Monday, January 9, 2012

Daily Draw - Knight of Swords, Ace of Pentacles, Death (I think...)

Universal Fantasy Tarot- Knight of Swords, Ace of Pentacles, Death

This week I am using the lovely Universal Fantasy Tarot by Paolo Martinelli, published by Lo Scarabeo, and available wherever you normally purchase decks.  This one came from Isis here in Denver (but they ship anywhere), courtesy of a generous gift cards from some friends.  The dentist has been chomping away at all my discretionary, and not so discretionary, funds these past few months, between me with my rotten luck (but not rotten themselves, knock on wood) teeth, and children who have learned the hard way what happens when brushing and the dentist are not frequent occurrences in one's life, so that gift card was more of a blessing than I think the friends could have known it would be.  I actually had most of what they had to offer, which is shameful on my part, not theirs as Isis really has an excellent selection of all things metaphysical, and a beautiful space besides, but I am such an obsessive collector.  I did find two decks to add, and decided I'd always wanted to trim a copy of this beauty, the better to use as more of an oracle and to prompt writing exercises, so here we are, me writing a post where I am really just making a best guess as to what the cards actually are.  The borders of this deck are really quite unobtrusive, being black with small lettering, but the colors simply sing to me without their confinement, as well as losing the stricture of the words telling me which card is what, and therefore means whatever.

Because my blogging buddy Chloe at Inner Whispers is so wise and often right, I have decided to make sure I ask good questions to go along with my Daily Draws.  For a long time, it worked just fine for me to pull cards and write what I saw, but lately my life seems to be brimming with assholes, a fact I cannot do much about since these are the permanent fixture ones, and since I do not want to subjected to continued assholery, I assume most of my readers would rather pass it up as well, so no more baby mama drama from this front, whether I am the mama in question, or someone else.

My question of my brand spanking new, newly trimmed Universal Fantasy Tarot was- "What can I expect of our working relationship as I use this deck for readings and for writing ideas?"

The first card, the presumed Knight of Swords, who in this deck is, charmingly enough, a female bloke, is rushing headlong, sword drawn, into the fray.  That is kind of what I did with this deck,dove right in, scissors in hand, shaping it to my particular wants and desires.  She even kinda looks like me, on a good hair day.  The Ace of Pentacles features a fancy flying contraption, and the people look to either side, facing the outer cards.  Our working relationship will be fertile, with that Ace acting as the crux of the matter, the most important seed, as well as a fulcrum, balancing out the hasty headlong nature of the Knight to the left and the contemplative nature of moody Death to the right.  The Death card really is dramatic, but he is a Scorpio so he can't help himself.  I think this means the relationship with this deck will really help me put to rest some of the problems I have in my writing, namely: butt-in-chair-get-it-done-no-excuses, but that Knight with her Sword waving around like so many ideas that can be difficult to trap and the full-of-promise Ace really paint a picture of a great potential, and Death to the right reinforces that idea, reminding me that we choose to feed and nurture is what grows.  I imagine the dark angel whispering to the fellow laying on the ground, "I can grant you one more chance here on earth, but you mustn't fritter it away."  I can be like that prone fellow, thinking I have forever to write, really all day as my house clears out by eight every morning, and the day looms before me, seemingly long and full of promise, but that promise is quickly eaten up by a quick run to the grocery store, just one episode of Teen Mom 2, "research" on the internet, and then it is time to collect moppets, to get a hot meal in front of my beloveds, and I have but a paragraph to show for my day.  I think Death is there to remind me that time is temporal, and I need to manage mine, not letting the Knight lead me off into the unknowns of this world, but delve into the unknown of imagination as I lay my stories to paper, harnessing the energy of the Ace of Pentacles and the transformative process of Death.

Universal Fantasy Tarot- Four of Wands
The shadow card of the reading is (presumably) the Four of Wands.  I think this card illustrates one of the reasons I love to write, and that is because stories can take you to a place you would have never been on your own, because some of them only existed in the teller's mind before they sprang to life on paper.  A great story can make your home wherever you may roam, like this one on stilts.  Lovers of books are always satisfied when they have one near, and little can distract them from that happiness.  And most of all, when you read a really great story, it touches you in a way only that story ever could have, and you are forever changed by it.

My particular make up requires routine and stability, and the Four of Wands is passion stabilized.  When I manage to get my passion for writing in a stable routine, I will be successful with it.  If I go straight to the core meaning of this card, I understand the message perfectly.

Do any of you use tarot in your writing, either fiction or non?  Do you have a favorite story telling deck?  If this deck gets me over the hump, will I owe royalties, should I be so lucky to make any money, to the publishers?

These images are from Universal Fantasy Tarot by Paolo Martinello for Lo Scarabeo.


  1. Hi Manda,

    Thanks for the mention :) I really know that feeling of "didn't I have all day, where's it gone?" - got one of those going today, in fact :(

    The only way I've used tarot for writing so far is with some poems... Still, I think it's a great prompt in many ways. Really love your take on these cards. I adore this deck, but it's only in the light of recent discussions about Steampunk that I see it in that light, too, especially that Ace of Pentacles...


  2. I didn't start out that way, but my tarot blog has become my place to wordsmith, the pulled card being the leaping point. At root, it is still about the basic tarot of the card, but less about standard keywords.

  3. Hey Manda,
    I just ran across your blog yesterday and I really liked what I saw. Your understanding of the tarot is really amazing, I love how you use different decks to aid you.

    I have a blog as well, it is called 78th Road ; Samhain Moon. I talk about magic and tarot, but have yet to begin studies as intensive and detailed as yours.

    This blog is an inspiration! I am trying to read it back to the first few posts!

  4. Hiya, Chloe! Poetry is truly an art form, and I can see tarot and prose going to gether. apparently, so did Yeats :-)

    Your writing is succinct and beautiful, Sharyn. A favorite blog of mine! You share that rare gift of simple elegance in your words, and an excellent grasp of tarot presented with your own special flavor.

    Nice to meet you, Monica! Thank you for stopping by my little corner of the internet, and for your kind words. I am looking forward to delving into your site too. It looks great!

  5. Manda,
    You model beautifully in your reflections above such a healthy and highly functional partnership with the cards. What a lovely deck, by the way. Your listening to Death's particular (an lovingly intended, always) messages for you was especially inspiring. Ah Death, the Dark Mother, calling us back, and helping us tell time! :)

    I was also intrigued to hear of someone modifying a deck to enhance direct intuitive experience. That gesture of yours alone, and description of it, really inspires me to let the cards speak to me directly, too, with the volume turned all the way up. Thank you for teaching so much by sheer example! This is the first post of yours I've read, and I can tell I'll be hooked from now on.

    Regarding your question about anyone whose writing practice incorporates tarot somehow, I was wondering if you've heard of practitioner Arwen Lynch down here in Austin, TX. That is one of the primary foci of her practice with clients -- helping writers move forward with their work. You surely don't need her help, but might be inspired by her as a peer with some overlapping interests. She's at and has an active Facebook following as well.

    Thank you for doing what you do... look forward to getting caught up and reading some of your current posts.

    Best regards,

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