Monday, February 27, 2012

Deck Interview with Fantasical Creatures Tarot

Fantastical Creatures Tarot- Three of Wands, Two of Swords, Page of Pentacles

This week I am using Fantastical Creatures Tarot by D.J. Conway and Lisa Hunt, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc. and it is beautiful!  I am hoping this will quell my craving for the forthcoming Ghosts and Spirits Tarot, which I really, really want to be released!

Last weeks' questions seemed to work well, so I just repeated them here.  First, what can I expect from you as a deck?  Three of Wands, represented by the Djinn.  These misty creatures are considered muses of a sort for writers, poets, mystics, and psychics, so their appearance as something to expect from this deck is really exciting for me, since I'd like to be all four of those.  Traditionally, I see the Three of Wands as expansion, growth, and progress, so I am thrilled to see that this is a deck that can assist in growth in these areas.

The second cards ask what my part of the relationship with the deck shall be, and the Two of Swords is the answer.  The first thing that strikes me about the card is the snake swimming across the top of the water, since I am unreasonably, unnaturally and desperately afraid of the creatures.  My first thought is that there may be times in working with this deck that something scares me, and sometimes that may be just because I don't understand it.  I could shove this card back in the deck, just because I don't like the thought of dealing with the snake, even as ink and paper, or I can face it, confident it can't hurt me, and stay still long enough to garner some knowledge.  From this card, I can glean that while it may not always be easy, it will be worth it to stick with the cards as long as it takes for understanding to begin.

The third card, basically anything else I should know, is the Page of Pentacles, and my instant understanding of this card as a student makes perfect sense.  I adore Lisa Hunts' decks but I have yet to see one that did not require study for me to use it most effectively.  The images are rich in symbolism and the stories are a treasure trove of information, but they deserve more than a cursory glance, and my experience with her other decks has been that they richly reward study.  This Page of Pentacles as an earth fairy also brings messages, in this case ones that pertain to my earthly realm, so I think some of the spell work I have set in motion may come through this week, and this deck will be around to tell me about it.

Fantastical Creatures Tarot- High Priest
The Shadow Card of the reading,  the High Priest, which would be named the Hierophant in Waite Smith tradition, is a bridge between the Heavenly realm and our earthly one.  This majestic bird is the Roc, beautiful and terrible all at the same time.  My own Taurean nature, which astrologically corresponds to this card, is not represented at its' best, as the bovine creature in the card is about to become some birds' lunch.  I can infer that my love of traditional things may be at odds with using this deck, as it is sumptuous, but does not closely follow the Waite Smith tradition I am so enamored of.  At this moment, I am thinking that I want to stretch my wings, but I am not in the thick of wrestling any cards yet, so it while I realize that growth is always good, I am also aware it is rarely painless.

These cards are from Fantastical Creatures Tarot by D.J. Conway and Lisa Hunt, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Deck Review - Tarot of the Mystic Spiral

Tarot of the Mystic Spiral, by Giovanni Pelosini, illustrated by Giuseppe Palumbo, published by Lo Scarabeo, operates on the premise that, "The spiral is a symbol present everywhere in nature, from the macrocosm of the galaxies to the microcosm of DNA." ~from the Little White Book.

The mystic spiral idea certainly is present in every card, although more overt in some cards than others.  I did not find myself relating over much to that concept of it, though I already breathe tarot in and out, so it may have been working on a subconscious level for me.  This deck is based on the Waite Smith system, but does not cling to it.  In most cards you can see the relation, but it is not always a direct correlation. People who like to push their understanding of those meanings ever further may enjoy this deck, if they can connect to the artwork, which I find appealing but inconsistent.  The images are sometimes drawn from mythology, sometimes from nature, and I have to imagine sometimes just from the creators imaginations.  Even so , I have found this an evocative deck to use, clear in readings, and enjoyable in its' language of imagery.  There is some mild violence in the cards, most notably in the Swords suit (but what else are you supposed to do with a Sword?) and the Knights (but that is kinda what Knights do).  A few cards feature nudity, some of it bawdy like the mooning Fool, some of it neutral like the Queen of Cups, and some of it sensual in its' beauty, like The Stars.  For that reason, I would not suggest it as a deck for children or those squeamish to that kind of imagery, though I do not find any of it gratuitous.

The cards themselves are lightly laminated, about 2.75 inches x 4.75 inches, and shuffle beautifully.  They are bordered in a trellis design against dark blue, and feature the name of the card in the six different languages at the corners.  The deck comes in a tuck box with a Little White Book for instruction, also written in English, Italian, Spanish, and German.  The booklet is concise, but gives a good starting point for the meaning of each card, and a quick idea of what the thought process was behind its' creation.  There are 78 traditionally named cards, the suits being Wands, Chalices, Swords, and Pentacles.  The Court Cards, from youngest to oldest are Knave, Knight, Queen, King.  You will find Justice as Trump VIII in this deck and Strength as XI.  The back design is a fully reversible pattern of knot work in soothing blues and greens, with gold as an accent.

I am consistently impressed with Lo Scarabeo's choices in decks to print.  They do not always click with me, but I can usually see that they are pushing at the boundaries of tarot, trying to add new ideas with their decks.  They tend to publish decks that require a bit of thought and I am all for thinking when we read tarot.

Zanna Starr at Tarot Notes Major and Minor, a must read blog for me, has also written a thoughtful review of this deck.  Please check it out, as well!

These cards are from Tarot of the Mystic Spiral by Giovanni Pelosini and Giuseppe Palumbo, published by Lo Scarabeo.

Waving Goodbye to Tarot of the Mystic Spiral

Tarot of the Mystic Spiral- Lovers, World, Knave of Chalices
 I asked the Tarot of the Mystic Spiral to tell me about our time together while I used it this week, and I think it was very apt in the answer!

The Lovers cavort unfettered by clothes, guile, or shame outside.  That was me coming to this deck.  Being slightly non-traditional, and not the deck I intended to work with this week, I had to put aside what I thought I knew about the deck and accept just as it is.  Once I did that, we got along famously, with the deck being very easy for me to read.  Coupled with the next card, The World, I can see that it was nearly a match made in heaven.

The World speaks to both the completeness of the week, that my business with this deck is now concluded, and the synergy I enjoyed while using it.  The next card, which would be the Page of Cups in a Waite Smith tradition, is a card that often suggests to me psychic abilities, and the ease I had in reading with Tarot of the Mystic Spiral certainly made it feel like ideas and stories were just popping into my head.

The third card, the Knave of Chalices, depicts Phidias as he contemplates art at the Acropolis, and the Little White Book describes it as artistic sensitivity on display.  I think that this card shows me looking into the images for the meanings, as the deck does not strictly adhere to any tradition I am familiar with, and that caused me to use intuitive abilities a little more, which is fine with me as it is always good to stretch.

Tarot of the Mystic Spiral- King of Swords
The Shadow Card of the Reading is the King of Swords, and I think this stern fellow came along because I was not completely enamored of this deck when I picked it up.  I was hoping to use something else, but nothing really called to me, and it was really a pragmatic decision to use Tarot of the Mystic Spiral, though it turned out to be a great one for me.  I had to let die my notion of what deck I was going to use, and mourning it almost caused me to miss out on a gem.  I made the choice completely devoid of emotion, including excitement, and it still turned out just fine!

These cards are from Tarot of the Mystic Spiral by Giovanni Pelosini and Giuseppe Palumbo, published by Lo Scarabeo.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Deck Review - Twilight Realm: A Tarot of Faery

I can't promise you that I know why I did not finish the review of Twilight Realm: A Tarot of Faery by Beth Wilder, published by Schiffer Books, when I was using it, but it certainly does deserve a review and you can see these great cards in action on the blog by clicking here.

The artist, who also wrote the accompanying book, feels that fae energies are real entities, and has created this deck to access these beings through the structure and magic of tarot.  My feeling is that she was quite successful at this.  These card fairly thrum with energy, and read quite easily.  I feel that people who connect to faery would enjoy this deck, and with very little violence and no nudity, as well as the fantastical theme of the deck, most children and adults could use the deck.  People who like the art style, which very much reminds me of black velvet paintings, should be easily to connect to the meanings of the cards, which while in the tradition of Waite Smith, have their own spin on the meanings.  The Court Cards are possibly the least evocative in the deck, and people who need a lot of visual cues to read these cards may be somewhat disappointed with them.

The deck is divided into 22 Major Arcana, that feature Strength as Trump VIII and Justice as Trump XI, and four suits of the Minor Arcana:  Wands, Cups, Swords, and Rings replacing Pentacles.  The Court Cards are Page, Prince or Princess according to the polarity of the suit, Queen, and King.  The cards measure in at 3.5 inches by 5 inches, quite a handful, and on glossy stock that could prove trying to shuffle.  The backs are fully reversible, and the author includes meanings for the upside down cards, should you choose to read that way.  The deck comes in a rectangular box with a space to snugly hold the deck, and a book featuring the artists' take on the meanings, which is beautifully imagined, and some basic tarot instructions, with a magnetic closure to keep the whole enterprise secure.

This has been a popular deck among tarot card enthusiasts, and you can check out some other reviews:   Koneta Bailey's at New Paths Tarot, Janet Boyer's, Cheryl Lynne Bradley's at Tarot Canada, Bonnie Cehovet's at Aeclectic.

These cards are from Twilight Realm: A Tarot of Faery by Beth Wilder, published by Schiffer Books.

Making Luck

Tarot of the Mystic Spiral- Wheel of Fortune, Seven of Swords
Luck is not always going to be a lady now is she, and even when she is, she is fickle at best.  That is when we have to put on our game face and make our luck, right?  I think this is beautifully portrayed in this card combo, with the particulars of this depiction of the Seven of Swords.

 The Wheel of Fortune is ruled by Jupiter, a planet that is so expansive and so beneficent that wherever he may end up he brings good fortune.  For this reason, unless the card is particularly badly aspected I almost always read it as extremely positive.  In this card combination, the Seven of Swords is an Air card, combined with the Fire of the Wheel, and since Fire needs Air to burn and continue, I read these cards as strengthening each other significantly.
The Seven of Swords is an oft-maligned card that many people see as sneaking, thievery, dishonesty, and generally a poor character quality, but like all cards it has a range of meaning, and the way an artist chooses to portray that can greatly impact the possibilities in its' reading.  I often see the Seven of Swords as thinking outside the box, finding a way when the first one is barred, and using ones' wiles to emerge victorious.  I have considered the Seven of Swords two different times this week, and have found myself sympathetic to two of three characters at different times.  Given enough opportunities, I could probably relate to each one in turn.  In this portrayal, Theseus, assisted by Ariadne, has made his way deep into the labyrinth, and is in the process of slaying the monster within.  Left to own devices, his chances at success for his mission were slim.  However, with the help of Ariadne, another fickle lady, he was able to find his way both in and out, defeat the monster, and save the Athenians.  By enlisting the help of the weaver, he was able to make his own luck, and save the Athenians as well as himself.  This is a great example of luck coming to those who are willing to be responsible for making their own, and as Kenny Loggins reminds us, "Heaven helps the man who fights his fear."

These cards are from Tarot of the Mystic Spiral by Giovanni Pelosini and Giuseppe Palumbo, published by Lo Scarabeo.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Daily Draw- Emperor, Sun, Hermit

Tarot of the Mystic Spiral- Emperor, Sun, Hermit

 This morning I am looking forward to have all five of the kidtauplets at home, for some of the weekend at least.  The older they get the more they have to do that is not at home, so I relish the times they are here.  My question today is, "How can I best take advantage of this time with the kiddos this weekend?"

The Emperor is here to show that boundaries are needed, and I am reminded that kids think they don't like rules, but secretly they crave them.  Ours have a lot of different ones to remember, too, owing simply to the fact they spend time at our houses, the other parents house, and a few sets of grandparents, too, not to mention they attend five different schools.  That is a lot for any kid to take in.  Our rules are basically 1. Be Kind To One Another (the hardest to enforce) and if you want to leave the house we know the 5 W's, and occasionally the H (Who you are going with, Where you are going, Why you are going, What you will be doing, When you will leave and be home, and How do you expect this all to happen?)  Sounds simple, but it's not always, and while we do not have a lot of rules, it looks like the kids are going to need to be real clear about what the expectations are.  The idea of the Emperor as the boundary setter with the Hermit as the loner book casing the reading makes me think that it's important to empower the kiddos to take time outs and just chill out alone as they may need.

The Sun card is the center of this reading of Major Arcana, and I think the most important piece is going to be maintaining a bright and cheerful attitude.  It is my belief that the mother sets the tone of the home, that the children react to her moods and follow her lead in their own interactions.  The power of a positive mom should never be overlooked.

The Hermit rounds out the reading, reminding me that while the kids might need their separate time, so do I.  I am going to take that time when I need so that I can be bright, cheerful, and the best mom I can be during the rest of our time together.  The Hermit is also a wise old man, so I can see that there will be wisdom needed at times, although I probably didn't need cards to see that.  The Hermit and The Emperor both remind me of my father in law, and I think he may enjoy seeing his grandkids, so I'll have to talk to The Man about making that happen, too.

Tarot of the Mystic Spiral- Knight of Cups
The Shadow Card for this reading is the Knight of Cups.  This card has usually appeared in my readings to represent one of my 16 year olds.  It may be that he is needing something extra this weekend, so I'll try to be sensitive to his vibe, as he is not the greatest at articulating his emotions, having squashed them down so often.  This Knight is also sometimes dreamy and impractical, so it may be that I need to be aware of the ways I can be dreamy or impractical as it pertains to the children.  Ideally, I would like everyone to get along 100% of the time and just enjoy each other, but this blending a family thing doesn't work quite like that, and even if they had been siblings from birth on they still wouldn't get along all the time.  We can only take things one day at a time.

Bright weekend blessings to all of you!

These cards are from Tarot of the Mystic Spiral by Giovanni Pelosini and Giuseppe Palumbo, published by Lo Scarabeo.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Daily Draw - Seven of Swords, Fool, Ten of Swords

Tarot of the Mystic Spiral- Seven of Swords, Fool, Ten of Swords
I think today's set of cards is meant to be a pretty glum crew, but they really aren't.  I recently said some things, and they needed to be said, not a word among them was unkind or untrue, so I feel good about myself.

In the Seven of Swords, I instantly identified with the Minotaur.  He is getting attacked, and in his own home.  That's not right, but what can you do?  Sometimes you are the gladiator, and sometimes you are the minotaur.  Sometimes you are righteous, and sometimes you are the monster, and who wears which label is really a matter of perspective.

The bawdy Fool peeks over his shoulder, though, as he sneaks away from the scene.  He's a got a secret to tell, and if you are lucky he'll share it before he disappears over that edge.  He is worrying far too much about what is behind him and not nearly aware enough of what is coming up.

He can only run so far though, and not fast enough, as the Ten of Swords catches up to him.  On one hand, this is a sad moment.  On the other hand, all the fear and trepidation is over.  We know what we know, and it may be bad, but it is all out there.  This card looks pretty gruesome, but has a true silver lining in that there really is nowhere to go but up.

These cards are all related to the element of air, communication and how we use our words, so I can know that they pertain to how words have been flying around my world.  Since they are all air, they neither reinforce nor weaken each other.  It's all a bunch of air, shiftless as the wind, so I can expect this to bowl over quickly, and I have to be aware of the possibility most of it is in my own head.  They have no substance or grounding, no fire to quicken them, no water to sluice through emotion.

The Shadow card is The Chariot.  This is my Life Purpose card, and as a Shadow card I feel it is here to tell me this is just a piece of a lesson I need to learn right now.  Successfully navigating this will put me a little further up the ladder of ascension, or at least that is what I am telling myself right now.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
 These cards are from Tarot of the Mystic Spiral by Giovanni Pelosini and Giuseppe Palumbo, published by Lo Scarabeo.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Lady in the Street, Freak in the Bed

Tarot of the Mystic Spiral- Sun, Queen of Cups, Tower

Let's talk about sex, baby, let's talk about you and me.  Let's talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be...

Tarot of the Mystic Spiral- Queen of Wands
Not so many days ago, I was thinking about the Queen of Wands as we played a Twitter game, #amtarot , #pmtarot hosted by Theresa Reed, also known as The Tarot Lady (follow her on Twitter, or me, or both of us), and the phrase I came up with was from Ludacris, as succinct a poet as I have ever heard- "We wants a lady in the street and a freak in the bed."  To my experience, that is probably a true thing for many people.

So many times I hear women feeling they are exploited in lyrics like this, and I am here today to present my point of view-  exploitation is in the perception.  Personally, I do not feel belittled by these kind of lyrics.  I feel empowered, and that is all about perception.  I perceive that I am sexy, strong and powerful, so I am.  It's very simple, but not always easy.

My question to the cards today- "What energies emerge when we are comfortable in our own skin, specifically with sexuality, to the point we can be both lady and freak?"

The Sun is a bright, optimistic card, one of fiery energy, so I divine that happiness comes from total integration.  The Sun is also Leo's card, practically singing with good feeling and high self esteem.  We feel damn fine about ourselves when we feel sexy, desirable, and powerful in those feelings.  This Sun in particular seems to be wearing a grin of assured satisfaction.

The Queen of Cups is a nurturing machine, and I see the baby in this image as a piece of ourselves that is nurtured by this good feeling.  She is soft and caring, her arms providing a cradle for the soft part of ourselves we leave exposed during intimate moments.  I think she is here to show us that love is a circle, and it grows with each act we perform in its' name, no matter how "freaky" it may be labelled.  As I look at this image, I think about the periodic uproars about women breastfeeding in public.  Some people are so bothered by it that it borders on near obsession, yet it is the most natural thing in the world.  Same deal with sex. Nothing is more natural, yet nothing is the source of more obsession or controversy.

The Tower card has lots of esoteric meanings, and like all cards, a whole range in the shadow spectrum, from light to dark.  Frankly though, in the context of this reading, I see mind blowing orgasm.  Being completely free with ourselves, and safe enough to be able to express that, leads to great sex, amazingly satisfying. The waves crash, the lightning strikes, the angels sing.  You know the deal, or at least I hope you are lucky enough to know the deal.  It also speaks of tearing down conventions, and not all Tower moments happen externally.  Sometimes we have beliefs that need replacement, and the Tower can do that for us.

Tarot of the Mystic Spiral- Nine of Cups
The Shadow Card today is the Nine of Cups.  Often, I understand this card as the "wish" card, a card of complete satisfaction.  This card is an assured "yes" and a breath of release as our dearest desires are made manifest.  It is my belief that this sexual freedom and uncompromising sense of self is something most people desire, in themselves, and in their partner.  The particular imagery of this card speaks to that wish and how it works with all parts of ourselves, illustrated in the chakra system of the seated figure, how being a whole person sexually is part of being a whole person in every way.

There are few subjects as volatile (Tower-esque) as sex, and I do not mean to imply that a sexual relationship with another person is mandatory.  The fact is, celibate whether by choice or circumstance, or with a new partner every day, wherever we may fall in the continuum, the most important love relationship any of us will ever have is with ourselves, and our own bodies.  Alone is a perfectly valid way of experiencing sexuality, and understanding ourselves as a sexual being is a large leap in understanding ourselves as a whole.

These cards are from Tarot of the Mystic Spiral by Giovanni Pelosini and Giuseppe Palumbo, published by Lo Scarabeo.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Book Review - Tarot In Reverse

Tarot in Reverse: Making Sense of the Upside Down Cards in a Tarot Spread by Janet Boyer is slated for release from Schiffer Publishing in April 2012, but I was lucky enough to read it early!

To read reversals in tarot, or not to read them, that is the eternal question.  The arguments abound on both sides, but whether you choose to read reversals or not, one thing is certain- each tarot card has a range of meaning, and to be a competent reader you must have a method of divining whether the Ten of Cups is the happily ever after your sitter longs for, too much tequila last night, leading to delusions, or somewhere in between.  This can be accomplished by using spreads with positional meanings, elemental dignities, good old fashioned intuition, and of course, the use of reversed cards.

In my readings, I rarely use reversals, but instead I refer to cards as ill aspected, or displaying their baser qualities.  How I come to that conclusion has to do with the position of the card, and how it interacts with the other cards in the spread, as well as what my gut tells me, but the effect is the same.  My exception to that is when I am doing one card readings, I will allow reversals, because without the help of positional meanings or interacting cards I need the pointer.

But, whether you read the cards physically reversed, or have some other method of pulling their meaning out from the possible range, does that mean you have to memorize 78 more "keywords"?  No, no of course not, and while I don't advocate reading only from keywords they can be a good springboard for intuition when you are put on the spot.  This book  does an excellent job of helping you decide how you read reversed cards, and so many options for what those reversals can allude to; I guarantee you will be amazed, and using them will take your readings to a new level, whether you read with physical reversals or not.

The book is clear and concise, written in easy language that can easily be devoured in one sitting.  You can use it like a cookbook, thanks to the layout, which lists each card, starting with the Major Arcana, and a paragraph which basically lists the authors' brainstorming on the card.  You could certainly do this yourself, and in fact I encourage you to, but when we are short on time bouncing off someone elses' ideas is one way to get to where we were going anyway.  This makes the book very easy to use on the fly, just flip to the page with the card you are looking for, and scroll through the meanings until something pings.

The author has included affirmations for each reversal, which is a lovely tool for cleaning up the mess a reading can uncover at times.  One example of the affirmations given for the Justice card is, "I show mercy to others.  Blessed are the merciful."  This can be an outstanding message to receive when Justice is showing up in your life in a lower expression of its' powerful energy.  Also included are examples from pop culture which help make the card relevant to how we live today.  Some of these references are humorous, some are poignant, some ironic, but all illustrate the meaning of the card in a fresh way.

The book is nearly 200 pages, but easy reading, with full color illustrations from the Universal Waite Tarot by Mary Hanson Roberts.  There are few books that discuss reversed cards in depth, and the light, sometimes irreverent tone of this one makes it a go to for study and quick questions alike.  I recommend Tarot in Reverse!

You can visit Janet Boyer at her website, visit her Pinterest board that relates to Tarot in Reverse, like Tarot in Reverse on Facebook, and preorder Tarot in Reverse wherever you like to get your books.  It will be released on April 28, 2012, by Schiffer Publishing, Ltd.

Too Many Deaths, Not Enough Tears

Tarot of the Mystic Spiral- Devil, King of Pentacles, Star, Four of Wands

During a dreary week in mid-February my world lost two people.  The world at large lost many more, of course, and there is no way to measure the value of individual lives to those they touch, and I would not even try.  One person I did not know at all, and one I was intimately acquainted with, at least at one point in time.  One death affected me deeply, and one I did not shed a tear over.  I am puzzled by my own reactions, and am using the cards to help explore those feelings.  Two people died, both too young, both likely from their hard living ways.

Tarot of the Mystic Spiral- Death
The first card, The Devil, is the card I pulled in answer to, "Why did I have such a deep sadness over Whitney Houston's death?"  I see the horror of addiction, and I know first hand how awful it is to stand near someone and watch them descend into madness.  It seems so easy for those for us who are not addicted, myself included, to think the addict can just walk away, just choose life over the death they are surely constructing by their own means.  At hearing of the songstress' death, I just felt so unbelievably heavy and sad.  So much to offer the world, an unmatchable voice, beauty, charm, money and the talent to get more whenever, and it was still not enough.  Since I never knew her personally, I think I was relating this to people I know and love, the sadness that their gifts go unoffered, because they don't know how to let go of the temporary respite found in the arms of the substance of choice.  If you never look up, the dark wings of the Devil could certainly feel as warm as the arms of an angel, and let us not forget that he is seductive.  So much beauty, like Lucifer, the fallen angel Christian lore has come to associate with the devil, so corrupted.

The next two cards, the King of Pentacles combined with The Star, answer my question, "Why do I not have any tears to shed for Vern's (my sisters' father, I guess stepfather to me) death?"   I pulled two because I could not make head nor tail of the King of Pentacles on his own.  The King is what I understand as a quintessential father and provider, and while I have no wish to decry this man, he was far from that, for me.  And there The Star makes perfect sense- I have no wish to defame his character.  I have healed from the wounds of my childhood, and I am no longer emotionally bound to him.  The King of Pentacles most often appears in my personal readings as my husband, and in this marriage I have healed a great many of my hurts.  He is the kind of father I would have wished to have, and he loves me the way children should see their mother being loved.  This is so important in the lives of children, because girls learn how they should be treated by observing the way their mother is, and boys who will become men learn how to express love by seeing the way the important men in their lives treat their mothers.

I see the way The Devil and The Star reflect each other, in the way the figures carry themselves, in the way one represents ultimate sickness and one deep healing.  The beauty of The Star is what The Devil presents to us while we are being seduced, but that facade cannot be maintained for long.  I see the desperation and terror in The Devil, but the eternal hope of The Star can never be extinguished, and I have the hope that everyone I love can release themselves from the chains of The Devil and immerse themselves in the healing waters of The Star.  I have that same hope for myself.  In my case, the King of Pentacles, who is my husband in my readings, stands between these two Trumps, as well as remembering that developing the qualities of this Court Card- solidity, good work ethic, being a person of integrity is the way I can step away from my own wounds and heal myself.  Just living a good life, that is powerful.

The Four of Wands is my lesson in this mess.  This card has special significance for me at this time in my life, as I am feeling the return of Venus in my natal Aries in some interesting ways, and the Four of Wands is assigned to Venus in Aries according to the Golden Dawn tradition most tarot decks are based on.  Fours are stable, Wands are passion and inspiration, so this card represents marriage perfectly as passion that has been stabilized.  My lesson is to stabilize all the passion I feel, which has at times manifested as hurt to be drowned out with substances, and at times living life on the edge.  I don't have to live that way anymore, and I am not doomed to repeat the mistakes of my parents.  I can and do live in a happy marriage, the cradle of a happy family life.  My children have parents who adore them, who put their needs first and who make sure they know it.  One of the beautiful things about having kids is the chance to redo your own childhood, if you are aware enough to rewrite those patterns.
Tarot of the Mystic Spiral- Five of Wands

The Shadow card of this reading, some extra bit of information I am avoiding or don't really want to see is the Five of Wands.  This rendition shows the tangled webs we weave, and I often see the Five of Wands as internal conflict.  In my own world, I know that I can have a tendency to blame the utter crapfest that was my childhood for everything that happens now.  My teeth are garbage because my mother never saw fit to take us to the Medicaid dentist.  I have trust issues because my parents broke it over and over.  I could go on and on, but there is no point.  The past can't be fixed, and to dwell there only tangles myself up in negativity.  I am the lady in this picture, and I am too big now, spiritually and emotionally, to be caught in the spiders' web.  It's gossamer, to float away on the wind.

I wish Whitney and Vern, both souls who liked to live fast and had innumerable gifts to offer to the world, the kind of peace I don't think either of them ever knew in life.  I offer up the affection I had for her music, and the way I wanted to be able love him, in honor and trust that the Hereafter offers more chances to be exactly who we are meant to be, and the hope that they both find that.

These cards are from Tarot of the Mystic Spiral by Giovanni Pelosini and Giuseppe Palumbo, published by Lo Scarabeo.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Deck Interview with Tarot of the Mystic Spiral

Tarot of the Mystic Spiral- The Stars, Temperance, The Hanged Man
All Majors tell me this is a deck with something to say, right off the bat!  I like it.  Mars and Venus are conjunct for me, and I have found that makes me crave intensity.

I want very much to go back to daily blogging and weekly use of a single deck, because that has been the time I have been happiest with my personal tarot practice, and I am an advocate for going with what works.  This week I have chosen Tarot of the Mystic Spiral, illustrated by Giuseppe Palumbo, with the Little White Book written by Giovanni Pelosini, published in 2011 by Lo Scarabeo.

The first question was, "What can I expect from you as a deck?"  The Stars, a bright omen of healing and tenderness, as well as the eternal symbol of hope.  I find this rendition exceptionally beautiful, as well, the misty air and of course the gorgeous femininity.  I can expect this deck to always be pointing the way to beauty, hope, and healing.  That is a pretty great quality in a deck!

The second question was, "What shall be my end of the bargain?"  and Temperance was the answer, which is amusing to me, because learning to be temperate is one of my life's biggest lessons.  I think of this card as the active management of life, and I think of it as "doing the work" ala Steven Pressfield.  So, to work effectively with this deck I need to remember that slow and steady wins the race.  This is another healing card, being associated with Sagittarius, where my Moon sign lays, so I can know that this deck is going to appeal to my emotions at times, and help me to process them in a healthy way.

Anything else I should be aware of?  The Hanged Man.  This deck is not a quickfire kind of read.  I will have to invest some time and be willing to change my perspective to garner the most use from it.  All three cards are intensely positive cards, but none are fast moving cards.  For example, The Star is hopeful, but wishing on a star is not the kind of intense and immediate optimism The Sun brings when it breaks through the clouds.  Temperance is about alchemical process, and anyone who took high school chemistry knows that the work behind the great experiences is methodical, and can be quite tedious at times.  The Hanged Man might blow in the wind but he isn't going anywhere too fast.

Tarot of the Mystic Spiral- Two of Cups
The Shadow card, which I understand as what the reading is about, or a little tidbit I am overlooking, is the Two of Cups.  My basic understanding of the card has to do with sacred contracts, and the lovers in this card are literally entwining themselves together.  As I come back to my work while healing from a difficult injury, I am reminded that doing what we love is the sacred path we are given to walk on, and it is no coincidence I have chosen this specific deck to work with this week.  The picture of the lovers coming together, as close as physically possible the better to reflect in the corporeal world their spiritual closeness, is a representation of the sacred contract with have with ourselves, to grow, to learn, to be the best we can be, and to shine out into the world as such.

These cards are from Tarot of the Mystic Spiral by Giovanni Pelosini and Giuseppe Palumbo, published by Lo Scarabeo.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Deck Collecting versus Tarot Reading

The Tarot Shelf years ago when 1 shelf would do...
I am the proud curator of about eleventy billion decks.  Okay, that is a bit of an exaggeration.  In truth, I have somewhere around 650 tarot decks, and 150-ish oracle, Lenormand, and playing card for divination decks.  I am cuckoo for cartomancy, that much should be obvious, and I know how you tarot freaks are, so no, you can't have my home address.  We won't even talk about my hundreds of books.

I don't have a lot of of discrimination in buying new decks.  Hell, I don't have much discrimination in buying old decks, either.  I will absolutely try anything.  I don't keep every deck that comes my way, but I give all of them a chance.  To stay in my collection, it has to meet at least one of the following criteria: be a deck I am going to use professionally, be beautiful, add something unique to tarot, or have sentimental value (i.e.; have been a gift).  I have most decks that are in print, and a good many that are no longer.  I love self published decks, small print and independent works.  I am by no means the most rabid collector I know, but I made due with just the one deck for most of my life, so I had lots of time to make up for.

Has having all these decks made me a better tarot reader?  The answer is somewhat mixed, but leaning heavily towards no.  I definitely have gained different perspective from all my (much loved) decks, but few of them were actually necessary for my growth or learning as a reader.  They have enhanced my experience, but not defined it.  I imagine this is kind of like how I learned to read with a battered old copy Harry The Dirty Dog and my kids had both Harry and interactive computer games, Leap Pad, and Hooked on Phonics.  Different and varied paths to the same destination.

Pamela Colman Smith Commemorative Set- The Fool
One of the questions I am asked frequently by people who want to learn tarot but are unsure where to start is what deck to use.  My suggestion is two pick up two decks- a bog standard printing of the Pamela Colman Smith/Arthur Waite collaboration commonly known as the Rider Waite Smith deck, because most tarot books today and classes teach based on this system.  My favorite printing of this deck is the Pamela Colman Smith Commemorative Set published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc. in 2009.  The colors are subtle and the cardstock lovely to hold and shuffle.  Not everyone connects to the art in this deck, so I also suggest each student get another deck which they just love for the way it looks.  If it follows Smith Waite tradition, great, but a new student is unlikely to be able to tell.  Just get something with 78 cards that insists it come home with you.  Tarot is a language of pictures, so it matters that the reader likes what they are seeing.  I also suggest that they NOT buy any books about learning tarot until they have a firm grasp on what they feel each card means, but most people ignore that one.

Anna K Tarot- 8 of Swords
After all these years of amassing decks, I have come to decide that for me, there is no "The One", and the although the search has been fun, I am always let down as deck after deck does not quite fulfill me the way I was hoping.   Then it dawned on me- when I let go of my expectation that a man would make me happy, and just went about making myself happy, I found the perfect guy for me.  Now I don't expect him to make me complete, but he just kinda does.  It probably works the same for tarot decks.  I carry the key to my own satisfaction inside me, and when I am happy with myself as a reader I am not expecting a deck to transform me.  Now I can enjoy each individual deck for what it has to offer, and unlike husbands, I can pick up another whenever I like.  (My husband is endlessly fascinating to me.  Just to be clear.)

So, collect decks as time, space, and money allow, but follow your own bliss in that area.  You only need one.  After that you are just making piles.  I know fabulous readers that only use one deck, and not having a collection that even equals 1% of mine does not hinder any person as a reader.  If anything, the opposite is true.  Bringing decks into your home does not make a tarot reader.  Having books on your shelf doesn't, either.  Throwing down cards and coming to grips with them, even it feels like you are Jacob wrestling the angel (and sometimes, you probably are), that is what makes a tarot reader.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

About half the people I read for want me to tell their fortune.  I think this is a fun way to spend some time, and I do think tarot cards are accurate for this purpose, with the caveat that they give a snapshot of a moment in time, and sometimes just glimpsing the future causes us to change the outcome.  Also, I am human, and fallible.  I won't do a reading I cant give my all to, but I make occasional mistakes.  The right cards come up, but sometimes, like all readers, I misinterpret them.  I try not to, but it happens.  I can see this as I look over my personal journals and I learn from each mistake.  I tend to read the cards wrongly when I think I already know the answer, so if we are friends and I have not read for you when asked, this is the most likely reason.  I try to let go of my bias, but am not always able to.

A small percentage of people are just testing me, and I usually figure that out pretty fast.  I then give them the opportunity to change their mind and have the reading, or I politely decline to do the reading and hand their money back.  I want to help the people that need my readings, not convince skeptics.

The rest of my sitters tend to be people who want answers, who want to explore the present or delve into the past.  I am not a therapist, but a tarot reading can often be a faster form of figuring out what you really need in order to move forward. You lay the cards, and instantly see areas of blockage and emotional frustration, where traditional talk therapy can take several sessions to build trust and start to reveal issues.

Aquatic Tarot- Death
I am thinking about this subject tonight because I am considering exploring a past relationship for myself with cards.  My sisters' father passed away today, and I am sad for them, and sad for him, that he never seemed to quite get it together, that peace was elusive for him.  I am not grieving for me, though, because I decided a long time ago to cut some ties in my life, and the relationship with my own mother and him was one of the things I decided was unsalvageable, and I have never looked back.  Instead of trying to force my blood family into being the kinds of people I wanted them to be, which surely would have been an exercise in frustration for all of us, I decided to work on making myself the kind of person I wanted to be, to raise my kids the best way I know how, and sometimes that has come from having a clear "NO" example to work from.  I decided to become the kind of woman who would attract the kind of man who wanted the same kind of family I have always longed for, and while it's a work in progress, I feel I have been fairly successful in this.  I really do have it all- brilliant, loving kids, a kind and adoring husband, work that challenges and fulfills me, and I am lucky.  I desperately want strong family ties, and almost my whole life is built around creating traditions and a value system for my children that encourage that for them.  I believe in creating my own fortune, and am doing so, day by day.

I have chosen to not pursue relationships with some members of my family not because I am a cold, vindictive bitch who doesn't love anyone, but because I am a warm and loving person who would turn the entire world inside out for my children's best interests, and a sensitive one who feels hurts soul deep.  I firmly believe forgiveness is necessary, but does not require that you allow people to continue to hurt you.  I have always wished my parents well, and my siblings, even the ones I am not close to.  I love them, but I chose to step off the sick cycle carousel.

It has been brought to my attention, both on this sad day and before, that my siblings may not have experienced our shared childhood in the same way I did.  I have two brothers and three sisters, that's six of us all together, and my stepfather had a whole mess of kids, as well, two of which I was close to as a young teenager.  That is a whole lot of people, and in trying to understand I have realized that even though we were all there, all experiencing the same thing, we did not perceive it in the same way.  Each person's perception  really is their reality, isn't it?

Tarot comes into this because through the lens of the cards we can explore the sometimes murky waters of our pasts, and pull forth nuggets of truth we can grasp onto.  The creative force that places the card, which I call God, or Goddess, depending on my level of subversiveness on a given day, never gives us things we can't deal with, which means some are held back, while some are revealed, and we are given the tools to deal with them.

Tarot can help us sift through the debris of a difficult relationship.  We can ask the cards what the lesson to learn was.  We can ask for reminders of good memories so that we can experience positivity that may have been lacking.  We can rewrite the pages of our own history in a way that allows us to process our pain and our joy and all the moments in between.

Aquatic Tarot- Eight of Pentacles
When I asked something positive I could know to be true about the relationship between my stepfather and I, the Eight of Pentacles appeared.  He worked with his hands, and he worked hard.  He took on the responsibility of caring for children that were not his own.  He made that commitment and took it seriously.  When I relate the card to its' corresponding trump, Strength (VIII) I can see that was a form of battling some of his inner demons, and there were times he won.  He adored my baby sisters, who were his, and I remember the light in his eyes when one of them would toddle up to him and call him Daddy.  I think he did the best he could with my mother, and I think he was as willing to love me as I was willing to let him and return the love.  The man in this card is a craftsman, comfortable in his trade, so I can see that my stepfather was at home in his role and felt good about it.  He worked on our relationship, and there was more work to be done that could have improved it further.  As adults, I share an equal responsibility for choosing to not invest the essential energy in the relationship.

Now, no longer having the luxury of that time, I wish him peace, and I wish peace for my siblings.  I thank him for the lessons, I thank him for his physical presence, thank him for the love and for the his efforts.  I hope he gets to go fishing every day now, and walk all around in the big sunshine, outdoors where he was happiest.  I know in the presence of the Divine he will know, all the way to the depths of his soul, the kind of love that he always seemed to searching for, and I am happy for that.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Ten of Swords

Aquatic Tarot - 10 of Swords
Three weeks ago, as I carried a laundry basket, half full with fluffy, clean tee shirts belonging to kiddos, my back screamed in agony and I felt a sharp stabbing pain in my left side.  I fell to my knees, and instantly started to chide myself for being so dramatic.  "You just pulled a muscle, you big baby, and it's your own fault for being fat and out of shape," my inner critic said icily.

Well, that bitch was wrong.  What I have is a herniated disc, my fifth lumbar, to be exact, the seat of the sacral chakra.  My primary care doctor thinks the answer is bed rest, Percoset, and muscle relaxers.  My chiropractor thinks the answer is three visits to him a week, at $65 a pop, and massage therapy.  I do not like to be massaged, ever, by anyone, not lovers, not friends, and certainly not therapists.  Affection, I eat up with a spoon.  Hugs, kisses, soft caresses, all of that is good, but I hate being pressed upon and rubbed.  Hate it.  And I won't be doing that any time soon.

I have no desire to put my liver under the stress of heavy duty painkillers, and since this is a Devil personal year for me I have an even deeper than normal aversion to the things, as I do not need to add "pill addiction" to my repertoire of tricks.  I believe in alternate therapies, along with Western medicine, but am not going to be able to financially sustain the regime of chiropractic visits for long.  Besides all of that, I need to be caring for my family, reading for my clients, and writing for Spirit, and myself, because that is my work, not laying around waiting for someone to come home and fetch me a new glass of water.  It's so funny, because sometimes we all want a break, but this enforced one has made me long for jam packed days of full mobility.  I am getting better, but much, much more slowly than any of the professionals expected, and not nearly quickly enough for my tastes.

Simply Deep Tarot- Princess of Coins
I asked my cards what I could do to help myself get better, and my answer, from the Simply Deep Tarot by Chanel Bayless and James Battersby for Schiffer Books, was the Princess of Coins.  This is the youngest member of the Earth Court in this deck, and often goes by the name Page of Pentacles.

The very first thing I noticed about this card is that she seems to be dancing, which is certainly not an option for me at the moment, but I believe that the answer to my healing lies in getting stronger, more active, and because this is a member of the committed Earth Court, to make sure I work towards this goal every day.  As a gift to myself, previous to the injury, I had invested in some exercise grade hula hoops and hoop dance DVDs, and I can see that as a goal to work towards, being able to perform those gorgeous, hypnotic dances.

This young person can also often be seen as a student, so I realized I needed to get educated about my own health.  Back care is something I knew little about, and I have set out to learn as much as I can so that I can properly care for myself.

The result of all this research has led me to believe that I need to ditch the painkillers, get on a simpler maintenance program with the chiropractor, and commit to a daily program of modified yoga and Pilates, and return to my daily walks, at least as far as I can manage.  To that end I have purchased a DVD of yoga designed for those with my specific issues, and bought myself a membership to, to download special books I may only listen to while walking, both to distract from the pain, and to reward the effort.  This has been an amazingly effective way to get me out and walking, even though it's cold, even though I hurt, because I can't wait to hear what comes next!

My injury is a big reason for sparse posting, sparse reading availability, but as I improve so will those limitations.  What is working for me, medically, should not be interpreted as general medical advice, and I encourage anyone who is in pain to consult their own doctor and do their own research, because I am a tarot reader and a writer, but not trained or able to dispense any medical advice.  I am just sharing my experiences with my readers.

Love and bright blessings to my readers, and thank you for hanging with me.

Simply Deep Tarot was created by Chanel Bayless and James Battersby for Schiffer Books.