is wild, like the wolfsong, and she is savagely beautiful, but like all wild things, I don't believe I should try to touch her.

The Eight of Swords is me, bound by the thoughts and memories I can't let go of, branded with the words she labelled me with.  Mine say "whore" and "two faced bitch" instead of "vampire", and they still bleed, all these years later.  Even though I know I should be able to define my own reality, when I think of my sister I am small and like Eminem croons, "I am whatever you at I am.  If I wasn't, then why would you say I am?"  and I don't want to be the things she has labelled me, so I stay away from her.

The Knight of Pentacles, in desperate flight from the wolves that represent my sister to me, is probably me too.  I want to leave my past behind, but I want strong family ties at the same time, and I am not sure I can have both.  I feel those dead hands reaching out to me, wanting to drag me back there, back to the place where my mother called me "Moo Moo Mandy" and my sister did too, and why wouldn't she, when that was what she was taught?
Dark Fairytale Tarot- Death

The Death card again appears as the Shadow, and I realize that at some point I have to integrate that fat, dirty little girl, the one no one wanted, with the myself of today, a woman who is infinitely loved and has infinite love to share.  I have to forgive my mother, and forgive my sister, and I have to do so knowing they will never ask for that forgiveness.  They do not even think they wronged me.  I also have to acknowledge the hurts I have caused, because it's not like I am an innocent bystander in my own life.  We were not taught to hold family ties sacred, and my tongue can be as sharp as either of theirs.

I truly do wish my sister the happiest of birthdays, the brightest of blessings, and the best that love and life can possibly give her.  I have to do so with the seemingly contradictory knowledge that we may never be in the same place at the same time as adults, that we may never be the kind of sisters I yearn for, and to be.  It's not her job to make me okay with that.  It is mine to come to terms with.

These cards are from Dark Fairytale Tarot by Rafaele De Angleis, published by Lo Scarabeo.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Book Review - Tarot Dynamics Unleashed

Anna Burroughs Cook, author of Tarot Dynamics, has taken her innovative concept forward and super charged it in her latest offering, Tarot Dynamics Unleashed, published by Kima Global Publishing, 2011.

Anna offers a system of learning that can firmly root your readings in the cards, giving your intuition room to work within the system, for readings and timings that are eerily accurate.  While I am aware that some people can do free form tarot readings with great success, my observation of many students and fellow readers has led me to believe most people read and learn most effectively within a system, and the Tarot Dynamics one is great!

It seems to be en vogue today to use tarot as only a psychological tool, for insight, to talk about our feelings, but I firmly believe it is also useful as a tool for divination, which simply put, means to tell the future.  Anna makes no apologies for her willingness to predict events, and her system allows for both psychologically based readings as well as fortune telling ones (and it is my belief that a good reading addresses both things, is the Seeker desires).
In the Tarot Dynamics system, you will learn a specific number, from 1-78, for each card, and using numerology you will be able to break each card down into a core meaning.  Each card is illustrated with a large black and white image from the Waite Smith deck, and Anna encourages you to place your own card over the image as you study, so that any deck you prefer to use is relate-able to her system.  Anna does something not enough teachers do, in my opinion, which is offer a range of meaning to each card, so there are no "good" nor "bad" cards.  There are simply cards, and how you string them together depends on their relationship to the other cards in the spread (don't worry; you learn how to do this in the book, too!).

There are several spreads in the book, and the best chapter, in my opinion, is Tarot Dynamics & The Moon in Astrology.  There are plenty of books that link tarot and astrology, but few that deal with The Moon, which is the seat of our emotional life, astrologically speaking.  Her view on the Court Cards will help you get a handle on these most slippery of cards, as well, and that is invaluable.

If you are like me, with many, many books about tarot, or have been reading for a while, you will want to know why this is a good book for you.  Simply put, one can never have too many tools in the box for reading and interpreting cards, and this book gives a thoughtful, well rounded tool that you can reach for at any time.  A friend and teacher once likened reading tarot to playing a game of 3D chess, and the more techniques you know for interpreting cards the more levels you can play on.

If you are new to tarot, this book will give you a firm foundation as to meanings of the cards, and it will help you expand your intuition.  You will be able to relate what you learn in this book to the cards for as long as you are a reader, and it is a good investment in your education.  You don't have to do anything in tarot by anyone elses'  rules but knowledge always equals power, so it is good to learn as much as possible, regardless of your reading level.

I recommend this book for tarotistas of any level, and using its' techniques will help you spot patterns and themes in your readings to take them to a new level.  Anna writes in a clear, concise manner that is easy to read, and once you put her words into practice you will understand her concepts.

Anna has a great website you can visit, Tarot Dynamics, and runs a group for it on Facebook, if you are so inclined to visit.

Daily Draw - Nine of Swords, Ace of Swords, The Emperor

Dark Fairytale Tarot- Nine of Swords, Ace of Swords, Emperor

Have you ever been able to control your dreams?  When you are having a lovely one, can you make it lovelier still by interacting with it?  What about your nightmares?  Are you able to turn them around?

In this set of cards, I see the dreamer in the first card taking a firm grasp on at least one of those Swords that is plaguing her.  She is taking her life back, one way or the other.  The Emperor looks on, because sometimes the most loving act is to let someone deal with their own issues.  That is how we get stronger.  It has been theorized that in our dreams, we play all the roles, and everyone we interact with is an aspect of ourselves.  The Emperor does not lift a hand to help, but is that an act of judgment, or is he granting the girl his trust that she can do it all on her own?  Is your inner Emperor a kind, fatherly figure, who sets loving boundaries, or is he a harsh taskmaster who berates and is all hard edges?  He is likely to resemble your most paternal figure in your mind, and if that figure does not speak to you from a place of love, it's time to remold him into the compassionate man you deserve.  Be kind to yourself.
Dark Fairytale Tarot- Death

The Shadow Card to day is Death, standing by, passing through the veils of this world and the next as easily as if they were mist.  He appears to the dreaming self, scythe at the ready, to expose the Shadow self, the things we need to integrate, the pieces of ourselves we have treated unkindly, or yelled at.  He is the guide between the two worlds, and sometimes we have to plumb the depths of our psyches to go rescue that piece we have shoved away.

These cards are from Dark Fairytale Tarot by Rafaele De Angelis, published by Lo Scarabeo.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Daily Draw- Queen of Pentacles, Six of Pentacles, Seven of Swords

Happy Independence Day!  I am always grateful for my beautiful country and the amazing freedoms we are allowed here.  My Daily Draw today focuses on the question-

What does freedom mean to me?

Dark Fairytale Tarot- Queen of Pentacles, Six of Pentacles, Seven of Swords
The Queen first and foremost describes me, which only makes sense.  I tend to be the Queen of Pentacles in my own readings, and of course freedom to me will mean the ability to be myself.  I don't wear my eyeliner quite like that, but I do love purple dresses, and take no umbrage with reclining on velvet pillows from time to time.

The Six of Pentacles is described in the Little White Book as follows, "When the wealthy give to those less fortunate, their aid should be bestowed with an open heart if both are to benefit."  This sums up freedom pretty well for me, too- the ability to both give and receive as befits my current circumstances, with no shame or ill feeling on either part.  One of my big struggles with money is guilt over having any, not that it is pouring in waves over me, but when you feel guilty about money it is hard to attract any to you.  Freedom to me equals the ability to give freely of my resources.  I can relate myself to the cloaked figure in the foreground, able to show my very tall sons a different, not necessarily better, way of living than they are learning away from our home.

The Seven of Swords depicts a fools' errand, chasing a ghost.  Who does that person rob but himself if he decides to do so?  Freedom to me is the ability to chase the specters of my dreams, to arrange my way of thinking in a way that pleases me best, even if others do not understand it.  In this life, I am reliant upon myself, and no one else, because too many times bosses and corporations have proven untrustworthy in my eyes.  I have been burned by the corporate world too many times to have any desire to go back there, and standing on my own feet is thrilling, and scary, and honestly would not be possible but for my husband who provides insurance and a steady income, so I do not gloat from my view.
Dark Fairytale Tarot- Six of Cups

The Shadow Card is the Six of Cups, to remind me not to place too much glory on the old days, the tired days, the days of slaving away and not usually even making ends meet.  Today, even if I can't quite get the money from one end of the month to the other, at least I see my children as soon as they get out of school.  At least I can let them stay home when they are sick, instead having to beg them to try to make it because if I miss a shift I am going to get IT (often retribution in the form of cut shifts and craptastic stations).  At least I can make dinner every night, exhaustion not driving me to the nearest, cheapest take away, and I do not dread morning's light.

I hope wherever you may be in the world, you are free, and if you aren't, I hope you have a plan to be so.  I am grateful for the simple blessing of being able to be me, to live in a country I love, to raise my children and love my husband.  There is really very little else I desire.

(The angels in this Six of Cups may also be a little cosmic joke on me, that I place them as far from myself as humanly possible, at the bottom of the deck, because the scariest damn thing I have ever seen on tv was the Weeping Angels on the Doctor Who episode "Blink".  I shudder even typing that!  AND- the last time we were watching that episode, in the black of night, not a light in the house on, an oracle deck fell off my shelf and directly onto my foot.  It was this one, The Fallen Angel Oracle, and believe me, I was a little spooked!) (I don't know the blogger I linked but I sure would like to!)

These cards are from Dark Fairytale Tarot by Rafaele De Angelis, published by Lo Scarabeo.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Daily Draw- King of Wands, Nine of Pentacles, Four of Cups

Dark Fairytale Tarot- King of Wands, Nine of Pentacles, Four of Cups
(Adult themes, images safe for work, if any tarot images are safe for your work, and sexually oriented language.  That is your fair warning.)

Have you read Fifty Shades of Grey?  That is what these cards remind me of.  A brief synopsis, is that a charming, older dom (that would be our King of Wands up there) takes over the mind and body of a younger, more naive woman (the Nine of Pentacles) and awakens her to the pleasures of being a submissive (Four of Cups).  The young women are laying there prone and vulnerable, and it is not too far a stretch to imagine them sliding a hand down to pleasure herself, and like the main female character of those books, they seem to only come alive at their masters' will.

It may be obvious, but I do not like the books.  I have nothing against erotica, actually I happen to love it and have made a fair bit of coin peddling it, and I would be lying to say they did not get my heart pumping a little faster in places, though it was a cheap thrill, one without any meat to it, nor heart behind it, but I dislike them for the same reason I do not love most erotic tarot decks- to my taste, they do not go quite far enough.  Maybe that is not even the books' fault, because they are proving popular.  I just suspect that anything that is sold in Target stores is not going to be quite, er, strong enough for my tastes.  They are kind of like S&M Disney-fied (I expect a cease and desist letter from Disney any moment for using their hallowed name in vain) and sanitized, and the dom/sub relationship can be described in as many ways as there are doms and subs and every shade in between, but "sanitized" is probably not high on the list.

I think  my issue stems from the same reason I am not a fangirl of the Twilight series.  The stories were okay, and written well enough, though I will forever bear a grudge for the entire generations of kids who now think sparkling vampires are the norm, and that they have now become objects of lust instead of fearsome creatures of the night, but that is another blog.  My biggest issues with the Twilight series, and with the Fifty Shades series, is that the women who are the main characters have no substance on their own.  They exist as ciphers, something for the men in the books to project all their fantasies upon, and something for the women who read the books to project themselves upon.  I am all down for partaking in a good fantasy (or, on particularly wonderful days, a very, very bad one) but these books teach young girls, in the case of Twilight, and women, hopefully, in the case of Fifty Shades, that you are nothing without a man, that you are a blank doll waiting for him to breathe the breath of life into you.  Your life is without value without him, and you can't function without him.  This is particularly dangerous in the case of Twilight, marketed to young girls, and I do not believe the author of the Fifty Shades has experienced the full spectrum of the nuance in that type of relationship.  My personal experience, reinforced by a string of readings I have recently done for various clients, has me believing that most "submissives" have way more power in the relationship than it may appear from the outside looking in (see this adults-only post for more details) and none of that power is expressed in Fifty Shades.

Dark Fairytale Tarot- Three of Cups
The moral of this story, what the cards are saying to me, is don't be a cipher in your own life.  Own your power, sexually and otherwise.  You are a beautiful, exotic, unbearably desirable creature all on your own.  The proper expression of the King of Wands will make you feel that, but the highest expression of your own Nine of Pentacles will provide that, even without that King to light your fire.  The danger of becoming a love object, enticing though it may be, is you become dependent on the other person to provide that love and desire for you, when you should be continuously cultivating it within yourself.  If you do so, you are never far away from passions' flames, and when you own that, no one and nothing can ever take it away from you.  That is unbelievably sexy.  To rely on some other person to bring out your inner goddess is to surrender your power, and thusly take the easy way out, as seen in the languid Four of Cups.  Don't be lazy.  This is your one precious life.  Live it.

The Shadow Card is the Three of Cups.  It is delicious to me, and I imagine these women are from the cards above, and the crone is teaching them to break the spells they have been put under.  The three women symbolize all women in their various guises, maiden, mother, and crone.  The sacred contract you hold with yourself is more important than any you will make with another person, and breaking it will affect you on every level.  Holding true to yourself, celebrating your own unique beauty and voice, will make you a better friend, lover, mother, sister, everything.  You can't love anyone more than you love yourself, so if you really want to love others and be a blessing in this world you must learn to love yourself first.  Celebrate you, and the rest will fall into place.

If you want to read exciting novels that express S&M energy in a more believable (to me) manner, check out Kushiels Dart by Jacqueline Carey.  There is far more than sex to them, and the submissive main character has a fire to her that refuses to be dampened by any man's opinion of her.

These cards are from Dark Fairytale Tarot by Rafaele De Angelis, published by Lo Scarabeo.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Daily Draw- Knight of Pentacles, Six of Cups, King of Pentacles

Dark Fairytale Tarot- Knight of Pentacles, Six of Cups, King of Pentacles

Today's cards fairly sing a love song to me, though this is not my story to tell.  This is my husband's story, as he is nearly always the King of Pentacles in my readings.  He is a double Sagittarius, Sun and Moon, so you would expect to exude far more fire energy than he does, to be a Knight of Wands, but no, he is the staid and loyal King of Pentacles, probably owing to his Ascendent Capricorn.  The Pentacles in this deck have a warm energy to them, though, orange to denote them where I would expect green.

These cards are about us in our younger days, and how we came to be the kind of people who were ready to live inside our own love story.  The Knight is his younger self, not the King yet, but on his way to getting there.  He rides through the landscape, wolves hot on his heels, the grasping hands of the undead reaching for his hot life as he hurdles past.  He was always who he is today, but younger, and like most of us, not entirely sure what he wanted or how to get there.  A bit impulsive anyway, giving himself over to people who just did not understand him or want to allow him to be who he really is.  That is a mistake many young women make, myself among them, to try to mold our partners into what we thought we wanted, instead of letting the right one just naturally make his way to us.

The Six of Cups is me, always reaching for something that was out of my reach, and never noticing what was right in front, mine for the taking, if I would have it.  For most of my younger life, I had an ideal of what love looked like that had very little to do with the reality, which is actually far sweeter than I let myself imagine.  I had a Bad Boy addiction going on, and I loved to think I could turn those bad boys around, make them make me feel the way they did the first time.  I needed to learn to live in and appreciate the present, instead of always grasping at some unreachable past.  The grasping theme ties the first two cards together, and leads us to the third card.

The King of Pentacles is reaching, not grasping, for whatever he desires will come to him.  The Pentacle has moved to his right hand and is still hot to the touch, though he bears it with aplomb, but it is no longer the flaming, unpredictable thing he carried with him in his youth.  The fire in him is now tempered, now usable, instead of driving him.  He has matured into the very essence of who he always was, distilled and refined and thoroughly, irrevocably him, and as I have matured as well, now we are ready to be married, to live life together, now we are mature enough to understand a single day does not define a life together, and that what we are together is more than the sum of the parts of the relationship.

Dark Fairytale Tarot- Magician
The Shadow Card, a bit of hidden insight to the reading, shows up as The Magician, who strikes me as the Knight in more casual clothing, with the same hands grasping at him.  We have been accused, or teased, depending on who is doing the talking, about having had this love affair for all of the 18+ years we have known each other.  He and I often joke that we wish we had been this happy together for all that time, that we wish we could have forgone the trials and tribulations that we went through before we learned to lean on each other.  The thing is, though, those fires tempered both of us, made us into the people who were ready to love selflessly.  I know I wasn't able to do that as my younger self, not for him, not for anyone, but possibly  my kids.  Having known him that long, I don't think he was ready to be the kind of husband I needed, either, not until he had his heart broken and put back together again.  While of course I wish we had been this happy all this time, I wouldn't change a thing about how it came to pass.  We were free and clear to be together when it happened, and we were ready to love each other properly.  The Magician does not grant us wishes, but he does show us how we might make them come true for ourselves.  The price is always what the desire is worth, because The Magician is a shrewd trader.

The shadow aspect of The Magician, trickster as he is, shows the times we came close, but not quite, to being what we are today, in the past.  As much as I would have liked to have loved him my whole life, neither of us were free to pursue that before, and to do so would have tarnished what we have together today.  While I think I have probably loved him all of my adult life, while I think he feels the same, it is better for us that we did not begin a romantic relationship amid turmoil and the ugliness that cheating creates.  It is better that everything that has passed between us has been pure, sacred, holy, and rooted deeply in love and passion.  And while I today I think it took too long, I am grateful to be half of this union, and I would not trade a single aspect of what my husband is, what we are together, for anything.

In a twist of synchronicity, Lisa is also talking about the Knight of Pentacles today.  See her take on dating one, you'll smile, probably even laugh out loud, if you know any Knights of Pentacles.  She is always good tarot reading!

These cards are from Dark Fairytale Tarot by Rafaele De Angelis, published by Lo Scarabeo.

Out Of The Mouths Of Babes

(Okay, really out of the mouth of a strapping 17 year old young man, who is all muscle and normally wouldn't be caught dead with a deck of tarot cards but sometimes, not often but every now and again, he will indulge his old madre in this way.)

Illuminated Tarot- Seven of Swords
The J Man and I were playing The Tarot Game (oodles of fun, at least for me, but I'd play with matchsticks if we labeled them with the Major Arcana) and on one of his turns J drew the Seven of Swords.  I love hearing what people who don't know tarot think about various cards, so I was super eager to hear his thoughts on the oft-maligned Seven.

"I see this guy, right, and he was in the circus, and that was like his family, you know, like in A Bugs' Life.  They are not related but they are a family, because family is what you decide to make it.  Anyway, they kicked him out because he was doing something intolerable to the rest of him, and now he has to make his own way in life alone, and that hurts him a lot.  Those Swords I see as blame, but righteous blame, the kind he earned.  He did this to himself and he wants to try to leave some of that blame on the doorstep of others, because it is too much burden for him to bear alone, to realize that he ruined his own family in this way and things may not ever be the same.  What he doesn't realize is, as soon as he is ready to own those Swords of blame for himself, he can go back into the fold, because family loves you no matter what.  That is what makes them a family.  They love him and want him back, but he has to use those Swords in a safe way."
Deviant Moon- Seven of Swords

I almost fell out of my chair!  I was astounded.  I generally do not see the Seven of Swords as thievery and betrayal, unless the cards specifically point that way, as I prefer to look at in the Hermetic tradition- The Lord of Unstable Effort, and the Deviant Moon Tarot illustrates this to great effect.  However, my son said something to me that really blew my mind- sometimes the Seven of Swords is not about stealing, but about trying to unfairly or wrongly place something somewhere, such as blame, or perhaps, in another kind of reading, planting evidence.  Often we see the figure as stealthily gathering the Swords, up to no good, but he could just as easily be leaving the Swords about, also possibly up to no good.

Have you had a card turned around for you, even from an unlikely source?  I am telling you, I love taking beginner tarot classes because the things I hear from the fresh sets of eyes really make me think about the cards in a new way, and I love that!  Every single day, tarot offers me something to new to think about, something new to ponder, and what an amazing blessing that is!

(This is also one of my favorite things about having kids, how they keep me young, fresh, and how they have become people complete unto themselves.)

These images are from the
Illuminated Tarot by Carol Herzer at and the Deviant Moon Tarot by Patrick Valenza, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.

Sunday, July 1, 2012


Illuminated Tarot- Three of Cups
Today I am thrilled and slightly embarrassed and completely excited, not to mention awestruck and grateful, to tell you all that 78 Whispers is the featured blog in this month's Tarot Tips Newsletter, put out by Wald and Ruth Ann Amberstone of The Tarot School.

If you have come over from there, welcome!  I hope it ends up being worth your click.  If you don't know about The Tarot School yet, I highly recommend you check them out.  They offer classes, live in New York City, and unparalleled correspondence courses, not to mention the totally free and spam free newsletter you can read on the web or have delivered straight to your email inbox.  Oh yeah, they also put on this little thing called Readers' Studio, you may have heard of it.

I'll keep writing about tarot and hopefully you all keep reading, but even if you don't I'll still  be here.

Thank you for the vote of confidence, Wald & Ruth Ann!

This card is from the Illuminated Tarot, lovingly hand crafted by Carol Herzer at Soul